2011 United States – San Fransisco

Oracle Open World Convention

Each year the Oracle Open World conference takes place in San Francisco. It focuses on the latest technologies for today and the future. Thousands of keynotes, technical sessions, hands-on lab, demos and exhibitions make it a great opportunity to learn, experience, and share visions on Oracle products and solutions.

This year I was lucky enough to get selected to participate in the Open World 2011 conference. On the 30th of September I left home for the long flight from Dusseldorf via Frankfurt to San Francisco.

The first day I only needed to register at the conference and get used to the time difference so I decided to do some sightseeing at on of San Francisco’s landmarks, Pier 39 and Alcatraz Island. Five years ago when I was in San Francisco as well for the Open World Conference I did not have a chance to see Alcatraz and I did not want to miss it this time.

After a short cruise I was welcomed at the island, I had chosen a good day to visit as it was living history day and several people walked around in traditional clothes. Once in the main building I was handed out an MP3 player and headset and could start the guided tour at my own pace. The tour certainly was worth the effort and gave a nice insight in

prison life at Alcatraz and some of the most influential events that took place before the prison was closed in 1963.

In the afternoon I visited Castro, the gay district of San Francisco. I had booked a guided comical tour. Although I found the tour not to be that comical it certainly was worth doing in order to learn from the history of Castro. A big name of that history is of course Harvey Milk, ”the major of Castro”, and we visited several places of importance. I was happy to have done the tour and get some background on this, for gay people, significant neighborhood.

Of course the main reason for the visit was the conference itself. It was the biggest one ever with 45000 people participating. As I was on my own this time I had a very busy schedule. I visited 22 technical keynotes, had a couple of hand-on labs where I was able to experience the latest technology at first hand, and spend the remaining time at the demo ground trying to get answers on issues we were facing at work. It was tiring but very interesting as well and I came back with several good ideas for work.

Each year during the conference on the Wednesday evening an appreciation event is organized with some well known entertainers. 5 years ago I was able to see Elton John live but this time I was more lucky as Sting was performing. The event took place on adventure island, an island in the bay halfway San Francisco and Oakland. This day of course was also the

day that Steve Jobs passed away so before the festivities started we were asked to be silent for a minute. One could hear a needle drop. After the minute of silence a roaring applause came out of the crowd, very impressive to be part of this. After that Sting took the stage and the party could start.

As expected Sting did a great performance. After that it was Tom Petty’s turn to take the stage but as that was not my type of music I decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel.

Next day after the conference I passed the apple store where lot of flowers and small notes were stuck on the windows in memory of Steve Jobs.

On Friday it was time to go home again but since my flight was leaving at 19:20 I still had some hours to spend. I decided to rent a mountain bike and cycle the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito and have lunch over there. It was a beautiful day and I really enjoyed the ride.

From Sausalito I took the ferry back to San Francisco where I visited the Ferry Building Marketplace. Now this really impressed me,  the market is open for certified farmers only and focuses on sustainable agriculture. I loved browsing through the local products: vegetables, fish, meat, but also delicacies like chocolate. As a foodie I was at the right place, shame I could not bring any of the things home…

After I returned the mountain bike I still strolled passed the piers. Again I was lucky as it was fleet week and I was able to see an interesting air show over the bay of San Francisco.

It was a good way to finish off a tiring but extremely interesting week. It had certainly been worth it. Now it was time to fly home, unpack, pack and head towards India in just a couple of days time.