Unexpected China

My son and I landed in Beijing and after a short layover flew into the deep depths of China. We flew a small Air China craft into the Henan province. Henan is almost the geographic middle of China. Into the city of Zhengzhou. This city is huge and has recently become famous for its Foxconn factory. This is where all Apple products are made..

My first impressions of the city are: It is a bustling metropolis, huge and very foreign and exotic!

The above shots are from the taxi heading into the city from the airport.

One thing I have noticed is that the Chinese build for the future. The airport was very oversized and under used but the growth in the area has been so dramatic I’m sure that will change soon.

I see this in the city too. Even though there are millions many recently constructed areas are empty. I’ll try and visit one and add some photos.

One thing I can say is that Zhengzhou has very little westerners… I have not seen one all day. Just me!

Scenes from Zhengzhou :

The Next Adventure Begins: China

My son and I were up early this morning to ensure we wouldn’t be late for our flight, we also had to take into consideration that today was the first day of “Herbstferien”, the Autumn school break here in Germany. Usually everyone is rushing to the airports to get a couple of weeks in the sun in Southern Europe, turkey or even farther reaches. The line at security can be dreadful, so it is better to have an hour extra just in case.

We headed out and arrived at the airport an hour early than the usual recommended two hours for international flights and the security lines were long, but we were through and able to relax after about an hour.

Our transportation to China was a 777-ER300 from Air China and it looked in good shape and well maintained. Our boarding time was planned for 13:55 but was delayed till 14:30 for some reason. So we got caught in the hurry up and wait program…

I paid extra for assigned seating a month or so in advance to be sure we both had aisle seats and a safe location on the plane. The plane, though an older model, was clean. My seat was another story and it was desperately in need of a refit, it felt like it had seen enough passengers and better days. Lumbar support was gone and I had the feeling of sitting in a pocket. Nothing is worse than soft, over used seats, and after an hour I was dreaming of leather Lufthansa or Emirate seats. The good news is that I was able to get up a lot and walk around during the whole flight.

Our flight plan took us directly east from Frankfurt heading toward Russia and northern Mongolia.

The food has been interesting so far, Asian and tasty. Not filling though and about 3 hours into the flight and an hour after lunch Manu was hungry again. I must be kind here, he asked the stewardess is she had anything left to eat and she gave him another full meal. This surprised me because generally there are not many extra meals. So Manu was happy and I soon became hungry…

Our schedule has us landing in Beijing at 05:30 and the we fly out to Zhengzhou at 08:00. This is quite a long layover but we will need the time to get through the passport controls and get a couple of things done. We need to exchange some money and buy a few adaptors for our chargers and such. So adding in the late take off from Frankfurt and the pass controls we should be able to get these tasks done and get to our new gate without to much stress and haste. Oh, and maybe I’ll have a snack!

Time To Prep For The Next Adventure

Not sure if you noticed, but in my last post I included a photo of myself in Tijuana standing in front of some beautiful graffiti.

That was taken about three months ago, when I had a short week in San Diego and ventured down to TJ with my sister.

We had a blast and I was really impressed with how TJ had changed in comparison to the early 80s, which was the last time I was there.

Now I start prepping for my next trip, China! Yep, land of the great firewall, I mean Great Wall.

I’ll let you peek into my travel gear and see what I’ll drag around the countryside. I think I’ll go light- still contemplating…

I’ll be flying Air China with my oldest son Manu and we are both really excited and at the same time dread the long flight.

Check back in soon, I’ll start posting more leading up to the flight. And really start hitting it once abroad.

Coming Back For More

To all my friends, family and followers over the years, I’m back!

I’ll re-open my old blog and start posting daily, or at least weekly again. During the last two years I had let the blog go due to a job change and a heavy workload. Well, I have now established myself in my current role and can manage my time better.

One change I plan to make is to add more travel posts. I do travel a lot and think that some of my destinations may be of interest. I’ll continue to focus on Technology, but will also add a spritz of travel to the recipe.

So, come back on board if you wandered off and if you are still hanging out on my blog drop me a note and say, hi…

Chris

To Microsoft and Apple, “where are your new PC’s?”

Apple and Microsoft are both wondering why their PC earnings are slumping. I’ll guess it is because they are not delivering any new models or exciting technologies.

It’s time for Microsoft to launch the Surface Pro 5.
Microsoft just reported its earnings for the quarter ended March 31, and revealed a 26 percent drop in Surface revenue. Here are a few likely reasons why that happened.

First, Microsoft’s new Surface Book with Performance Base and Surface Studio, the latest products in its family of computers, are too expensive and cost at least a couple of thousand dollars. They’re designed for professionals who are willing to spend a lot of money for a computer, not for the everyday user.

It’s the Surface Pro laptop/tablet hybrid that’s most appealing to consumers…or at least was most appealing. It’s no wonder Microsoft blamed slower Surface sales on “lower than expected Surface Pro unit volume,” on a call with CNBC.

Microsoft first announced the Surface Pro 4, the latest model, back in October 2015. Consumers who might be interested in it are rightly choosing products from competitors, like HP, Dell, Samsung and others, who are selling thinner and lighter tablets with newer components.

Microsoft needs to update the Surface Pro family with Intel’s new seventh generation chip, which is available in computers made by nearly every other manufacturer at this point (with Apple being one holdout).

Microsoft has an event in May where it will unveil new hardware, though the Surface Pro 5 isn’t supposed to be on the docket. Instead, Microsoft’s expected to introduce its new Windows 10 Cloud platform which will help it battle Google Chromebooks.

It might be wise for Microsoft to unveil the Surface Pro 5 there, too.

Frankfurt woos London banks after Brexit vote

The race has finally begun! I’m feeling very optimistic about Frankfurt as a financial hub for Europe right now.

Enjoy this article from Jonathan Gould and John O’Donnell | FRANKFURT

A German politician said on Thursday he was trying to persuade foreign banks to make Frankfurt their home after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, and outlined how Europe’s biggest economy wants to bolster its financial capital at London’s expense.

Thomas Schaefer, finance minister of the state of Hesse which includes Frankfurt, said he had spoken to London banks with an arm in Frankfurt as well as others, and sought to persuade potential movers that local labour law and tax were not overly onerous.
“We are listening very carefully to the questions that the financial sector has after the Brexit vote,” Schaefer, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party, told reporters. “We are campaigning for Hesse because the financial centre of Frankfurt has a lot to offer,” he said at a meeting, where numerous Union Jack flags were put on display.

Most German politicians have so far been reluctant to publicly push Frankfurt as an alternative to London. Many Germans remain hostile to banks after the financial crash.
Schaefer’s remarks suggest momentum may now be growing behind Frankfurt, less than two months after Britain voted in a referendum to leave the European Union — a process referred to as Brexit.
Schaefer did not, however, offer any prospect of special deals to cut tax or any other concessions. He said the city’s infrastructure and the fact that it hosted the European Central Bank were reason enough to move there.
Schaefer said he had held talks with “all kinds of players” but that many had wanted to keep the contact secret. “There is a fear of being considered disloyal in the London community,” he said.

The comments come as Germany’s banks, worried that Frankfurt could get left behind as rival cities such as Dublin or Amsterdam compete for London’s business, urged the country’s politicians to step up their efforts.The head of Germany’s BDB banking association had criticised politicians earlier on Thursday for being slow to act. “My impression is that France is being more active in support of Paris,” Michael Kemmer told journalists
Kemmer also urged Germany to abandon plans to introduce a tax on financial transactions, a levy backed by the country’s finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Schaeuble’s support for such a measure is, however, largely symbolic and there is little prospect of banks that move to Frankfurt facing such a trading levy. Years of talks to introduce the charge in Europe have yielded nothing.Many banks or fund managers based in London are there in part because it allows them to sell their products within the wider European Union of 28 countries.

That would most likely change if Britain were to leave the bloc. A bank based in Germany or France, however, would still have its ‘passport’ to sell across the EU.

Frank Niehage, head of FinTech Group, a financial technology specialist, recently said there had been a rise in enquiries from London banks.

“We know … that they are looking here for alternative office space for their employees out of London.

Reuters UK – 13 h ago

To Evolve We Must Accept Change

Evolution is so important to us as a race. Humans need to move forward, develop, change.
We know this to be true
and yet it so hard to do so. Sometimes the simplest change can be frustratingly tough to make even though we know, deep down, it is for the best. Inside, we understand that just a small change is all we need to feel better, move-on and evolve. Yet somehow we are hindered by fear, worry and a hundred other obstacles.

We seem to be confronted by these obstacles daily. Worst of all, it gets harder as we age. It seems all our fears, threats and worries magnify every ten to twenty years.

Being in the IT business, we are very analytical in our approach to change. We break down the process to ensure that when we make a change we are doing it properly and for the right reasons. This is simply the scientific methodology to the process of change.  I have found, over the years, that this structured approach is extremely helpful in my personal life, especially when I know, in my gut,  I need to make a change.

What are my fears? What keeps me from evolving and making a change – IMPACT ! Yes impact, this is what we all fear. One of the first things I ask my team prior to a change is if they have done an impact analysis. I am always interested in the results of the impact analysis and on some odd level, the change itself becomes obscure and less important than the risks and impact. I apply this model to my personal life all the time. I ask myself;  If I make this change, what will be the impact on my lifestyle, children and health? Sure, there are other factors, but these, are often significant enough for me to keep from making quick changes and enjoying their benefits, what we call- quick wins. Sadly, the older I get, the more cautious I become.

What am I getting at here?  Do not be afraid of change. Embrace it as a fundamental part of personal evolution, if the change seems too tough, do an impact analysis. Weigh the benefits and the downsides, analyze the RISK.

Get out there and move forward, change – evolve!