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« Palm DevCon: Day Two | Main | Matrix Reloaded »
Tuesday
May062003

Palm DevCon: Day One

Sorry I've been mostly quiet this past week -- I'd been preparing for my trip to California for the PalmSource Developer's Conference. I left today (Monday) on my journey. Yes, I know it's Tuesday... more on that later.

It was hard to say goodbye to Gail and Nathan this morning. I'm going to miss them the next few days. But traveling is in my blood and I know this little getaway will be very good for me. Time to venture out and explore. The good thing about travel, in my opinion, is knowing I have someone and somewhere I can return to. As enjoyable as travel is to me, coming back home is always the sweetest feeling.

I just witnessed a sadly funny scene here at the terminal. An older, cranky lady who looked a bit like Georgia O'Keefe was sitting near the departure door, hassling the United woman at the desk about getting on her flight to Denver waiting just outside. She needed a wheelchair to board and had apparently been waiting a while. "I'm frustrated! Been here an hour and a half! Arggh!" At one point an Asian man walked past her, with a wheelchair and she snapped at him with a gruff "Hey you!" The guy threw her a dismissive wave and said "Not for you! Another one coming. You wait! " and kept rolling down the terminal.

Finally Georgia's ride arrived, but not before she had a little verbal tussle with the United attendant. It wasn't pretty.

Whew, almost missed the flight! Sitting in terminal D at gate 35... Realized nobody else was sitting around me. Took a brief walk, and found the flight had moved to gate 33. That was close.

Saw that our pilot was scribbling in an old Palm III, which I spotted while embarking. There is still hope for old tech! :-)

In Chicago, I heard a funny announcement in the men's room between flights: "Please present all electronic devices to security personnel before entering the magnometer..." This announcement made me wonder just what would happen if electronic devices were accidentally or intentionally run through the magnometer? Would the offending bag launch itself against the magnometer's wall and stick like a wet jello square? Funny how seeing a film like X-Men 2 with a bad guy like Magneto, alters the imagination.

Spent time after a little lunch scoping out power outlets, so I could use my Powerbook without killing off the battery. found several, but always in awkward locations or next to occupied seats. At the moment I'm contemplating stringing my power cable from my seat to the outlet across from me or sitting against the wall. Pretty pathetic, eh? Maybe I'm better off reading my paperback book or listening to music than becoming an electro-vampire geekazoid.

Amazing how many people are on mobile phones at the airport. There was a guy in Milwaukee making call after call, like the president lining up votes. Here in Chicago there's a woman to my right, stretched across three seats, working the phone. This struck me as both admirable and disturbing. Admirable in that these two business people were utterly dedicated to not wasting a precious moment of down time. Disturbing for the very same reason.

I mean, isn't travel stressful enough? I just want to relax. However, I see this tendancy popping up in myself as well, as I seek to plug in my laptop to read email or write this account on my handheld. The question is, why are we so driven to fill every second of our lives with activity? Are we modern people unable to be loafers once and a while?

Which reminds me of a valuable lesson I've learned from several of my European friends: the art of doing nothing. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean doing nothing all the time, but occasionally and intentionally. Martin, Matthias, Andreas, Mysan and Andy all taught me the art of finding a nice spot to let the world pass by. Normally it was a cafe (accompanied by a tasty coffee) but was often a roadside or park. Hmmm... in light of my observations today, I think I need to practice the art of doing nothing a bit more often.

The rest of my trip was uneventful. Waited a long time for the free hotel shuttle, but it was such a nice cool spring afternoon, I didn't mind at all.

Met my fellow Palm-friends at the hotel and we trekked over to the Metreon, a Sony-sponsored store inside the Moscone center in San Francisco. It was a little underwhelming and overpriced, though some of the tech they showcased was very cool, like tiny Vaio notebooks and large flat screens.

We settled on dinner at the Moscone, which for me consisted of a pudd thai-like noodle dish at a noodle joint. Not bad.

Our final destination for the evening was the launch of a new Palm OS product from Tapwave, a new Palm OS licensee. The event was held in a snowboard club in the industrial part of San Francisco. After 30 minutes of mingling, the presentation began with heads of the company sharing their process of developing a new multi-purpose gaming/multimedia device, culminating with an actual viewing of prototype devices. Can't say much more than this device they're developing is very, very cool. Good industrial design and top-notch specs to match. Keep your eye on Tapwave.

The remainder of the evening was spent back at the hotel, settling into my room and calling my wife. Not a bad first day in California.

So, as you can see it's actually Tuesday and I've had another full day here. I'm going to be a bit delayed in posting here because Wednesday is going to be jam-packed full too. I'll probably be writing posts on the flight home, so keep popping back here for more entries.

Until next time...

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