Archive for April, 2007

royalty

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Beautiful but hot morning in New Delhi today. I slept like a log last night after all the travel and stuff. We’ve been taken to a vendor’s office today for a bit of meet and greet, and discussion of strategy for future projects. When I got here my name was on the welcome board in the lobby, and the receptionist presented me with a HUGE bouquet of flowers. A little embarrassing but pretty cool at the same time. I may give the flowers to one of the people from the office here, who came along on the Agra trip yesterday and made the experience much less intimidating.

The drive in was actually quite pleasant – traffic not too insane, and as well as rickshaws and many many cars we saw a couple of elephants being ridden. One had stopped by the side of the road to grab a few leaves from a tree. Totally cool.

We’re having lunch with the chairman of the vendor company today, then more sales pitch in the afternoon, then off to Bangalore tonight.

new delhi by numbers

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

18: Number of hours traveling to get from Minneapolis to New Delhi
8.5: Really irritating hours of the trip, with some guys going to Amsterdam on a stag week to “get messed up”. They had already started drinking in the airport and were really noisy and drunk on the plane. Of course they were sitting next to me.
0030: Time I got to my very nice hotel room late Saturday night/early Sunday morning
0600: Time I got up in order to do a day trip to Agra
253: Number of kilometers from New Delhi to Agra (that’s 157 miles)
4.5: Number of hours to get to Agra (I had been told about 3 hours by an Indian friend in Minneapolis – I need to have a word with him when I get back…)
115: Temperature in Fahrenheit at the Taj Mahal. Blimey it was roasting. I felt like a frying egg. That’s 46 Celcius.
3: Liters of sweat I lost while walking around the Taj Mahal. Did I mention it was hot? But it was also quite amazing and well worth the drive and the heat – quite beautiful.
50: Approximate number of people who ran over to me and tried to sell me stuff every time I got out of the car.
50: Number of these people who I ignored, and who gave up trying to bug me within 30 seconds. I think I’m getting the hang of being a tourist here.
50: Number of pictures I took of the Taj Mahal – mostly of the buildings and area, with a few of some tourists and some monkeys.
4.5: Number of hours it took to get back to the hotel.
2140: Time I got back to the hotel. I’m too tired even to have a beer.

Special bonus number: add together all the numbers listed above and you will get the number of times we were almost killed on the roads to and from Agra. I had forgotten how ridiculous the traffic is here. Several times we almost ran into speeding oncoming cars.

P.S. It’s hard to remember all the things I saw along the way – real sensory overload. One difference between here and Bangalore is that not just oxen are pulling carts – lots of camel power going on (Delhi is further north and nearer to the desert). Lots of people in cars and rickshaws, or in fact any kind of transport imaginable. Buses packed with people, and more people riding on the roof. Rickshaws carrying 15 people (usually built for 2 or 3) including some hanging off the sides. Considering the cars pass within fractions of an inch, at speed, this is just suicidal.

Anyway through all the hustle and, furthermore, bustle of the Indian traffic I do like to try to remember at least one comedic sign – the one on today’s trip which stood out was by the side of the road, and said “Institute for Advanced Research on GOATS”

poodle

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

OK, this is strange: Dog owners ‘fleeced’ in poodle scam. Nothing to add, really.

lecture

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

So this evening through a series of slightly odd events I’m going to find myself delivering a guest lecture at the Carlson School of Management on the technology impacts to retailers. This is my area of work, so you’d think it’d be just fine, but right now I’m a tad on the nervous side. Wish me luck.

travel

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Lots of travel at the moment, hence not too much posting. This week I was in Austin, TX for a couple of days to meet with some very prominent clients, then on Friday I’m off to India for a week to meet with a vendor in New Delhi, and then to Bangalore to meet with our office folks there. The travel is kind of fun, it’s good to meet with other people, but also exhausting – obviously the schlepping around, and emotionally too it’s hard to be away from Emma and Toby.

The upcoming trip to Delhi is going to be interesting, in that it’ll be nice to be on the client side of things, and hopefully well looked after by these vendors, and also because the current weather forecast I’m seeing says that it’s over 100F, with “widespread dust”. Nice.

fast

Friday, April 20th, 2007

Conversation this morning between Emma and Toby:

T: Mummy, didn’t you know that Charlie is faster than Lola? That’s because Charlie is the big brother, and big brothers are always faster.
E: Yes, when they are growing up, because the big brother is usually bigger as well as being older.
T: Yes. Big brothers are the fastest!
E: But when they grow up, sometimes the biggest brother is not the fastest. Who do you think would be fastest out of Daddy, Uncle Richard, Uncle David and Uncle Robin?
T: Um, Me! I am the fastest!

another great download

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

Two in one night, but really I’m just passing on more stuff from Lifehacker. I use WordWeb pretty much every day now – it’s a very simple, lightweight dictionary app (Windows only). It runs in the background, and whatever application you are in (Word, browser, text editor, whatever), you can hit Control and right-click a word, WordWeb pops up with the definition pretty much immediately.

best firefox add-on ever (with gmail anyway)

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

If, like me, you love the gmail and the Firefox, you may be interested in the add-on Better Gmail (from lifehacker). It’s a collection of Greasemonkey scripts all in one easy download, and without the (admittedly minor) hassle of installing Greasemonkey itself and then trawling around for the individual scripts. Hope you like it too.

warming warning

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

This has to be some kind of joke. Surely. Or maybe not – stand up for ignorance, Cardinal George Pell of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and your wacky dismissal of global warming! The whole article is so skin-crawlingly risible (sample bizarre statement: “Christians don’t go against reason although we sometimes go beyond it in faith to embrace probabilities.” Whatever that means) it’s hard to know where to begin, so maybe I’ll just quote the final sentence: “The science is more complicated than the propaganda!” So! We’ll just ignore the science! And make stuff up!

soccer

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

This evening after work/school we took Toby to his first soccer class. Actually, he has had soccer classes before – his daycare arranges for classes over summer, and also this class was a parent/child thing, but you get my point hopefully: it was his first grown-up kid soccer class with a bunch of people he didn’t know.

Minneapolis does a number of things like this for city residents – this class is at the Northeast Rec Center – and as I said is for kids and their parents too. It was a very nice evening – sunny and mild – and perfect for being outdoors. I wasn’t sure what would be expected or what the other people would be like, but it was just great. The coach was very enthusiastic and seemed to know what he was doing, and the other families seemed nice too, a good mix of folks. Toby got right into running around with the other kids, and I was proud that he held his own, and his speed and ball skills were as good as any of the others (OK I’m biased of course but he did seem to do pretty well – plus he was first to the finish when they had to run round the small pitch – facts are facts). The only thing he didn’t like was towards the end when they did a little game, and because there was a bigger kid there it was hard for him to get the ball, but he still went for it, so much so that he brought another couple of kids down with him at one point.

So what about the parent component? This was especially important to Emma, as I’m going to be away for the next couple of Tuesdays. I didn’t have to do a whole lot, really just making sure that he would be OK with all the other kids around (although I made sure to keep my distance most of the time to let him do it himself), and kicking the ball around with him at the warmup at the start. So, yeah, I still have my crazy moves.