Sunday, October 30, 2005

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

No more flames

During my visit to our headquarters in Brussels and Paris last week, I became an eyewitness of the placement of the Concorde airplane. The supernatural machine will have it's final resting place on Charles de Gaulle airport nearby terminal two. It must give the Parisian ambivalent feelings as the same air plane type crashed in Roissy a few years ago. The Concorde era has ended anyway because Concorde's last flight took place on October 24th, 2003..

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

$100.- laptop for the third world

Nicholas Negroponte, a MIT professor's plan to offer $100, hand-crank laptop computers to children in developing countries has drawn interest from several foreign leaders as well as Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who plans to distribute them to schoolchildren. Negroponte, co-founder and chairman of the Media Lab, has been working on the laptop idea since 1999 and plans to have a working prototype ready in November. He demonstrated a model last week at the Technology Review Magazine Emerging Technologies Conference at MIT.

In January, Negroponte and his Media Lab colleagues Joe Jacobson and Seymour Papert announced the foundation of One Laptop Per Child, a nonprofit dedicated to designing and distributing the computers. According to the project's web site, leaders in Thailand, Brazil and Egypt have already expressed interest in the computers, which can be powered by electrical outlets or by hand crank.

I am convinced that all starving children in Sudan and other third world countries will bless Negroponte and MIT for their beautifull $100.- laptop. Perhaps one of the aid workers will be able to hand crank the internet device for them so they can watch how our obese children skip school to hang out in the mall..

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Amsterdam Pelican

Today we were visited by a huge Pelican that landed on the rooftop a few blocks away from our Amsterdam residence. The gigantic bird sat on the rooftop for about two hours and then continued its journey towards Airport Schiphol. The crowd puller disordered the traffic and attracted many bird lovers. Bigbird escaped the Amsterdam zoo Artis and appeared to be only four months old.

Dutch CIO visit India

After having a great time at the Dutch CIO Day 2005 last week, I had the opportunity to visit Mombai together with a few dutch colleague CIO's. The visit was a real discovery of contradictions. Whereas the Indian people seem to have the ideal genecoding for executing excellent ICT services, the majority of the 16 million people live in the slums. The guys that laid in the gutter when we drove by in our airco bus from the six star hotel to the campus were in exactly the same location when we returned later on in the evening. They could well be dead, but nobody cares to check them out. Or the little boy that couldn't be older than five, carrying a little baby in a carrying bag who was run over several times by older beggars just to get a few rupia's. It's a strange world. To my opinion, India is faced with the challenge to diminish the gap between the ultra poor and the rich and famous. I am however afraid that this problem is too immense to overcome. Over time, Indian ICT wages will rise because of the shortage of well educated personell. In 2010 the government will cut back the tax benefits that ict companies have the advantage of. The ict services hype will certainly last for a few decades but then smother like a candle..

Friday, October 14, 2005

IT is sightseeing

In September we organized our quarterly IT directors meeting. This time in Germany, Meerbusch nearby Düsseldorf. We decided to walk from our luxuous hotel to the diner location. It appeared to be a longer walk than our host estimated (1,5 hours). The result however was rewarding: we had diner in the famous tower that has a top that spins around.

In the same month, all directors of our company were invited in Istanbul for our annual meeting. Off course we visited the many ancient Turkish sites where history began. Istanbul is a city of wonders far exceeding what words can tell. A famous myth explains very precisely the unmatched location of Istanbul : Commander Byzas, who gave his name to the empire to be later called as Byzantine, sets off to sail to build a new colony from where Greece is located today. During the long voyage and his searches, he goes to an oracle for advice. The oracle makes this prediction: “You are going to build your city right opposite of the land of the blinds!” Continuing his voyage, Byzas reaches to the banks of Sarayburnu, the Istanbul of today. When he sees this protected peninsula, he thinks that it is just the place that he was looking for; meanwhile he notices the area of residence on the opposite side (Kadıköy at present). Byzas decides that the people who, given the excellent area of residence right before them, do not prefer to reside there are blind. And since it also coincides with the prediction, he builds his colony on this land without hesitation…

Although thousands of years have passed, Istanbul still maintains its geographical importance. Today Istanbul is a huge metropolis connecting continents, cultures, religions and being home to eleven million people; and one of the greatest business and cultural center of the regio. The last nigh we visited Club Reina, it so happened that the people from the Dutch Quote Challenge arrived in Istanbul at the same night. Together we partied on until early in the morning.