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May 5th, 2004

Proud to be an IBMer...

I woke up before my 7:00 wake-up call, at about 6:40. I couldn't go back to sleep, so got up at about 6:50. I called the wake-up call number, and tried to cancel the call (so it wouldn't ring while I was showering), but there was not an option to cancel. Just one to confirm, and one to add another wake-up call. Not a good usability test done on that system, it would appear.

I shaved, which took me up to the wake-up call, which I answered, and hung up on to end, and then showered. I left the room at 7:20, checked out, checked my bags with the bellman, and headed over to breakfast. Knowing I wouldn't have lunch before I left, I ate eggs and sausage for breakfast instead of just fruit. I also took hashbrowns, but when I tasted them, didn't care for them, do didn't waste the calories on them. Garret joined the table shortly after me, and sat next to me. I really like her.

We went to the "main tent" room at about 7:55, and the program started promptly at 8:00AM. Today's main tent session was hosted by Patt Cronin. The first speaker was Dr. Horn, who gave an interesting talk on chip technology, and the problem of making the chips more dense vs. the amount of power they are taking up now. He said, the it has gotten to the point that whether the chip is "on" or "off," it is using virtually the same amount of power. This is a problem, from a cooling standpoint. He talked about the implications of this on how (the industry) is going to have to address providing more value, if it can't be through chip performance. Very interesting talk. He also gave a great explanation of the componentization of business processes, and the opportunity to "surgically" improve company's processes.

The second talk was by Dr. Herr, who lost both of his legs in a climbing accident when he was young. You would never guess by watching him walk that he didn't have any legs. His talk was on "assistive technology," and the work he is doing as a professor at MIT, on enabling the disabled, and eventually augmenting even the able. The social implications of this were profound. An excellent, excellent presentation.

The final presentation of the morning was by Nick Donofrio, Sr. VP of IBM. It's my second or third time hearing him, and he is a very, very powerful speaker. He talked about our survival in the new century, and the criticality of innovating to add value.

I left when he finished his presentation, before the Q&A session started, as it was 10:45, and my bus was picking me up at 11:15 over at the hotel. I retrieved my bags, and enjoyed some sun for about 20 minutes until the bus arrived. I noticed a sign at the hotel in the arrival/departure area there that said, "Busses Only." I thought, "Busses has two esses? I've never really noticed that. It looks kind of funny."

On the bus, as I was reading the paper, I saw the word, "buses," which really looks right. It reminded me of the program book for this conference, and the many errors that would have been caught by a good edit. Mostly, the problem was with the use of "it's" vs. "its," and with periods being outside the quotes.

I flew first class from Orlando to Miami, which is sort of the wrong way to Raleigh, and did the Orlando Sentinel(?) paper crossword on the way. I got all but one answer. Part way through the flight I remembered that I hadn't turned off my cell phone, which was in the overhead compartment. The flight was short enough (32 minutes), that I risked a call. None came in.

I had a bourbon and coke, which was mostly bourbon, and the lady next to me, in headphones, enjoyed a Bloody Mary. At the very end of the flight, she started talking to me, and we hit it off right away. She's a nurse, who was in Orlanda at the Coronado Springs Resort for a conference. That's where I was two years ago for the Out & Equal Conference. She was heading back to Philadelphia. As we were exiting the plane, she invited me to come into the Admiral's Lounge as her guest during our layover.

Getting into the airport, I spotted a Pizza Hut, and decided I wanted to eat there instead of a sandwich in the Admiral's Lounge, and we parted ways.

I was in first class on the Miami to RDU leg, too, but sat next to a boring person. In fact, he was an IBMer returning from the same conference I was at, and we didn't speak a word the whole way. He was reading a book. I caught up my journal on my laptop to transfer here when I got home.

Upon landing, I thought about my keys for the first time since leaving. I checked my laptop case at least three times for them, and couldn't find them. The only other place they could possibly be was in my checked bag. When it came, I went through that to no avail.

Then I started thinking that I hadn't "seen" them the whole trip. I would have taken them out of my pocket and put in the tray going through x-ray, and I didn't remember doing that at all, not even arriving at RDU on Sunday.

So, I thought, great, I'll bet I left them hanging in my trunk. On Sunday, as soon as I parked, I remember the bus was coming, and I darted off to it, so as not to have to wait for the next one. Well, this should be interesting as Toyota Camry's are the number one stolen cars, and I left the keys to the kingdom at the gate.

On the bus to parking lot 3, I asked the bus driver that on the chance that I had left them hanging in the trunk, and security picked them up, where would they be. He said lost and found in Terminal A.

As the bus pulled up to the first stop in parking lot 3, I saw my car still there, as I had parked right in front of that first stop. No keys hanging in the trunk lock though. Shit. I still had hope, thinking maybe I locked them in the trunk, since I was in such a rush.

I rolled my bags over to the attendant in the pay booth, and asked her if by chance they might be around there. She said no but called Lost and Found for me, only to tell me that they are only open from 8-5. It was about 6:45. Shit.

I called Joe and asked him to go to my house, get my "hidden" house key, get my extra car key, and bring it to me, which he was happy to do.

While waiting, Robert returned my call, and asked if I could get in at all, and I said, no the car is locked, and then thought, well I think it's locked. I tried a door, and it wasn't! Bless my mess. I had left in such a hurry that I hadn't even locked my doors. I popped the trunk hoping to see my keys laying there, but no luck. Nothing was missing inside the car, though, so that was good.

Joe arrived, bringing me three Cadbury eggs, bless his heart, and my keys.

Robert and I met at Wendy's for a quick dinner, so we could head to dancing. Dancing was fun, but I was tired by the end of the night.

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