My XBox Live Gamer Card
Saturday, September 19. 2009
Just about a year ago while reading the gaming news I saw the video linked to in this blog post.. As I bemoaned in that post, I knew Travis and I should have been there. I vowed then and there to remedy that.
PAX is a three-day long convention for gamers that has been held in Seattle for the last six years. It is put on by the guys who created one of the most successful web-comics on the the net, Penny Arcade. While mostly thought of in the context of video games, it also is all about RPGs (e.g., Dungeons & Dragons) and board games. This year they had the entire convention center space, and sold close to 60,000 tickets.
The week passes for PAX 2009 went on sale I bought two, one for me and one for Travis. I then started to plot the most epic weekend for a father and son ever. Sometime in the early summer I was speaking with my boss and told him I was a bit worried, I built up this amazing picture in my head of just what kind of event it would be and I was becoming terrified that it couldn't possibly live up to my expectations. He told me not to look for trouble where there wasn't any. That was good advice.
Two weeks before the event I went online to look at the "deals" that were available for hotel rooms close to the convention center. I was appalled at how expensive they were and came to the conclusion that staying farther away and paying for the exorbitant parking at the convention center ($25/day) would be much cheaper than staying within walking distance. In addition I'd be able to afford a room with two beds, a definite plus. So I booked us into the Days Inn in Midtown Seattle, a location that was five miles north of the Washington State Convention and Trade Center.
As far as I was concerned, the evening of Thursday, September 3rd, when Travanoid and rhacer would toss their gear into the back of the GTI and head north to Seattle could not come quickly enough.
We got off to a slightly later start than I had hoped, but the GTI did very well on it's first trip of any real length, with a quick stop at our new favourite fast food joint, Jack in the Box, and four CDs full of MP3s in the CD changer, we made excellent time and were in our motel room before 10:00pm.
The room was much bigger than we would have expected, and included a small sitting area. The queen beds were comfortable, and while the TV was crappy, it was good enough to keep us entertained with some silliness on MTV before we turned the lights out at an early for us 11:00pm.
Neither Travis nor I are what could be called "morning people" but we knew we needed to be early enough the next day to be amongst the first 4,000 in line as those were the people who would be given wristbands that guaranteed them a spot at the Friday night concerts. The doors would open at 8:00am and the expo proper would open at 10:00am. We wanted to be their closer to the 8:00am mark, hence the early bedtime.
Sunday, August 24. 2008
I touched my first computer on the end of a 300 baud acoustic coupled modem at Benson Polytechnic High School in 1977. I wrote horrible code in horrible BASIC, but it was when my love of programming began. In 1982 I was a CS major at Oregon State University. I spent far too much time goofing off and far too little time studying and the CS department gave me a very polite invitation to not be a CS major any longer. My father was an itinerant Preacher, and in the winter of 1982 he was planning trip around the world to minister in various and sundry places for about six months. My parents asked if I would tag along. I did.
On that trip I read about Conway's cellular automaton simulation and was fascinated by it. It just so happened that at one of our stops in the UK there was a computer available to me (I can't remember what it was, but it did have a BASIC interpreter) and it was there that I first attempted to write my own version of life. It was not good, not very functional, but I did move my skills at writing code forward just a bit.
Several months ago, I decided I wanted to do a bit of GUI programming. I'd tinkered with PyQt, but it's support on Apple didn't "feel" as good as wxPython's support on Apple, so I started teaching myself wxPython. My first project was Conway's Life. The code is not brilliant, it is somewhat slow if the grid gets too large, but it does work, and it was a very good educational experience for me. Are there better ways to do it? I'm sure there are. I'd love to hear that feedback.
rudimentary unit tests for life.py (using py.test)
Sunday, February 11. 2001
It's been a week since we got back from Linux World Expo at the Javits Center in New York City. I really wanted to write while I was there. You'd think that for $200 a night, you could get a decent internet connection in your hotel. John, Chris and I discovered that $200 a night doesn't necessarily buy a whole lot in Manhattan.
Our trip started out wonderfully, Portland International was pretty much shut down due to fog. Our first flight was cancelled. Fortunately, my favourite airline, Alaska got us on a flight to LA from where we grabbed an American flight into JFK. We finally got to our hotel just after midnight.
We were staying at the Roosevelt in Manhattan. To all appearances it was one of the poshest places I had ever stayed, how quickly I was disabused of that notion! On arriving at room 305, we quickly discovered that our door keys wouldn't work. The bellhop quickly ran downstairs to check on what was wrong. When he returned we discovered that we had been moved to room 344. So, we tagged along and found our new room. It was tiny, and there was no roll-away bed. They eventually delivered a roll-away for Chris and John and I took the two doubles. It wasn't long before we were all sound asleep.
We woke up the next morning to the sounds of the big city. For the most part we were refreshed. We decided that the best way to see the city would be to walk to the Javits Center, so we checked our map and headed out on a walk across Manhattan.
We stopped for breakfast at McDonalds, saw Times Square and eventually arrived at the Javits Center--That place is impressive. My first impression was that there were lots of exhibitors, but not many attendees.
We saw quite a few interesting things, but nothing we felt was revolutionary. The most impressive things to me were Evolution and Red Carpet from Ximian and Nautilus from Eazel. The Ximian booth was by far the coolest and most unique at the show.
We had a series of excellent meetings with the folk we went to meet with. How all of the contacts we made eventually come to fruition will be very interesting.
One of the highlights for me was getting to pinch hit for my friend and former employee David Mandel at a panel discussion about Linux and Education. I was disappointed at the attendance, but met some really interesting people.
A couple of other notes about the hotel. When we returned to the hotel after the first day at the show, our room had not been cleaned! I went to the front desk and asked about it. I told the girl I was in room 344. She didn't believe me. I said look under the name John Shepherd. She didn't believe me (we were still registered in room 305). She asked me to run back up to the room and call her to prove to her what room I was in!
Also, I have the misfortune of suffering from migraine headaches. Fortunately, I have a prescription for a drug that usually takes care of them. I forgot my pills, and had them UPS Next Day Aired to the hotel. Of course they managed to get that messed up, and told me that my package had never arrived, and that if it had arrived it would have been rejected because my name was not on the room. Since I wasn't having any headaches I let it go at that. However, just to make sure that my medicine wouldn't stay in New York while I travelled home, I asked again when I checked out. I was informed that all packages are kept for seven days, and that yes my package really was in the hotel!
Needless to say, we won't be returning to the Roosevelt Hotel.
This week was Kyle's first week of work. What a great asset he will be as I now don't have to worry about being called away from my coding tasks to resolve network issues.
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