Where in the world...?

The Greater China BE Meeting and Bentley Partner Conference 2007 event is taking place this week in Guiyang, China.


If you have never been to Guiyang before, it is to China what Kansas City is to the US -- smack dab in the middle of the country. It is a three hour plane ride from Beijing (for those like me traveling from the US, that is in addition to the 13+ hour flight to Beijing over the North Pole -- and, no, I did not see Santa or his castle enroute). Several hundred executives, users, and Bentley partners are here to see a variety of presentations and to network with each other.

My focus and main reason for attending is to help host DevCon 2007 China, which is one of the two Bentley Partner Conference tracks. Almost all sessions are in the local language -- my short presentation being one of the exceptions. Even though it was translated, I must work on knowing more Mandarin than "zao shang hao" (good morning), "tsieh-tsieh" (thank you), and "bu yong kerh chee" (you are welcome).

The 12 hour difference in time is something that takes a little getting used to. As long as you are doing something, you do not really notice it -- it is the times when you are not doing anything that it can catch up with you. Plus, being twelve hours ahead of the US East Coast does make communicating with family, friends, and colleagues a bit challenging.

There is quite a lot of construction going on in Guiyang (not on the same par as what is happening in Beijing, but the Olympics are not being held here). The new conference center is being built right next to the conference venue and just about every direction you look in the city, there is a crane or scaffolding or cement truck (sometimes, there are all three). Hopefully, we will get an opportunity to get out of the city to see some things.

Aside from the long plane ride, I always enjoy visiting China -- it is a wonderful country with a wonderful culture. The food is great, too, especially if you are an adventurous type. Being close to Szechuan means spicy food... not set-your-head-on-fire spicy, but enough to get your attention. I really like this region's authentic simplicity. It is quite a bit different than the hustle and bustle of Beijing, although there are certainly benefits to that, but that is another story.

  • That link doesn't work for the connection that I currently have (from the hotel...) Still, I am currently seeing round trip times to bentley.com averaging 380+ milliseconds (using good ol' ping), which is pretty slow (all things considered). Since the access from this hotel is *free*, I would suspect that bandwidth, etc. is just not good enough for heavy-duty Internet access (particularly the kind that you reference). That said, I do not believe that the location I am in now really has much to do with it... how access/connection is set up does -- and the same latency could be encountered pretty much anywhere else in the world (I'll be testing that out in the next week, with stops in Beijing, Tokyo, and Budapest), so your belief about sub-standard infrastructure and how things will "catch up" is likely to be very true. I get so spoiled when at home (with a FiOS connection) at the amount of bandwidth that is available (even through wireless), but that's the new technology... it will catch up (although there will always be technology leapfrogging).

  • Good link Steve.  Thanks for sharing.

  • Phil,

    Your internet connection comment (mmmm...somewhat limiting)is interesting.

    Can you share any observations based on your experience as to the overall network infrastructure in China? I like to think Bentley Systems is on the technological cutting edge of learning delivery with our Live Distance Learning program.

    The number one factor to consider in transmission of Live Distance Learning is network connection speed. The minuimum recommended connection is aound 400 kbs per user connection. In the USA this is not usually an issue. Globally it can be a concern.

    So, my question is, do corporate users have reliable network connections? My assumption is that with the general public, those who do have access, the connection speed is not particullarly stable.

    Just an aside... it is my belief that a poor network infrastructure today is never a reason to stop moving forward with innovative delivery methods. The infrastructure will catch up with the technology sooner than we can imagine.

    Following is a link I use to check network connection speed:

    To check actual network speed: CNET Bandwidth Meter speed test:


  • I was really surprised at the amount haze that is arround Guiyang... in fact, I have yet to actually see that great disc in the sky that makes light since arriving. BTW, for the Olympics, Beijing is planning on instituting an even/odd license plate strategy, as in one day only cars with license plates ending with even numbers are allowed on the road, the next day only cars with license plates ending in odd numbers are allowed. Recently, a trial was done to test the theory, and there was a significant improvement with smog... it was estimated that one million vehicles would not be on the road -- I was shocked when I heard that.

    And, yes, I will get photos up to share... the Internet connection from the hotel has been... mmmm... somewhat limiting.

  • Don't forget to post and share your pics!