Got back from Seattle on Saturday morning. The flight out to SEA and the flight back home (DCA) was just terrible. Perhaps the worst flying experience I've ever had, save for the one flight home from HNL with the eight year old baseball team overnight in which both my wife and I got sick. The weather in ATL has cocked up Delta in all kinds of ways. I'm not looking forward to flying down to ATL again tomorrow. And then there's the whole conference thing that I'm also not particularly looking forward to.
A lot of stuff happened in Redmond, most of which is under NDA, and I thus cannot discuss it. I'm slightly perturbed about this, moreso than I would have expected. I suppose I relied more on hashing it out here than I realized.
One thing I learned in Redmond was that more important things take place between sessions in a meeting or conference than seem to actually take place in the sessions themselves. I had more meaningful discussions with engineers in the hallway than I did with any of the presenters.
It also seems (and sungo did tell me this once) that nobody will respond to an email that is more than a couple sentences long. This is maddening. I've gotten to the point where I will write an email, and then chop out all the meaningful parts, re-read it, and then decide it's not even worth sending because all the information I wanted to convey is gone anyways. I don't understand why this is. Personal email, I suppose, I'm pretty bad about. But this is work email, and it is my opinion that people have an obligation to reply.
I discovered that either MSFT or AXP or somebody is fucking up with my hotel reservations and I'm not getting credit for staying at the Marriotts I've been so carefully picking. I do so because we'd really like to return to the Ihilani and not have to pay for it. 270,000 Marriott points required for a week in a deluxe ocean view room.
Met a man on the flight back from SEA who was kind of a Linux hobbyist. He said he runs mandrake, but doesn't really understand how it worked. I eventually explained that I worked for Microsoft, and Linux was one of my primary technical foci. Perhaps surprising for both of us, I gave the guy my card and told him I could probably find LUGs in the Seattle area, and offered to help him with any problems he has. Naturally I suggested he try Fedora out. I did think about showing him my laptop so he could use it, but when you're on an airplane, what exactly can you do with it? Additionally, Fedora has no idea how to halt my machine, and instead prefers to set the cpu on "immolate" and hard-lock requiring I take the battery out. Tres slick.
The reform thing has not been going well. I figure that, while it's not so healthy, eggs benedict is a reasonably good breakfast, provided you don't go apeshit the rest of the day on the usual conference fare -- bagels, donuts, muffins, etc. But of course, when I ask for a decaf cappucino, they can't accomodate me, and I settle for a regular. Ugh. Caffeine. Then of course, the conference is catered and has a reasonable lunch (a curry tofu that was really good even), and everyone wants to party their butts off for dinner. So I wind up with a filet from RC, some nice wine (I don't know wines from the north west very well, and each RC has a different wine list which is tailored to the area, so Dave Lifka picked a nice one for us), followed by more Gin & Tonic. I understand that ethanol is particularly bad for you, as your body loves to burn it up, more than sugar even. Anyways, same story, repeated every day. More alcohol, more food, more schmoozing, etc. The airports are roughly the same. Have lunch or dinner, or whatever's appropriate for 3-in-the-morning-and-jetlagged, and it's almost certainly going to be fast food. Add a margarita or two, and it's just disastrous. So while I'm not exactly embracing caffeine and terrible food, it's sort of insidiously forcing itself on me. Maybe I should start bringing workout clothes with me. On the other hand, that'd require a gym and planning, which most of these events are not conducive to.
For those interested, I took a picture of the Gates residence (other photos in the set interesting as well). Considering its cost and the wealth of its owner, it is a very tasteful, subdued home. Much more so than some of the other people on the bay. (hmm, upon looking at my pictures again, I think I should try to go and hike Ranier next time I'm out in Seattle.)