Monday, January 31, 2005

Looks like you're having a good trip, Lee. Hope your return trip is safely uneventful.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Jay, it's great to read about your son, Leigh, who you must have named after me, no? He sounds just like a chip off the old block.

As you may be able to tell from some of these pictures, I'm in Taiwan right now. I was on the phone with Terri and started to hear a loud drumming sound from down on the street. It was loud enough that Terri could actually hear it through the phone even though I am up on the 17th floor so I decided to go down check it out. I just took these pictures and you can click on any one of them to get a larger image. It appears that the Chinese New Year festivities are already beginning. The actual date of the new year is February 9th, and the whole country will shut down for 1 week, starting next Monday. The same is true for most countries in this region. I'm here on a business trip, getting ready for several days of training and meetings to discuss a product called LightScribe, which is a way to label CDs and DVDs using the same laser that writes the data.

I generally visit Taiwan about once a or twice a year since a lot of HP's suppliers and technology partners are headquartered here. A few years ago, they used to manufacture just about all the world's PCs in Taiwan, but now they have the manufacturing done in China.

Taiwan considers itself an independent country from Mainland China. Mainland China thinks of Taiwan as a renegade province. Taiwan used to be called Formosa. Ilha Formosa, which means 'Beautiful Island', was the name given by a Dutch navigator sailing on a Portugese ship back in 1590. If you look in an encyclopedia from the 1960's, you won't find Taiwan, but will find Formosa. I'm not sure when the name change took place. A southern portion of the island was named Tayouan, (pronouced Taiwan) meaning 'Terraced Bay' and this is the name that later was adopted by the whole country. Back in 1949 during the Communist revolution in China, Chiang Kai-Shek and his followers came here and declared this the 'real' China and pretty much took over, claiming to rule all of China and hoping one day to reclaim the mainland. There is still a lot of tension between Taiwan and mainland China but just in the past day, they began to allow direct flights between mainland China and Taiwan for the first time in 56 years, despite their separation of only 100 miles. Previously, all flights had to be routed through Hong Kong or Macau. So perhaps this will mark a new era of a more peaceful coexistence of these historically political foes.

It seems that 10 to 15 years ago, most of my foreign travel was to Japan, then Singapore, now to Taiwan, and I suspect that in another 5 years, it will probably be to China, as the manufacturing and other high tech jobs follow the world's lowest labor rates. Perhaps sometime in the future those jobs will come back to the U.S., but it may take a long time to get the rest of the world up to a U.S. or European standard of living. It's hard to know how this will all turn out and there is much controversy about whether it's right or wrong to protect an economy by isolating it from the rest of the world. The only thing that I do know about protectionism is that if you engage in it long enough, you'll eventually become a magnet for low paying jobs since your standard of living will eventually lag so far behind the rest of the world, that your own country's wages will become the lowest.

Thank GOD George Bush was re-elected!!!! As for John la francais!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Our local newspaper had a story on my son. Just wanted to share:

Athlete of the Week: Leigh Tobias, Johnson City
* Year in school: Sophomore.
* Age: 15.
* Height/weight: 5-foot-4/119 pounds.
* Sport: Wrestling.
* Notable accomplishment: Tobias won his first Southern Tier Athletic Conference wrestling title Saturday, defeating Windsor's John Yarosh, 12-3, in the 119-pound final. The victory helped Tobias avenge a 9-3 semifinal loss to Yarosh at last year's STAC Championships and he improved to 22-1 this season. His title also helped Johnson City win its ninth straight STAC team title.
* Athlete's perspective: "He's a hard kid to wrestle, he's very strong," Tobias said of Yarosh. "I just tried to stay away from him and not get caught. I thought (the match) was going to be a lot tighter."
On winning his first STAC title: "It felt awesome, even just getting to the finals. I hadn't got past the semifinals. The big thing is, it seems like with every event, you just try to stay confident."
On his success this season: "It's been quite a surprise, especially with last year and the year before. Usually at this point I have 7-8 losses. It's been great to do as well as I have. I tried to work a lot more on conditioning, being able to outlast guys. I feel a lot stronger this season.
"Last year, I was pretty good on my feet, but I've been working a lot more on the mat. That's where most matches are won and lost."
* Coach's perspective: "The way he wrestled in the (STAC) finals was amazing," JC coach Pete Capone said. "The kid beat him by (six) points last year, but Tobias turned it up a notch in the second period. He even surprised me."
On Tobias' emergence: "He's become a better leader in the wrestling room. He's leading by example, which can sound old sometimes, but I don't think there's anyone who drills harder in practice. He listens, which isn't always easy."
"His technique is good. If we didn't have some of the kids like (Chenango Forks' Troy) Nickerson and (Oxford's J.P.) O'Connor, you would think of Tobias as one of the best in Section 4. He's a 10th-grader competing against these guys."
* Favorite wrestler: Cael Sanderson (four-time NCAA champion at Iowa State).
* Immediate goal: Win a Section 4 Division I title and hopefully a state title.
* Long-range goal: If it doesn't happen this year, win a state championship in the future and possibly wrestle collegiately.


Monday, January 17, 2005

Just a short note to brag a little. My youngest son (16 0n Wednesday) won the 119lb Southern Tier Athletic Conference wrestling champoinship on Saturday evening. He is now 21-1 on the season and is presently ranked 3rd in New York state. He's gonna be a good one! He's only in 10th grade! See ya' later!

Monday, January 10, 2005

That's one cute snow-bunnie you've got there, Lee....

Saturday, January 08, 2005

It's been a long time since I've posted so I just wanted to let people know I'm still around, periodically checking the weblog, and finally got around to posting a picture. This is Terri, having fun on a snowmobile ride we took around Steamboat Springs last month. Sorry about the spots on the picture, I think some snowflakes landed on the camera lense. We rode until it got dark and got to watch a beautiful sunset and later followed the trail through the trees at night, which was quite a thrill.

We had a relaxing week off for Christmas and stayed around the house and had some friends over for dinner on New Year's Eve. Neither of us has traveled on business for the past few months which has been a welcome break. The product I've been working on has just started shipping, so I'm hoping it's a success and I'll get to keep my job for a while longer. Other than that, there's not too much to report. I hope that everyone has a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Monday, January 03, 2005

Hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year's Eve and Day !!