Sunday, January 28, 2007

Back To Melbourne

After a fun week of meetings in Sydney, it's time to get back down to Melbourne.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

More Robots

Jim and I have been searching for something to do tonight, it being the day after Australia Day here in Sydney, and thought we had a winner in Devolution. It was described as a performance piece exploring technology and art. Cool, robots. And Jim likes the whole performance art thing. Fine. As long as there are robots.We cruise down to the theater which is a converted factory. The space is pretty cool, and they serve beer, so I am good. However, this quickly goes south when I find out we can't take the beer into the actual seating area.
This gets worse when I figure out that "performance art" is actually code word for "fruity dancing." Lots of fruity dancing. And some nudity. Male nudity. There are some robots: two tyrannosaurus rex thingies, three ETs and several spider looking things. They were good. But I can sum up my review for the "piece" in two words: More. Robots.
The night wasn't a total loss; We stopped at the 3 Wise Monkeys on the way home.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Tokyo in San Francisco

In recent years, I have noticed that San Francisco is becoming more and more like Tokyo. Of course, this could be happening everywhere, but I guess I notice it the most here. Some of this is good (Toyko is very cool), some of this is bad (I don't think I could live there). In the good column are vending machines. Everything in Japan is available via a vending machine: beer (even mini-kegs), espresso, books and all sorts of food. San Francisco has picked up on this trend mostly on the high end.You can now find vending machines that sell mobile phones, iPods and headphones. The one above sells Motorola Razr phones and accessories. Below is one that sells iPod accessories (and aspirin).I was pretty close to picking up these iPod speakers (so that I could rock on the plane -- yes, I am that guy), but the machine at SFO was broken.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Books For Free

I am gearing up for another field trip to Sydney, but before I go, I want to see if I could make a dent in my accumulation of flight paperbacks. Due to amount of long trips that I take, the scarcity of decent airport bookstores, the fact that I don't like re-read books and my generally poor taste in literature, I have collected just a ton of books that I won't be reading again. So, if you are somewhere that I am going (i.e. Australia, SoCal, SF or somewhere else on my plazer), going to be in NorCal or willing to somehow get these from where they reside to where you are, they are yours for the asking.My current library includes:
  • The World is Flat
  • Under the Banner of Heaven
  • The Tipping Point
  • Freakonomics
  • Sputnik Sweetheart
  • The Big U
  • Into The Wild
  • Virtual Light
  • Animals In Translation
  • As the Future Catches You
  • I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell
Let me know.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Mac Fanboy For a Day

So I went into San Francisco to see MacWorld today. As an industry notable nobody minor celebrity, I command am accorded occasionally get hooked up with junkets like this. But before I start my review of the day, I need to state a few things:
  1. I am not an Apple Fan Boi. You will not see any slobbering reviews of the greatness of Steve Jobs, or even his new phone. I do admire their industrial design, some of their hardware engineering and software development. And I do use their products. But I don't use them because I think they are cool or will make me cooler. Most of them simply work more like I expect things should. Some people think that about Linux and some people even think that about Microsoft.
  2. I am even less a fan of conventions. Especially computer conventions. Early in my career, I used to go and work at these and I am simply over them. Idiot salespeople, idiot consumers, clueless demo dollies. I usually only have a few things I want to see (but would rather see them in another venue, like my living room) so I wanted to make my trip short and surgical.
After I got to the city, I parked in the Metreon parking lot and wandered over to Moscone North. Surprisingly, my badge was waiting for me (skipping the $45 exhibit entry fee suckers) and I was down on the floor within five minutes. MacWorld had expanded to both sides of old Moscone (North and South side of the street), but I'm not sure why. There was simply nothing in the North hall. After trudging down to the South hall, I found most of what I was looking for:

  • iPhone sighting
  • Garmin Training Center preview release CD
  • Apple TV
Before I get to that, thought, I must comment on the makeup of the exhibitors. I would conservatively say that 50% of the vendors were just iPod accessories. Like cases. Lots and lots of cases. And laptop bags.This really should have been called iPod World, not MacWorld.

This was clearly the bell of the ball. They had three iPhones on display in a ridiculous hermitically sealed cylinder, with people three deep staring at it. As you can see from the photo below, there isn't much to see -- except that it seems a little smaller than I thought it might be.

Behind the iPhone cylinders was a constant demo of the iPhone features, with only slightly more detail than Steve Jobs keynote. Good photos tho.

Overall, I think there needs to be a lot more info on the phones before I am sold. If Apple truly isn't going to allow any new applications or widgets to be installed on the phone, that is a deal breaker for me.

Apple TV

Although the Apple TV was also part of the keynote speech, it clearly was the red-headed stepchild. Shown outside the Apple pavilion on a thin counters, they had a few of them setup. It looks a lot like the FrontRow interface on my MacBook, I couldn't tell what kind of resolution that it was supporting. If it wasn't $300, I would probably order one.

Garmin Training Center

The real reason that I went to the MacWorld was to snag a early copy of Garmin Training Center for the Mac. The software is 9 months late and the only way to get it before February was to come to San Francisco and ask them for it. In fact, the guy actually had to go back into the display to find a copy. But I got it. And it works well. I am happily tracking my runs and rides through my GPS again.

That's all I had from the conference. And actually the coolest thing I saw all day was actually over at the Metreon across the street: that Sony Mylo is pretty cool. Not $350 cool, but pretty cool.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


As those of you watching my plazes and twitter sidebar could tell, I ventured into San Francisco to attend MacWorld 2007 today. I'll post my thoughts tomorrow, but I wanted to post a picture or two tonight.
Into the belly of the beast.
What's a conference without presentations?

Forty Two

Happy 6th Birthday, Zekerdog.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Immaculate Beer

In my never ending effort to bring you latest in semi-celebrity sightings (and poor cameraphone photography), I bring you . . . NFL Hall of Famer and Superbowl MVP Franco Harris.He was sitting in front of me at the bar in Gordon Biersch Las Vegas. And yes, someone actually asked him about the "immaculate reception." I guess he was in town shilling for some product at CES.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Upscale Flying

Damn, I haven't been in the nice terminal in Sacto Intl Airport in a while. They've gone all upscale and even have a wine tasting bar/store (Vino Volo). I had a glass of the 2004 Dillian Ranch Zinfandel from Joel Gott Winery and it was quite nice. I guess they just opened two weeks ago.
I will savor this for a few minutes since after this its all downhill; I am off to Vegas for CES in a few minutes.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Sometimes you go riding around town with your brother looking for a coffeehouse and you see this:Dogs atop cars are definitely an under appreciated art form.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Back To Ohio

As you can see from my new nifty location based services sidebar, I am in Ohio visiting my mom and brother. Columbus is unseasonably warm (actually might be warmer than California today), so it should be a good few days.

Since we've got some time today, Brian and I went back to our old hometown (Bexley) and hung out at Cup 'O Joe, which is just down the street from our old house.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Not So Historic Old Folsom

Kelly and I live about equal distance, but in opposite directions, of historic downtown Folsom. The historic part of downtown Folsom is seeped in the old west - It was the last stop on the Pony Express and an integral part of the gold rush of 1849 (and of course, the prison). Unfortunately, it looks like we are losing some of the old world charm (see below), due to the assault of commerce.I just saw this sign yesterday. It looks like they are putting up a parking garage and condos across the street from The Black Rooster.
This is probably not good.