And we're off! Things have progressed smoothly today. As I write this, I'm presently lounging in the Milwaukee terminal awaiting the boarding of my first flight. There was a spectacular cattle-riffic crowd at the security check-in this morning, so I was happy to have arrived extra early for my flight. I much prefer time to relax a bit if possible, in this case it afforded me time to enjoy a coffee and breakfast, sketch the plane and do a little writing here.
It was quite gusty at takeoff, causing the tail of the plane to fishtail pretty wildly. For a moment, my mind drifted back to my younger days, driving my old '70 Chevy in fresh snow, spinning out the rear end. Once we hit cruising altitude, the joyride ended.
Had a pleasant surprise boarding the flight in Chicago. I heard a voice calling "Mike! Mike!" and when I turned to face the call, saw Craig Froehle, a fellow Palm OS User Council member, boarding the flight. We ended up across the aisle from each other on the flight to San Jose, which provided us with a good chunk of face to face time.
Craig had his Zodiac 2 along, which I had a chance to play with. Wow, what a nice bit of hardware! The video performance is very good, games are impressive and the audio quality is top notch. According to Craig, his battery life matches the hardware specs, giving him 3 to 3.5 hours of solid gaming time. Craig's only major complaint was a freaky analog controller that seems to have a mind of its own. It randomly steers to the top right... ghost in the machine. Hopefully he can swap his Z2 for a new unit at the DevCon.
Upon departing the plane, and experiencing the spring-like weather of San Jose, Craig announced he was officially "fed up with winter!" I heartily agreed. On the way to lunch, we stopped at a little hi-tech shop in the airport terminal, and checked out the new Panasonic SD Video/Still cameras. Wow! These little devices, about the size of a Palm handheld, can shoot MPEG 4 video straight to the SD card. With an A/V cradle, they can import and record video input (TV, DVD, whatever). Think portable TiVo.
After lunch and a meet up at the baggage claim with Michael Ashby, the three of us headed to the Fairmont hotel by cab. Greg Gaub from the User Council met us at the hotel. After settling in, the three of us paid a visit to Subway so Michael could get a bite to eat. While at the booth in the Subway store, I saw something slightly freaky -- a customer in line with a gold plated M-16 automatic rifle on a gold chain around his neck. "Yes sir, you certainly can have those cucumbers for free!"
Back to the Fairmont and time to register for the DevCon. There was no backpack given out this year, as it had been replaced by a sporty blue pullover jacket (with cotton lining). PalmSource must have been concerned about the multitude of backpacks given to delegates in prior years. I guess it was time for something new. While these jackets are slightly geeky (you can spot 'em from 30 yards away), they are quite nicely made.
To end the evening, it was off to a dinner with several PalmSource people, members of the Palm OS User Council and other various handheld people from the community. After a nice time of dining, we all sat around and chatted about tech and Palm-related topics.
I was especially pleased to finally meet Chuck Horner of the PCCPUG Palm User Group (East San Francisco Bay area). We had intended to meet last year, while I was still running the Tipsheet, but it never worked out. We had a nice time discussing a variety of topics, including some great input Chuck had offered to iambic about Agendus features.
One thing that always impresses me about these conferences, is the passion of the attendees. Our after-dinner discussions touched on many high-tech topics, including wireless access to data and what's being done of late. One person talked about MP3 streaming to Treo 600s, another about hard drives in devices of the future, about WiFi, bluetooth personal area networks and more. I'm constantly buoyed by these excellent discussions, especially in tough economic times, because it gives me hope for the future.
And now I'm back in my room, posting my first travelogue report from San Jose on my weblog. There's high-speed net access in the rooms, and WiFi in the lobby areas, which is incredibly handy for things like this. And so ends the first day of DevCon. I'm heading to bed now, but I'll post a new report tomorrow, hopefully with some interesting new info.
Update 2004-02-10: MobileWhack.com Dispatch Day One has been posted.