What is ten times a hundred grams ?

… in Russia, the answer is “one liter”. I actually tested it in a dinner meeting in Moscow, and it is indeed true, as Russians tend to order a Vodka by simply asking a ‘hundred grams’.
The few meetings in Moscow today and tomorrow all revolve around the newly awarded 3G licences, and one of the innovative ideas we are pushing is to use the 3G license primarily to provide a fixed telephony and internet access service (dual play). This is a really neat idea, as it can help a cellular operator to delay investments in the fixed network (DSLAMs), while enjoying incremental revenue from fixed telephony and internet access.
Implementing this idea is still, in practice, quite a venture, as the required technologies, like HSPA for high speed wireless packet data, and ROHC for IP header compression, are still in the very first days of their commercial availability. But Russia is probably the country most likely to succeed in putting this all together, with a combination of risk-taking management, high skilled engineers, a lot of money ready to be invested, and the very russian talent of getting things which don’t quite work by themselves to work anyhow.
Unlike nearly all previous visits in Moscow, this one so far is without any ‘adventure’, except for the 4 hours delay of the Aeroflot flight from Paris. No cab-with-a-battery-failure-that-you-need-to-push-under-a-snowstorm-with an-unlicenced-driver-that-gets-arrested-by-the-police, no hunting for hotels…
As always I find it difficult to believe that this country still holds together. The extreme constrast between mega-wealth and misery in Moscow is more blatant that ever, with luxury shops at every corner and traffic jams of expensive 4x4s. This reminds me of a joke from a previous colleague in Netcentrex from our Moscow office who once told me that the big black 4x4s escorted by the police were in fact the most important heads of the mafia. Well… it wasn’t really a joke. Only today I read in the ‘Moscow times’ that such a black BMW with a blue flashing light killed a pedestrian by hitting him in the middle of Moscow at over 100km/h. The same day the driver of another 4×4, driving on the sidewalk to avoid trafic jams, shot 3 pedestrians who were refusing to step aside. We had to avoid such a car driving on the sidewalk as we got out of Vimpelcom headquarters… I am glad we didn’t resist !
After skipping lunch we had a quick dinner in an Italian restaurant. I need to remember to go to restaurant ‘Petrovich’ the next time I am in Moscow, from the local Comverse office people this is a very nice place serving traditional food, in an appartment-like setting.
The hotel bill at Sheraton Palace was horrendous, I will check next time http://www.moscow-star.com who provides appartments by the day.