Spring 2010 Travel

Since the weekend of May 14th I have been traveling relentlessly. At one point I was only in Albuquerque for 16 hours before leaving again and while I enjoying traveling being gone this much has been both hectic and tiring. My travel has been for school, pleasure, work, bicycling and a wedding.

My first stop was a student gathering at Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley.
I spent the Friday before the gathering in San Francisco and was lucky enough to get a great rental deal on a brand new 2011 Ford Mustang. The car only had 62 miles on it when I picked it up and added a lot of fun to the weekend. The gathering’s theme was "Innovation and Creativity" and featured a panel on creativity, a Comedy Sportz performance, a presentation on Improvisation and Creativity from Patricia Madson and various other workshops. The sessions were a lot of fun, but the highlight of the gathering was the opportunity to interact with my fellow students in the flesh. We all met last August at orientation but meeting again was nice as virtually attending class and holding group meetings only takes you so far.

While at the gathering I received a Motorola Droid to use over the summer for a smartphone development course. I was happy to have the phone as I intended to use its features to assist with my next trip.

After returning from San Francisco I was in Albuquerque for three days before leaving for a conference in Long Island, New York. Having never visited New York City I decided to play tourist and leave a bit early for the conference. A friend of mine who lives in Bronxville allowed me to stay at his place. He gave me three pieces of advice before leaving me alone on a train into midtown Manhattan:
  • Never screw up the city’s flow and never hesitate.
  • If you don’t know just ask. People in New York are generally pretty nice.
  • Don’t think about what you look like as no one is paying attention to you anyways
Armed with this advice I spent a few days taking in as much of the New York experience as I could as quickly as I could. By utilizing my Droid and BlackBerry to navigate the city I was able to get around pretty easily. In fact other than getting on the wrong subway train once I always knew where I was going. In addition to navigation I used Yelp with great success to get recommendations on good touristy and un-touristy restaurants.

The Droid also led to my coolest social networking experience to date. I took a picture of the arch in Washington Square Park and immediately published it to a Facebook album. Within moments the photo had received a comment from a friend who lived near Washington Square. We commented back and forth and were able to meet for lunch. None of this would have happened without the ability to instantly tap my social graph. By the time my co-workers arrived for the conference I was able to play tour guide taking them on a whirlwind tour of the city. I certainly did not see everything and would have liked to spend more time at particular sites but do feel like I got a taste of the Big Apple. In fact in the short time that I was there I was able to take in a Broadway show (American Idiot) and was even so lucky as to have my name drawn to attend a taping of The Late Show with David Letterman.

The vacation portion of my trip east was awesome and so was the conference. The National Laboratory Information Technology Summit (NLIT) is always great; the content is stellar and everyone there is focused on similar work which saves the usual conference pain pleasantries of trying to convey exactly what it is that my company does. At NLIT I gave two presentations Progressive Enhancement to the Rescue and Goal Directed Design Prevents Dancing Bearware. The session on Progressive Enhancement was lightly attended but I had a great turnout for Goal Driven Design. Both presentations netted some outstanding hallway conversations. I gained a lot from the presentations that I attended and look forward to next year’s conference in Colorado.

After returning from New York I spent only 16 hours in Albuquerque before heading to Durango, Colorado for the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. Iron Horse is a race from Durango to Silverton over two mountain passes. It attracts 2,500 riders who attempt the trip on road bikes, beach cruisers and unicycles. The ride is hard, but a ton of fun. I did well in the ride but not as well as I would have liked. I think all of the traveling had started to catch up with me (that’s my excuse anyways).

At any rate, I have been back in Albuquerque since Sunday afternoon but am headed back to Durango Wednesday evening for a wedding Friday. I had considered attending Tech-Ed North America in New Orleans but am glad that after this weekend I am done traveling for a while.


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