Sunday, April 30, 2006

Arrived, eventually

Well, the best laid plans...

I was supposed to get onto the nonstop from NY to Delhi, but the feeder flight from Burlington was delayed 2.5 hours and it was clear that I was not going to make my connection. So they rebooked me for the next day, but at that point the nonstop was full, and I had to be booked onto a connecting flight with a 4hr layover in NY and a 4h layover in Amsterdam at 7AM (and which got into Delhi several hours later.) So, instead of the 17h trip I planned, I effectively had a 44 hour trip.

Once on the ground, things went smoothly. There were about 300 drivers waiting with name placards outside of baggage claim, but I eventually found mine and got to the hotel around 1:00AM local time. The hotel facilities and the service are very nice.

Traffic here is mind boggling. The roads are a free-for-all with cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, and cows, often going vastly different speeds and sometimes different directions.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Heading to India

I'm heading to India on Friday, to teach my Java for C++ Programmers class. One of my training customers has offices all over the world, and the India office is next on the rotation. I feel like I've won the outsourcing lottery -- outsourcing is now putting money in my pocket.

Fortunately, my customer is springing for a business class ticket (which is effectively a first class ticket, as the only airline that runs a nonstop from the US to Delhi, Continental, merged their business class and first cabins into "BusinessFirst", and on the international flights BusinessFirst compares to first on other airlines.) The nonstop NY-DEL is approximately 14 hours, which shaves 5h off the "change planes in Europe" options.

A business class ticket to India costs approximately 6K; a coach ticket costs 1-1.5K. If I had the choice of buying the coach ticket and pocketing the difference, would I? Not sure. On the one hand, I wouldn't pay 4.5K out of my own pocket to upgrade, but on the other hand I might just not go if it meant flying coach. It's a long trip.

Getting a visa turned out to be somewhat of a hassle. Apparently, standard procedure for getting a visa involves sending your ORIGINAL passport to the foreign consulate, and hoping that they send it back in time (and don't lose it.) I used an expediter service to process it, which reduced the hassle factor, and they also rented me a local cell phone to take with me, which was pretty convenient.

After the training is over, I should have about three days to sightsee. That gives me a day each in Agra, Jaipur, and Delhi. I don't know what to expect, but it should be interesting.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

An even better quote

From the preface of Pragmatic Ajax (Gehtland, Almaer, and Galbraith), on book writing:

"Writing a book is a lot like (we imagine) flying a spaceship too close to a black hole. One second you're thinking "Hey, there's something interesting over there" and a picosecond later, everything you know and love has been sucked inside and crushed."


Monday, April 17, 2006

The beast is slain

I turned in final PDF today for Java Concurrency in Practice. Books should be ready by JavaOne. Woohoo!

The final tally: 425 pages, and sixteen months.

Not quite sure what to do with myself now.