The Oldest Oracle Users Group in the World (The Little Oracle Users Group That Could)
The story of the Little Engine That Could is more than a hundred years old and has been retold for generations. The version below is from The Expositor and Current Anecdotes, Volume XIII, Number 1 (1911).
Once upon a time a little freight car loaded with coal stood on the track in a coal-yard. The little freight car waited for an engine to pull it up the hill and over the hill and down the hill on the other side. Over the hill in the valley people needed the coal on the little freight car to keep them warm.
By and by a great big engine came along, the smokestack puffing smoke and the bell ringing, “Ding! Ding! Ding!”
“Oh, stop! Please stop, big engine!” said the little freight car. “Pull me up the hill and over the hill and down the hill, to the people in the valley on the other side.”
But the big engine said, “I can’t, I’m too busy.” And away it went—Choo! Choo! Choo! Choo!
The little freight car waited again a long time till a smaller engine came puffing by.
“Oh, stop! dear engine, please stop!” said the little freight car. But the engine puffed a big puff and said. “I can’t, you’re too heavy.” Then away it went, too—Choo! Choo! Choo!
“Oh, dear!” said the little freight car, “what shall I do? The people in the valley on the other side will be so cold without any coal.”
After a long time a little pony engine came along, puffing just as hard as a little engine could.
“Oh, stop! dear engine, please stop and take me up the hill and over the hill and down the hill, to the people on the other side,” said the patient little freight car.
The pony engine stopped right away and said, “You’re very heavy and I’m not very big, but I think I can. I’ll try. Hitch on!”
All the way up the hill the pony engine kept saying, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. I think I can!” quite fast at first.
Then the hill was steeper and the pony engine had to pull harder and go slower, but all the time it kept saying: “I think-I-can! I-think-I-can!” till it reached the very top with a long puff—”Sh-s-s-s-s!”
It was easy to go down the hill on the other side.
Away went the happy little pony engine saying very fast, “I thought I could! I thought I could! I thought I could! I thought I could.”
Don’t forget the lesson, boys and girls. Think you can. Never think you can’t.
NoCOUG is the Little Oracle Users Group That Could! As you might imagine, it is a vast amount of work to organize a technical conference and publish a printed journal but no sooner has a conference ended and a journal mailed than it is time to start work on the next conference and the next journal. NoCOUG has very few resources compared to the national and international user groups but the NoCOUG volunteers always managed to pull it off, quarter after quarter, for 25 long years. The award for the longest serving volunteer must go to past president Joel Rosingana who—along with staff member Nora Rosingana—were the anchors of NoCOUG for much of its history.
NoCOUG Conference #100 Sponsored by Quest Software—Simplicity at Work is the culmination of a long journey. It will be held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View—a fitting location for such an occasion. The museum features marvelous computing artifacts such as a Hollerith Tabulating Machine and an actual operational Babbage Difference Engine—one of two that have been constructed in the past decade. Steven Feuerstein—the first Oracle Database expert featured on Wikipedia—will deliver an entertaining yet educational keynote address Coding Therapy for Database Professionals and will be followed by a rock star cast of internationally recognized speakers including Craig Shallahamer, Alex Gorbachev, Dan Tow, and Andrew Zitelli. Not to be outdone, the history-making 100th issue of the NoCOUG Journal (Vol. 25, No. 4) will feature an interview with Michael Stonebraker—the high priest of relational databases, the research paper by Dr. Edgar Codd that started the relational revolution in 1970—A Shared Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks, and the results of the Second International NoCOUG SQL Challenge.
Here’s wishing NoCOUG another 25 years.