October 21, 2006

Posting from 30k feet.

I know, this sort of thing is pretty boring, but I get a huge charge out of posting on this blog while on a plane. Tres' magnifique! Too bad connexion by boeing is going away. I wonder if anyone else will pick up the service. In the meantime, since they are in the process of deprecating the service, it's free as they cannot guarantee service! Excellent!

Strange Flying Tales

So over the last two months I've seen two people basically flip out at airports. I have a theory why these happened, but let me tell them first.

Number 1:

I was pulling myself together post security and an older fellow sits down next to me, tieing his shoes, and then, while looking around, says "Damn those guys, make me take off my belt. Surprised I didn't leave anything behind."

Since I'm the font of all jokey wisom, I say "Ah, but I think we both left behind our dignity."

This is the part where you remind me not to talk to strangers at the airport.

"I'll tell you boy, I left behind my dignity when my incompentent gosh-darn son-of-a-gun butcher of a doctor jammed a thing up my bleep and my bleep like he was digging for f-word gold."

I'm obviously sugar coating his language, as this is a family blog, but I'll tell you. He didn't stop there. As I stood to walk down the concourse, he followed me, regaling me with stories of his medical condition, the different ways doctors had violated him in the course of his treatment, and other things that clearly, undoubtably fall into the 'too much information' pile.

Don't get me wrong, I have a -lot- of sympathy for folks who suffer cancer in those most painful to treat of places, but jeez, is an airport the place to share?

Second story: Just minutes ago a guy turned to his family and screamed, almost to the point of a red-faced falsetto. "Well screw all of you, I'm not going anywhere with any of you people." and then he storms off. Now, I actually am totally okay with him not going with his family anywhere, but jeez, it was quite the scene.

So: moral of the story.....

I think that people are getting to the point where the mild, ever growing repression of the airport is grating on people who find the whole experience absurd.

UIUC Was Really Neat

So I spoke at the UIUC Reflections/Projections conference (known as 'conference' in these parts to the computer enthusiasts) last night and I -killed-. Totally -killed-. I tell ya. I was in rare form. It was a talk later at night than I normally do things, at 8:45pm, but it came off well. I'm on a multi-city speaking tour (sort of, that sounds fancy, though, doesn't it?) from uiuc to finland to london than back home. Something like 5 total sessions that I'm giving.

UIUC, which you'll remember as being the birthplace of NCSA Mosaic, Mathematica and HAL from 2001, is quite a good CS school and they have a wicked active ACM group there that throws a solid conference every year. They also have an event called 'mechmania' that is a programming conference that pits peoples programs against each other in a game area. It's pretty neat.

I have to admit when I visit schools like UIUC, I sich I had gone to a better school, I mean, mason wasn't the worst experience, but it wasn't anything like UIUC was.

O'Hare Intl Terminal Racial Profiling

So I'm sitting waiting for the SAS ticket counter to open so I can get my boarding pass and I'm watching people while doodling around with my laptop (it's almost 100% charged) and I've started to get a feel for who is looking for which terminal. I'm sitting in front of SAS, BMI, Alitalia, Taca, ANA and two flag airlines (Korea and Turkey). As people come up the escalator from the people mover, I'm getting good at figuring out which line they'll make a beeline for.

I say racial profiling, a loaded term for sure, because the Alitalia folks are Alitalian, the Taca people are hispanic (Tacan?) and the SAS people are that kind of white with pink highlights that make you think of the more northern latitudes.

Anyhow...hi from Chicago.

October 7, 2006

BSG, PSP and Del

So, first off: Bang up job on the BSG premiere. Seriously good stuff, I find myself being sympathetic with the Baltar's Vichy viceroy. Yes, he's awful and a puppet, but the toasters would clearly plug him if he didn't do what they said. Should be interesting. Sometimes the picture of Baltar sitting upon his cylon throne come back to me from the original, crappy ,series, like an unwanted hot flash and I think "Will Baltar start hating his fellow humans as an answer to his guilt" or "Will his love for six cause him to embrace a cylon/hybrid future for humanity and see pure humans as a pointless evolutionary dead end?"

Clearly, I've been thinking too much about this.

Also, my PSP is fixed thanks to my friend Jon Webb just in time for my long trip to europe. 10k+ miles on planes! I wish EA Replay was out Right this second

Not surprisingly, I find this story about Joshua's Del.icio.us -fascinating-. Imagine if all of Yahoo decides to block google's crawlers. I think that would hurt them more than Google (my employer) but this is really the kind of thing that Matt writes about more authoritatively than I. I will say this, if you have a site that is create by your users, you should be -really- careful when restricting who can see the information that your users think they are creating for the public. We're all competitive, for sure, but I think restricting non-abusive robots for Del.icio.us is a little sketchy.