June, 2011

Ladybug Larva

One of our backyard plants is infested with aphids. It’s still a very healthy plant, and part of the reason why we’re not too concerned is that it is also covered with numerous Ladybug larvae, which are feasting on the aphids.

Got out my macro lens and liked this shot the best:

Ladybug Larva

Ladybug Larva

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Flying Back Home from Beijing

Had a lengthy wait at Beijing Airport, as I got there early, and found out after I arrived that the flight time had been pushed out a couple of hours in order to switch over crews. So I had a lot of time to do some last-minute shopping in the airport, have dinner, wander, and take a few pictures.

In the end I caught some images of the sun setting over the plane I was going to fly home, which I thought were striking:

Air Canada Flight Just Before Sunset

Air Canada Flight Just Before Sunset

Air Canada Flight at Sunset

Air Canada Flight at Sunset

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Chateau Changyu: Day Two

My last full day in China. Woke up early and went for a walk around the grounds before the heat of the sun took hold. Here are the pics I took while walking around the Chateau Changyu grounds:

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Chateau Changyu: Day One

I was invited to join the members from the firm that was hosting the localization summit for a team building event at a place called Chateau Changyu, about an hour-and-a-half’s drive north of Beijing.

I considered staying in Beijing to go see The Forbidden City and The Great Wall, but I had visited both on my last trip here and wanted to see and hopefully explore some of the countryside, which this trip offered.

Chateau Changyu is an interesting place. First and foremost, it is a winery, which was one of the draws of the place for me, a chance to do some comparisons to what I have seen at home, in France and in Southern California. It is also basically a theme park, the “theme” being a chance to visit a old French (or German?)-style village while still in China. It was a popular place for brides and grooms to be photographed against a faux-European background featuring a Neuschwanstein-ish castle (which is where the winery cellars are housed). So you get the incongruous setting of a small European village surrounded by extensive vineyards set among iconic eroded Chinese mountains in the distance.

I attended some of the presentations, ventured into the cellars, and waited out a thunderstorm. After the storm passed, the bright late afternoon light set against a dark sky made for some very striking shots, which can be seen in the gallery below.

I was given some wine to taste while there, and while it was not the best I’ve ever had, it was also far from being the worst. I am pretty sure we will be hearing more about Chinese wine, since they seemed determined to make a dent in the market. The consensus though is that the local market needs to be educated first, as there were several stories of a locals chugging back expensive wine like pop. Am sure that too will change, and clearly there is an enormous market for good wine emerging here.

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CSOFT World Summit 2011: Day Two

Second day of the localization summit in Beijing. Inna Geller gave a presentation on how to assess and minimize risk in localization assignments, and a new software tool that embraces machine-translation (through the mediation of a human translator) was launched by CSOFT. Here are some pics I shot from the day’s events:

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CSOFT World Summit 2011: Day One

JoAnn Hackos gave the keynote presentation about DITA and localization, which was followed by Bill Hackos who presented on the factors go into a successful DITA deployment. Here are a couple of pics I took from my front-row seat:

JoAnn Hackos Giving the Keynote Presentation at the CSOFT 2011 Summit

JoAnn Hackos Giving the Keynote Presentation at the CSOFT 2011 Summit

Bill Hackos Speaking at the CSOFT World Summit

Bill Hackos Speaking at the CSOFT World Summit

My presentation followed theirs, and it seemed to go down well.

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Jade Purchases from the Silk Market

In the afternoon I pushed through my jet lag and went on an expedition (there’s really no other word to describe it) to Beijing’s Silk Market. Went along with co-speaker Inna and Keith Cai. Keith was great, helping us negotiate good rates with the shop keepers there in the mall. As you walk by each of the stalls you are greeted and asked to look at their wares — some more aggressively than others.

On the fifth floor of the Silk Mall was a well laid-out store called Katherine Jewelry, which is where I ended up spending most of my money that day. I came away with three sets of jade jewelry for my wife and daughters, which you can see below:

Jade Purchases from the Silk Market for My Wife and Daughters

Jade Purchases from the Silk Market for My Wife and Daughters

I also came away with some milk-based candies that my eldest daughter specifically asked for, and a t-shirt with a blossom pattern on it for my youngest daughter.

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CSOFT Summit Cocktail Reception

A few pics from the excellent cocktail reception party that was thrown by CSOFT the evening before the start of the localization summit.

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Temple of Heaven Complex, Beijing

One day “off” before the summit begins in earnest, so I teamed up with my co-speaking colleagues and after breakfast we went to see the Temple of Heaven complex.

I visited The Forbidden City on my last visit here, and the Temple of Heaven seems to have been built along much the same lines — not as overwhelmingly imposing as the Forbidden City, but certainly large and ornate. It was a hot day and it was good to be able to head into the wooded areas that fringed the main buildings of interest.

Here are some of the many pics I took:

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First Day in Beijing

As usual I couldn’t fall asleep during the long haul flight to Beijing, but I manage to persevere and basically stay up for two days straight.

I didn’t have much in the way of opportunities for taking pictures, but I did what I could.

This was taken immediately after going through customs, looking down on the monorail tracks that lead to the arrivals section of Beijing airport.

Looking Out from Terminal 3, Beijing Airport

Looking Out from Terminal 3, Beijing Airport

Once I got into the hotel (which is near “The Pants” building) the sun was setting, and I could still see a pair of workers who were working near the top of a nearby building under construction.

Construction Workers, Beijing

Construction Workers, Beijing

At the hotel I met JoAnn and Bill Hackos, who are the keynote speakers for the localization summit. Together we are taken out for a wonderful dinner.

Afterwards, I got back to the hotel and happily collapsed into my bed.

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