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Phils 2010 Viennese Musings

IDUG EMEA 2010 was held in Vienna and I’d been posting a weekly note to DB2-L (and elsewhere) on the various interesting things to do and the experiences not to be missed together with some suggestions on how to get the most benefit from your time at IDUG EMEA

Please read on, and learn what IDUG EMEA in Vienna had to offer for you

Hopefully I’ll be doing something similar for IDUG EMEA 2011 in Prague

 

IDUG EMEA - Phils final musing

There will be some final eMails from IDUG headquarters soon, covering the “end of term” report for IDUG EMEA, but for now let me just say it was really good to see so many of you in Vienna last week. Not only were the registration numbers very good, aspects such as the DB2 certification examinations exceeded our expectations (and congratulations to everyone who achieved their DB2 certification last week)

The exhibition area was busy each time it was open, with some very interesting showings from our vendors and exhibitors. Whilst I am in “thank you” mode, I do need to take a moment to express my gratitude to all exhibitors who provided prizes for the various give-aways which were offered during the week. Well done to those of you who won prizes either as part of the Passport for Prizes, the VSP Lottery or whatever – I hope you find them useful and will remind you of your time at IDUG EMEA

I’d also like to take a moment to thank my colleagues on the IDUG EMEA planning committee – without the hard work of these volunteers there would not even BE an IDUG conference – it was an honour working with you all. If anyone reading this is interested in also volunteering to assist IDUG, take a look here for details of the areas you can volunteer (and the form to complete to indicate your interest!)

Well, that’s about it from me. I hope these weekly Vienna musings have been both interesting and helpful.

Look out for my Prague musings in 2011 and I’m already looking forward to another exciting IDUG EMEA conference next November
 

 

IDUG EMEA - Additional educational opportunities

Expand your technical proficiency by working alongside the experts at the IDUG EMEA 2010 Hands-on Labs. These instructor-led mini-courses are designed to get you up to speed quickly with hands-on interaction directly with IBM products. These hands on labs are available ONLY to IDUG attendees, so please make sure you have confirmed your IDUG attendance before booking your lab place

The labs are:

New Features and Enhancements in IBM DB2 10 for z/OS (Area of Focus: DB2 for z/OS and System z XML)
DB2 Database Partitioning Feature: Installation and Usage Considerations (Area of Focus: DB2 for LUW)
DB2 9.7 Performance Metrics and Monitoring (Area of Focus: DB2 for LUW)
Learning pureXML and New SQL Features in DB2 10 for z/OS Using SPUFI and CLP (Area of Focus: DB2 for z/OS)
Reduce Administration Cost, Save Storage, and Improve Performance with DB2 9.7 (Area of Focus: DB2 for LUW)

Space at the sessions is limited and are allocated on a “first come first served” basis, so please book early to avoid disappointment. Details of these Hands-on Labs are here

Of course, there are also the One-day Educational Seminars, held in EMEA on the Friday following IDUG. This year, we have 5 different seminars to choose from:

Optimising DB2 System Performance Using DB2 Statistics Trace, John Campbell, IBM Corporation & Florence Dubois, IBM Corporation
• SQL and DB2 for z/OS Performance and Analysis and Techniques, Daniel Luksetich, YL&A
• All New IBM DB2 9.7, Jason Chan, IBM Corporation
• DB2 for LUW Performance Analysis and Tuning Workshop, Scott Hayes, DBI
• Save CPU Costs by Tuning Your SQL, Bonnie Baker, Bonnie Baker Corporation


Although these seminars do attract an extra cost, they are well worth your time (and Euros) as you get to spend a whole day delving into some specific aspect of the DB2 world, and have the chance to quiz experts up close. For more information, and how to register, see the IDUG website

Finally, if you are looking to become certified on IBMs DB2 technologies, DB2 Certification Preparation Seminars will take place on Sunday, 7 November. The Certification Preparation Seminars are sponsored by IBM and are complimentary to IDUG EMEA 2010 conference delegates. They are available on a first-come, first serve basis, so to register for a seminar, please visit the signup page and follow the instructions.

Pre-Certification Training for DB2 v9.1/9.7 Database Administration for Linux, Unix and Windows (Exam 731/541) will be taught by Guy Przytula of Competence Partners and DB2 9 for z/OS DBA Certification by Susan Lawson of YL&A

Then during the IDUG conference, in partnership with IBM, more than 50 IBM certification exams will be available throughout the week at no extra cost (EUR 89 value per exam). Take up to three exams - testing is available to attendees each day during the conference, and there is no cost regardless if you take one exam or three.

 

IDUG EMEA - Some sightseeing suggestions

The Spanish Riding School is the oldest and last Riding School in the world where classic dressage is still practised in its purest form. This Institute was founded in 1572. It's name was derived from the fact that the horses were of Spanish origin. The Lipizzaner is regarded to be the oldest classic horse race in Europe. The horses have been bred in Lipizza in Slovenia. Young Lipizzaner are black and only turn white when reaching maturity. They need to undergo elaborate training before they are able to perform their prancing Renaissance ballet to the sound of classical music.

St. Stephen's Cathedral is one of Vienna’s most famous sights, defines the city centre and has been the heart of Vienna for centuries. It was built in 1147 AD. For a long time it was uncontested as highest building in Europe measuring almost 137 m. The cathedral has got two very impressive features: The gigantic roof, and the tall, lean tower (136,7 metres in height). One can find only few gothic towers of such height that were finished in the Middle Ages. Inside the Cathedral there are many art treasures like the tomb of Prince Eugene of Savoy (1754), the Altarpiece of Wiener Neustadt, the pulpit by Anton Pilgram (1514-15), the sepulcher of Emperor Frederik III by Niclas Gerhaert (1467-1513), the watchman`s lookout, a self portrait of the sculptor, and the Gothic winged altar.

Schönbrunn Palace with its surrounding buildings and the huge park is one of the most significant cultural monuments in Austria. The castle was build to rival French Versailles in Baroque beauty and importance but House Habsburg lacked funds to outdo its rivalling nation France.  In earlier times it served as summer residence to various Habsburg rulers.

The Vienna Opera House is situated in the first district of Vienna at the southern end of the Kärntnerstrasse. August von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll built the State Opera House from 1861 to 1869. It has a world-wide reputation for its first-class opera performances and is also known because of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. A night at the State Opera is one of the most impressive events any visitor to Vienna can experience. The building itself closely resembles Italian Renaissance, as this epoch was immensely important for art and music.

Vienna has it’s very own tower - the Donauturm. It rises to a height of 252 m and has two observation decks (at 155 m and 150 m). An elevator ride to the top takes around 35 seconds. It also boats TWO rotating restaurants the restaurant Panorama (at 160m) and the Donauwalzer (at 170m). Reservations can be made for either restaurant by calling +43 (1) 263 35 72

Of course, these are only a small selection of things to do whilst you are in Vienna and you might want to take a look at the Vienna tourist board website for more suggestions – or About Vienna is also a good source of information

Lastly, one of the easiest ways to travel around Vienna is by using either the S-bahn (suburban trains) or U-bahn (underground trains). A useful map can be found here

 

IDUG EMEA - Bonus Items

This time, I’d like to cover some of the often missed opportunities at IDUG conferences

Of course, there are the One-day Educational Seminars, held in EMEA on the Friday following IDUG. This year, we have 5 different seminars to choose from, with such star speakers as John Campbell, Bonnie Baker and Scott Hayes. Although these seminars do attract an extra cost, they are well worth your time (and Euros) as you get to spend a whole day delving into some specific aspect of the DB2 world, and have the chance to quiz experts up close. For more details, see the IDUG website here

OK, so the Educational Seminars may cost you some extra Euros, but there are also opportunities to actually come away with gifts. Everyone knows that the vendors in the Expo hall will usually have all sorts of useful (and perhaps questionable) things to give away to attract you to their booths, but don't forget there are also opportunities to win BIG

The Passport to Prizes will be included in the goodies that you are given when you register. All you need to do, is to circulate the expo hall and collect passport stamps from participating vendors. Prior to the expo closing, there will be a series of draws for the passport prizes. Each participating vendor donates a prize so you will have as many chances to win as there are vendors on your passport. Let's hope they are not ALL offering iPods this year!

Also involving the vendors is the VSP Lottery. Again, those vendors choosing to participate will collect the names of everyone attending their Vendor Solution Presentations (on Monday and Tuesday). They will then, during Expo hours, draw a winning name out of their respective hats. One thing to note here, is that the FEWER people there are in the VSP, the GREATER your chances of winning...

Bear in mind, for both of these prize drawings, you "must be present to win". Too many times in the past, people have missed out on valuable prizes by not being in the Expo hall during the draws. So make sure you know, when you get to IDUG EMEA 2010 in Vienna, that you KNOW when the draws will take place

 

IDUG EMEA - Cutting the Cost

With the continuing economic challenges, I’d like to talk about some of the ways you can cut the cost of attending this years IDUG conference

First off, there’s the Early Bird discount. If you purchase your IDUG registration prior to October 12th, the registration fee is reduced from EUR1,920 to EUR1,645 (plus applicable VAT). This is almost a 15% discount for doing nothing more than planning ahead – and might even be enough to convince your management to make a decision early.

Then there’s the multiple attendee discount. If your company is thinking of sending 3 (or more) attendees to IDUG, then for every 3 paying the full rate, the fourth only pays EUR730 (plus VAT) – that’s over 60% off!

Details of these discounts can be found on the IDUG on-line registration page.  If you do have any other questions, then please feel free to drop me a line and I’ll be glad to help out

If you are a long-time attendee of IDUG conferences, then for the first time at the EMEA conference, IDUG may allow you to take a colleague from your company along at a REALLY attractive rate. If you qualify for the mentor program discount, your colleague (who must be a NEW attendee to an IDUG conference) is entitled to a massive 80% discount on their registration. Or to look at it another way, you will both be able to attend for a little over half the usual registration fee each. For more details of the mentor program check here

Finally, whilst we are on the subject of planning ahead to attend the conference, don’t forget the difference booking your air travel in advance can have. As well as the usual budget airlines (I see that Easyjet and Air Berlin, to name but two, have networks that include Vienna) the full service airlines can usually offer competitive fares if booked well in advance. Shop around, you might be surprised. Of course, many of you in central Europe may also have the option of travelling to Vienna by train and miss out on the excitement of the compulsory striptease at airport security!



IDUG EMEA - Vienna Christmas markets

IDUG EMEA being a little later than usual this year, means that those of you staying on for one of the One Day Educational Seminars have the opportunity of sampling not one, but TWO Christmas markets in Vienna

If the concept is new to you, the Christmas market (also known as Christkindlmarkt, Christkindlesmarkt, Christkindlmarket, and Weihnachtsmarkt) is a street market associated with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent. These markets originated in Germany and Alsace but are now being held in many other countries. Generally held in the town square and adjacent pedestrian zones, the market sells food, drink, and seasonal items from open-air stalls, accompanied by traditional singing and dancing

Popular attractions at the market usually include the Nativity Scene (a crèche or crib), Zwetschgamännla (figures made of decorated dried plums), Nussknacker (carved Nutcrackers), Gebrannte Mandeln (candied, toasted almonds), traditional Christmas cookies such as Lebkuchen and Magenbrot (both forms of soft gingerbread), Christstollen (Stollen), a sort of egg bread with candied fruit, Bratwurst, and for many visitors one of the highlights of the market: Glühwein, hot mulled wine (with or without a shot of brandy), or Eierpunsch (an egg-based warm alcoholic drink). Both help stave off the cold winter air which sometimes dips below freezing. I see on one of the Vienna Christmas market pages though, there will be no “Turbo Punch” this year! The mind boggles – what on earth was Turbo Punch?? Many other handmade items, toys, books, Christmas tree decorations and ornaments (and in recent years less useful gadgets) can also be found at a Christkindlmarkt.

The two Viennese Christmas markets that are starting early (perhaps just for us!) are detailed at www.christkindlmarkt.at and http://www.weihnachtsdorf.at/weihnachtsdorf/dt/aakh/index.html

They are also ideal places to shop for those last minute souvenirs for the folks back home

 

IBM Hands-on Labs – Free to attendees at IDUG EMEA

Expand your technical proficiency by working alongside the experts at the IDUG EMEA 2010 Hands-on Labs. These instructor-led mini-courses are designed to get you up to speed quickly with hands-on interaction directly with IBM products. These hands on labs are available ONLY to IDUG attendees, so please make sure you have confirmed your IDUG attendance before booking your lab place

The labs scheduled are as follows:

Monday, 8 November 15:00 - 18:00
New Features and Enhancements in IBM DB2 10 for z/OS (Area of Focus: DB2 for z/OS and System z XML)

Tuesday, 9 November 09:00 - 12:00
DB2 Database Partitioning Feature: Installation and Usage Considerations (Area of Focus: DB2 for LUW)

Wednesday, 10 November 09:00 - 12:00
DB2 9.7 Performance Metrics and Monitoring (Area of Focus: DB2 for LUW)

Wednesday, 10 November 15:00 - 18:00
Learning pureXML and New SQL Features in DB2 10 for z/OS Using SPUFI and CLP (Area of Focus: DB2 for z/OS)

Thursday, 11 November 09:00 - 12:00
Reduce Administration Cost, Save Storage, and Improve Performance with DB2 9.7 (Area of Focus: DB2 for LUW)

Work through your questions with experts and learn tips, tricks and strategies to make your job easier and faster. More details of each the labs content can be found here at the IDUG website. These labs are typically three hours long.

Space at the sessions is limited and are allocated on a “first come first served” basis, so please book early to avoid disappointment. Details of how to reserve your space can be found here.

 

Moderating opportunities at IDUG EMEA

IDUG moderators are possibly the most important people at IDUG after our speakers

   Moderator duties include :

  • Reminding the speaker to schedule time at the end of the presentation for a question and answer period and to repeat any questions.
  • Directing attendees to empty seats and make sure they are using all available seats.
  • Reiterating IDUG's no-smoking policy and asking all attendees to turn off their cellular phones to avoid disruption throughout the presentation.
  • Emphasising to attendees the importance of completing and returning the Session Evaluation Cards and reiterate the importance of indicating the correct session codes on the card.
  • Briefly introducing the speaker, using the biography included in your moderator packet and thank the speaker for participating in the IDUG Conference.
  • Counting the number of attendees at the beginning of the session as well as half way through the session
     

It may seem somewhat onerous BUT in actuality it can be great fun. It’s also a PERFECT way to meet that speaker you’ve always wanted to talk to. As the moderator, YOU have access to “your” speaker before and after the session

Not only that, but at the Speaker/Moderator orientation session you’ll get to network with your co-moderators and many of the speakers in a VERY relaxed atmosphere

For more information on moderating a session (or two?) check out Volunteer to Moderate a Session at the IDUG website

If you are still not sure, check out the Moderator Guidelines

Speakers, attendees and exhibitors are all eligible to be technical session moderators – if you are logged on at idug.org, clicking here will list the sessions still waiting for moderators to volunteer. Here you can search for your favourite speaker or an interesting topic perhaps

 

IDUG EMEA - Chocolate and the Hotel Sacher

You can’t visit Vienna without trying a slice of Sacher Torte (or perhaps share a WHOLE one with a friend).

The Original Sacher-Torte has been the most famous cake in the world for more than 175 years, since 1832 and the original recipe a well-kept secret of the hotel.

Only the Original Sacher-Torte is produced according to this original recipe: The basis is a chocolate cake, thinly coated by hand with best-quality apricot jam. The chocolate icing
over this is the crowning glory

Yes, it IS as good as it sounds

They are ONLY available from the Hotel Sacher (which is a really cool place to have a coffee, a slice of torte and a chill-out). They are also available to take away, packed in quaint wooden boxes so that they (hopefully) withstand the rigours of the flight home

WARNING to our US colleagues. If you’ve never tasted European chocolate before and have relied on your domestic chocolate taste, trying a Sacher Torte could be a VERY expensive mistake – it’s a taste you will acquire a liking for VERY quickly

 

IDUG EMEA - City Airport Train

For those of you planning on attending IDUG EMEA in Vienna in November, please don’t forget to check out the City Airport Train (CAT) from Vienna airport into the city – you can’t miss it, it’s BRIGHT green!

Their website is a mine of information on getting to and from the airport and you can even buy tickets in advance (EUR16.00 return)

On arrival at the airport, simply follow the green CAT signs to get to the CAT platform. If you do not have a ticket yet, you can buy it at the CAT ticket vending machines in the arrival hall and on the platform. Trains run around every 30 minutes, and the journey takes a speedy 16 minutes

The Hilton Vienna (home of IDUG EMEA) is literally a stones throw from the city air terminal

Best of all, when it’s time to leave for home after an enjoyable IDUG, you can actually check in your luggage AT the station and let someone else have the bother of getting it to the airport for you

 

IDUG EMEA - Third Man (cue Zither music.......)

If you are attending IDUG EMEA in Vienna and (like me) you’re a fan of older films – don’t forget that one of the stars of “The Third Man” is in Vienna. Yes, the giant Ferris Wheel (or Reisenrad) in Prater Park. Unfortunately, there are no tours of the sewers after the end of October

For even more sightseeing suggestions, take a look here

 

 

 

IDUG EMEA - Schnitzels!

If you are planning to attend IDUG EMEA in November, don’t forget to leave time for a visit to Figlmüller restaurant.

To quote their website “Right from the start, the Figlmüller schnitzel was what it still is today: a bit bigger, a bit thinner and a bit crisper than all the others that call themselves a schnitzel. And, that is why it is also a bit more popular”

Unless you’re a vegetarian (can you HAVE a vegetarian Wiener Schnitzel??), this HAS to be somewhere to eat at least once – I’d strongly recommend it

I guess it’d be about a 10 minute walk from the Vienna Hilton
 

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