Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Hundred-Foot Journey

In a recent blog post, I mentioned that I went to see a movie my first night in San Francisco.  The Hundred-Foot Journey was that film.  Many critics and some of my friends had enjoyed the movie but found it formulaic and lacking in heart.  I went anyway for two reasons:  Helen Mirren, and the fact that it was a foodie flick.

To my surprise, I quite loved it. 

Helen Mirren, though as magnificent as always, was not the star.  That honor went to Manish Dayal, a South Carolina-born actor who turned in here a star-making performance as young chef Hassan Kadam.  His struggle to balance family, his art (cooking), his ambition, and his love (the wonderful Charlotte Le Bon) was the heart of the film and for whatever reason really worked for me.  Director Lasse Hallstrom dragged the movie a bit too long, as he usually does, and he stitched its heart directly to its sleeve, as he also typically does, but I was enjoying myself so much that I didn't care. 

In the end, I took the film to be Hallstrom's statement that you can indeed achieve that delicate balance, but always at the cost of some success, a cost Hassan Kadam willingly chose to pay. 

There are far worse messages.

Though I'm in the minority among my friends, I highly recommend this movie.

Friday, September 12, 2014

On the road again: IDF, day 4

I'm home.  A day that starts after less than three hours of sleep with a 5:15 a.m. wake-up call is never going to be my favorite, but everything from when I woke up until when I reached home went according to plan.  Both flights were on time.  I was able to work for almost all of both flights.  I had time in DFW to grab a lunch of a Red Mango parfait.  I even got an upgrade on the second flight.

For a business trip, that's a pretty strong day. 

Still, I am very glad to be home.  I get to stay here for almost three weeks, and I'm quite looking forward to being in one place for a while.

While in Atlanta, I forget exactly where, I heard this song, and it's music-virused me since then.  So, have a go at it.  Maybe if it gets into your heads, it will leave mine.

Okay, I'll admit it:  As a teenager, when I first heard this song, I had a big-time crush on Petula Clark, and I still like a few of her hits.  So sue me.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

On the road again: IDF, day 3

The crowds were dramatically smaller today as the show wound to its end.  I made it to only one public session, an interesting presentation on Intel's new RealSense technology.  This technology uses a 3D camera and a lot of software to enable features such as accurate measurements, gestures in the air, and so on.  Think the xBox 360's Kinect capabilities and possibly more, all in your tablet or PC.  Neat stuff, though so new it's just starting to appear.

All of the non-show time today and tonight went to work, with the exception of a lovely dinner at the restaurant I consider to be the very best in San Francisco, Benu.  I hope to write a full review later, but I have to get up in a very few hours, so I'm going to cut this short, pack, and then grab a few hours of sleep.

Tomorrow, I must get up insanely early to begin the long day of travel home.  I am hoping for uneventful flights with upgrades and work and maybe even a little napping.

All I can be sure of, though, is the work.  I always find a way to do that.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

On the road again: IDF, day 2

Today's keynote, which for some reason the organizers instead called a "Mega-session," from Intel Senior VP Diane Bryant covered her turf:  the data center.  She discussed both the two key trends--big data and the ever-increasing number of connected devices--that are driving a huge increase in data center requirements, and Intel's approach to meeting those requirements.  Though she didn't have much new to show, the presentation was still interesting and encouraging; a lot of new data center tech is heading our way in the years to come. 

I ended up in meetings the rest of the day and so was unable to attend any other sessions.

Dinner was with a friend at Chef Corey Lee's new (to me) French bistro, Monsieur Benjamin.  The food was good, though not up to that of his flagship restaurant, Benu (where I'll be eating tomorrow night).  If you're looking for a good meal, though, I'd certainly recommend Monsieur Benjamin. 

Now, to crash.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

On the road again: IDF, day 1

The conference kicked off today with an opening keynote from Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.  "BK," as many of the folks here call him, did a good job of laying out Intel's vision of the future and the company's plans for the next few years.  Intel, like most tech companies today, is a firm believer in the coming Internet of Things (IoT), a concept that basically means more and more things will be connected in some way to the Internet.  BK cited estimates of 50 billion connected devices by the year 2020--only six years away.  The IoT is important for the tech industry because each of those 50 billion things will need processors, storage, and other hardware, plus software to drive it all.  They will also need back-end data center/cloud support.  I don't have enough data to support or argue with the 50 billion figure, but it feels in the right ballpark to me, and I do believe the IoT is at this point inevitable. 

Closer to the present, BK brought out colleagues who demonstrated Intel's work to remove all wires from PCs, tablets, and smartphones.  Wireless connections to monitors will remove that plug from your PC to a big screen, and inductive chargers will remove the need for power cords.  This particular set of products can't come too soon for me, because like so many who work in tech, I have a huge collection of cables of all sorts. 

Michael Dell joined BK on stage late in the presentation to show off a lovely, super-thin new tablet, a member of the upcoming (in November) Dell Venue 8 7000 family of tablets.  This one features Intel's RealSense technology, which supports 3D imaging and which software can use to do things like taking a picture of a sofa and immediately and accurately showing the sofa's width on screen--an application they demonstrated on a live unit. 

All in all, the mood of BK's address and the audience reactions were both upbeat, and the tech year ahead from Intel promises to be an exciting one.

I should have mentioned that before the address, Kawehi, a young musician, performed live for us.  I quite liked her music, and though I didn't know it before today, I'm now going to look for more.

I met with a lot of folks and so had time to attend only one other session, a technical presentation on All-in-One systems.  I'm a fan of these for certain uses, and so, apparently, is a big chunk of the buying market.

After touring the industry showcase and talking with folks here, I remain optimistic about the tech industry.  More great products and technologies will definitely be hitting the market over the next year.

Monday, September 8, 2014

On the road again: IDF, day 0

Click the image to see a larger version.

Some planned meetings fell through, so I ended up spending most of the day working in my hotel room.  As work days go, it wasn't a bad one, but it leaves me with little to report.  I did catch a movie late in the afternoon in a work break, but I'm going to save the review for later, when I can do it justice. 

Dinner was with a friend and colleague at a nearby Mel's Drive-In.  The food was good but not great, but the conversation was excellent. 

Tomorrow morning, earlier than I prefer, thousands of tech folks will descend on the Moscone Center West for IDF, which Intel's CEO will open with a keynote that will, I assume, discuss at least some of Intel's vision for the future.  Technical sessions and meetings with colleagues in other companies will fill the rest of the three days of the conference.  Though I realize it may all sound boring to many, I'm quite looking forward to it.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

On the road again: IDF, day -1

San Francisco, I am in you.

I left the house this morning entirely too early on a Sunday after my normal very late Saturday night bedtime, so I made my way through the airport wishing I was still in bed.  Fortunately, I was lucky enough to receive an upgrade on the first flight, so I passed those hours in relative comfort. 

The second flight was much more of a mixed bag.  On the one hand, my seat was on the aisle in an exit row, which is about as good as a non-first-class seat can be.  On the other hand, the guy next to me was enormously wide; I could have easily hidden behind him.  We did our best to stay out of each other's space, even though neither of our shoulders came close to fitting into our seat areas. 

I hit the hotel in time to check in, set up my laptop, do a little email, and register for the conference.  I grabbed some supplies for the room--Coke Zero being the key one--and worked some more.

My big treat of the day was walking to one of the two nearby movie theaters and catching a film on which I'll post a review later.

So, Sunday became travel and work day. 

I'm hoping to enjoy a decent dinner tomorrow (Monday) night, so if anyone in the SF area is interested in joining me, email me. 

Now, more work!


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