The WPC 2010 (World Partner Conference) held July 11-15 in Washington, was the first global opportunity, offered by TOBIUS N.V. as my new employer, to actively network again within the Microsoft Community and its Partners, after 3 years hard work in the background on alternative markets (Telco) & technologies (Sun/Java).
On some occasions throughout the digitalized life of an Information Technology Consultant, you've got to drag yourself away from behind your computer screen, and scout beyond new horizons. When you're deep into Microsoft, the WPC (a.k.a. World Partner Conference) is one of those events on everyone's radar, as the Microsoft corporation announces new product launches at the beginning of their new fiscal year.
Tonight a ribbon of thousand domino's falling from Potsdamer Platz via the Brandenburger Tor to the Reichstag will symbolize the coming down of the infamous Berlin Wall on the 9th November 1989. This major world class event marked the effective beginning of "Die Wende", leading up to the re-unification of East & West Germany on 31st August 1990. This twentieth anniversary means a lot to many, but most of all that I got a couple of days older.
"The day after" all Atos Origin staff working or volunteering for the Olympics was summoned to the Olympic Park for a group picture in front of the Bird's nest. That turned out to be no small feat, because we are talking about 400 heads to be squeezed within a limited angle. With no hats, sun glasses or IDs allowed, and the Sun buring mercilessly, it felt more like a public execution. Moreover the professional photographer must have seen some artistic material in us, as he let us cheer, do mexican waves, close ups, etc ...
Thanks to an Accreditation Upgrade Card, I could quickly follow the handball semi-finals (Poland was playing against Russia) in the National Indoor Stadium, where Gymnastics had also been staged. In the afternoon I took a long nap at the very spot where I was reflecting on what was coming at me a couple of days before the Games started. Young couples were flying the small kites courtesy of GE and generally having a great time.
My most magical Olympic day of all - so hard to capture in words or pictures - basically broken up in 3 phases: (1) Marathon in the Morning, (2) Olympic Park in the Afternoon and (3) Closing Ceremony in the Evening (kept for next blog-entry).
Unlike Tia - who had to jump the finals in the evening - for me the pressure was off, so I decided to venture into the City for the first time on the tiny green girl's bike which I borrowed from Emily. No rules but everyone seems to get home or at work fine … or try this: Saw a guy eating chicken saté (from a pointy stick) while driving his motorcycle (without helmet of course).
Last night a lost bat was flying the whole shift inside the Technology Operations Center, and the central displays showed more and more grey of Olympic venues being decommissioned. We also passed the cape of 100k requests and incidents (almost all related to normal operations of the Games). In between work - well ...
Since I passed on my allocation of 2 tickets to my wife and daughter, who saw China win the Sabre contest, normally I no longer had a chance to watch any contest. However I got a nice ticket out of a lucky draw for Athletics, featuring our Company Champion Tia Hellebaut on Thursday morning.
Clashes between East & West appear so easily and suddenly. In Beitucheng underground station, the ferocious travellers rushed en masse into the carriage, completely blocking the way out for a small girl. An upset Dutch couple - much taller than anyone else - forced a way so the girl could get off after all. This caused an old Chinese lady to freak out completely, and in Chinese I could hear her talking about animal behaviour of Western visitors to everyone who fancied fueling the argument.