We had an amazing trip to Germany, Austria and Poland and yes, if the internet access had been easy to obtain and ubiquitous, it would’ve made the trip A LOT easier and more enjoyable. Here are a few photos of our adventure:
Comedian Louis C.K. has this very funny rant on how people don’t appreciate technology, flying, Wifi on those flying planes and more. This is EXACTLY what I’d love to say to people when they complain about their smartphone while they’re riding in a car (“it, like, is totally slower than my home internet“) but you’re in a CAR going down the HIGHWAY AT 75MPH! Or those who complain about the nearly 13 hours it takes to fly from Minneapolis, MN to Narita, Japan (“oh my butt is so sore“), a trip that took weeks by train and then ship less than 75 years ago!
After coming to the realization that the compulsion to jump in the car with my new camera and head out on a road trip was not going away, I took off for a week and did it.
The following slideshow is not representative of the 700+ photos I took—many of those taken were done for dramatic and photographic effect—but these select ones give an overview of this adventure.
The most profound thing was all of the history I discovered and had reinforced on this trip. I’m still absorbing what transpired on this road trip and may post about it again soon.
Depending on where you live or work, chances are natural disasters, avian flu pandemics, earthquakes or other catastrophic events won’t impact you, but have you done any planning for the possibility something could happen besides making certain you’re in good standing with your insurance company or that you can locate a copy of the organization call tree so you can notify others of a business or organization work stoppage?
Over two years ago, I had the privilege to be a leader of a session at the Collaborative Technologies Conference in Boston (now called Enterprise 2.0) on “Business Continuity and Collaboration” which focused on what are typically two discrete and separately funded initiatives in any company.
At the outset, I laid out my premise that business continuity investments are usually made to ensure that information technology and telephony systems have backup, failover and redundancy so the company isn’t suddenly out of business if disaster strikes. To a very limited degree, work processes (and the people that perform them) are detailed along with possible ways in which they could continue to function in the event of a disaster, all in an attempt to ensure the business keeps going.
Continuing on with an overview of collaboration investments, I briefly laid out how these are typically driven by the desire to make work processes more efficient and reduce cycle times, but also to find ways to drive more innovation with people that connect and work with each other.
The problem? In almost every single organization I’ve been a part of or involved with as a consultant, these two don’t intersect and leaders don’t seem to realize that unless the people in their organizations have the company, directory, work processes and information at-their-fingertips and are using these systems day-in and day-out, if there is a disaster there’s no way they’ll be learning it then!
The opportunity? That these systems should be ones that are funded together as both innovation infrastructure as well as business continuity systems, and that people should be using them all the time. If virtual collaboration systems such as VoIP, groupware, web conferencing, webcams, and other “2.0-like” communication methods are something that everyone uses and knows how to work with at home or within the organizations walls, then if disaster strikes they’ll simply find an internet connection, log on and do their work.
|Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today
I want to be a part of it – New York, New York
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it – New York, New York
I wanna wake up in a city, that doesn’t sleep
These little town blues, are melting away
New York, New York
These little town blues, are melting away
It’s up to you – New York, New York
As I’ve expressed previously on this blog, I’ve been specifically steering clear of discussions of politics (e.g., geopolitics), macroeconomics, and other areas where I actually do connect some dots but those dots are in areas in which it seems prudent to be distant. It’s pretty clear to me that a climate of fear is slowly rising in the U.S. and, one could argue, concern over our terrorism-related tactics domestically, treatment of those suspected of having intelligence as well as our foundation-lacking motives to take over and build a strategic position in Iraq has already manifested itself in to distrust globally.
I’m concerned that a continued raising of a climate of fear and accelerating profiling of the American citizenry will raise barriers to internet innovation (in my view an engine for the economy) right here at home as well as abroad. We’ve already seen moves by the government to ensure that the internet can be monitored globally with initiatives like Echelon and the highly controversial domestic Carnivore system. I believe that this increase in monitoring the internet has profound and troubling security, privacy and trust implications. These negatives could materially and negatively impact the U.S. use of internet-centric innovation by businesses and organizations which absolutely must compete on a world stage.
Every time I fly I’m struck by the illusion we all have that we’re somehow safer and less prone to terrorist attack. Isn’t it curious when you realize that all the Dept of Homeland Security color-coded alerts that occurred in the runup to the last election occurred at major holidays — when the maximum number of travelers would be in our airports afraid of terrorism? Isn’t it also interesting that — since the election — there haven’t been any warnings of note? Does that mean our investment in the TSA has stopped air terrorism?
In a talk on IT Conversations with Mr. Schneier some time ago, he pointed out the obvious: that our overwhelming investment in airport/airline security is like padlocking the barn door after the horse has bolted and is long gone…and that terrorists would simply look for other targets minimally secured (and there have been numerous stories written and produced about the lack of security at other main targets). One example of this was the knee-jerk reaction by the transit authorities nationally after the London bombings. I worry about the Mall of America in my own backyard as well as other sensitive targets I’d rather not point out in public.
If what Mr. Schneier describes (TSA building a draconian extensible and scalable data warehouse for collecting information for “profiling” passengers) is true which I believe is the case, the implications of this far exceed the boundaries of protecting air travel, will raise the climate of fear amongst the US citizenry and add to the dim view many countries in the world now hold toward us.
Today’s show discusses Steve and family’s trip to Japan during the July 4th week. A little bit of tech talk, impressions of the country, and areas of Tokyo — with some tips for you if you’re traveling out of the country and especially to Tokyo.
Haven’t posted for a week since Michelle, the kids and I headed to Japan for a week’s vacation (and a little time spent with Michelle doing some trend-spotting and the three of us helping her by taking photos).
If you’d care to peek at a brief blog I put together on our trip (and had password protected while we were out of the country so only family and friends could see it — and so I wasn’t screaming to the world we were out of the country though we had a housesitter) go to the “Our Trip to Japan” blog. (UPDATE 1/2011: This has been offline since I shifted from Typepad to a self-hosted WordPress blog last year).
There are only 10 posts so you can start at the bottom and quickly work your way up. There are some fun pictures that will give you a flavor for Tokyo.