Ah, Pretoria!

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I arrived in Pretoria this evening in order to attend the ODF Users Workshop being held here on Thursday and Friday. I’m excited to be here for a couple of reasons.

First, I wasn’t able to attend last year’s meeting in Berlin and I was told by many sources that it was excellent.

Second, I’ve never been to Africa, and it’s taken me 50 years to get here. I only have two continents left on my world list, South America and Antarctica. I think it’s more likely I’ll get to the former than the latter.

My flight was from Washington’s Dulles airport to Johannesburg on South African Airlines. Delta also has a route from Atlanta, but Washington is closer to where I was starting. Evidently these flights sometimes stop in Dakar, Senegal, for refueling by mine was a nonstop. When I asked why we didn’t stop I heard answers that varied from the layover being done only seasonally to one about landing taxes not being paid. In any case, the flight still took almost fifteen and one-half hours. I slept for a good portion of it, though fitfully.

Once on the ground it took a long time to find my ride from the airport to the hotel in Pretoria. Whether he was late or somewhere else, let’s just say he wasn’t waiting for me any place obvious. This pushed the drive further into rush hour, so it was well over an hour before we made it to the hotel. Once there I connected with some industry colleagues from Google, the ODF Alliance, and Open Forum Europe, but I begged out of the barbeque dinner tonight. I was simply too tired, unshowered, and headachey to socialize much this evening.

I give one of the first talks in the morning. I’ll reminisce briefly about how we got to this point and then talk about things yet to be done for ODF and open standards in general.


4 Comments

  1. Hi Bob

    Hope you enjoying my home country. Got to get the lingo right thou, its not a barbeque but a braai. I they had the local boereworse on the fire for you.

    A suggestion if you get time, its only 2 hours north of Pretoria and is a great park to get a feel of the African bush and maybe catch a view of a wild cat: http://www.pilanesberg-game-reserve.co.za/

    Best

  2. “Once on the ground it took a long time to find my ride from the airport to the hotel in Pretoria. Whether he was late or somewhere else, let’s just say he wasn’t waiting for me any place obvious. This pushed the drive further into rush hour, so it was well over an hour before we made it to the hotel.”

    That sounds like something I was told is known as “Africa Time” ;-)

    It happened frequently to me on my visits to Jo’burg and Capetown.

  3. Hi Bob,

    I’m really enjoying reading your blog – have a great time and keep writing about a place I’ve always dreamed of visiting.

  4. A ‘net acquaintance’ of mine, SilentCoder , pops up from time to time.

    As far as I can tell, he runs a business selling “Software Development Services”, and he has (or had) a problem with distribution channels; ‘how to bring the services that he sells to market’.

    I heard a similar problem described in the old Soviet Union. There were plenty of tomatoes growing in the fields, but they were rotting where they grew because no-one was running the trains, and that meant the tomatoes were not getting to town, getting to market where the sellers and buyers could meet.

    Hopefully at IBM we have plentiful internal distribution channels; and also well-controlled external ones, fronted by salesmen, so we can get all the hardware, software, and services we make into the hands of customers who pay us for them and use them productively in their businesses.

    Sometimes we even have global external distribution channels for marketing novelties IBM Lotus Symphony and we dispense with the salesman. Be Free. Work Smart. Drive ISO26300 ODF XML into the heart of the enterprise and everything else. When it’s important enough.

    Is Africa growing ? Did you by any chance meet the guy ? What does the future hold there ?

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