Diary of an Asian Swing: Day 1

I’ve never been a diarist. But as an exercise, I’m going to document this trip: two weeks on the road to Asia and Australia. Almost all work, though there is one day of weekend and recovery time built in.

Friday, Nov 2. Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong. Business class. Comfortable, well-appointed cabin. Friendly, courteous staff.

Learned system, table, storage, seat. NO WIFI! OMG. 14 unconnected hours – that’s what stimulated the idea to blog. Otherwise I would have been tweeting a lot. Which is fun, but this will be a change. Let’s start with some entertainment and settle in….

Video presentation of Sir Paul McCartney’s Kisses on the Bottom. Diana Krall. John Pizzarelli. Joe Walsh! It’s delightful – commentary, moments of studio play, tenderness. No real edge, but that’s not what it’s about. Luscious melody, beautiful jazz harmonies. Diana is a sideman here and a brilliant one. McCartney is who he is – always a touch too smooth and a touch too sweet, but it works so well here. Wonderful selection of songs and I love his own Valentine one.

Next up is a video piece about the Who’s Quadrophenia. Clearly part of Townshend’s current campaign to remind the world of his brilliant work – and well done. A good narrative sprinkled with revelatory bits about Moon, and Daltrey, and the terrible chaos they endured. Live performance footage and some nice stuff at the control board with Pete and the engineers highlighting dimensions of the music.

Now, it’s time to get to work – pick some music for background, get the computer out. Found Xuefei Yang – guitarist, playing Bach. Lovely tone, tempos, clarity. Don’t know her. Will fix that. And now to work – Magic Quadrant writing.

Wait. First a survey by Cathay Pacific. Why not?

A few Magic Quadrant hours reviewing interviews, surveys, briefing content, and our own scoring and it’s on to writing up a draft for one of the vendors and sending it off for my colleagues to comment and collaborate on the content.

Now, a break. I’ve earned one. Stretch the legs, a few exercises…

Treated to a reboot of the airplane’s computer system. Red Hat, it turns out. A parade of system level messages marched across the screen, unfathomable to anyone unfamiliar with Linux. The darkness, and eventually, a blessed progress bar, followed by the return of the flight map. We’ve passed over Siberia and the Gulf of Shelekhova; now we’re over the Sea of Okhotsk, only 6 and a half hours to go.

A moment to update this diary and a little reading – music choice Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton. Really? Didn’t know about this one. Would love to look it up on the net, but NO WIFI. Oh well, a little Time magazine, and then some Hadoop Operations by Eric Sammer.

Eric’s book is highly recommended – lucid, well written and doesn’t demand extraordinary technical depth to understand. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Hadoop-Operations-Eric-Sammer/dp/1449327052/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351944059&sr=1-1&keywords=hadoop+operations 

Arrived on time. Hong Kong continues to impress: efficient, clean, modern as I remembered. Nice hotel. Good wifi. Sent off MQ writeups to colleagues and synchronized all the email I did while offline. Time to crash. Day One is done.

About Merv Adrian
Gartner Research VP, technology analyst and consultant, 30 years of industry experience, covering software mostly, hardware sometimes.

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