Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Surreal Life

I'm typing this at around 35,000 feet, on the second of two flights home and will paste it into my blog when I get back.  It is always a good feeling coming back.  And this was an interesting trip.

I picked up a Nook Color e-Reader at Barnes and Noble. We don't have B&N where I'm from and I took the opportunity on this state-side trip to pick one up.  I was thinking that the chances were pretty good of picking one up when I walked into the store based on the reviews I'd read.  It was a little bigger than I thought it would be, but the screen on this thing is fantastic and the capacitive touch screen is excellent.  The decision to plunk down the cash was surprisingly easy.  And I consider myself a pretty frugal guy.

There has been some pretty cool stuff happening on the hacking front with the NC (Nook Color) that turns this $250 device into almost a mini-iPad.  Just this past weekend, an intrepid group of hackers seems to have gotten Bluetooth going on it as icing on the cake (Hello GPS).  Now I need to pick up a decently fast microSD card (Class 2 just won't do it) and make it dance.  Android Honeycomb is sounding a bit shakey on it right now, so trying that is likely going to wait a few weeks until the official source code drops from Google.  In the meantime, I'll probably play with Froyo.  The great thing about the NC is that it treats whatever is on the microSD slot as the primary boot device.  So if you've got a custom ROM properly configured on the SD card, it preferentially boots to that rather than its internal ROM.  No JailBreaking required.

Another thing I did was max out my liquor exemption again.  This time around I picked up 750ml of Godiva Chocolate Liquor and 375ml of Peach Brandy for My Lovely Wife.  Booze is a relative steal in the US, so I try to bring something back whenever I get the chance.

But on to the events of today.  First thing this morning, I found myself in an industry roundtable listening to some major CEO's of the business talk about where they are at and where they are headed.  I was pretty amused by some of the subtle and not so subtle shots they were taking at each other.  After the roundtable, we talked to some vendors, got taken out to lunch by another vendor, and then went on to talk to yet more vendors.  It was a good change for me since I'm usually doing stuff more technically focused than this.

Mid-afternoon came and it was time to grab a cab to the airport.  The ride itself was pretty exciting. Driven by a middle-Eastern Mario Andretti, we got through downtown and to the airport in record time.  There was a bit of a lull in the excitement during check-in and security.  That is always a good thing though.  Got to the gate with time to spare, just in time to see that my flight was delayed.  The delay was 20 minutes, cutting in to the two hour gap to the follow-on flight.  Still lots of time, or so one would think.

We got off the plane and got down to the immigration area where a huge mass of humanity was gathered.  I had never seen so many people packed into immigration there, and I've been through there a lot.  My heart started to beat a little quicker as I worried about missing my flight.  Whether I was supposed to or not, I went into a separate, smaller lineup where another small commotion was just sorting itself out.  A worker in the floor above must have somehow slipped and he came crashing down through the suspended ceiling right into the immigation area.  I got there just after he had dusted himself and got back to work.  It was a little surreal to watch the security people cordoning off the area with big cardboard Inukshuks.

I breezed through customs and got down to Baggage Carousel 10 to get my checked bag.  I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  My heart was starting to beat a little faster again as I was eating into the time I had to make my connecting flight.  I could tell the guy waiting next to me was getting a little worried too.  So he wanders over to the next carousel and ends up finding his bag there!  Sure enough, I go over there and mine shows up on the "wrong" carousel after a minute as well!  Better lucky than good, so I grab my bag, get out of customs, and get through security and into the Business Class lounge in time for a bowl of minestrone soup and a plate of vegetables.  Sweet.

The weekend coming up looks to be action packed.  As always, I'll get in my workouts.  I also want to make another loaf of bread as I seem to be getting my technique down after eleven mediocre attempts.  And my logic analyzer finally got through customs and is sitting at home waiting for me.  This is going to let me get a real close look at the way my weather station console is configuring the radio receiver chip.  From there I'll see if I can get my Pretty Pink Pager implementation going.  Should be interesting.  However, I also think I need to do some work work this weekend to catch up on stuff I should have been doing during this trip.  So much to do, so little time.

But that is a couple days ahead.  Within the next couple hours, I'll land, drive the long dark road home, kiss my wife, play with my dog, and just be happy to be back home.

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