My first trip to Asia in five years was basically a return to the last place I had spent any time - Bali. Bali served as a convenient side trip weekend between the intensity of the Australian Lotus User Group and a few days of business meetings in Jakarta. Nonstop flights to/from made it a no-brainer choice, though with all the excitement of the democratic movement in Myanmar/Burma last week, I still regret that I couldn't find my way there. Another time.
My wife and I honeymooned in Bali five years ago, so going back without her was disappointing. I resolved that I was there more on a photography mission than anything else, and on that front I was successful. My Bali 2012 photos are posted here, though the pictures don't quite tell the whole story of course.
I used to think "an island is an island is an island", but Bali changed all that for me on our first visit. Yes, you can scuba/snorkel/sun bathe, but the Hindu Balinese themselves don't pay the water much attention. There are luxury, best-in-class hotels, but there are small bungalows as well. There are tourists drinking to excess and counterfeit goods to purchase, but thankfully these are mostly in highly concentrated areas.
For this trip I stayed at the Bali Hyatt in Sanur. TripAdvisor reviews said the place was starting to get a bit run down, but it was a great location for me and amazing service. The club level "lounge" was an outdoor thatched hut with free wifi, so I was able to Facetime my kids while chowing down on my favorite Indonesian food, mie goreng. I would stay there again.
I hired a driver through the hotel for two days. I didn't want to do an organized tour, but rather had picked out a few places on my own to visit. On my first day out, I went to the village of Tenganan, home of the Bali Aga people. Some of the tour books described this place as "disney-fied", and it kind of was. But the photos weren't too bad. From there, I went to the water palace of Tirta Gangga. This was really awesome, a collection of sculpture, water features, and vegetation laid out harmoniously. One could even go for a swim there for about US$2, but I passed on that. My third stop that day was also a water palace, the very recently-restored Taman Ujung (mentioned in same wikipedia entry). This was a wonderful surprise, a lush home laid out right near the sea. There was a couple shooting their wedding photos on the grounds, and a few dozen other people, but it was very very quiet.
In stark contrast, the next morning I set out for Tanah Lot, a temple built on a rock formation along the coast. Tanah Lot is relatively close to the main tourist cities of Kuta and Seminyak, so tourist come to Tanah Lot by the busload. It was ridiculous. I felt nothing special about the visit, and you can't even view the temple itself except from afar. It amazed me how busy Tanah Lot was -- set among row after row of crap touristy merchandise -- and how empty Taman Ujung was, all on the same island.
So while Bali, like other Asian cities, has too much traffic and too little infrastructure, it offers the possibility of making it your own experience. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to spend a few more wonderful hours exploring it.
IBM 2014 Beacon Awards: Outstanding mobile enterprise solution
Wed, Nov 6th 2013 8:50a Ed Brill Nominations are open until November 15, 2013 for the IBM 2014 Beacon Award for Outstanding mobile enterprise solution: This award recognizes an IBM Business Partner who has helped customers become a mobile enterprise, by providing business-to-employee (B2E) or business-to-consumer/business (B2C/B2B) solutions designed for mobile, first. Nominated solutions will be comprised of IBM MobileFirst solutions, with a primary focus on the MobileFirst platform. IBM offerings that are considered as the [read] Keywords: ibm
Mon, Oct 28th 2013 7:10a Ed Brill October has been an incredibly busy month. I am headed to Europe now for the third time in a 75-day period; the intervening time has also featured trips to Austin and Toronto. Additionally, I had the opportunity to be part of IBM InterConnect 2013 in Singapore earlier this month, my first time over to Asia this year. As such, I was determined to make the best of it. The InterConnect conference was excellent. Our IBM MobileFirst sessions went well, drawing several hundred attendees to learn a [read] Keywords: ibm
Busy week: Two mobile acquisitions and a major new market study
Thu, Oct 3rd 2013 7:10a Ed Brill When it rains, it pours. This week has been a busy one in the IBM MobileFirst arena, with two acquisitions plus a new market study out today. All of these are wind in the sails of activity heading into two key core events next week: IBM InterConnect in Singapore (where I will be), and Gartner IT Symposium. The first acquisition, announced Tuesday, is The Now Company of Dublin, Ireland. The Now Company offers analytics tools for Communications Service Providers (CSPs, or typically, teleco [read] Keywords: ibm
Wed, Oct 2nd 2013 12:53p Ed Brill Bruce Elgort has been a friend of mine for nearly fifteen years. He has been a mentor, an advocate, a sounding board, a cheerleader, and even a therapist. :-) Today, Bruce is stepping down as chairman of the IBM Notes-related open source community called OpenNTF.org. Bruce and Nathan Freeman conceived of OpenNTF a dozen years ago. I didn't quite know what to make of the guy and the idea, and at the time wasn't in a position where I could put any of IBM's energy into the effort (other than hav [read] Keywords: ibm
Continental and IBM Enter Connected Vehicle Collaboration
Tue, Sep 10th 2013 4:30a Ed Brill This morning, at the Frankfurt IAA International Auto Show, Continental AG and IBM announced a collaboration agreement to jointly develop fully-connected mobile vehicle solutions for car manufacturers around the world. From the press release: Dirk WollschlÃ¤ger, General Manager Global Automotive Industry, IBM said: "Realization of the fully connected vehicle requires technology expertise across Big Data, embedded intelligence and the ability to deliver services over a highly scalable cl [read] Keywords: collaboration
Tweetchat this Thursday- Catching the Mobile Wave, Thinking Beyond the Device
Sun, Sep 8th 2013 7:50p Ed Brill I've, uh, tweeted some info about this, but thought it might be useful for those of you watching the blog to know about this upcoming Tweetchat. I've never actually hosted a Tweetchat before, so I'm excited to be the emcee for a People for a Smarter Planet Tweetchat this Thursday, 12 September, at 12:00 noon US EDT (6 PM CEDT). The Tweetchat is, as you might expect, about the future of enterprise mobility. Specifically, the questions we will examine include: What's your definition of a [read] Keywords: ibm
Six months in
Thu, Aug 1st 2013 7:20a Ed Brill It was January 31 at IBM Connect 2013:This week has served to remind me what a special community we have built, and continue to grow, around these products. You are all like family to me, and I will remain a part of the family as I move into the mobile space. I hope you will likewise all take the opportunity to come along on that journey, one of the most exciting areas of technology across the entire IBM portfolio. Six months ago. Time has flown. IBM Notes and Domino 9 Social Edition shipp [read] Keywords: domino