» Archive for the 'IUFRO/GFIS' Category


Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 by rdm
Demonstration of harvesting sap from the Pará rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis)

Demonstration of harvesting sap from the Pará rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis)

Today was a good day.  I was able to talk with some people about GFIS and along way I met many interesting people including a Nobel prize winner.  Actually, it was a scientist from the Philippines who was part of the group of people that shared the Nobel prize with Al Gore in 2007.   Always fascinating who you might meet at these conferences.

Now it is 5pm on Tuesday and the travel, workshop, and exhibit staffing has caught up with me and I am exhausted.  Completely exhausted.  This afternoon Juha and I left the conference a little before it officially ended for the day so that we could beat the traffic back to the hotel and get some rest.  There is a dinner at the University this evening and it is within walking distance of the Maruay, however I think I will just stay at the hotel and try to get some sleep.  I know full well what is is like to over-extend myself on these trips and I am backing off from trying to do everything in order to keep myself healthy.

There are several things to blog about for the day but any more writing will have to wait until after I have “spent some quality time with my pillow.”

Exhibit Hall Blogging

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 by rdm
rdm and Juha

rdm and Juha

FORTROP II officially opened this morning with great ceremony.  At least I assume that it was a great ceremony, Juha and I were staffing the IUFRO/GFIS booth during the opening address.  That’s fine with us, we had to figure out how to put together the high-tech displays and that took some time.  ;-)

During the breaks we had lots of visitors to our table but no one has come back to us from the workshop.  I still wonder if we made a difference yesterday….

This morning I spent a fair amount of time with folks from the DPRK.  They were facinated with Google Earth and I helped them download a copy to their comptuer so that they can take it back to North Korea with them.  All the DPRK folks have buttons of Kim Jong-il that they wear on their suits.  I tried to trade them an Obama button for one of the Dear Leader but so far they have not agreed.  This afternoon I plan to have some mekju with them and perhaps I will have better luck.

IUFRO Exhibit at FORTROP II and the End of the Day

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 by rdm
Computer Workshop

Computer Workshop

Following the workshop Ho Sang, Juha, and I walked over to the building that will host FORTROP II.  After a long day there is nothing quite like walking in the Bangkok heat in a suit and tie and not quite knowing where you are going!  ;-)

After a few false starts we finally found the location for FORTROP and checked in for the meeting.  Wow. We have the BEST spot for and exhibit.  Everyone who walks trough the doors of this building will have to pass Juha and I (two really big guys) before entering the symposium.  We will NOT go unnoticed!

Registering for Internet access was a pain.  Access to the Intenet is very well controlled.  Only registered people for the event can have names and passwords to access the wi-fi and they even keep track of MAC addresses and passport numbers of each account.

By the time we made it to the “ice breaker” we were exhausted.  We stayed for a couple of orange sodas and then left in search of a taxi. I know that we are far from the city center but at least in this area traffic is not early as bad as Hanoi.  There are fewer taxi’ available but there is much less congestion in this part of the city and you don’t feel like you are taking your life in your hands by crossing the street!

Bt the time we got back to the hotel Juha and I had enough energy to walk the neighborhood before going back to the hotel for dinner, a beer, and listening to Karaoke before calling it a night.

More updates from the exhibit hall!

GFIS Workshop Overview

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 by rdm
GFIS Workshop

GFIS Workshop

Monday was a very long day for Juha, Ho Sang, and me but one that seemed worthwhile for the GFIS program.  Our workshop was well attended and people seemed interested and, sometimes, even enthused about the project.  That was heartening.

I was a little surprised but most of the people who attended were professors or decision makers and very few Webmasters/technicians.  I was hoping that we would have a more technical people in attendance but instead so we spent a fair amount of time in the morning emphasizing and explaining the GFIS concept than I had imagined.  This was not a problem and it was probably a very useful exercise for the program but I suppose expecting more “keyboard people” like Juha and myself.

I suppose you never really know your audience and their level of knowledge and skill until you are in the classroom setting so you have to flexible and adjust to their needs.

The afternoon session in the computer lab seemed to be very practical and rewarding for me.  I believe we may even have a few new potential information provider partners.  By the end of the session we even had forestry professors writing XML code!  My energy level was really low but I was buoyed by watching people smile and laugh as they wrote their RSS feeds and submitted information to GFIS.  It was great!  :-)

I suppose it is really hard to gauge success for something like this….  The only true measure is if people and organizations follow through on their initial enthusiasm and you can’t tell that for days or even weeks.  So, “we have planted the seeds” and we will keep working with people at FORTROP and keep in touch with people after we lave Bangkok.  Maybe, just maybe, we have made the trip worthwhile.

Monday Morning

Monday, November 17th, 2008 by rdm
Juha Hautakangas

Juha Hautakangas

It is 5:30am in Bangkok and in a couple of hours I will be walking over to Kasetsart University and the GFIS workshop will begin.

It seems strange to do a workshop before we (Juha and I) have spoken with the participants and planned to make the time as productive as possible.  However we have done the best we could in preparing for the meeting and I suppose the time following the workshop, when we are working with the Webmasters, will be the most useful.

On a personal level, I got a whopping 4 hours of sleep last night.  w00-h00!  That makes for a total of around 9 hours since I have been in country.  At the moment I actually feel pretty good.  Amazingly good.  Not sure if I will feel the same in 12 hours but for the moment I am ready to take on the world!  Or at least a GFIS workshop.

Off to have breakfast, find Juha, and walk over to Kasetsart!

Juha, Ho Sang, and Preparing for the Workshop

Sunday, November 16th, 2008 by rdm

I finally meet Juha this afternoon.  After months of Skyping we saw each other in the hotel as he was going down to the lobby to buy more Internet access (that’s right – we have to pay for Internet access) and I was going out for a walk around the neighborhood.  BTW, the neighborhood is not that exciting, it is mostly a residential area around the university.

At 4pm Juha and I are going to go in search of Ho Sang and the rest of the IUFRO/GFIS folks.  Maybe we’ll even have some time to prepare for the workshop in  the morning.

One last thing – it is November 16 and it is HOT here!  86 degrees!  Wonder if I can wear shorts tomorrow…..  ;-)