This week I traveled from Dublin to San Diego to attend “The Experts Conference” (TEC). The conference organizers took care of tickets and I was routed via JFK on Delta rather than my normal choice (probably Aer Lingus to Chicago and onwards on United). The good news was that Delta surprised me with their service, which was better than I remembered or anticipated.
The other point of interest was the chance to see the Space Shuttle mounted on a 747 in a hanger in JFK. I took the photo below with the camera in my Nokia Lumia 800 out of the window of our plane as we taxied to the gate. I was surprised at the quality of the resulting image as I really didn’t expect much due to the motion of the plane, the intervening aircraft windows (never clean and usually with a curve), distance, and so on. It just goes to prove that the cameras built into phones these days are really quite good, which is one of the reasons why traditional “point and shoot” cameras are under pressure in the market.
The remainder of the journey to San Diego passed uneventfully, apart of course from the fact that my glasses disintegrated en route with both arms snapping away from the lenses. I put this down to the impact against an air bag that I had during last week when my car was rammed by a driver who went through a red light. In any case, my glasses were fixed by the very efficient team at Eyes on Fifth in San Diego. I should really remember to bring my eye prescription with me on trips as it’s impossible to get new glasses without an examination and grinding of new lenses and that usually takes just too much time when you’re on the road. Yet another thing to add to my list of things to bring away.
If you’re looking for a good read, you might consider Stumbling through the tulips: An American Family in Holland by Dan Martin, whose blog provides a weekly insight into the trials and tribulations of his family life in Switzerland. Dan, who calls himself “the world’s first baby-boomer”, is an interesting guy whom I worked with at Digital, Compaq, and HP. He was the project manager for the introduction of Microsoft Exchange at Digital and he and I didn’t quite see eye-to-eye on that topic way back in 1996. We managed to patch up our disagreement and have gotten on well since. Dan writes in a particularly quixotic manner and you might just enjoy his book if you’re looking for something in the travel domain.
On another topic, I couldn’t agree more with the opinion expressed by David Gewirtz in his article on ZDnet.com about the rip-off that consumers experience when they buy electronic accessories. David focused on HDMI cables and the extraordinary prices that stores want to charge compared to online sources. Now, I’m quite sure that a) it costs a reasonable amount to build, test, package, and ship a high-quality cable that will handle the demands of PlayStations, Xboxes, Hi-Def TVs and so on, and b) inventory, display, sell, and provide after-sales service for the same items. But with consumer electronic prices for most items dropping in so many areas, it’s baffling that HDMI cables occupy such a lofty position on the pricing spectrum. As David says “Most HDMI cables will work just fine. You don’t need to buy HDMI cables strung from the gold in Rapunzel’s hair.” Indeed.
Now back to the business in hand. TEC really begins today and I have a keynote to deliver and a number of sessions that I want to at least drop into, including “Writing your own Extensible Storage Engine (ESE/Jet Blue) application” by Brett Shirley from Microsoft. Given that ESE is Exchange server’s database engine and not much information exists about its internal working in the wild, the title is probably enough to scare people off and it will be interesting to see how many turn up. Brett insulted me about my defunct coding experience last night so I’ll just have to go along and heckle him today.