Before I get to that, this year's trip was very short, I flew in last Sunday (the 11th) and am flying back on Monday the 19th (US time, get back Wed 21 AU time). Excluding the two days in the US lost to travel I've worked pretty much a full day every other day I've been here, making what's probably a 70 hour week, luckily this is a very rare event, and in this case mostly my own fault for trying to stuff as much as possible in the trip.
For this trip I decided to skip the A380 and went classic with the 747, certainly the premium product is fairly similar, although it's down on the main deck, not the upper which is a shame.
On this return journey I managed to snag a (points) upgrade to business, and return to my favourite aircraft cabin, the 747-400's upper deck. As it happens this was the ill-fated QF108 which simply circled the ocean outside LA for an hour dumping fuel before it returned to LA sending me to the LAX Hilton for a day to wait for a replacement flight back to SYD which turned out to be QF12, the A380 LAX-SYD service.
Now having tried both I think I do still prefer the upper deck on a 747 over the A380 but it really is only that sense of privacy you get with the small cabin, other then that the A380 probably wins in every way (except perhaps speed with the A380 cruising over 100km/hour slower then I've usually seen a 747, making the pacific crossing over an hour longer).
This is actually my first long-haul business class flight, I've done the LAX-JFK Qantas flight in business (in 2008 when I went to HOPE), but at only around five hours that's much shorter then the full 14(ish) hours of the full transpac flight, and although I got a business seat on a LAX-MEL flight back in 2009 that was still with premium service, something, until now, I considered fairly minimal. I do still think that for what you get business class is overpriced, but if (as I feel) it's saved me a day of recovery so I can get back to work a day earlier that can easily be worth the difference in price as you move only a level or two up in an organisations hierarchy. Just having a nice, quiet, catered lounge in LAX is worth paying some amount for, although the Internet there is only barely usable (and Qantas are *still* stealing other people's IP space for their captive portals which is a pathetic indictment of whoever runs them).
Although I've started reading "Rapture of the Nerds" I'm only about a third of the way through it, so far it seems very inspired by Anathem (et al, there's many other books in this vein) and it really isn't grabbing me like much of Cory's other work has.
1: 2011 edition: http://laptop006.livejournal.com/55