Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Back home

I’m back home in Bradford now. Here’s my writeup of the Geek Dinner – photos will come later, although you can view other peoples’ photos here.

I’m actually writing this on the train back from London, although since this train does not have Wifi I’m not able to post it immediately. Therefore you’ll be reading this at least a couple of hours after it was written. But anyway…
As you may gather from my rambling entry yesterday, after checking in at the hotel I headed into central London and visited the Apple Store. I also had a chance to talk with one of the assistants about some of the specifics of the iBook, which I was also considering as a purchase instead of the Mac Mini, but to be honest I think the Mac Mini would be a better purchase – the iBook didn’t appear to support resolutions higher than 1024×768 (I didn’t have time to queue for the Genius Bar) and generally isn’t as well specified as the 1.42Ghz Mac Mini that I’m looking at. I already own a laptop so portability isn’t a problem, really.
While I was there I caught a bit of Steve Job’s keynote speech at the WWDC on Monday, which was on one of two huge Apple Cinema displays hooked up to a G5 PowerMac. Despite the fact that someone was using some quite intensive applications on the other screen, the video playback was almost flawless. Very impressive.
From there I jumped on a tube to Charing Cross and then headed for the dinner, where I bumped into Tim Duckett, my former boss from my placement last summer, outside the Texas Embassy Cantina, the venue for the dinner. We had the whole of the upstairs, which, to be fair, we needed considering there were around 200 of us there. Even though I rolled in at pretty much bang on 7pm when the event started several people were already there, Scoble included, and I also bumped into Trevor pretty soon after too.
Even though Hugh and Robert were both coming over from the US, the restaurant was Texan (hence the name, duh…) – you’d think we’d have chosen a more British restaurant, but never mind. In any case it’s just off Trafalgar Square so it’s not hard to find, and I’m sure I’ve been past there on demonstrations before. incidentally this has to be the first time in ages that I’ve seen Trafalgar Square not full of demonstrators – maybe that’s one to add to the “You know you’re an activist when…” list.
I had a good conversation with Nigel Crawley and Johnnie Moore about, well, a lot of stuff, but especially podcasting and why only a few people are doing it (which would make at least one future blog entry on its own). I also chatted to Gia Milinovich, Jasmine Strong, Robert’s wife Maryam (who is very cool), and lots of other people whose names I’ve already forgotten.
Would I do it again? Hell yeah! Entry was only £20 including a buffet, which is ridiculously good value considering what I have got out of it. I doubt this will be the last meeting of its type in London, somehow.
Today I’ve been at the Guardian Summer Graduate Fair, which was somewhat useful in that I found some interesting companies that I’ve never heard of but would definitely consider applying to in future. The outcome of my degree will determine when that is, though – should I get onto the Masters course I’ll be looking to start in late 2006/early 2007 so there’d be no rush. I didn’t stay at the event too long – despite its profile there wasn’t actually that many employers there and after an hour I felt I’d seen pretty much everyone I’d intended to.
With this trip I’ve been heavily reliant on public transport. I was ready to write a glowing review, saying that I’d not had any problems at all, but that all went to pot today when the train I intended to catch got cancelled less than a minute before it was due to depart. The next train wasn’t for an hour so we were advised to take another train bound for Edinburgh and change at Doncaster. Then that was delayed, and once I’d sat down the on-train announcer told us that it would miss the Doncaster-Leeds connection and that Leeds people would be better off taking the later direct train to Leeds (the one that was an hour after my original train). Since this train was almost ready to depart I had to rush off the train, forgetting one of my bags in the process. Naturally, by the I’d realised this the train had departed.
Thankfully the GNER staff were brilliant and managed to reunite the bag with me at Doncaster, and in fact someone else did exactly the same thing so I didn’t feel quite so much of an idiot.
Other than the problems with actually leaving London transport has been fine. It’s also the first time I’ve used an Oyster card on the Underground. They really are a godsend – instead of having to queue for a machine or a ticket window you just tap the card against the sensor and away you go. Having made 7 trips on 13 different trains in 2 days I reckon I’ve saved quite a bit of time, and probably saved some money too.

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