Ben Langhinrichs

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March, 2004
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Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Tue 2 Mar 2004, 03:51 AM
With just an hour to go before my next presentation, there is just time to get in a quick blog, if I'm efficient...

The Germans are renowned for their efficiency, and it is most apparent in the small details.  The escalators turn off if nobody is using them, and there is a pressure plate to restart them if somebody walks toward them.  The lights in our hotel are dimmed unless a motion detector senses that somebody is in the hall.  The examples go on and on when you wander around Munich, but my favorite example is in my (very, very nice) hotel room.  The Admin&Developer 2004 conference is being held at the ArabellaSheraton Grand Hotel, which is quite wonderful in a "European luxury hotel" way.  In every room, there is a safe you can set with a combination, and tucked away in the back of the safe is an electrical outlet.

The first time I looked in and saw the outlet, I was confused, but when I put my laptop in before heading out to sight see, I realized the sheer logic of this feature.  I am not much of a gadget person (no PDA's or fancy camera cell phones for me, thanks), but the idea that I could lock my laptop up, and charge it at the same time, struck me as nothing short of brilliant.  Much of what we carry that is of value these days needs charging, so combine the principles of security and power together.   Whether this is German efficiency or a Sheraton standard, I can't say, but it is a welcome and refreshing sign that ingenuity and efficiency are alive and well.  Bravo!

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