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India 18/19-Oct-2011

Bangalore Tour

The first video is from the 18th, the day before TechEd started, and I’m including it as I pushed out the blog for the 18th before this tour of Bangalore happened.  It’s great to have a tour guide who knows much more about the area than I could have learned from any books or web sites, and Kumud was a great hostess.  With Marilyn Pratt and Jeanne Carboni along, we visited two temples, went past a lot of traffic, stores, people, and landmarks. I think the video speaks for itself (slight joke, because the version I uploaded from the ipad hasno sound.  The camera I use records in QuickTime format to a .MOV file, but the software does not recognize the audio track as valid (and silently ignores it).  Maybe I should on new subtitles?



hotel wireless fiasco


In the morning, I connected to the “free” wireless, which seems to always be a different process in every location.  With an ipad, a laptop and a Droid, I crossed the line somewhere, trying to connect each of them in turn for uploading pictures or videos, or synching. I did not need to have all 3 connected, but after putting the phone back into airplane mode, the laptop would not connect.  And as I’ve written before, there’s a lot (of critical functions) that the ipad won’t do. I called downstairs, and they said they would send up an IT person.  I should have known it wasn’t going to be right away, but I didn’t know it would be never.  After more than an hour, I gave up and got ready to go to TechEd.  I’d deal with it later.


At the front desk, the problem was easily solved (or worked around) by giving me a guest pass, good for 28 days, like geeting an extra room for nothing, or nothing extra.  So, not a fiasco, since I’m not blocked from doing work, but just a bit of time I’d like to have back.


walking to TechEd


At the front desk, I spotted someone with a similar (paper) Google map showing the route to the KPMO TechEd site. I thought he was interested in walking, but as it turned out, he as trying to get a cab.  We agreed to share one, but his promised “be back in 10” turned into more than a half-hour of limbo. I watched tweets of the beginning of the keynote, and finally decided to head out without waiting any longer. My plan all along had been to walk between the hotel and the convention center, and with nice weather there seemed no reason to sit in another vehicle.  The map and the previous day’s journeys left me with good bearings, and other than missing the TechEd site entrance initially (walking on the wrong side of the street), everything went well.


keynote, infomercials


I got to the first keynote almost at the end, but was able to observe the growing crowd, the beginnings of booth activity, and the layout of foot traffic.  I tweeted a little after the next two keynotes were on, as I didn’t find them anything other than a vendor pitch. Not much more to add, but I think scheduling alterations led to a substitution.


outside lunch (with dog)


There was supposed to be a “good” lunch with executives, press, bloggers, etc. at 1PM, but the regular crowd lunch was announced at 11:30 and I decided that was the way to go.  Once outside, getting plates, utensils and plenty to eat was easy.  Unlike in the U.S, there were not a lot of minders telling the crowd where to eat.  There was a little confusion about which way the lines were supposed to go, but people helped me out as I may have look a bit confused.  The food was excellent, just spicy enough for me to handle outside in the shade. It took me a little while to figure out where to take the used dishes for retrieval.  


press conference


I was probably listening to every third word during the press conference, which was more like a talk show with several people on a sofa next to a moderator, chatting in conversational tones. I saw Dennis Howlett interacting with Vishal via Twitter just before the event.  Good lively jostling here:

Dennis: (*) (*)


Vishal:  (*)



Though Vishal talked about announcements above, I don’t see anything about ChariTra on the SAP press / newsroom page several hours later as I write this. And it’s also the name of a movie from 1973 (which I shall now put on my list to watch).  I’m not about to transcribe the paper copy I snarfed in the press room, but I’ll quote one passage what the author should have had an editor blue pencil before this went out:

“… a product that uses technology as an enabler to bring about social change…”


Nothing against technology, but people enable social change.  Machines (and software) are merely tools to make it easier.  Enabler implies change would not happen without it, like a catalyst. 


There was good follow-up at the press conference, and at the later Mentor session with Vishal.  I particularly liked that this was developed and released in India (and I think it ties into comments on my blog from yesterday).  What do others think of this?


wired fiasco (“proxy this”)


In the U.S., and in the TechEd conferences I attended in Europe, bloggers were allowed access to a press area where power strips, LAN lines, and even food and drink was available.  The power I can manage without if I’ve properly charged up, and likewise the food if I’ve charged that dimension, but a LAN line is a necessity to be able to report on an event when the typical wireless woes strike.  There were hours today when the wireless connected, but nothing went through.  I turned on my phone for a few minutes of 3G service, but I’m not going to upload movies, or especially videos, via that line.

I thought the speaker room would be a way around the road blocks, but everything seemed to be set up for SAP speakers, nothing for guests. 


Later in the day, the wireless seemed to rebound and I got a couple videos and a few pictures online.  But it makes for a late night finishing the tale. Maybe I’ll take fewer photos tomorrow, given the number of sessions I should hit.


vishal and the turtles sticker


I caught up with Vishal after my lunch, as the Mentors meeting shifted around, and was able to get him a sticker referencing the turtle story he told during a Mentor webcast.  He seemed pleased.  I have more stickers if anyone wants one at the site.  Catch me at the SCNotties Thursday if nowhere else. If you read this in time, of course…


hands on session – HANA


Another slight foul-up, as the badge I picked up Tuesday had nothing to do wit my registration, it was a throwdown to get me out of their faces.  I had to go back outside to get the badge with the tickets printed and sitting inside the plastic sleeve.  There might be bar codes on the registration papers, but I’ve yet to see a bar code reader anywhere in the event (but then I haven’t been to the vendor booths).  The line formed outside the room well before the announced 3:45 PM start, and wasn’t really moving until a few minutes prior to that.

The speakers probably started 10-15 minutes late, not a dilemma for a 4 hour hands on (which I don’t have the patience for), but a damper to a 2 hour session.  The lecture/slides preamble should have taken 20 – 30 minutes, but took another 45.  I swear I was nodding off waiting to do something.

Once they let us into the systems, paper copies of the instructions were handed out.  In previous TechEds I attended, the copied were in the back of the room for anyone to look through.  Not having directions certainly prevented anyone getting a head start on their work.

Like Somnath Manna said to me just after that session, I know more about this aspect of HANA now that I ever would have from lectures or keynotes.  Per usual, getting to try something that I might not be able to use for years (if ever) is not very motivating, and what I saw was directed specifically to an audience I would think of as BW report writers or designers.

We did schema work, creating object dictionaries and activating them for use in analytics.  As with any good canned instruction set, it led us through the maze without straying too much into architectural grandiosities, but with enough background noise to at least give a flavor of what this tool is possible of, or could be if it was out in the wilds.


I’d say we got through one-third of the exercises before I needed to get out, about 15 minutes before the scheduled end time.  There’s no way we could have finished everything in that amount of time. At least I have a paper copy to look at sometime.



I’d say the session was a success as far as my expectation of demystifying this product. Not that I totally understand it, but I may be able to explain it to others now. I thinl

The tool set is not the kind of intuitive visionary “oh yeah, like that” which it should be from the advertising and hype.  It’s for serious data architecture geeks to put this stuff together.  There’s no way a novice or casual user is going to use this tool and come up with anything the enterprise could stand.

I worry about possible HANA disaster movies, where the promise of “all is fast because it’s in memory” turns into the kind of performance issues that no one can untangle without starting over from scratch. And if the models aren’t well documented, no amount of hardware is going to enlighten the reasons for any design decisions.






Walk this way.




Oops, can’t get to TechEd from here. Entrance around the corner.





Food prep.






No paper schedule handouts! Hooray!




Lunch time. Dog, do you have a registration badge?




It’s the other badge, the one with the Cracker Jax prizes in it.




Hands-on session, but the tedious lecture part.




Abesh and Dipankar answering audience questions after their session.




Demo Jam audience





Srivastava G



Mentor(s) circle around Sethu M





Suraj Sudhi

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  • Typical of SAP applications on Mobile or iPad these days there is a big backend. Same way the pictures you took provides a glimpse of the TechEd backend. Looks like your blogs on India visit may very well turn out to be a small book. Looking forward to the first SCNotties Ceremony tomorrow(technically today) afternoon IST.
    Strangely you did not mention DemoJam in your blog. Have you shunned it intentionally?
    • Somnath – it was wonderful to see you again, and we must chat more after your next HANA sessions .

      = “DemoJam in your blog. Have you shunned it intentionally?”

      Yes, and no.  The noise, flash and content of the demo jam presentations are not my cup of tea, and I usually find better things (for me) to do at those times. It is also not the same without Craig Cmehil, in more ways than one. In fact, I was preparing and uploading images, and uploading videos during that time to get my blog ready. I once estimated it took me an hour to prepare content someone could consume in less than a minute. Trying to put together a coherent narrative, not omitting events or people, takes concentration that is challenging with background noise, which is why I slunk away to a dark corner of the room and stuck earphones on.

      • Jim,

        Good videos!!

        “It is also not the same without Craig Cmehil, in more ways than one”-> I second that, even i felt the same way.

        Harshit Kumar