Judie’s Gear Diary – 2006-09-28

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Saturday, after another fabulous breakfast at the hotel’s
restaurant, we settled in for what would prove to be an exciting
day of brainstorming.

Derek Brown one of the original founders of Mobius, gave us a
quick overview of the coup that had just occurred in Bangkok before
showing us a video about deploying computers and technology in
emerging markets. Derek has been living and working in Thailand for
over a year…lucky guy! He also spoke about the challenges of
bringing intellectual property to a country that may or may not
understand the concept.

Microsoft’s Chris Sorenson gave a mostly confidential speech
about Crossbow, the next version of both Windows Mobile for both
Smartphone & Pocket PC. Devices running Crossbow will be
appearing in the second half of 2007.

Horace Luke spoke about UI Futures, which like last year was
also a largely confidential sharing of information. I can say that
it was near impossible to keep the drool from escaping my mouth.
Horace & his team have an incredible vision, and if we can just
“hold on” a little longer, then we will all see a GUI on new
devices that will put to shame anything seen thus far. No

The rest of the afternoon was spent working on what will from
now on be known as “The Mobius Project”. We were all divided into
three groups in order to brainstorm on the needs of three distinct
demographics. Our goal was to imagine the perfect device for our
assigned group, and decide upon which features and hardware it
would include. I was put into the Social group, and we had a great
time loudly vocalizing what we thought our revolutionary device
should include and entail. Our working lunch was one of the most
fun sessions I enjoyed at Mobius, partly because in this smaller
group we were able to hear from some of our Asian attendees who had
been quieter during the larger group sessions.

We were supposed to wrap up by 3:30, but we kept going until
nearly 5; none of us were ready to quit. John Starkweather was so
cute because he kept asking if it was all right with us that we
were running over time…heck, we were in Thailand and it wasn’t
like we had anything planned; we were happy to keep going!

To wrap things up, and as our final event, John had got the
hotel to place flags on an empty expanse of their lawn. Our goal
was to toss an antiquated handheld; who ever tossed the farthest
would win. Those French guys…they are pretty crafty! Several
times we heard, “you all have baseball”, or the like – but when it
came time to toss they were the ones that threw the PDA well past
the farthest flag! After this event, Mobius was formally over…but
we weren’t done yet!

As a group, we agreed to meet for dinner and venture into
Patong, the local tourist trap. After a harrowing ride in a Thai
Taxi, we pulled up in the middle of a bustling tourist area. My
first order of business was to run across the street and get some
cash from the ATM. I knew that the ATM would be dealing Baht, but
it was still confounding to see my choices listed in the thousands’
range. 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000 Baht – I wasn’t sure what to take
out! I settled on 2000 Baht because it sounded like a hefty sum.
With the conversion rate of 37:1, I had only withdrawn about $55!
Some big spender…but I would learn that was enough money for a
great evening!

Viroon Vichianwattanachai, our official Thai ambassador, took us
to a family style outdoor restaurant where he ordered various
dishes which we all devoured. It is always great to have a local
that knows the language and knows what to order from the menu – and
Viroon took this job very seriously. This was easily one of
the best meals we had on the trip – and that is saying a lot.

After dinner, we headed down one of the alleys into Patong.
Vendors lined every street and each bar was thumping music while
bar-girls shimmied inside. We hit the street stalls, where with
Chris Sorenson’s bargaining help I scored a foot tall metal
sculpture of the Alien. In hindsight, I wish I would have bought
the Predator that was next to it. :0(

Sunday morning a group of us met for breakfast and then decided
that as this was our last day, we needed to go be a bit touristy. I
had been itching to go to the Monkey School down the street from
our resort, so John, Derek, Joel, and Jenneth and I took a cab ride
down the road. Our first stop was the Cobra Show, where we saw
feats that can only be seen – hardly described.

would be a good time to mention that all of my photos from the trip
are in my Flickr account
. I have a lot of really awesome video,
too…which I will eventually upload. :0)

Before the cobra show was finished, Jenneth had to leave and go
back to the hotel to catch her flight. We that were remaining
thought it would be fun to next go get a picture with the
elephants. Instead, we wound up riding them! Our mantra for the
entire day seemed to be “when else will we ever do this?!”, and one
of us would repeat it any time there was something to do that the
others weren’t sure about. So yes, we rode the elephants in the
rain, and it was incredible!

We started to think it would be prudent to get back to the hotel
to finish packing and change before our flights, so we returned to
the Moevenpick, ate lunch together, and then went back and prepared
for our return trips.

I don’t know about you, but 40 hours of travel time is a lot for
me. However, for a trip like this, every bit of butt & back
pain was worth it!

I saw things that I have never seen before, met people I would
have never met otherwise, and did things that I can tell my
grandkids about one day. How often does that truly happen?

So Mobius Thailand, to sum it up, was a great time not just for
the gadgety-goodness that we were shown, but also for the community
ties that it strengthened. I think it is safe to say that
every one of us attending had our friendship circles widened to
include worldwide sites that we had never visited – if only because
of the language barrier. For me, the world became a much smaller
and friendlier place because of Mobius 2006.

The list of member sites attending included: G-A Gay from
www.akihabranews. com,
Nghia from www.pdafrance.
, Howard from www.howardchui. com, Jason from
Joel from www.geek.com, Judie
from www.thegadgeteer.
, eric from www.phonescoop. com, CheeWee from
http://www.ppcsg.com, Jenneth
from www.roam-magazine.
, Paul Matt from http://www.threegmobile.net,
Viroon from www.thai-g.com,
Andrew from http://www.windowsmobileinjapan.com and http://hq.andrewshuttleworth.com, Ed
from www.brighthand. com,
Alvin from www.spug.net, Kenny
from www.mobique. com, Derrick
from www.pocketpc. com.hk,
Chiang from www.mobile01.
, Atticus from www.chinese. engadget. com,
Lim from www.mypdacafe. com,
Larry from http://www.PALMisLIFE.com, and HT
from http://twpug.wolfnet.com.tw.
Gosh, I hope I got all of those right!! :0)

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