Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Off to New York

I'm off to New York for a few days for my Columbia J-School reunion. I have an hour to hang out while waiting for my Continental flight from Seattle to Newark and, having found seat near an electrical outlet, am charging the PowerBook. And wishing I had a 12" PowerBook for travel. (I wonder when someone will come out with 12" travel screens for people who want to travel with a Mac mini?)

A super-sized genial young loudmouth in de rigeur black polo shirt and black jeans is sitting across from me in the waiting area, bellowing into his cell phone about contracts, installing Microsoft security patches, and the need to talk with Accounts Payable. His name is JASON. His cellphone has an earphone, but too bad it can't have some kind of mouth device as well. Like an electronic gag.

I'd thought this would be the opportunity to use my Boingo wifi account, but, though Boingo recognized the robust signal from the terminal's Wayport wifi hotspot, it wasn't able to connect me. And it somehow blocked access to the WayPort sign-in process. So I ended up signing on through the Cingular wifi network.

This past month, Macworld magazine ran a great article on traveling with a laptop. Adam Engst, Joe Kissell, and some other technorati listed the equipment they pack. I picked up quite a few tips, though I haven't implemented any of them yet. Incidentally, did you know that most computer hardware manufacturers never use the word "laptop" in their marketing materials? That's in case you put what they prefer to call a "portable" on your lap and your lap gets toasted.

What folks are doing in the waiting area: Drinking fruit juice; reading a book; eating grapefruit sections; drinking water; staring at the morning news show on the overhead TV (6); sleeping while listening to an iPod shuffle; listening to an iPod mini; listening to an unidentified MP3 player; fiddling with a digital camera; yakking on a cell phone (3); typing on a laptop (me). Interestingly, for a workday morning, not a single person is reading a newspaper.

What people are wearing: athletic shoes (many), 3" high heel dress pumps (1 older woman), walking shoes (several), flip flops (the man with the iPod shuffle). Jeans (nearly everyone, including the woman in high heels and the man with flip flops) and chinos.

About 30 teenagers clutching large whipped cream-topped Starbucks drinks have just entered the waiting area for our flight, raising the noise level by several decibels. They are accompanied by three teachers, one of whom sounds like he might be the school football coach. This promises to be a livelier than usual flight.

Please, don't let one of my seatmates be JASON. We're boarding.

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