Ted Leung on the air
Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Fri, 19 Mar 2004
PyCon: The trip so far...
Taking a flight is always an adventure from the island. As my father likes to say, "Today I travelled by air, land, and sea" - meaning a plane flight, several car/bus rides, and of course, a trip on the ferry. One of the bits that I never like is the trip from the ferry terminal to and from the airport. Option are limited. You can take the bus, assuming that the bus is running, but that frequently results in lengthening an already long trip by an hour or more. You can take a cab - there's always a fleet waiting right outside the terminal. In theory this is supposed to be a good option -- the city supposedly sets a standard fare, and there's no advance reservation required. My experience is that the cabbies never honor the standard fare, and a ride from the airport hovers around the $30 mark. The last option is to call one of the many limousine/town car services. I've used this option with some success -- the key seems to be finding a good driver/firm, which I have. If by chance you are a Bainbridge Islander, try Moges at City Express Towncar and Limo (206) 510-1900. I've been using him for a few years, and he's been very reliable. Today I actually rode with one of Moges' friends, because Moges is still visiting his home country in Africa.

The ride to the airport was uneventful. The checkin process could use some help. I checked in via the Northwest Airlines web site, selected my seat, and printed out my boarding pass. When I showed up at the airport, I still had to stand in line with the other e-ticket people, and then the machine wouldn't take my confirmation number, necessitating human intervention. Good thing NWA is being efficient. I made my way down to the South satellite at SeaTac, and proceeded to start cruising for a power outlet. I've gotten pretty good at finding them in airports. Unfortunately, finding them is only part of the problem. I found an outlet, but someone had plugged his laptop and his iPod into both of the outlets. Not a very polite solution. I think that I need to start carrying a short 3 prong extension cord, so that I can share with others who are doing this sort of thing. Fortunately, I found another outlet. But the seating was on the hard tile floor. Still, AC power is not to be argued with, especially, when contemplating 5.5 hours of flight time and two batteries that last 2.5-3hrs each.

I don't fly NWA very often, and so far, I've been reminded of why. I was summoned to the ticket counter to have my seat moved because they got a different plane. This resulted in me being in the very back of the airplane (but still in the aisle). Upon leaving the gate, the pilot announced that we had to return to the gate due to having 1 person too many on board. He piped up moments later to announce that actually things were fine. The only pleasant thing so far is that I was actually served a meal that I could eat. Getting a meal on a flight noways is rare anyways, but many of the meals contain dairy, which causes problems (lactose intolerance). In the past I've tried to arrange for non-lactose special meals, but that usually results in a fruit platter or a stack of rice cakes. In recent years, I've given up and mostly gambled, but I can' t remember the last time I had a meal that I couldn't eat (this may have something to do with the number of meals provided).

From the second leg of the flight:
Security precautions are still in place: my flight is into Washington D.C.'s Reagan National Airport. The captain told us that all passengers must remain seated for the last 30 minutes of the (1 hour) flight. Failure to obey this rule could lead to us going "somewhere else"...

I arrived at my hotel too late to order room service or have a reasonable hope of finding an open restaurant. A pair of Clif bars will have to do for a meal. Get assigned a room. Look for an internet connection (always do this before unpacking in case you need to move). No RJ-45 looking plugs in sight. Call down to the front desk. You can use the business center for 20 mins. Ok. That's not working and there's an irate guest in there too. Back to the front desk staff. Oh. Your room doesn't have an internet connection. I ask to be moved to a room with one. The staff obliges, both cheerfully and helpfully. I go to the new room. Check the internet. It's there but not working (the LAN light won't light). I'm almost ready to give up. I decide to call tech support. They say the most common problems are the little black box, or the cable (in between telling me that they don't really support Macs -- I suppose I better get used to hearing this). So back the front desk to borrow one of their cables. Plug it in, and the LAN light finally comes on. Of course, this means my spiffy retractable spool ethernet cable is busted. Last time I used it was when I went down to OSAF in December. I wonder how long it's been broken? I sure hope the wireless net at PyCon is working... Only 7 hours till the sprints begin, but I'm not ready for sleep. Flying eastward always messes me up for a few days, anyway.

[22:21] | [computers/programming/python] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Doc makes the call
In his most recent SuitWatch, Doc Searls gives a great explanation of why I ended up with a Powerbook and not a T41p.
[00:26] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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