After all that, finally back to the San Jose story from last week. My apologies for the lack of detail, as my memories fade…
Tuesday morning, I registered for the sessions pretty easily, and went in to a large ballroom that was set up with tables and chair for… I’d guess probably about 250 people. After an introduction by Apple Worldwide Marketing VP Phil Schiller, we got into the marketing stuff right away for the Xserve and Xserve RAID— not “X-RAID,” as we were reminded repeatedly throughout the sessions, including one very amusing moment from a session with Alex Grossman, one of the heads of marketing.
At lunch, our regional Apple rep introduced all of his sponsored retailers to each other. There was me, from Maryland/DC, and the other three were from various areas of Pennsylvania. We all got along pretty well, and would chat about various things in our off hours over the course of the next few days. I was, in fact, rooming with one of them from this night on, as the DoubleTree had finally found us a room. When we checked in Tuesday afternoon, we were greeted by two fruit platters, in apology for us having to schlepp all the way over the the Hyatt the night previous. By the description of my roomie’s Hyatt room, though— which was much nicer than my Hyatt room, or indeed, our new shared room— it may have also been a bid for us to stay, instead of abandoning ship for the relative luxury of the Hyatt.
That evening, our rep was stuck in an Apple internal meeting, but he would go on to take us out to a great dinner the next night to a Thai restauant in downtown San Jose— the first time I had ever eaten Thai, and the duck was delicious. Thursday night was spent in the classy in-hotel bar, where we met with the .mac marketing head and a few other retail/VAR folks like myself to put our heads together about the best way to sell .mac in-store. That dinner was also where I met a fellow from Michigan who was staying in a hotel about three miles away, and I accompanied him half of the way back to his place while we continued to chat (that was after a few rounds of pool with he, I and one of my regional cohorts). That was a good walk… Friday night was time to leave, and back to the Oakland airport for food… but we’ll get into that later.
The training itself was quite good. A lot of it was building on things that I at least knew a little bit about, so it was more of an evolutionary thing. The one session that did come across as revolutionary to me was on Friday, in a session on web services that featured Apple’s WebObjects development environment for web services and web applications. That just blew me away.
To explain what all the hubub is about— for instance, this boblog site o’ mine is run with what you could consider web services. I’m using PHP (a web scripting language) to extract journal entries from a MySQL database that’s running on this server. They merge together to form the web page you see here. This site is run with someone else’s code, but I’ve been working on building a new site that will house all of the family photo archives that I am working on, giving access to all of my family members across the country who can then view, search and comment upon all of the images. Now, what has taken me weeks of on-and-off programming to accomplish (which is only part of the planned site), this guy did a demo of almost exactly the same thing in less than 45 minutes. Suffice it to say I’m going to be making good use of the NFR copy that they gave us at the end of the session.
Now… on to the airport. I did finally find a cheaper way back to Oakland— a $15 cab ride to the CalTrain ($5.25) to San Francisco, where I took the light rail ($1) to a BART station. The BART ($2.85) took me across the bay to Oakland where a BART shuttle ($2) took me the rest of the way to the airport proper. Added up, that’s a mere $26.10, which is quite a savings over the previous cab fare. Then again, that chain of travel probably wasn’t available to me at midnight when I arrived, so I guess it worked out the way it had to.
Once in the airport itself, a horrifying two hours early, I figured I’d grab a bite and just sit and read a bit before the flight. BAAAA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAaaaa! [wipes the tears from his eyes] Woooh! Sorry, that was too funny.
No, what really would happen is that I would grab a blueberry-yogurt smoothie and a doughnut, and sit down for about twenty mintues to read. The remainder of the time would be spent on and/or near the toilet in the airport, my body desparately trying to rid itself of said smoothie and doughnut. It was done with that task pretty quickly, really, but it kept on going, ever-vigilant to see that the last shred of anything even remotely resembling food was purged from all memory. With intermittent breaks to get some overpriced ginger ale and Pepto to “calm things down” (HA!), this continued all the way through boarding, jumping over the guy in the aisle seat, and a very long stretch in what is perhaps the smallest bathroom I have ever has the misfortune to occupy.
Thankfully, things seemed to get back to normal as we touched down at Dulles. I should also note that my sleeplessness afforded me a glorious view of sunrise from above the clouds. Not only were the sun and colors to the east gorgeous, the light starting to play across the clouds below, and the odd indigo and fuschia glow from the west were sights to behold. I heartily recommend it to everyone once— but not for me again. If I can help it, I’ll not be repeating the experience of a redeye flight anytime soon.
I made my way home slowly by shuttle and Metro, and after about a half hour of greeting everyone and playing with my kids for a bit, I laid down on my bed for “just a minute,” and didn’t wake up until 6:30pm EST. Thank the gods— I’m home.