» Archive for the 'International' Category

Fall Back: Europe Moves to Winter Time, U.S. Changes Clocks Next Weekend

Saturday, October 24th, 2009 by Jonathan Spira

Europe and the U.S. fall back - at different times

Europe set its clocks back one hour to “winter time” at 1 a.m. GMT Sunday.  Next Sunday morning, while most people are still asleep, the United States and parts of Canada will switch back to Standard Time at 2 a.m. local time.

The November change is in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and once again is one week later than in years before the 2005 Act.  If you don’t think that these changes are a big deal, change the time on your laptop by an hour and see what happens.  The impact of this seemingly minor change extends well beyond computers, to legions of business travelers and mobile knowledge workers, among others.

For the coming week, the United States will be out of sync with a good part of the rest of the world (most of Asia, Africa, and South America do not observe Daylight Saving Time at all).

Last March, as if to illustrate this specific point, I discovered that a recurring bi-weekly meeting that was scheduled by a colleague based in Israel mysteriously moved to noon EDT on my calendar for its two occurrences in March.  For meetings in April, it remained at the original time, 11 a.m. EDT.

Daylight Saving Time is a system of managing the changing amounts of daylight that occur during the year, with a goal of maximizing daylight hours during typical waking hours.  It was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, who believed it would save an “immense sum.”  It was not broadly adopted until the early twentieth century when the U.S. temporarily enacted Daylight Saving Time as an energy-saving measure.

By adjusting clocks ahead by an hour in the spring, people can have more daylight available during the workday.  For example, in the case of someone who typically awakens at 7 a.m., since in the spring the sun rises earlier each day, an individual would have to wake up at 6 a.m. to take advantage of the additional daylight.  Instead, by moving the clock ahead by one hour, that person can continue to wake up at 7 a.m. and enjoy more daylight in the evening hours.

Prior to 2005, the last change to the Daylight Saving Time schedule was in 1986, when legislation changing the onset of Daylight Saving Time from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in April was enacted.

But recent studies indicate that the energy savings may be illusory.  One study demonstrated how a switch to Daylight Saving Time across the entire state in April 2006 cost Indiana households an additional $8.6 million in electricity.  Another study suggested that the temporary extension of daylight-saving in two Australian territories for the 2000 Summer Olympics increased energy usage.

On the other hand, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a nonprofit group, estimated that the cumulative benefit of the change through the year 2020 will be a savings of ca. $4.4 billion and 10.8 million metric tons less carbon sent into the environment.  According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, for every day we are on Daylight Saving Time, we trim one percent of the country’s electrical consumption.

Most devices including laptops and desktop computers (not to mention servers), should have been updated by now but it still pays to double check.  These systems ranged from automated wake-up systems in hotels to systems that schedule airline crew members and slot aircraft for gates.  In addition, many computer-to-computer systems might have also been impacted.

Remember that Daylight Saving Time is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation).  Until 2006, the counties in the Eastern Time Zone of Indiana did not observe Daylight Saving Time and remained on standard time year round.  As of April 2006, all of Indiana observes Daylight Saving Time.

Oh, and get a good night’s sleep.

Jonathan B. Spira is the Chief Analyst at Basex.

Whither Nortel? Bankruptcy Court

Thursday, January 15th, 2009 by Jonathan Spira

It was clear that Nortel Network’s situation was precarious.  Last November, the company announced a $3.41 billion quarterly loss and laid off 5% of its workforce.  On Wednesday, it and a number of its affiliates filed for bankruptcy protection, one day before it was scheduled to make an interest payment of $107 million.  The company’s affiliates in Asia, including LG Nortel, and in the Caribbean and Latin America, as well as Nortel Government Solutions (NGS) are not subject to these proceedings and will continue operations unimpeded.

As we observed back in November, the company has not caught a break since 2005, when CEO Frank Dunn was “terminated for cause” in conjunction with the discovery of his manipulation of Nortel’s financials to generate higher bonuses for himself and several colleagues.

In addition, Nortel has a decade-long history of failed and expensive acquisitions.  Their strategy, which was to buy established companies, didn’t work, largely due to an inability to integrate products from the newly-acquired entities into a common vision.  In 1998, Nortel purchased Bay Networks for $9.1 billion, quickly followed by the 1999 and 2000 acquisitions of software maker Clarify and then Alteon Web Systems for a total of $10 billion.   (The buying spree continued with Cambrian Systems for $300 million, Shasta Networks for $340 million, all the way to DiamondWare (3-D stereo conferencing) and Pingtel (SIP software) in 2008.)

Nortel’s strategy contrasts greatly with that of companies such as Cisco, which only acquired small and innovative companies at much lower cost and then successfully integrated them into the business.  It is also a stark contrast to Nortel, then Northern Telecom, in 1976 when it announced Digital World, a family of digital telecommunications products that were industry leading.  The DMS-100 became a mainstay of telephone company central offices (thanks in part to its ability to handle 100,000 subscriber lines) and the DMS product line contributed greatly to Nortel’s bottom line for 15 years.

As competition has intensified from North American, European, and low-cost Asian rivals, among them Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei Technologies, the  company’s shares sank into the penny range in recent months.  In addition, the global economic crisis has slowed spending on the gear that Nortel offers (which includes equipment for the enterprise as well as for telephone companies).

Is it too late for Nortel?  The conflation of economic conditions, competition, and scandal may remove it as an industry leader forever but it could still reinvent itself as a strong niche player while it reorganizes under Chapter 11. On the other hand, the company could break itself up and sell its main businesses to rivals. A likely acquirer (at least in my opinion) for Nortel’s enterprise unit would be Siemens Enterprise Communications, which has been in growth mode since it became a joint venture between Siemens AG and the Gores Group.  The next installment will be telling.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

How Do We Know What We Don’t Know?

Friday, May 16th, 2008 by Ellen Pearlman

China, Internet Filtration Technology, and Knowledge Sharing

There are 1.3 billion people in the People’s Republic of China, more than enough warm bodies for the government to employ hundreds of thousands of full time Internet censors, which they do.  I can not be certain if this missive is being read either on line or in the transmission stage from China to the States.  All messages going out of the country are filtered for key words as are all websites being accessed.  Therefore I will omit the most heinous key words (that have to do with current world events over a major once every four years sports event occurring in this country) and talk around it as if I were being censored.  Which, in essence, I am.

This filtration is called the “Golden Shield Project”.  There are only three points of entry to the Internet from China, two in Japan and one in Hong Kong.  All the international gateways have a “network sniffer”.  These were originally manufactured by Cisco but now China’s own technology giants make the same product.  The effects of sniffer use is most evident in the handling of messages that do not agree with the ruling party’s ideology when these messages are funneled through one of the major Internet e-mail providers.

Web sites are also filtered to varying degrees.  The simplest way this is done is with a DNS (Domain Name System) block that doesn’t let the request for information get through.  However, if you do manage to get the site, it may return with a “connect reset” or “site not found” message that is indicative of the second level of blocking.  Then there is the “URL Roving Keyword Block” of inflammatory politically incorrect terms that change depending on the political winds.  Lastly there is the page content blackout, as occasionally happens to CNN or the New York Times if the government does not like the information on their pages.  It recently happened when the female third most important politician in the States met with a politically banned person of note.

Part of the rabid patriotism in this country is heartfelt, and part of it is through direct and intentional manipulation of state media.  Unless I supply my Chinese friends with information they tend to be rather uninformed about the world events that tarnish the image of their country.  This leads to the question of how do you know what you don’t know?  The simple answer is that you don’t.  I mention specific events concerning world news to friends, and they are shocked.  They had no idea.  Even people who work high up in cultural and ministerial positions are unaware of the extent of manipulation and filtering of their own private data.  Such data manipulation is apparently no longer confined to the theoretical, it is a fact of life.

Other knowledge sharing “problems” can crop up in China that would be unlikely elsewhere.  One friend in a sensitive cultural post had the misfortune to use Yahoo.fr (France) as her Internet provider.  When the recent tensions with that country were at their highest, none of her messages went out, a terrible situation for a person in the government who deals with time sensitive international bookings.  However, once you understand the parameters there are many shades of grey and tints of brown and blue that enable one to find cracks in the blockading walls.  Knowledge is fluid and analogies go a long way.  Human sensitivity and nuance is vast.  Cisco routers can take you only so far.  In the meantime, those in China will have to rely upon the creative use of language.  Language is poetry and as we all know, poetry can set you free.

Ellen Pearlman is a senior analyst at Basex.

Prepare for Daylight Saving Time

Friday, March 7th, 2008 by Jonathan Spira

Spring Ahead with Caution

This coming Sunday morning, while most people are asleep, the United States and parts of Canada will switch to Daylight Saving Time at 2 a.m. local time.  This is in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and once again is three weeks earlier than in previous years (last year it ended one week later than usual, on the first Sunday in November).  If you don’t think that these changes are a big deal, change the time on your laptop by an hour and see what happens.  The impact of this seemingly minor change extends well beyond computers, to legions of business travelers and mobile knowledge workers, among others.

Once again, the United States will be out of sync with the rest of the world for longer than usual.  Europe used to change its clocks to “Summer Time” (in the U.K., it’s BST or British Summer Time; in Germany and Austria, it’s “Sommerzeit”) one week before the U.S.  Now most of Europe will switch to Daylight Saving Time on March 30, three weeks later.  [Most of Asia, Africa, and South America do not observe Daylight Saving Time at all.]

Daylight Saving Time is a system of managing the changing amounts of daylight that occur during the year, with a goal of maximizing daylight hours during typical waking hours.  It was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, who believed it would save an “immense sum.”  It was not broadly adopted until the early twentieth century when the U.S. temporarily enacted Daylight Saving Time as an energy-saving measure.

By adjusting clocks ahead by an hour, people can have more daylight available during the workday.  For example, in the case of someone who typically awakens at 7 a.m., since in the spring the sun rises earlier each day, an individual would have to wake up at 6 a.m. to take advantage of the additional daylight.  Instead, by moving the clock ahead by one hour, that person can continue to wake up at 7 a.m. and enjoy more daylight in the evening hours.

The last change to the Daylight Saving Time schedule was in 1986, when legislation changing Daylight Saving Time from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in April was enacted.

But recent studies indicate that the savings may be illusory.  One study demonstrated how a switch to Daylight Saving Time across the entire state in April 2006 cost Indiana households an additional $8.6 million in electricity.  Another study suggested that the temporary extension of daylight-saving in two Australian territories for the 2000 Summer Olympics increased energy usage.

On the other hand, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a nonprofit group, estimated that the cumulative benefit of the change through the year 2020 will be a savings of ca. $4.4 billion and 10.8 million metric tons less carbon sent into the environment.  According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, for every day we are on Daylight Saving Time, we trim one percent of the country’s electrical consumption.

Last year, companies sent out all-hands memos to employees asking them to help identify systems that might be impacted by the time change.  These systems ranged from automated wake-up systems in hotels to systems that schedule airline crew members and slot aircraft for gates.  In addition, many computer-to-computer systems might have also been impacted.

Most knowledge workers should be covered by now, at least insofar as their desktop or laptop computers are concerned.  Microsoft released a single global time zone update for Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows Server 2003 (and for Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1) that automatically installed.  This update included updates for all DST-related changes from 2007 or that have taken place since the operating system’s original release.  The updated time zone definitions ship with Windows Vista.  Windows XP SP1 and older operating systems have passed their end of support dates and did not receive the update although they can be manually updated in some cases.

That covers operating systems but doesn’t mean that we are out of the woods yet.  Most current programs with calendar support should have been updated by now but if yours has not, any meetings that fall within the extended Daylight Saving Time period before the application of extended DST rules will appear incorrectly after the extended DST rules have been applied, namely they will appear an hour later than originally scheduled.

What you can do to avoid problems:

First, double check any calendar entries or plans for the period March 9 -  March 30, 2008.

Second, make certain to adjust or update your operating system to apply the changed Daylight Saving Times rules if this hasn’t already taken place.  PDAs such as Palm Treos or BlackBerry devices should also be updated.

Third, remember that Daylight Saving Time is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation).  Until 2006, the counties in the Eastern Time Zone of Indiana did not observe Daylight Saving Time and remained on standard time year round.  As of April 2006, all of Indiana observes Daylight Saving Time.

Finally, get a good night’s sleep.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

How Airbus Lost €4.8 Billion: Part II

Friday, December 14th, 2007 by Jonathan Spira

With the release last week of our report  Airbus Hits Turbulence: How Knowledge Sharing Failures Cost Airbus €4.8 Billion,  we are presenting the report’s executive study in two parts.  Part I was presented in last week’s edition of Basex:TechWatch and here on the blog.  We now continue now with Part II.

With significant orders from some of the largest names in the airline industry, including Emirates, Virgin and Lufthansa before A380 production delays set in, Airbus seemed well on its way to establishing itself as the leader in the wide-body jet market. But Airbus’ lack of foresight in project management led to significant multi-national knowledge sharing and collaboration failures.

Far from being a unified company, Airbus’ management and production teams span many European companies. Although Airbus technically unified under the auspices of EADS, Airbus still operates as multiple semi-autonomous companies. The merger did not include significant advancements in how the production was carried out across national borders. Instead the production processes remained fragmented and split, with no significant efforts made to improve the collaboration among the factories. This is a significant problem and the company is being destroyed by a lack of corporate collaboration. Former CEO of Airbus, Christian Streiff, admitted that Airbus was a “juxtaposition of four companies.”

Faced with few alternatives, Airbus announced a massive restructuring plan designed to fix management and production problems, but also help with losses associated with other problems such as the weakness of the US dollar. Termed Power8, the plan hopes to increase profits in spite of the company’s projected losses for the year 2007 due to the costs associated with the program and the A380 disaster.

For years, Airbus was considered an innovator and technology leader. But in a short period of time the company went from darling of the industry to pariah. Airbus S.A.S. can learn from its mistakes and regain its title as a leader in the field. But significant challenges must be overcome. The company has been working on improving how its different national groups collaborate with one another. Ensuring that Airbus operates as a unified concern, where the sharing of knowledge and best practices across borders is the norm rather than the exception, however, is a battle still to be fought, and the outcome is far from certain.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

How Airbus Lost €4.8 Billion: A Cautionary Tale of What Happens When Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration Strategies Fail

Friday, December 7th, 2007 by Jonathan Spira

With the release this week of our report  Airbus Hits Turbulence: How Knowledge Sharing Failures Cost Airbus €4.8 Billion,  we are presenting the report’s executive study in two parts.  It will conclude in next week’s edition of Basex:TechWatch and here in the blog.

In the coming decade, as companies move from the industrial age into the knowledge economy, more and more organizations will find that the cost of not knowing how to manage knowledge work and knowledge workers will have a significant impact on the bottom line.

What is the cost of failing to share knowledge? For years, pundits have suggested that there is a hard currency cost to organizations when there is a knowledge sharing failure, but it was virtually impossible to come up with a hard figure.

Today we have that number.

Airbus has provided us with a clear-cut example of a company’s failure to implement proper knowledge sharing and collaboration tools and techniques costing them dearly.  Moreover, this failure severely impacted the company’s bottom line, enough to threaten its very existence.

The figure: €4.8 billion or $7 billion.

In October 2006, Airbus’ former CEO, Christian Streiff, announced that the production of their highly awaited A380 would be delayed another year, pushing the jumbo jet’s production two years beyond its original schedule.  Airbus has already announced to the financial community that this delay will cost €4.8 billion in lost profit over the next four years. The consequence of ignoring the inherent friction in their knowledge sharing and collaboration processes could be fatal for Airbus, especially in conjunction with the problem of a weakening dollar.

With significant orders from some of the largest names in the airline industry, including Emirates, Virgin and Lufthansa before A380 production delays set in, Airbus seemed well on its way to establishing itself as the leader in the wide-body jet market. But Airbus’ lack of foresight in project management led to significant multinational knowledge sharing and collaboration failures.

But that impression was illusory at best.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

Beijing Journal Part II

Friday, March 23rd, 2007 by Ellen Pearlman

As I am settling in Beijing, I am adjusting to some of the quirks and inconveniences of being a non-Chinese-speaking/reading visitor.  For example, when someone tries to text message me, the phone naturally displays it in Chinese characters.  Or when I try to pay for Skype through a credit card instead of PayPal, it takes over 48 hours to get card approval.  Though minor inconveniences, these setbacks could be annoying when dealing with time sensitive materials.

I am just beginning to get a handle on the Chinese censorship of the Internet, which is quite subtle.  I can get CNN and the NY Times, but if I type in the word “dharma” I get filtered out almost completely (I guess it’s a dirty word) and most You Tube broadcasts will not pull from the server, regardless of content.  The censorship seems to be roving, a bit arbitrary though extremely strict.  Besides pornography they are avid on restricting spirituality.  The thing about censorship is that you don’t now what is being censored, because you don’t know exactly what you are looking for.  There is a terribly odd quality of vacuum or mist, like you know it is there but you can’t see it, so you don’t know what it is you are not seeing.

The censorship works on two levels, the first is through Google China, which filters content, and the second is through delivering information from the server.  So even if you find the header you want in Goggle, the server just refuses to load the page, which is a raw, in your face, way of saying you’ve been found out and this is restricted information.  The page will just not load.  This dual filtering is very efficient and lethal and works towards creating a collective amnesia.  Of course, I can only speak about the English language as I have no idea of what is going on in Chinese, though I suspect it may be the same, if not worse.  It is equivalent to going to a library and looking up the topic “1960′s party scene”.  You may be looking for stories of wild parties in California and instead the only returns you get are the 1960′s Communist Youth International Party Conference.  This way you never know there were parties in California, even though it is common knowledge in the rest of the world.  So if you don’t know about it you don’t miss it.

The end result of this kind of information filter is a more docile and reined in population that essentially doesn’t know, and for the most part doesn’t care about what they are missing.  And it seems that the few who do care, and speak about it in chat rooms, are monitored by internal policing and I really don’t know what happens to them.

A more  blatant example is what happened the other night.  I was at a social gathering and was talking to a group of Chinese about the Paris Hilton debacle, both the sex tapes that circulated on the Internet, and her reality TV show with Nicole Ritchie.  The Chinese are well aware of the Hilton Hotel Chain, though they had never heard of Paris before.  I realized the whole story of her adventures, or misadventures had been filtered out of all the news media in all forms.  Now that’s one efficient censorship machine.  But, on the other hand, they allow, and encourage American Idol.  Go figure.

Analyst Ellen Pearlman is on assignment in China

Beijing Journal

Thursday, March 8th, 2007 by Ellen Pearlman

Three days before I am to fly to China, I encounter a problem with my ThinkPad.  With the help of Lenovo tech support in Atlanta, Georgia I find out that my ThinkPad’s wireless card has gone POOF.  The day before I am to leave I receive a replacement card.  I call tech support again, and am told to watch the instructional videos on line that show how to remove the 4 screws for the keyboard, 9 screws for the palm rest, and then how to swap out the wireless card, which resembles a memory card.  I print the instructions out, and turn my computer over.  The Phillips head screwdriver I have doesn’t work on the special screws and, as I am leaving for Beijing in a scant 12 hours, I throw up my hands and decide I will take care of it after landing.

Once in Beijing, having dinner with my hosts, I immediately tell them that I need a Lenovo store in order to have them install the wireless card.  The next day, after a flurry of phone calls, three Chinese gentlemen show up at my door.  Only one of them speaks English.  He takes out his tool kit and according to my memory of IBM’s instructions (which I repeat to him), he takes out the 4 keyboard screws and 9 palm rest screws with his special screwdriver.  The keyboard comes off easily, but the palm rest board does not follow suit.  He works on it for 25 minutes but it will not budge and neither of us can figure it out.  Finally he just gently lifts it up so he does not break the plastic and is then able to swap out the wireless card.  He puts it all back but it still refuses to function.  He then takes his portable USB drive, goes to a business next door, accesses the Internet, downloads a new driver from the Lenovo site, hooks up his portable drive to my laptop, installs the new driver, and voilà, I am immediately able to access my WLAN connection.  Total cost for the two hour on-site English speaking visit?  RMB 180, or $23.25. Priceless? Well, almost.

Analyst Ellen Pearlman is on assignment in China.

Mini Y2K Looms in Daylight Saving Change

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007 by Jonathan Spira

Spring Ahead with Caution

This coming Sunday morning, while most people are asleep, the United States and parts of Canada will switch to Daylight Saving Time at 2 h local time.  This is in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and is three weeks earlier than in previous years (it ends one week later than usual, on the first Sunday in November).  If you don’t think that these changes are a big deal, change the time on your servers by an hour and see what happens.  Its impact will extend well beyond computers, to legions of business travelers and mobile knowledge workers, among others.

The change means the United States will be out of sync with the rest of the world for longer than usual.  Europe used to change its clocks one week before the U.S.  Now most of Europe will switch to daylight saving time on March 25, two weeks later.  [Most of Asia, Africa, and South America do not observe daylight saving time at all.]

Daylight Saving Time is a system of managing the changing amounts of daylight that occur during the year, with a goal of maximizing daylight hours during typical waking hours.  It was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 but was not broadly adopted until the early twentieth century.  By adjusting clocks ahead by an hour, people can have more daylight available during the workday.  For example, in the case of someone who typically awakens at 7 h, since in the spring the sun rises earlier each day, an individual would have to wake up at 6 h to take advantage of the additional daylight.  Instead, by moving the clock ahead by one hour, that person can continue to wake up at 7 h and enjoy more daylight in the evening hours.

The last change to the Daylight Saving Time schedule was in 1986, when legislation changing Daylight Saving Time from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in April was enacted.

In case you are wondering why we are doing this now, it’s not just to enjoy a little bit more sunlight.  Although the savings are almost minuscule on an individual basis, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a non-profit group, estimated that the cumulative benefit of the change through the year 2020 will be a savings of ca. $4.4 billion and 10.8 million metric tons less carbon sent into the environment.  According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, for every day we are on Daylight Saving Time, we trim one percent of the country’s electrical consumption.

Since late last year, companies have sent out all-hands memos to employees asking them to help identify systems that might be impacted by the time change.  These systems range from automated wake-up systems in hotels to systems that schedule airline crew members and slot aircraft for gates.  In addition, many computer-to-computer systems may also be impacted.

Most knowledge workers should be covered by now, at least insofar as their desktop or laptop computers are concerned.  Microsoft released a single global time zone update for Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows Server 2003 (and for Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1) that automatically installed.  This update included updates for all DST-related changes from 2007 or that have taken place since the operating system’s original release.  The updated time zone definitions will also ship with Windows Vista.  Windows XP SP1 and older operating systems have passed their end of support dates and did not receive the update although they can be manually updated in some cases.

That covers operating systems but doesn’t mean that we are out of the woods yet.  Software that supports calendar entries, such as Lotus Notes and Domino and Microsoft Outlook and Exchange, and other time-zone-aware calendar systems, are also impacted.  If you created an entry that falls within the extended Daylight Saving Time period before the application of extended DST rules, it will appear incorrectly after the extended DST rules have been applied.  Entries that fall between March 11, 2007 and March 31, 2007 will appear an hour later than originally scheduled.  Entries that fall between October 28, 2007 and November 4, 2007 will appear an hour earlier than scheduled.  For example, if you create an entry today for 10 h on Monday, March 12, 2007, the entry will display at 11 h after the rules are applied.

What you can do to avoid problems:

First, double check any calendar entries or plans for the period March 11 -  March 31, 2007 and October 28 – November 4, 2007.

Second, make certain to adjust or update your operating system to apply the changed Daylight Saving Times rules if this hasn’t already taken place.  PDAs such as Palm Treos or BlackBerry devices should also be updated.

Third, remember that Daylight Saving Time is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation).  Until 2006, the counties in the Eastern Time Zone of Indiana did not observe Daylight Saving Time and remained on standard time year round.  As of April 2006, all of Indiana observes Daylight Saving Time.

Finally, get a good night’s sleep.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

The Road Warrior’s European Fly/Drive Sojourn

Friday, November 25th, 2005 by Jonathan Spira

Friday, November 11, 2005, Munich Germany
Last week, we left off with success (insofar as Internet connectivity was concerned) in the Confetti Suite; this after two other suites had no connectivity.  Prior to my departure from the hotel (today’s plans called for a drive from Munich to Italy via Innsbruck across the Brennerpaß as far as Sferzing, and looping back to Berchtesgaden), I passed by the front desk just in time to hear another guest complaining about problems with Net connectivity.  He was quite upset (apparently, his room had no connectivity) and was simultaneously speaking with one of the hotel managers and someone on a customer service line.  His complaint: had he known he would not have Internet access, he would have stayed elsewhere.  Apparently, I was lucky to be in the Confetti Suite.

As Net access in hotels becomes as ubiquitous as television, hotels (such as the one I was staying in) catering to business travellers need to ensure a more seamless experience.  Almost all hotels work with third-party providers; unfortunately, when that partner becomes unreliable, the hotel guest sees only the hotel brand and such unreliability tarnishes that brand.  Unhappy guests seldom return, regardless of who was at fault.

Friday, November 11, 2005, Berchtesgaden, Germany
630 kilometers later and at an altitude of 950 m, I found myself comfortably ensconced in a suite at the recently-opened InterContinental Resort Berchtesgaden.  No Confetti Suite here; I was online within minutes.  The biggest problem I had was finding an electrical outlet for the computer (the outlets were concealed behind a wood panel).  Berchtesgaden was to be my base for the remainder of my trip.

During the balance of my stay, I visited Dürnstein (the town where Richard the Lionhearted was held captive), Lienz, Kitzbühel, and Sopron (Hungary) – in all, driving 2426 km.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005, Munich, Germany
I drove ca. 175 km to the town of Garching, outside of Munich, to turn the car over to the shipping agent.  From Garching, it was a 15-minute ride to Munich’s ultra-modern Franz Josef Strauss Airport.  As mentioned last week, I had been looking forward to trying Lufthansa’s FlyNet onboard Internet service, but on the trip over, the service was unfortunately kaput.  I was pressing my thumbs together (German/Austrian equivalent of “fingers crossed”) for good luck for the flight home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005, 11,000 m over Europe
As soon as we reached cruising altitude, my computer detected Wi-Fi and I logged into FlyNet.  Seat power outlets are conveniently located and I had a choice of U.S. or the European Schuko connection systems.  I started off with simple chores, such as checking the news (I decided NOT to grab a handful of newspapers as I boarded, opting – hoping – to see the more current online versions).

With Lotus Notes replicating my mail and other databases in the background, I started receiving Sametime instant messages from colleagues.  Briefly put, my initial experience (discounting last week’s flight) with FlyNet was very positive.  Granted, it was relatively slow (I did several speed tests and it was marginally faster than GPRS) but we WERE, after all, at 11,000 m cruising along at 860 km/h.

After reading some e-mail, I called home using Skype (quality was decent), checked my voicemail, upgraded iTunes, did some online banking – in short, nothing extraordinary, absent the venue.

My neighbor in seat 3J, Frau Frowein, lives in Munich and was visiting New York for the first time.  She had some questions for me about things to do, so I suggested we look online at some information about events for the upcoming week in New York – another good use for FlyNet.  I also recommended a concert at Carnegie Hall, so we looked at the program and she and I booked a ticket for her for a concert with Hilary Hahn.  We also e-mailed her daughter (Frau Frowein had never used e-mail before).

About 3 hours into the flight, I briefly lost the connection but the service was flawless from that point forward.

Last Tuesday’s flight took place entirely during business hours in the United States.  We departed at 15:15 local time, which is 09:15 in New York.  We landed at 18:25 New York time.  This represents an entire day – and given the pace at which the knowledge economy moves – missing one day is more than many can afford.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.


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