There is nothing quite like getting up at 3:30 am to catch a 6:20 am flight. Nothing. Still, the good news is that I am flying out to Seattle, one of my favourite places in all the world (another one is Cottingham, which is just as well really). First stop on the itinerary was Amsterdam, where I met up with Tom, Boss, Joost and a whole bunch of other MVPs who were all taking the same flight over to America. I wondered aloud if Microsoft actually had a rule about the maximum number of MVPs allowed to fly on one plane. If they do, we must have been close to the limit. The best bit of the flight for me was when the entertainment system on the plane rebooted, filling every video screen with a Linux penguin and boot sequence. The roar from the assembled passengers was quite impressive.
One of the benefits of being crammed into a window seat with no legroom is that you do get to take pictures of the view outside. The lady at the gate was very sorry that she couldn’t find me a seat with a bit more space. But I doubt she was as sorry as I was. Anyhoo, the flight was smooth and speedy and I got to watch some movies, which was nice.
This is a slightly more interesting view, once we had arrived. Richard and Steve from Black Marble were kind enough to give me a lift to the hotel (thanks guys). We went via a shopping mall, so we could dive head first into the American Experience as quickly as possible. Then it was back to the hotel. I unpacked then headed out for a walk.
The rain over here is proper rain. And they seem to have an inexhaustible supply of it. I went out for a walk in the stuff and managed to stay mostly dry. Note to self, buy an umbrella at some point.
The Microsoft Store in the Bellevue Mall was packed. I actually got to handle a Surface Pro, which was very interesting. Having completely convinced myself that I had no need of such a device I have discovered, having handled one, that I actually want one rather a lot. I was expecting something much heavier and thicker than the Surface RT, but it is actually rather svelte and doesn’t feel too bulky for a tablet to me. The screen is to die for (although perhaps not literally) and the whole thing works very well.
There were only two issues for me. Well three if you count the fact I really shouldn’t get one. Firstly they only had the smaller 64G devices in stock, and secondly the pen, while it works well and seems very responsive, feels cheap and flimsy to me. Having seen the lovely engineering that has gone into the Surface and the Touch Keyboard I was expecting the pen to be of a similar quality. Unfortunately it is more Bic Biro than Mont Blanc, which rather lets the side down.
The helpful girl in the Microsoft Store said they might be getting some of the larger Surface Pro devices in early next week. So I’ve got a day or so to talk myself into, or out of, buying one.
Then it was time for a quick McDonalds meal. I always have a Big Mac wherever I go, just to make sure that they taste the same worldwide. They do. After that I headed home and was in bed for 6:00 pm. My plan is 6 hours sleep, wake up, do some work, four more hours sleep and then off to Seattle for a wander round. On the way back to the hotel I, of course, took some more pictures.
The food in Maggiano’s is lovely.
I’ve always liked the idea of putting light in trees.
Hmmm. Imax. I wonder what’s on?