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Archive for July, 2007

A Quiet Friday Night

July 28th, 2007 2 comments

It’s a Friday night and as you might expect of someone with a young sentient being in his care, I’m not at the local bar killing off precious brain cells. No, on this beautiful evening I’m enjoying the hospitality of one of the many Northwest gates at good old MSP. Yes, that’s right, I’m on my way to someplace even hotter than the big Minne has been the last few weeks – I’m heading to the “dry heat” of Phoenix. I’ve made the joke about Minnesota winters and a dry cold but how you can say temps in the hundreds are anything but oppressive is beyond me. Oh well, as is typical of my trips these days, I’ll see little more than the airport, a shuttle bus, and a hotel ballroom.

As luck would have it my already late night flight is delayed – so far by only half an hour but still…good thing I’ll be sleeping in tomorrow! Sitting here in the G concourse I’m reminded of just how self absorbed people can be. On one side, I’ve got the guy who thinks his Bluetooth headset requires that he SHOUT to be heard by his friends – either that or he thinks the rest of us really care whether or not his anonymous partner went out with that guy from the office. Well, maybe if it was someone from The Office, we would care… Then on the other side of me I have the couple that is excitedly describing their free trip to the “cigarette company ranch” to some poor family. Man – thank god I was reading when those two showed up but I can tell you a set of noise canceling headphones will be purchased very soon. Too bad the darn iPhone has that goofy recessed head phone jack. Hmm, this phone is getting more costly by the day.

Just another glamorous night on the speaking circuit. Hey – maybe Jake was on to something about my blog…either that or I’ve been reading way too much of Peter King‘s stuff. I promise, one of these days I’ll write about something technical. Maybe. We’ll see.

So – I thought this would be the end of the story, but alas it wasn’t to be. First, shortly after I put my laptop away, we were told of a gate change and as is usually the case, it was essentially on the other side of the terminal. It’s quite something to see a couple of hundred people all simultaneously bolt for the proverbial exits… Anyway, after settling in at the F concourse, the gate agent informs us that we’re waiting on the pilots who are flying into (of course) G but as soon as they land, we’ll start boarding so after they are spirited over we’ll be ready to go (apparently their delay is why we’re behind). Considering they could have just canceled the flight, this seemed acceptable.

After everyone was on board, the pilots arrived only to find that their dinners somehow hadn’t managed to make it. The captain tells us he’s very sorry but they’re going to just run back into the concourse and grab a quick bite to eat – shouldn’t be more than 20 minutes. Now, frankly, I want a pilot that’s focussed on, you know, flying the plane and not on his rumbling stomach but still…this is turning into a long night. They finally return and we push off – alleluia!

After starting the engines, we (oddly) just sit on the tarmac. Given the hour and the lack of any weather, I found it strange that we weren’t moving…after sitting there for a bit the pilot informs us that one of the three navigation computers is showing an error and since we need all three to fly, we’ll have to pull back up and get it fixed. Now, I’m guessing the plane can actually fly without all three computers but at this point more than a few passengers are wondering what kind of hotel Northwest will be springing for tonight. Speaking of passengers, for whatever reason, I seem to be on a lot of flights filled with teeny-boppers. Now that I’m a thirty something and have a child I think I can say things like that.

Anyway, on this particular flight we had quite a number of that age group that is never wrong and this crowd was…interesting. First off, I’m not entirely sure how three of them managed to get an exit row – it’s not like they needed the leg room and I doubt they have status. They also didn’t handle the delays very well. One shouted “Northwest sucks” at least once and was quite proud of herself while others made angry comments to (one assumes) their legal guardians about the setbacks. Of course the young lady that said “we should have landed hours ago” clearly doesn’t understand time…or how flight works. I can only assume she didn’t quite grasp the time shift. Oh well.

Once we returned to the gate, three mechanics showed up and kept going in an out of the cockpit. At this point the stewardesses sprang into action and started handing out water. After about a half hour, things finally were under control – the pilot informed us that they had to “reboot” the navigation computers (I can only surmise they were using Windows Vista Supreme Ultimate Avionics or something similar). After a two plus hour delay, we were *finally* in the air and my adventure was over…or was it?

Upon landing in Phoenix, I called the hotel and asked for a shuttle – I was told it’d be five to fifteen minutes. OK, no problem, the hotel is *very* close to the airport so this shouldn’t be an issue… Well, twenty five minutes later I called back wondering where the shuttle was and again I was told five minutes tops. Keep in mind that it’s 1 am but my body insists it’s 3. After another phone call, the shuttle finally arrives and I’m whisked to the hotel. I’m just happy Jay scheduled me for a later time slot this morning. Speaking of the hotel, I’ve got to say, what a comfortable bed! Kudos to Crown Plaza for doing what EVERY hotel should – they put a night-light in the bathroom. Such a simple thing yet this is the first hotel I’ve stayed at in recent memory that did that… Well, enough of this – time to shower and spread a little Ajax goodness!

Categories: Off Topic, Rants, Talks, Travel Tags:

Travel Notes

July 20th, 2007 No comments

As my regular reader knows, I’ve been doing a fair bit of traveling the past couple of years and while I mostly tolerate the security theater (seriously – a laptop battery is far more dangerous than shampoo) I’m still amazed at what people try to do. Maybe I’ve just been traveling too much, but how can you not know about the (silly) liquid rules? Even if you haven’t read them, most of the airports I’ve been flying through are continually reminding passengers about the magical quart bags via the public address system. As if that weren’t enough, there seem to be signs everywhere – many conveniently located right at the head of the security line where in some cases you can actually get a complimentary plastic bag (who said all the romance was gone from traveling?)

Flying home from Salt Lake City one guy tried to carry on full bottles of mouth wash and liquid soap – he seemed *stunned* that they weren’t going to let him through. Of course that was topped by the woman that was behind me coming back from Milwaukee. She had what can best be described as a pallet of bottled water she brought from home and seemed quite put out that the screener was going to make her throw all that reasonably priced liquid refreshment in the trash. But that doesn’t hold a candle to the things that get confiscated on a daily basis – apparently you can get a pretty good deal on an impact drill if you’re willing to hunt the government warehouse store. And how can two people a week walk through security forgetting that only air marshals and pilots get to carry heat? Of course the real thing to remember – don’t carry anything through security that a TSA agent doesn’t understand (via Threat Level)…

Categories: Off Topic, Rants, Travel Tags:

The Rich Web Experience

July 18th, 2007 No comments

I’ve mentioned this to a few people here and there but mark your calendars for The Rich Web Experience September 6-8 in San Jose. Whether you’re a seasoned Ajax vet or someone that’s just trying to get your head around what the heck XHR is, RWE has something for you. The lineup looks absolutely fantastic and I’m excited to be a part of the event – if you’re interested in going, you can get a $200 discount by using this promotion code: nfjs2007speaker200. I’ll be doing an overview of various Ajax libraries, a deep dive on Prototype, and a talk on how to add Ajax to an existing application. Hope to see you there!

The Rich Web Experience

Categories: Ajax, Development, Talks Tags:

At Least It’s Honest

July 18th, 2007 No comments

I’ve seen my share of spam over the years and most of the time I’m just stunned anyone falls for it. I mean, come on – who actually thinks that some stranger needs to move 10 or 20 million in hard currency out of their war torn/ravaged country and for some reason they trust YOU to help with this critical mission? Sure, it sounds like a great deal but, gez, I doubt my 4 month old would fall for that. But, we don’t live in Lake Wobegon so it I suppose it shouldn’t be that surprising. Anyway, of late there’s been some spam on the Firebug discussion group and while I’ve deleted most of it on site, this one caught me eye:

Road Map To Riches – Another 2-UP Scam

Road Map To Riches is yet Another 2-Up scheme in the pipeline! Akin to EDC Gold and Passport to Wealth among others, this program is designed to suck gobs of cash out of you and leave you wallowing in your embarrassment for having been so foolish.

Wow, how refreshingly honest! I really pity the person that falls for that line.

Categories: Off Topic, Rants Tags:

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