First, it was freezing in Moscow (even without the wind), now it is about the same in Beijing... with snow, no less.
We are here to help our Bentley China colleagues with a three-day programming workshop.
About 30 developers from various organizations around China are attending to learn what APIs and SDKs are available to develop on our products. This is the second such workshop that we have done in China in 2007, and we plan to continue them in 2008 and beyond... along with our annual DevCon events.
We had an interesting conversation with one of the Design Institutes, who is working on a high-speed train project that connects Beijing and Shanghai. It is currently scheduled for completion in 2010 and once it is done, the 1300 KM distance between the two cities is expected to be covered in three hours.
With the Olympics less than a year away, there is an amazing amount of construction everywhere -- even more than the last time I was here -- both above and below ground. Several new subway tunnels are being added to the current system -- one is expected to be complete in time for the Olympic Games. There is also an express system being built between the Beijing Airport and downtown Beijing -- I will be very happy when that is done, as it now takes 60-90 minutes to get from one to the other.
I visited a couple of shopping malls during the stay (after business hours, of course, and between connecting back to the offices in Exton). One (called The Place) is interesting in that there is a very unique 24x200 meter (that is METERs) video display (aka "sky screen") that is under the breezeway roof separating the mall's two concourses. I know that big is often better, but I do not think I will ever see anything like that in anyone's house. The other mall (called Shin Kong Place) is an incredible six-story structure that is a Taiwanese/Japanese joint venture. It has over 100 international designer brand stores. We ate at the world-famous -- but not world expensive -- Din Tai Fung restaurant.
The Christmas holiday seems to get more and more popular each time I visit China. Just about everywhere you look, there are signs of it... like the dancing Santas greeting those entering the hotel I stayed in.
One thing that I can not get used to is hearing Willie Nelson's rendition of "I'll Have a Blue Christmas" while walking through the halls of the hotel. That just seems so surreal... but does bring me closer to home, which is where I travel to next -- after a stop in "Silk City" and Tiananmen Square.
I'm trying to do something "similar" with The Place (a ceiling 16*60m) in some new building of mine here in Greece (a lifestyle thing, named GAIA) . When ready I'll post some stuff here. Appears that this kind of technology could be affordable in a few years from now (current price : 2000 US$ /m2 here in Greece). Imagine replacing archaic screens et all with walls/ceilings ...
PS: I've proposed to display some trivial animations of mine (Gonzo, Millipede stuff et all made 100% via XM) using that "surface" ....but .. you can imagine Client's reaction...