Last updated: 14 Apr 2012 - 17:40
Last month I got to spend a week in Prague attending the European Antennas and Propagation Conference (EuCAP). It is an interesting place, there are a lot of very old buildings and some stark utilitarian structures from the Communist era. The conference was in a building which was apparently originally built as the Communist headquarters in Prague, it is a vast complex in an imposing location with very impressive views over the city. Another striking communist era construction is the building containing the Prague Hackspace, brmlab. This remarkable venue looks like it could be featured in a Half-Life game. The hackspace seems very active with a vast array of tools and materials gathered in only a year and a half. There were at least three RepRaps in the hardware room and more being produced, a home made laser etching machine and a server room big enough for a large corporation! Unfortunately I didn't get any photos inside the space.
Last updated: 10 Sep 2011 - 20:54
With the conference all done and my flight not until Friday afternoon San Francisco time, a last chance to be a tourist in the city by the bay was at hand. We caught a vintage 50s "train" (I'd call it a tram because it runs down rails in otherwise normal streets but they call it a train) from down town out to the heavily touristified Pier 39. The pier itself seems to be a collection of low-quality souvenir goods purveyors clustered with some restaurants. The views of Alcatraz and the bridge were more impressive. The cloud shrouding the top of the bridge was quite a significant difference from when we visited on Monday. Unfortunately my camera was already packed in air-safe carrying mode so I didn't get any pictures.
Last updated: 09 Sep 2011 - 04:09
Today is the final day of the conference which has frankly been terribly badly organised, but I won't go into details here. Yet another Starbucks lunch seemed un-appealing especially as the nearest one is about to shut for refurbishment and is reducing catering services already. Instead we visited the Cheesecake Factory having heard of it on the Big Bang Theory and lets face it anything that the character Shelden Cooper will agree to eat must be fairly good food. The restaurant was in the top of Macy's department store, which seemed a little odd but the food was good. I didn't have any cheesecake though as the burger was more than enough lunch for me.
Last updated: 08 Sep 2011 - 03:03
Today was again a long day of conference activities. My presentation was one of the last of the day, as usual I don't really remember presenting it, I got up and gave the presentation on auto-pilot. Other than that I've not done a lot today, busy days and restless nights meant that I ended up taking a nap at lunch and getting an early night.
Last updated: 07 Sep 2011 - 04:15
The conference has taken most of the day today, I won't bore you with details. I did however come to the conclusion that the provision of internet access at this hotel is somewhat lacking to say the least. There is Wi-Fi and even a network cable in the rooms, but the hotel expects a further $13 a day on top of your room fee for access! I pay that much a fortnight for mobile broadband in the UK! There is a private network for the conference which is free to access, if you can get more than one or two packets through though, you're doing well so secure web logons are a joke as too many packets get dropped to even load a page. The most ironic thing was that I got over an hour of free Wi-Fi at lunch sitting in a Starbucks because I'd spent a few dollars on a coffee and sandwich there. This seems ridiculous when the hotel is costing literally hundreds of times as much.
Last updated: 06 Sep 2011 - 00:21
Due to the somewhat surprising arrangement of conference talks, there was nothing on except paid tutorials today and so an extra day of tourism has taken place. This morning I spent mainly wandering around the Union Square area and eventually settled into a shopping centre which offered free Wi-Fi to upload the last two days of blog postings. It seems remarkable that the shopping centre, not being directly paid by any customers and several coffee shops, being paid fairly little by their customers can provide free internet acces when a high priced hotel like the Hilton cannot.
Last updated: 05 Sep 2011 - 04:35
This morning I woke up at 8:00 local time and it did feel like the morning and not 16:00 like I was almost expecting it to. The hotel actually has a Starbucks coffee in the foyer and the queues for this and the catered breakfast went on for miles making me glad that I didn't have breakfast pre-paid. A different (and considerably cheaper) branch of Starbucks actually provided breakfast on the way to the CalTrain depot. It felt a little odd because although it looks very similar to a branch in the UK they do everything just a little bit differently here, including providing a filter coffee option which I actually prefer.
Last updated: 04 Sep 2011 - 03:02
Long haul flights are odd things. By some standards the ten-and-a-bit hour flight to San Francisco from London isn't all that long, but with the time difference it makes for a long day.
Starting at 04:00 in Bristol I have travelled first to Heathrow then to San Francisco in what was an uneventful journey. I was a little unfortunate on the plane to have a man with long legs behind me and a man who spent the whole flight with his chair reclined in front of me. With the help of a book and a little sleeping I managed to pass the time which seemed of an undefined length so it didn't really feel odd to get off the plane at lunch time here in San Francisco.
Last updated: 18 Aug 2011 - 17:43
Another year, another Oggcamp. This year though, the biggest and the first to contain real camping!
Oggcamp is a gathering of users and developers of open source and free culture projects. The event is organised by the Linux Outlaws and UUPC podcasters so has a tendency toward Linux and online media. This year's event was at Farnham Maltings, in my opinion the best Oggcamp venue so far, it had a really similar feel to the last LugRadio Live venue, this may have been mainly to do with the size of the event which was bigger this year than any Oggcamp previously.
Last updated: 11 Apr 2011 - 19:34
Due to popular demand I realised that this image has been missing for some time from my site. It's now a somewhat old image of me in a section of the international space station.