Hello from downtown San Francisco, where I am for the Intel Developer Forum which is starting on Monday (US time… Tuesday Australian time).
Intel flew journos business class (the first time I’ve ever flown it internationally) and it really was an amazing improvement on flying economy. Although United’s seats don’t go flat, you can still quite comfortably lie on your side, which allowed me to sleep most of the way. (United was an amusing airline as always… there was palpable tension between the flight attendants, and they forgot to secure the galley before landing, so all the crockery, jugs, glasses, etc, flew out of the drawers and smashed on the floor upon landing.)
Intel has put journos up at the Marriott hotel which is just over the road from the Moscone Center West where IDF is taking place. After sleeping off my jet-lag today I walked down Fourth Street and peeked in to the Moscone Center and there are Intel staffers scurrying around putting up posters and erecting stands for “World’s Biggest Geek Challenge III”.
I was very pleased to discover that there’s a Sony Metreon entertainment complex a block away from the hotel. Since I haven’t had time to see a movie for quite a while I might head there tonight and see one (since my timezones are out of whack, I’ll be able to see a late session once the crowds have died down a bit.)
The Marriott is pretty cool. There’s no in-room minibar (who’s gonna pay $9 for a pack of pringles anyway) and for $12.95 a day you get broadband internet access and unlimited local & national calling on the hotel phone. I just downloaded the latest episode of … a, um, non-copyrighted television program … and got the whole episode in 10 minutes.
But even better, VoIP works fine on their network. I’ve used both Skype and Engin’s X-Pro software on my Mac PowerBook and made calls to Australia with no problems. I’m using the VoiPVoice CyberPhone K which the Mac sees as a USB sound input/output device. (On PC you can also use the phone’s number pad for Skype dialling, and ‘pick up’ and ‘hang up’ the phone by physically doing just that.)
In an interesting coincidence, I was sitting next to a senior executive from Apple on the plane. She was quite careful not to spill any beans, of course, but I got some interesting insights into life at Apple. Nothing that would make a PR person too uncomfortable, but then again the insights were not the kind of thing you’d ever hear in a media-managed interview situation, either.