My first trip through the chunnel

Reflection – written April 8, 1997

Reflections I attended a meeting of the Global Internet Project in London on April 7,  1997. From London, I went to an IBM CEO Conference in Paris. This  presented  a great opportunity to travel through the chunnel using the Eurostar (you can find other pictures in my photo gallery).
Seemed to fit in with my interest in gadgets! The first 50 miles or so took  about an hour but once in France the speed of the train picked up to nearly  200 mph! I was told the tracks are much straighter in France. The ride was  so smooth that the speed didn’t seem to be that fast but looking out the  window convinced me. One of the things that struck me most about the ride on the Eurostar was that I didn’t hear the announcement to turn off all portable electronic devices before takeoff and landing. After a brief three hours I arrived in Paris.

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New York City is always an experience

JRP Reflecting

Reflection – written April 5, 1997

Since I had an early Sunday morning flight to London to attend a meeting of the Global Internet Project and give a talk about the future of the Internet, I decided to take my wife to the city for the weekend. First stop was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We visited theBizantium Exhibition. It was quite spectacular. I can’t say I am very knowledgeable about art but I do appreciate it. I recently added an art section to my Favorite Places to reflect some of the things I have experienced. We had a delightful dinner in the Trustees Dining Room at the Museum and then drove to the Hilton Hotel at John F. Kennedy Airport. On Saturday morning we took a ride over to the International Arrivals Building at JFK so I could stop in at the Immigration office and apply for an INSPASS card. Being the gadgets ‘R Me person that I am the chance to get a high tech way to speed through the immigration line at JFK on return trips from abroad was irresistible The INSPASS card lets you bypass the normal passport checking process and instead simply swipe your INSPASS card and insert your hand in a scanner for a biometric verification of who you are. I’ll be trying this on my return from the Paris ceo conference later this week. We stopped for some pizza and a beer and then met some friends for a Broadway play, Chicago. Wasn’t my all time favorite but some of the music and dancing were quite good. After the show we visited the New York City Public Library. If you haven’t been there, this was an incredible place. Fantastic exhibit of the creation of the first printed Bibles and numerous paintings that I had not seen before. The rotunda was like being in Venice or Rome or Paris. On the way to dinner we stopped by Rockefellor Center and watched people ice skating. Couldn’t resist stopping in the Metropolitan Art Museum store there and buying a few gifts for special people. It is a wonderful store if you haven’t been there. We had dinner at Rene Pujol, an old favorite around 51st and 8th Avenue. Don’t believe anything bad you hear about New York City. It is a beautiful place to visit the cultural side of the world.

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24 Hour a day JavaBeans effort

I met the most engaging, charming, articulate, Chinese gentleman named Professor Ling (second from left). The others from the left are Dr. Shaun Liu (IBM Director of Investments in China), Dr. Jean Chen (manager of Internet projects at IBM China Research Laboratory), and yours truly.

Professor Ling founded the first computer science department in China in 1956. Yes, 56! He was a professor at Tsing Hua University for 50 years. He is now retired and is the general manager of Advanced Systems Development Corporation. This joint venture is 50/50 IBM and the university. They have 40 engineers on board. 75% of them have masters degrees in C.S. and the average age is 25. I was so impressed by what I heard about them that I made a special trip to ASDC to meet them and see what they are doing. Here is a picture of the chief engineer and the lead developers….

Now, here is the exciting part, no pun intended! The ASDC team is wring JavaBeans as part of the 24-hour a day development effort to build PartPaks. They are focusing on two of the eight business areas. The other six are being done at our other collaborative partners in Latvia, India, and Belarus. I told the press that IBM had developed a 48-hour day, that we had redefined how development gets done, that global collaboration was enabling us to make the clock work for us instead of against us. I told them how we can initiate work in the U.S. and it gets done before it gets started! Professor Ling has a glitter in his eyes as he explains that his team is working while we are sleeping! Professor Ling is an incredible PR resource. Dr. Liu, Dr. Chen, Professor Ling and I conducted a press conference to tell Chinese trade press about the project. Dr. Chen did a superb job of translating for me and Dr. Liu discussed IBM’s joint ventures in China.

The press is laughing here because I was telling them how I ordered a beer in a restaurant the night before and the waitress was wearing a Budweiser dress and insisted it was great beer. I insisted on a Tsing Dao.

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InfoPort Project – Shanghai

On February 24, 1997 I had a very nice visit with Director Xia and his team who are planning an exciting project called InfoPort. InfoPort will bring interesting content and services to the people of Shanghai. Five separate networks will be pulled together into one “port” to provide consistent access.

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31 hours to get there, but worth it

AirlinerMy second 1997 journey to Asia started with a flight on United Airlines to San Francisco on Saturday morning, February 22. During my stop in San Francisco I checked in for my first ever flight with Air China. It was my second trip to China but the first with Air China. It was quite an experience! The first leg of the trip, from San Francisco to Beijing, was uneventful but unfortunately the plane for the second leg to Shanghai encountered mechanical problems. The flight crew was very nice but the change of planes made for a very long day. My previous record for a “one” day trip was a 27 hour return home from Singapore the prior month.
You can see pictures of this and other trips in my Photo Gallery. Monday started out with an early breakfast to meet the local IBM team and review plans for the week. We have 1,200 IBMers in China now and they are mostly new to the company. It is refreshing to see their enthusiasm for our business and for their customers. We visited with a group of executives and senior staff at Shanghai Post & Telecommunications to talk about the future of the Internet and possible ways in which we could collaborate. In the afternoon we met with Director Xia and his team who are planning an exciting project called InfoPort. InfoPort will be like the NII for the people of Shanghai.
I was accompanied on my trip through China by my colleague, Yu-ping Sun. We departed Shanghai with China Eastern Airlines and arrived in Beijing late Monday night. Tuesday was an action filled day starting with a review of IBM Network Computing plans in China. Then I met Professor Ling and learned about the 24-hour a day JavaBeans effort. In the afternoon I visited the Advanced Systems Development Co. Ltd. and the China Research Laboratory.

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