Back from Seattle

Apologies for the lack of posts lately. It’s been a crazy time for me in the last month or so: I had to move house due to our landlord selling our existing one (which had been dragged on since December last year), I soft-launched the interim APC website (fairly simple but a huge improvement over the old one; we are continuing to work on a site with a bigger feature-set), and was invited to go to Seattle for four days to attend Windows Hardware Engineering Conference 2006 — obviously a golden opportunity given Vista’s imminent release.

I just got back this morning. I was accompanied by ex-APC Editor (and now prolific freelancer) David Flynn and graciously hosted by Cathy Jamieson, Microsoft Australia’s recently appointed PR Manager. (Not the best pic of David there… I’ve evidently caught him mid-expression.)

david-dan-cathy

I had a great time β€” both David and Cathy are good company. Cathy is one of the rare PRs who is a resolute non-bullshitter, and a cool person too.

I’ve written a couple of stories so far and more will be online in coming days (and in the next edition of APC, on sale in a couple of weeks.)

billgates

I had a private audience with Bill Gates β€” well, me and about 3,500 other people. As expected, he was politically correct, careful, well-prepared, and boring as batshit. Unfortunately nothing crashed while he was on-stage.

fried-cheese

I had this delectable dish at Seattle airport while waiting for a flight to San Francisco on the way home (an old favourite of mine from the days that I used to go to TGI Friday’s in Melbourne). It’s about as bad as food can get: it’s mozeralla cheese, deep fried, with parmesan cheese on top.

seattle

Here’s a nice pic that’s quite representative of Seattle.

Also, can I say how much I love United Economy Plus. Before this trip I’d never flown “premium economy” before. Five inches of extra legroom doesn’t sound like much on the website, but it’s a HUGE improvement, because it lets you stretch your legs out straight under the seat in front of you. If you pad your lower-back out with pillows, it’s a pretty good approximation of business class without the 3x airfare. (Admittedly I was lucky on both flights there and back to have a spare seat next to me, which made things a lot more comfortable too.)

The way United did Economy Plus is simple — they just took out one or two rows of seats in one section of the plane and spaced out the other seats to fill the gap. It costs $US299 a year to have access to the Economy Plus seats on United.

United is fairly basic in some other respects: for example, on a domestic flight I was on I was amused to read the safety card and discover that they didn’t provide lifejackets … you had to pull the cushion off your seat and hang on to it as a flotation device.

Also there are no seat-back TVs … it’s the old ‘projector on the front wall of the plane and a few drop-down TVs’. But who really wants to watch movies on international flights, once they’ve discovered that a sleeping tablet can miraculously make a 14 hour flight feel like a 4hr one?

Having experienced this, there’s no way in the world I would ever fly regular economy in any airline. Unfortunately not all airlines have a premium economy section so I’ll be more selective from now on…!

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4 Replies to “Back from Seattle”

  1. Yeah, I’m very obviously mid-thought or mid-something – clearly not got my mind on posing for a pic – maybe p*ssed off at the dearth of good coffee, or still fuming at having my hotel Internet account blocked for clobbering the network with an overnight P2P session! Hey, exactly where/when in Seattle did we take this pic, anyway?

  2. Yeah, I’m very obviously mid-thought or mid-something – clearly not got my mind on posing for a pic – maybe p*ssed off at the dearth of good coffee, or still fuming at having my hotel Internet account blocked for clobbering the network with an overnight P2P session! Hey, exactly where/when in Seattle did we take this pic, anyway?

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