Time for my traditional list of the cities I spent one or more nights in during 2010:
The Mexico cruise was a new experience — our first cruise ship vacation. We'll definitely do that again sometime in the future.
Visiting Ashland for the Shakespeare festival has become an annual tradition; we'll be back again in 2011.
The big trip for 2010 was the New Zealand tour. Four weeks visiting family and favorite places from when we lived there, and some new places, plus burying my father's ashes (he died in December 2009). I may blog more about it, once my wife has finished posting the photos.
My wife and I have a tradition of staying somewhere nice to celebrate our wedding anniversary. This being our 15th, we thought we'd do something special, something we've never done before — a trip on a cruise ship.
For our first cruise, we decided to start with a "beginner" 4-night cruise to Baja Mexico on the Carnival Paradise ship. Since it's a special occasion, we sprang for a suite with a balcony.
Overall, the cruise was a great experience. The suite VIP treatment was well worthwhile, with express embarkation (bypassing a 1.5 hour line) and priority disembarkation, among other benefits.
We attended three of the four dinners at our assigned table, including the formal night, and enjoyed conversations with the tablemates. On Wednesday we were feeling peckish early, so partook of the poolside grill instead, which was nice.
We had interesting shore excursions on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday was Catalina Island, where we had a small bus tour of the city of Avalon and walked around the botanical gardens, which was created by the Wrigley chewing gum founder — he originally bought the whole island. We then walked around town and bought some souvenirs.
Wednesday was Ensenada in Mexico, on the Baja peninsula. There we did a wine country tour, with a coach trip out to an organic winery and a wine tasting, followed by a photo stop at a bullfighting ring, then on to a larger-scale winery and more tasting. We bought two bottles of wine at each, plus were given two more as part of the tour. We were worried about getting those home, but they survived the rough baggage handling, buried in the middle of our luggage.
Speaking of alcohol, as people who follow me on Twitter (@dejal) may know, until a couple of months ago I was a teetotaler, by choice — I never saw the point in drinking alcohol. However, I recently changed my mind about that, and have started sampling various alcoholic beverages. On the cruise, I had my first taste of some mixed drinks, including a margarita (invented in Ensenada) and others. My impression was that such beverages are tastier than wine and beer, though of course more dangerous (and expensive).
And speaking of that, it was certainly nice having all the free food and lots of eating options on the ship. I gained several pounds. But they certainly pushed the alcoholic beverages — you hardly sit down somewhere before a server comes by asking if you want a drink. Still, that could be considered good service... and yes, the service was great; everyone was attentive and friendly. Apparently the ship has a passenger capacity of 2,052 and a crew complement of 920, most of which are servers and room stewards.
The room stewards were very friendly, too, greeting us by name when we passed in the corridor, and leaving cute towel-animals on our bed each day.
Another practically constant thing were the photographers — before you even get on the ship, you have your photo taken a couple of times, and getting off in Mexico we had our photo taken no less than four times. There are photographers lining the public hallways, with differing backdrops, and photographers during dinner. They display the photos around one of the main decks, encouraging you to buy them; another great way to extract $$$ out of passengers. We did buy some nice shots of us on our formal diner night.
Thursday was a "fun day at sea", travelling back from Mexico (though most of the day was spent parked off Catalina Island — it doesn't take all that long to travel between the ports). We had a formal lunch and dinner, but otherwise didn't do much... just sat around on our balcony and read for much of the time. We did stop by their evening dance show, but it looked too cheesetastic for our tastes.
Then Friday we woke up early with the ship back at its Long Beach base, and did the VIP early disembarkation, coach shuttle back to LAX airport, and our flight home (which caused some worry, as we had difficulty trying to check in online, but fortunately the check in agent helped us out).
We'll definitely do more cruises in the future. It'd be nice to try a longer one, and one in warmer weather — it was nice enough, though a little cool at times.
Time for my traditional list of the cities I spent one or more nights in during 2009:
Portland, OR (home)
Cannon Beach, OR
Seattle, WA (twice)
Just one air travel trip this year, to DC for the lighting ceremony of the National Christmas Tree, Capitol tour, White House tour, and memorial and Smithsonian exploring. An enjoyable trip, though my wife and I both came home with colds that took us out for the next couple of weeks.
We're still hoping to get back to New Zealand for a visit around Christmas time, this year. We really have to make it this time, to help scatter my father's ashes.
It's the end of the year, so it's time for my traditional list of the cities I spent one or more nights in during 2008:
Portland, OR (home)
Warm Springs, OR
Not very much travel this year... no air travel at all, which is rather unusual. Next year my wife and I are hoping to get back to New Zealand for a visit around Christmas time... but we've talked about that for years, so who knows if we'll actually do it.
Here are all of the cities I spent one or more nights in during 2007:
Much less travel than last year.
My wife did more travel in 2007: she went to Italy with a friend, Dallas for work, and Seattle for a concert.
I'm back from WWDC now, and am in the process of moving into a shiny new 17" MacBook Pro with the high-res screen. A rather nice machine. I ordered it the day it was released, the Tuesday before WWDC, but unfortunately it didn't arrive till I was already at WWDC. Oh well... I'll have it for next time! :)
Anyway, it was a good week. I met many developers, including well-known people like Steven & Cabel of Panic (who I had met before, and who most deservedly won an Apple Design Award for Coda for Best Mac OS X User Experience); plus Daniel Jalkut of Red Sweater Software, Ken Case of The Omni Group, plus many other developers.
I've already talked about the Stevenote, and of course can't talk about the conference sessions, other than to say that I'm excited about Leopard, and am looking forward to leveraging its features in future versions of my apps.
WWDC has a number of interesting official and unofficial evening events. I enjoyed the sfMacIndie event on Sunday night, the official reception Monday night, the Apple Design Awards and Stump the Experts Tuesday night, the CocoaHeads gathering at the Apple store Wednesday night, and the WWDC Bash Thursday night.
Check out the photos of my trip to San Francisco and (non-NDA'ed) parts of WWDC.
So, I'm at WWDC currently. I've enjoyed meeting fellow developers (and several Dejal product users) around the conference center, at the sfMacIndie event, and the WWDC reception tonight.
I managed to get an okay seat for the Stevenote, a little back from the center of the room... but in a good position to see the repeater screens. I thought it was an interesting keynote, but with few surprises. I know some people are disappointed, but perhaps they had too high expectations?
So, how'd I do with my predictions? Let's see:
I seem to have done alright. Of course, my predictions were based on an aggregation of rumors, so hardly a reflection of my own prognostication abilities.
Anyway, on with the WWDC week... though of course I can't write about anything else discussed in the sessions.
Just another few days before WWDC07 kicks off!
I will be attending WWDC again this year, and am looking forward to the Stevenote, the various gatherings of Mac developers, and the conference sessions themselves.
There have been lots of rumors of what Steve Jobs will announce on Monday. For what it's worth, here are my guesses - not based on any inside information (I haven't run a Leopard seed since last year's WWDC), but based on rumors I've read, etc:
Anyway, I could be totally wrong... but those are my guesses. We'll see in just a few days!
I will be wearing one of the several Dejal shirt designs, like the pictured one, so if you're there and see me, come up and say hi! Here's what I look like, too.
I will be at the sfMacIndie event on Sunday night, and hope to meet many fellow indie developers there. I might go to Buzz's party Monday night, or just hang out at the official WWDC reception. And I'll be around for the rest of the week, too.
Should be a great week!
I've just purchased the conference ticket, and booked the hotel and airfare for Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, coming in June.
Last year was my first attendance, though I'd been meaning to go for years. I enjoyed it, met a bunch of interesting people, and learned useful things about Leopard etc at the sessions, so I wanted to go again this year.
This year's conference should be very interesting again, with Leopard likely being released either shortly before or (more likely) at the Stevenote.
I look forward to meeting more Mac developers at WWDC this year. I'll probably wear Dejal logo shirts, so if you're there and see me, come up and say hi!
I'm back from Macworld... and that was quite the experience!
Great to talk with lots of people, including luminaries such as Adam Engst. There were several more that I didn't get to speak with, though... maybe next time.
So, I'm sure everyone knows all about the big announcements in the Stevenote, in particular the iPhone, so I won't reiterate. My impressions... it's a very sleek device, with a lot going for it, though not without flaws. I'm concerned about the usability of the touchscreen keyboard, though as someone who finds regular cellphone keyboard entry frustrating (including via T9), I think it'd be an improvement.
As a developer, it's somewhat frustrating that Apple doesn't seem to want to open up development of iPhone widgets, though there are hints that they might have some authentication program for it. I suspect that that would only be available to the big players, though, limiting the potential of useful widgets.
One thing I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere (though maybe I missed it), is a justification for that policy. The obvious is quality control of the iPhone image, but I think it's more technical than that. Based on the UI I've seen, it appears that the widget icons have dynamic content (e.g. the calendar widget shows the current date; the clock widget appears to show the current time, etc). If true, that would imply that all of the widgets are running all the time, at least with a simple timer to update the icon. That would also ensure faster launch time... though they didn't look all that speedy in the demos, so maybe not. If they are all running, that would certainly make it more important that none of them were using too many system resources. It's a theory, anyway.
Will I buy an iPhone? Based on the current information, almost certainly: it will replace my iPod, cellphone, and maybe Palm (depending on how the software situation plays out), in a sleek and very usable package. I may wait for the second generation, though, to avoid any 1.0 issues, and simply because I have a contract with Verizon now.
The TV was of course the other major new product announcement from Apple. It seems to me like a nice device, though I personally probably won't buy one, as I already have a Mac mini hooked up to my TV, which does pretty much everything that the TV offers.
Somewhat lost amongst the other news was Apple's name, from "Apple Computer, Inc." to just "Apple Inc." (no "Computer" or comma). It really isn't a big deal, though. As John Gruber mentioned on Daring Fireball, Apple have called themselves just "Apple" almost everywhere for a quite a while now. Heck, I call my company just "Dejal", though the full name is "Dejal Systems, LLC". But I agree with his theory that some deal with Apple Corps. may be involved, too - I wasn't the only person to notice several Beatles references in the Stevenote.
Anyway, an enjoyable few days, and you can be sure I'll be back to Macworld again next year!
Check out my photo gallery for more Macworld photos.
Although I won't be exhibiting, I will be attending Macworld in San Francisco next week.
I will probably be walking the show floor Tuesday through Thursday (unfortunately I'll be leaving before the netter's dinner). If you see me, come say hi, and I'll give you a free Dejal button featuring my fancy new company logo! (While stocks last.)
You can recognize me from the stylish Dejal sweatshirt I'll be wearing (with Dejal logo front and back):
I'll probably have a laptop with me, so would be happy to discuss any Dejal products, help you with any problems you may be having with them, and perhaps even show you a sneak peek of the upcoming Time Out 2 upgrade.
See you there!
Portland, OR (home)
Cannon Beach, OR
San Francisco, CA
Las Vegas, NV
That's a fair bit of travel for me!
My next trip: back to San Francisco in January for Macworld!