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« MP3 & Critical Mass | Main | Palm DevCon: Day Three »
Monday
May122003

Palm DevCon: Day Four

Departure day. Bags are all packed up tight and a 6:30am phone call from my wife served as a nice end to the week away and wake up call in case of an alarm failure. Gail and Nathan are doing better and are glad I'm heading back home.

At 6:50am, I meet Jen Edwards (a.k.a. PocketGoddess) in the lobby to catch the shuttle to San Francisco International, as our outgoing flights both left around 9am. We had a good chat on the way over to the airport, discussing our meetings and experiences over these past few days. Jen mentioned writing some articles about her experience -- when that info goes up I'll be sure to share the link. Jen and I parted outside SFO as I needed to ride the shuttle a bit farther to catch my United flight.

Inside, people were hustling to gates and security checkpoints seemed very busy. I found the line for United and within a few minutes, I was standing at the desk, getting checked in. Interestingly, United's desk featured e-ticket consoles which most people were using -- since I didn't have an e-ticket, I chose to speak to a representative. This turned out to be a good choice, since the attendant seated me farther up on the plane since getting to my connecting flight within 45 minutes was going to be a tight affair.

The security line looked like a zoo, but moved quickly. While departing Milwaukee earlier in the week, one of the security personnel commented to another traveller that tennis shoes didn't require scanning, so I tested this info at SFO and found it accurate. A few minites later I was through and headed for my gate.

Decided to grab a coffee and was pleased to learn that the Starbucks location at SFO accepted the Starbucks card (many airport locations do not). I have this card for occasions such as this; where my pocket cash is limited but I can really use a coffee.

Starbucks seems to have done well in cornering the airport market for coffee vendors, at least at San Francisco International, Chicago's O'Hare and Milwaukee's Mitchell. It seemed everywhere I went I could easily locate a Starbucks either by sight, smell or the sound of squealing steam and frothing foam. At O'Hare it seemed as though there was a Starbucks at every gate.

While awaiting my flight from San Francisco to Chicago, I noticed the pillar near my gate had a T-Mobile HotSpot logo emblazoned on it. I fired up the Powerbook and activated AirPort networking -- the HotSpot immediately displayed itself in the menu bar, to my delight. I then tried checking my email, but with no luck. Must sign in.

Next I launched my browser which brought up a JavaScript that automatically launched the T-Mobile HotSpot login page. It was very disconcerting to have my browser so easily commandeered by the HotSpot server. I began to wonder how hard it would be for a hacker to access the T-Mobile access point or server, in order to spoof users signing in to get access to their Wi-Fi connected laptops. Hmmm.

Finally, I wanted to see if I could sign up for access via the HotSpot connection and found it quite possible, but with only a few minutes until boarding began, I decided to hold off for a future opportunity. Still, this sign up option brought another question to my mind -- was the signup secure? Could someone with a packet sniffer grab my credit card info, or my username and password this way? Double hmmm.

Flight was significant only in that the pre-takeoff announcement by our pilot included:

"related to the the safety presentation, which I'm sure you all followed intently... that some passengers are charged with helping the crew. I wanted to point out that this includes certain security situations, such as dealing with unruly passengers. Please think about that."

I had to chuckle -- an airline pilot with a dry sense of humor. :-)

Near the end of the flight I was slightly concerned about timing, since we were running about 18 minutes late on the expected 3:00pm landing time. My connecting flight was scheduled to depart at 3:45pm. This delay would leave me with less than 30 minutes to get across O'Hare, not to mention my checked bags.

When we finally landed it was 3:18pm -- I cranked it out of the gate, searching for the connecting flight's gate number, then located the gate on the map. Sure enough, I had to cross the entire airport to reach my flight, so I put the afterburners on. I blew past all sorts of travelers, until climbing an escalator where a wife was casually chatting with her husband, blocking the way. Arrgggh!

Amazingly, I made my gate with time to spare, only to find that the gate had switched from E9 to E7 and the Milwaukee flight had been delayed. All that hard work to make the flight for nothing. Still, I was happy for the delay in the end, since I figured my bags would have never made it on my original flight. Better to be delayed 15 minutes at the gate than spending hours hunting down bags at the airport baggage claim.

Saw a great t-shirt on two guys from the Soldiers for Jesus Motorcycle Club who were traveling to Milwaukee for a Harley rider's convention:

Jesus Would Have Ridden a Harley

On the ground in Milwaukee, I exited the terminal and entered the main waiting area where I heard Gail call my name. Wow, it was great to see her and Nathan again. Ah, home again. :-)

All told, I had a great time on my visit to the PalmSource DevCon and I hope you've enjoyed my travelogue account. I wish I could share more details from meetings and other events, but I take the NDAs I've signed very seriously. I will instead direct you to other story links from the event:

BrightHand: Steve Bush's PalmSource Trip Diary
Brighthand: PalmSource Developer Seminar Recap
GearMongers: Craig Froehle's Post on the Tapwave Helix
Palm Infocenter: Palm OS 6 To Be Released in Late 2003
SiliconValley.com: Palm OS 6: the Evolution
SiliconValley.com: Q&A with PalmSource CEO David Nagel

If I do come into information related to PalmSource stuff that's ok to share, you can be sure I'll post it here. :-)

Thanks for reading. I should be back on my normal weekday blogging schedule here once again, so tune in tomorrow for another installment.

Cheers!

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