New York, New York

Aviation nation photoIn the category of finally getting it done I posted photos from my New York trip. 24 hours in New York and many of the sights in photos. Unfortunately no photos from inside the Phantom of the Opera.

Today is the day for posting photos. A few snapshots from Aviation Nation 2005 are also online as of this evening.


This afternoon is a catch-up afternoon. I'm recuperating from the New York trip. After a couple of hours of Manhattan traffic I arrived at the airport a few minutes before the cut-off for the flight. Thinking I'd be really smart I picked up a sandwich to-go for an on-board dinner. What I hadn't taken fully into account is the notorious traffic at JFK Airport. Days ago I had wondered to a couple of friends that the return flight was scheduled to be 40-minutes longer than the Las Vegas to New York flight. Spending over an hour and a half in line waiting for our takeoff to arrive I realized why the additional time was necessary.

The trip, however, was great. The main reason for the trip was a technical conference put on by the Law School Admissions Council. It was great. I wish it had happened some time ago (though the main purpose was to talk about a new product that would not have been discussed). Hopefully there will be more to come and more discussion with the technical needs of all the member schools.

Now it's home to work on catching up projects and getting documentation written.

Travel day

Today is a travel day. West to east so the time zones are not in my favor. I'm amazed there are still airports that don't get free wireless access. At McCarran (LAS) airport we have free wireless and it is the greatest tool for being able to get work done while awaiting a flight. I wonder if anybody has done a study. Certainly I know I spend more money at the airport because I don't mind getting here even earlier to have a good long time to work in the "Terminal B Office".

Speaking of work I've been looking a lot lately at helpdesk solutions. I thought SalesForce's SupportForce might be the way to go. Very impressive when I logged in and looked at it. Nearly 30-days ago I contacted the person I was told to contact with their sales team and haven't heard a peep back. So it won't be SalesForce. StackWorks IRM looks promising. There is active development and seems to be a solid product. The next version, however, will be a complete rewrite from PHP to Python and a move from MySQL to PostgreSQL. Perhaps I'll get into it enough to fork an alternate version 2 that stays with the architecture we need.

Travel thoughts

Pretty good. Leaving Chicago this afternoon I debated taking the standby on the earlier flight. Of course it meant giving up my isle seat for what would likley be crammed in between what Southwest euphemistically calls "Customers of Size". Much to my delight I was instead slated into an aisle exit row seat where I gladly forgo the "reclining" seat for the awesome leg room. I could have easily used the 15-inch laptop instead of the 12-inch but I ran the battery down at the airport choosing to charge the 12-inch instead.

Of course nothing is perfect. Something about being in the row with the teenager who ignores the repeated request to close the window shade is quite annoying. I like looking out the window as much as the next person, but when the cabin is dark but for a single very bright light a few feet away the eyes are playing a constant game of trying to adjust to the light and many other customers are unable to see the movie.

On the topic of teenagers and movies, or teen movies, Netflix delivered American Pie 2 the other day. It is much better than the original and is full of good laughs at the expense of coming-of-age teens.

America West has a great American classics music channel with folk songs, The Boss, The Beach Boys, Elvis Pressley and Lee Greenwood's classic anthem. Less successful is the in-flight entertainment and cafe. First the entertainment system. The last flight it didn't work at all. This time about a quarter of the seats don't work and the screens are in terrible condition. The on-board "cafe" this afternoon was stocked with only a few breakfast meals. None of the lunches advertised. The last trip was similarly poorly stocked with only "snack packs" and not the sandwiches advertised.

Hotel Internet

For the second time in as many months the wireless internet in a Chicago hotel is less than advertised. In my sum total of a half-dozen hours attempting to use wireless internet at two different hotels in Chicago it has been down at least an hour. A pricey outage when they charge $300 a month for th eservice.

On the ohter hand the updated Treo is bringing this post from the Embassy Suites which does not see fit to have internet in their meeting rooms.

Back to reality

I started the journey back to reality today. About ten days ago I left for the CALI Conference in Chicago followed by the 59th session of Nevada Boys' State in Reno. The past week has been an exhilarating and exhausting experience. The highlight of the week for me was working with such a wonderful staff. The more than twenty people who busted their backsides all week to make sure the program went well were amazing. I've rarely encountered teams that work so well together and have never been a part of one.

Other notables include being supremely impressed with the caliber of young men that took part in the program. The quality of the questions they asked guest speakers, the intensity they showed and the creativity in solving problems are all remarkable. Now it's back to the email box to get some more work done....


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