A correspondent reminded me that I hadn’t yet posted my final thoughts about my big trip, as I’d promised. So here goes.
- First and foremost, everything went exactly according to plan: the travel; my meetings in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, and Prague; the TAC meeting in Louisville, and the colloquium at SeeBeyond’s facility in Monrovia. Thanks to lots of people for all their support, especially Susan, Pam, Pavel, Ruchi, Vijay, and Greg.
- With respect to Sun’s global engineering facilities, it’s ever so easy for a senior person to fly in for a quick visit, give a talk, shake a few hands, and disappear on the next flight out. The first time you show up, people are understandably cautious: is it going to be worthwhile taking the time to work with this visitor, or is he or she just another tourist? (Cf. Dilbert’s “bungee boss”.) On your second visit, people tend to open up, and you can accomplish a lot more.
- Oddity #1: I visited a reasonably large bookshop in Bangalore, and two things struck me. First, there were as many business books as works of fiction. Second, many kinds of fiction and non-fiction works were shelved together. For example, science-fiction and science were shelved as a single subject; likewise whodunits and true crime. (And based on the computer books and magazines, it would appear that there are no Mac users in India… 🙁 )
- Oddity #2: To get to the United Airlines Red Carpet Club lounge at Frankfurt airport, you have to go through an extra security check. Apparently the regular airport security is viewed as insufficient.
- The new airport terminal at Prague is probably the most elegant (and functional) that I’ve ever seen.
- Los Angeles is easy to navigate around, as long as you get precise directions. I downloaded turn-by-turn directions from LAX to my hotel in Arcadia into my Treo, and everything worked out fine. However instead of getting return directions, I relied on reading the original directions in reverse. Bad idea: within a few miles I found myself inadvertantly exiting the freeway into a maze of residential streets. Fortunately I had time to recover, but the lesson was clear.
- Seamless voice and data connectivity worldwide is a reality. It’s not cheap – my voice and data roaming charges in India, the Czech Republic, and Germany totalled $400 – but performance was flawless. However with airborne WiFi becoming a reality, I think I’m going to have to investigate Skype.