Electronic Commerce

Electronic commerce means different things to different people. To many it means electronic shopping. I think over time it will mean much more than that and will include things like certified mail, transfer of medical records, applying for mortgages, loans, and life insurance, and perhaps filing a will. All these things and others will be made possible by the widespread use, understanding, and trust we will learn to have in public key cryptography. One of the technologies that I believe will make this happen is the X509 V3 certificate.

Tagged with: ,

Bandwidth Galore

I’m optimistic about bandwidth. It’s too easy to conclude that the Internet is overburdened and in trouble. Though we may see a few hiccups, and maybe even brownouts along the way, there’s a lot going on to suggest that bandwidth and infrastructure will grow more than fast enough to meet consumer demand.
First, telecommunications companies including AT&T, US West GTE, Bell Atlantic, BellSouth and SBC are working on Subscriber Digital Lines, a technology that at least 90% of American homes are capable of using. They all have pilots underway. It promises millions (maybe up to 10 or more) of bits per second to the home or small business. As many as nine variations on xDSL have been evaluated in various stages. It looks like to me like ADSL and VDSL are most likely to achieve large numbers of users. It is really shaping up as a strong race between ADSL and Cable Modems. A standard will develop just as it did for 56K (X.90). 90% of the homes in Holland and 60% in American have cable close by. With that large a market it is a certainty that companies will develop practical cable modems which promise at least 384k bits per second. Time Warner cable has a trial underway that claims in excess of one million bits per second. Standards are evolving in this area too.
Yes, there are some problems with some of these new technologies but my over arching reason for optimism, in addition to the technology, is competitive forces. There are five main players (at least); copper, fiber, satellite, wireless, and cable. This is to the home. None of these has reached it’s potential and each is threatened in some ways by the others. Result will be breakthroughs and leapfrog moves. This is already happening between cable and ADSL. Just like we have seen in the PC industry we are likely to see surprises. I predict we will see quite a bit of this over the next 12-18 months. Maybe it will be wireless that will surprise us. Bits can move through the air as fast as they can move through fiber or wire. CS Wireless and other companies are already deploying two-way MMDS capabilities (multiple megabit capability). The leapfrogging is underway already. Some communities (like Phoenix) have had cable modems introduced and shortly thereafter the telco introduced an xDSL offering. Who would have thought we would have 57.6K bps with analog modems in 1997. We did. Remember when 4800 bps was thought to be the limit for PC modem connections?
The other issue is the backbone; the "superhighway" that links the various hubs of the Internet together. This is where Internet 2 comes in. Over 100 U.S. universities have now said they will build out their infrastructure to include gigapops. Giga is billions of bits per second. Pops mean points of presence.
A new non-profit company called UCAID (university corporation for advanced Internet development) has been formed and it is busily laying out the architecture and advanced applications for the next generation of the Internet. There is much work to be done but the benefits are so compelling I think this is going to happen and quickly (next 18 months). In April 1998 an advanced project called Abilene was announced at the White House which willbe the precursor to this next generation Internet.

The other development of some significance is in the deployment and potential of optical fiber. A recent article in IEEE Spectrum by Alan Eli Willner called "Mining the optical bandwidth for a terabit per second" predicts that 100 billion bits per second systems will come on the market within a couple of years and that terabit-per-second systems should go commercial around 2005. Not really that far off. This incredible increase in bandwidth is being made possible by wave division multiplexing and erbium doped all optical amplifiers. The May 1998 issue of Wired has a story about Qwest, a new fiber optics based Internet technology based telecommunications company. Qwest (and at least four other companies) are busily laying fiber in the ground to provide incredible increases in bandwidth for the backbone. They are laying two conduits in the ground along railroad tracks; thousands of miles worth. One conduit is orange and it will carry 48 fibers for Qwest and 48 for other telecommunications companies. Each fiber can carry 10 billion bits per second of capacity per "window". A "window" is one of 8 spectra that is enabled by dense wave division multiplexing. The result of all this is that each of the fibers will have the capacity for 80 billion bits per second. Times 48! That is more capacity than AT&T, MCI, Sprint, and WorldCom put together!

As for the collapse of the backbone that some people have predicted, Scott Bradner at Harvard points out that earlier in 1996 , a major failure of the power grid left most of the western U.S. trying to communicate by candlelight. He also reminds us that on an average day, more than 30,000 people in the U.S. are without telephone service for an average of five hours each — visit the ATIS Network Reliability Steering Committee page.

I haven’t heard anyone talking about an impending failure of the power or telephone systems.

Another point about bandwidth is that for Intranet applications (inside of a company or university) an organization can have dedicated network capacity at whatever bandwidth they feel is justified. It is becoming more and more common for businesses to install OC12 Sonet capacity (622 million bits per second) for their Intranet backbones. Gigabit Ethernet is beginning to emerge as a technology for incredible intranet bandwidth. Basically, companies can have almost whatever bandwidth they choose (and can afford) to have.

One more thing that makes me so optimistic about bandwidth is that since we all know that having more of it is good, we will be willing to pay for it. Today many people pay 2-5 times more for cable than they do for Internet access. People will demand much higher Internet bandwidth as soon as they know it is available. The marketplace somehow finds a way to get things done at the right performance and price as long as there is competition. Witness the PC market. Since there is intense competition and a free market operating in more and more parts of the world the "invisible hand" will take care of things.

There was also a very bullish story on this in Forbes ASAP magazine (April 7, 1997) by George Gilder called "Fiber Keeps its Promise". George says "Get ready. Bandwidth will triple each year for the next 25, creating trillions in new wealth." More recently the The Financial Times of London had a story on July 9, 1997 called Internet2: Traffic Moves into the Fast Lane.

Epilogue: And while we all complain that 50-100KB is not enough, the Sojourner rover is sitting on Mars communicating with the Pathfinder lander at 2400 baud! See Todd Wallack’s story in Network World (July 14)

Tagged with:

Bandwidth Galore

JRP Reflecting

Reflection – written May 12 , 1998

I’m optimistic about bandwidth. It’s too easy to conclude that the Internet is overburdened and in trouble. Though we may see a few hiccups, and maybe even brownouts along the way, there’s a lot going on to suggest that bandwidth and infrastructure will grow more than fast enough to meet consumer demand.

First, telecommunications companies including AT&T, US West GTE, Bell Atlantic, BellSouth and SBC are working on Subscriber Digital Lines, a technology that at least 90% of American homes are capable of using. They all have pilots underway. It promises millions (maybe up to 10 or more) of bits per second to the home or small business. As many as nine variations on xDSL have been evaluated in various stages. It looks like to me like ADSL and VDSL are most likely to achieve large numbers of users. It is really shaping up as a strong race between ADSL and Cable Modems. A standard will develop just as it did for 56K (X.90). 90% of the homes in Holland and 60% in American have cable close by. With that large a market it is a certainty that companies will develop practical cable modems which promise at least 384k bits per second. Time Warner cable has a trial underway that claims in excess of one million bits per second. Standards are evolving in this area too.

Yes, there are some problems with some of these new technologies but my over arching reason for optimism, in addition to the technology, is competitive forces. There are five main players (at least); copper, fiber, satellite, wireless, and cable. This is to the home. None of these has reached it’s potential and each is threatened in some ways by the others. Result will be breakthroughs and leapfrog moves. This is already happening between cable and ADSL. Just like we have seen in the PC industry we are likely to see surprises. I predict we will see quite a bit of this over the next 12-18 months. Maybe it will be wireless that will surprise us. Bits can move through the air as fast as they can move through fiber or wire. CS Wireless and other companies are already deploying two-way MMDS capabilities (multiple megabit capability). The leapfrogging is underway already. Some communities (like Phoenix) have had cable modems introduced and shortly thereafter the telco introduced an xDSL offering. Who would have thought we would have 57.6K bps with analog modems in 1997. We did. Remember when 4800 bps was thought to be the limit for PC modem connections?

The other issue is the backbone; the “superhighway” that links the various hubs of the Internet together. This is where Internet 2 comes in. Over 100 U.S. universities have now said they will build out their infrastructure to include gigapops. Giga is billions of bits per second. Pops mean points of presence.

A new non-profit company called UCAID (university corporation for advanced Internet development) has been formed and it is busily laying out the architecture and advanced applications for the next generation of the Internet. There is much work to be done but the benefits are so compelling I think this is going to happen and quickly (next 18 months). In April 1998 an advanced project called Abilene was announced at the White House which will be the precursor to this next generation Internet.

The other development of some significance is in the deployment and potential of optical fiber. A recent article in IEEE Spectrum by Alan Eli Willner called “Mining the optical bandwidth for a terabit per second” predicts that 100 billion bits per second systems will come on the market within a couple of years and that terabit-per-second systems should go commercial around 2005. Not really that far off. This incredible increase in bandwidth is being made possible by wave division multiplexing and erbium doped all optical amplifiers. The May 1998 issue of Wired has a story about Qwest, a new fiber optics based Internet technology based telecommunications company. Qwest (and at least four other companies) are busily laying fiber in the ground to provide incredible increases in bandwidth for the backbone. They are laying two conduits in the ground along railroad tracks; thousands of miles worth. One conduit is orange and it will carry 48 fibers for Qwest and 48 for other telecommunications companies. Each fiber can carry 10 billion bits per second of capacity per “window”. A “window” is one of 8 spectra that is enabled by dense wave division multiplexing. The result of all this is that each of the fibers will have the capacity for 80 billion bits per second. Times 48! That is more capacity than AT&T, MCI, Sprint, and WorldCom put together!

As for the collapse of the backbone that some people have predicted, Scott Bradner at Harvard points out that earlier in 1996 , a major failure of the power grid left most of the western U.S. trying to communicate by candlelight. He also reminds us that on an average day, more than 30,000 people in the U.S. are without telephone service for an average of five hours each (visit atis.org)

I haven’t heard anyone talking about an impending failure of the power or telephone systems.

Another point about bandwidth is that for Intranet applications (inside of a company or university) an organization can have dedicated network capacity at whatever bandwidth they feel is justified. It is becoming more and more common for businesses to install OC12 Sonet capacity (622 million bits per second) for their Intranet backbones. Gigabit Ethernet is beginning to emerge as a technology for incredible intranet bandwidth. Basically, companies can have almost whatever bandwidth they choose (and can afford) to have.

One more thing that makes me so optimistic about bandwidth is that since we all know that having more of it is good, we will be willing to pay for it. Today many people pay 2-5 times more for cable than they do for Internet access. People will demand much higher Internet bandwidth as soon as they know it is available. The marketplace somehow finds a way to get things done at the right performance and price as long as there is competition. Witness the PC market. Since there is intense competition and a free market operating in more and more parts of the world the “invisible hand” will take care of things.

There was also a very bullish story on this in Forbes ASAP magazine (April 7, 1997) by George Gilder called “Fiber Keeps its Promise”. George says “Get ready. Bandwidth will triple each year for the next 25, creating trillions in new wealth.” More recently the The Financial Times of London had a story on July 9, 1997 called Internet2: Traffic Moves into the Fast Lane.

Epilogue: And while we all complain that 50-100KB is not enough, the Sojourner rover is sitting on Mars communicating with the Pathfinder lander at 2400 baud! See Todd Wallack’s story in Network World (July 14).

Tagged with:

New York City Weekend – technology free

JRP Reflecting

Reflection – written May 12 , 1998

Most weekends I spend a lot of my time enjoying technology. This one was to be quite different. It was a weekend I had been looking forward to for a very long time. We first met Bill and Carolyn and Bob and Anne at Pennwood, our vacation cottage in the Pocono Mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania. The fourth couple we have known for many years. It was in the summer of 1983 when we first got the idea to meet in the winter for a New York City weekend. We see each other quite a bit during the summer. After Labor Day we normally wouldn’t see our friends again until Memorial Day. So the idea was born to begin annual New York City weekends and this was to be our fifteenth.
We were to meet our friends on Broadway for a play Saturday afternoon as had been our tradition for all these years. However, we decided to go a day early and enjoy an overnight on Friday so we took the train from Katonah, New York to Grand Central Station. Between our late start and a lot of delay in getting a taxi we just barely had time to drop off our bags at the hotel and get to our dinner reservation. There wasn’t time for a relaxing dinner but we did have a nice meal and then walked to Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center. We had tickets for a string quartet. Nothing is more beautiful than a Hayden string quartet but unfortunately that wasn’t what was on the program. I never thought of Bartok as being so unusual but this particular first piece of the evening was way out on the edge. I was sure that this would be the last string quartet concert my wife would attend with me and had my fingers crossed for the second piece. It turned out to be even more bizarre by a composer I had not heard of before. After the intermission was a more familiar piece by Mozart. The music was beautiful as most Mozart music is and I was relieved that the concert ended with what I hope will be a fond memory for next year. We walked back to the Waldorf Astoria. It was time for technology! I have to admit I was quite anxious to see if there was any hot email and to see how the stock market closed the day. It wasn’t to be. The room had two phone lines and neither one would cooperate. I couldn’t determine if the problem was IBM’s local dial access number in the city or perhaps some old wiring in the hotel. I have experienced this before where older hotels have very nice new phones and jacks in the room but the copper wire in the walls and out to the street and on to the local telco switch are decades old. I called IBM Global Network and they assured me that the network had no reported problems. For me it was no email and no Web. I am actually lucky because my wife is a lot more interesting than email or the Web. We had a nice sleep.
Saturday morning I tried to connect again. It was not to be. I didn’t try for too long. It was an incredibly beautiful day in New York City. While my wife was enjoying reading the paper and having a leisurely breakfast I took a five mile run up Madison Avenue and through Central Park up to nearly 100th Street and back. There were people in the Park everywhere. Old ones, young ones, and infants; slow people, fast people, and sitting people; walkers, sprinters, hikers, and joggers; strollers, bicycles, and horses. There was a nice breeze and the sky was blue. I can’t think of a better way to start the day.
I met up with my wife back at the hotel and we took our bags in the cab to drop them off at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and then took another cab back to forty-second Street. It was such a nice day that lunch at the outdoor cafe behind the New York City public library was very relaxing and enjoyable. Then we walked across 42nd Street, across Broadway, and to the Ford Theater to see Ragtime.
Ragtime is a bit hard to describe. Definitely a great play. Very long. Sad in parts. In fact the tragedy was very emotional at times. I have to admit I dozed off a few times.
After the play we took a walk for awhile and then grabbed a taxi to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. What a wonderful place. A national treasure. We walked in the front door and to my surprise I heard what sounded like a live Mozart piano sonata. Sure enough the Museum was hosting a piano and string quartet free concert on the mezzanine level of the museum. After shopping a bit in the fantastic Museum gift shop (the 10% member discount drove me to buy a new tie to replace the poorly matched one I was wearing) and then up to the mezzanine to have a glass of wine and enjoy the artistry of the fantastic musicians who were performing. I was thinking to myself how wonderful it would be if they had been at the Alice Tully Hall the night before!
The Museum is so expansive. I believe it is the largest art museum in the world. Yes, the Internet is supplementing the great museums of the world. More importantly, the content of the great museums is being digitized so that people who will never be able to physically get to New York or Beijing or Rome or Canberra will be able nonetheless be able to “visit” the great masterpieces of the world and expand their understanding of the world’s cultures. There used to be 30,000 dialects in the world. Today there are about 5,000. Some people say that soon there will be just one. I don’t think so. In fact I think the Internet may actually bring back some of those formerly or nearly extinct dialogues. People have grown up on a mountain somewhere with a unique dialect. Then they graduated from school and went their separate ways. The dialect dies. Now, with Internet email, these school friends can remain in contact and in fact can maintain their dialect and bring in former graduates to build a community around their common culture.
One could spend a week at the “Met” and not see all of the wonderful art that is housed in the many galleries. We enjoyed the European art of the last few centuries and then headed up to the Trustee’s Dining Room to meet up with our friends. The decor is elegant but simple. This dinner was about friends not ambiance. Fifteen years worth. Right on the edge of Central Park the dining room has a nice view. It is clean and neat but not extravagant (even though the prices are). Service was outstanding. Most importantly it was the six of us comparing notes on the past year; how are the kids, what has transpired, etc. Why six and not eight?
Bob was the originator of the New York weekends. CEO of a prestigious New York City financial printing company, a consummate dresser, the ultimate restaurant picker, and the organizer of each years’ gathering. In the Spring of 1995 Bob began to experience a sore throat. It lead to a near loss of his voice and subsequently a diagnosis of a rare breed of thyroid cancer. The downhill progression of his condition was really hard for all of us to endure. Watching him deteriorate from a marathon runner to a skeletal fragment of himself gnawed at all of us for the eighteen months that ensued. His wife and children were far stronger than I could have been. We all miss him more than I can express.
Randy is a different story. He was very successful in his business career but unfortunately things did not work out on the family side. Today he may have other friends but not the fifteen year gang. Hopefully our group of six doesn’t dwindle any further and, who knows, maybe it will grow back to eight.
We took the train back to Katonah and then our Jeep back to Connecticut. We dearly miss Bob. We regret that Randy has gone too. I hope next year’s Friday night is an all Mozart concert. I didn’t miss the email or Web surfing.

Tagged with:

Heading Down Under

JRP Reflecting

Reflection – written April 12 , 1998

The world we live in can be a big place. At times over the past couple of years I have thought I’ve covered a lot of territory, but then I realized I had never been Down Under. It is a very long trip, and my preparations to go there have been under way for quite a while. The day finally came on Saturday April 11, 1998. What follows is what I did that Saturday, and a bit of a travelogue from my trip to Oz.
In a lot of ways I think I’m really fortunate to work at IBM. The combination of work and my own personal interests (addictions?) seem to keep me surrounded with a lot of fun technology both at work and at home. People I work with think I’m spoiled, but that’s OK. I learn a lot from all this stuff, and genuinely enjoy experimenting. For example, Saturday before leaving (like nearly every Saturday morning), I started out by reading Barron’s and the New York Times on the Web. I like to keep up with developments in the business world and this is how I do it. With the Web versions I can scan the front pages quickly and then look at the personal journal and see additional stories that concern the Internet or IBM or Java or security.
After the requisite news fix, time to play with gadgets that seem to have a way of accumulating around me. I claim innocence, but friends and family insist I bring it on myself. Not a chance. 🙂 There’s a neat Atomic Clock which I downloaded from Parsons Technology which will synchronize your PC with one of the many Internet Time Servers around the country. I use the one at MIT. The Atomic Clock program gets the precise time and automatically adjust your system clock. Don’t know about you, but I feel a lot better knowing the time stamps on the computer I depend on are within microseconds of a master time source.
Many people seem to be using handheld computers. I see an increasing number of WorkPads inside of IBM these days. For fast lookup of a phone number I have gotten used to the REX. A while back though, I was really intrigued by the concept of being able to keep data in a wristwatch that’s in sync with an authoritative time source. The really correct time. Given that you can keep your PC telling accurate time via Atomic Clock, I thought it would be interesting to have a watch that I knew was right. That’s how I came to own a DataLink watch. Before heading off to a place farther away in time than I’ve ever been, I of course held the watch up to the monitor to sync it up. The watch reads UPC like scan bars on the monitor. It also downloads frequent flier numbers. Great stuff. Accurate time is no longer a worry.
One problem with this trip is that it was scheduled quite a few months ago. I was glad to be invited, as I’ve always wanted to visit Australia. So I didn’t pay much attention to the dates, and of course didn’t realize at the time that I was committing myself to be flying away from my family on Easter Sunday. Will have to remember this next time. So with a guilty conscience I figured I should at least make sure the bills were paid before heading off for a week. I’ve been using Quicken for years and have been extremely happy with it. I rely on Quicken Financial Planner too. Saturday morning is when I seem to have time to look over investments and such. My background once upon a time was in finance, and I continue to maintain a strong interest– I manage my own investments. After a bit of analysis of some holdings I hopped over to Fidelity Investments to enter sell orders for several Internet stocks. (No, I don’t give stock tips; I live by a bit of stock market advice my father once gave me– about stock advice he said, “Don’t take any, and don’t give any!”)
Had to clear my head after all this, and start thinking about being cooped up on airplanes for an unfathomable amount of time. This plus a beautiful day in Connecticut made it irresistible to run down Main Street for a five miler. I have been running for quite a few years but only in the past year or so bought some exercise equipment at home as I think resistance training is beneficial. So after running I try and do additional exercises. Of course I’ve got to keep track of what I’m doing. There’s an old PC in the basement that’s connected to other systems (like the one the watch synched up with) via Ethernet. I’ve been using ProTrak to keep track of which exercises to do on which day. It lets you set up workout templates to vary the muscle groups and sequence of exercises and then keeps logs of everything you do.
I’m biased, but I think IBM makes great laptops. Lucky for me, IBM lets me use a ThinkPad 560X. At both home and work it sits on a port replicator that has PCMCIA cards in it for CD-ROM and Ethernet (to talk to other machines in the house). I’ve found LapLink agents a good way to keep critical files in sync between various computers I use. The house LAN sits behind a Netopia ISDN routerIBM Global Network ISDN service dynamically assigns an address to the Netopia. The Netopia in turn internally and magically maps addresses to the private subnet my home systems are on.
The trip itself to Australia was mostly pleasant but really, really long. Flight from New York arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday night. With just an hour to boarding for the next leg I stopped in the JAL lounge, replicated my Notes databases for mail and Web site and charge my battery a bit. Then off to board a beautiful Qantas 747 bound for Sydney. The flight was just over 15 hours! After customs and a car ride to the Sheraton on the Park in downtown Sydney it was just under 27 hours door to door. I got a little bit of sleep on the plane but not much. I just can’t seem to get comfortable enough to really sack out. With the aggressive set of bookings my IBM Australia colleagues have arranged for me this week having not much sleep is something I will need to get used to.
Now that I was at my hotel room I had to decide what to do next. Take a nap? Go for a run? I looked out the window and it was sunny as could be. Beautiful Hyde Park right across the street. People running by. I was sure glad I brought running shorts and shoes. There’s no way I’d go as far away as Australia without a GPS. I’m still using the GARMIN GPS 40 I got for Christmas a couple of years ago. Fascinating stuff. So I took it with me and went into the middle of the park to get an unobstructed view for the satellites. Since the receiver was last turned on in Connecticut I knew it would take 15 minutes or longer for it to figure out where it was so I decided to help it along by looking up a stored waypoint for Tokyo from last winter’s trip there. It was 35.7 North and 139.8 East. Let’s see Sydney should be same ballpark East and West but below the equator. I took a guess at 35 South and 140 East. That speeded up things a lot. Five satellites soon appeared in my little handheld receiver’s display. After things resolved it gave me the reading: 33.5 South and 151.1 East. Then I pressed the GoTo button and entered Somers, NY from my waypoint list. 9,954 miles! I think that is as far as I have ever been from anywhere!
The run through Hyde Park and into the Royal Botanic Gardens was beautiful. Many varieties of flowers in bloom. I ran along the water and then the Sydney Opera House came into view. It was spectacular. Then along the water I saw all kinds of boats ranging from sightseeing to Navy vessels. Thanks to the GPS receiver I found my way back to the hotel with no problems. It was one of the nicest 4 mile runs I have ever taken, although I have to admit my energy level was down a bit. By that night I will have been up for over 40 hours and was surely ready for at least one good nights sleep.
Later in the day I grabbed lunch with a colleague and a reporter from the Australian FinancialReview. A story titled “IBM calls for domain reform” appeared the next morning (April 14, page 31). We ate at the Park Hyatt ….a great view of the harbor from their restaurant. One of the highlights of the trip was sharing dinner at the home of a local IBMer, along with his family and friends. Steaks on the barbie, they called it. I called it delicious. To round out the day, we took in a ballet at the Sydney Opera House. At least the Opera House was spectacular even if the ballet performance wasn’t my cup of tea.
So much for leisure activities. Tuesday was booked with back-to-back meetings throughout the day. To start the day I read the local newspapers. In addition to the story in the AFR there was a story in The Australian called “Patrick’s dream is a wired world” (April 14, page 51) and another in the Sydney Morning Herald called “Start on-line simply, grow fast, says IBM” (April 14, page 3c). During the day I had a chance to share my thoughts on IBM’s leadership in the e-business arena with a number of additional reporters and broadcasters, and closed out the day by meeting with my IBM Australia colleagues and customers.
Now the schedule was becoming brutal. I had an early start to the day, catching a 6:20 AM flight from Sydney to Brisbane. During the week I found all my flights on both Qantas andAnsett to be very pleasant. Great airlines. (I learned that Qantas stands for Queensland and Northern Territory Air Services.) In Brisbane I met with a number of ministers and Australian government representatives from Queensland . Turns out that Queensland is twice as big as Texas! After lunch I delivered a keynote address at WWW7 .This conference has really grown, but the core attendees are still the brightest minds on the Web. After my keynote I also participated in a well-attended panel discussion with Tim Berners-Lee of the W3C and Cathy Marshall of Xerox PARC . The day flew by and I was determined to enjoy a truly unique Aussie dinner, and the concierge did not disappoint. The Breakfast Creek Steakhouse in Brisbane was outstanding. A very informal atmosphere, outdoor dining, great steak, terrific beer, and prices that were hard to believe.
Up early again to fly from Brisbane to Canberra , Australia’s capital. Just as I do when first arriving in any city I haven’t been to before, I got out my Garmin GPS 40 to get a reading on the latitude and longitude. The result was a new first. While in Sydney I was 9,952 miles from home. The GPS 40 only displays up to 9999.9 miles and couldn’t display the distance from Canberra to my office or home. First time I have ever been more than 10,000 miles from home! Canberra is not yet 100 years old, and was built based on a well executed master architecture plan. The city is very similar to Washington, D.C. The view of the river actually looks just like the Potomac. I wish I had had the time to run there. The new Parliament House in Canberra is spectacular, I have never seen anything like it before. Part of the building is actually built underground, and you can’t get a good feel for the building’s size until you enter and walk around.
I was in Canberra to speak at an event co-sponsored by the government and Telstra the national telephone company of Australia. The event was called Enabling Australia , really a call to action for business and government to embrace e-business. The event was very well attended, and Ira Magaziner, White House advisor, was among the speakers. The event lasted all day, and included a dinner at the National Gallery of Australia…another Australian treasure. If you have visited my music section you know how much I love Mozart. Upon walking into the Gallery there was a string quartet performing some of his best. It was a most enjoyable reception. There were twenty or so dinner tables and I was humbled by being able to be at the table of Senator Richard Alston (Minister for Communications and the Information Economy), Mr. Frank Blount (chairman of Telstra), Honorable Alan Stockdale (Treasurer of Victoria & Minister for Multimedia), Linda Nicholls (Chairman of the Australian Post), and Ira Magaziner.
Almost home. After another early morning flight back to Sydney and a presentation to a group of IBM customers, I was ready to go home. Quite a wonderful week… productive professionally, but personally I found Australia to be a very open and friendly country. I will certainly be back… at the very latest for Sydney 2000!

Tagged with: , ,
Page 371 of 377
1 369 370 371 372 373 377
Top