Tuesday, October 26, 2004

New photo archive online

If you have amoment try out the archive link under photo gallery. The archive contains all the digital photos I have ever taken and it can be accessed in a tree like directory structure.

There are also options for dynamic thumbnail generation and a choice of image sizes to choose from.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Boston - Part 2

October 19, 2004 – Day 4

It is now Tuesday which means it is the final day of the conference and time to go home. I still have a whole day of sessions to get through however and still need to write about my past few days here.

Let’s do it!

Sunday started at 9:00 am in order to squeeze in some more sightseeing before the conference workshops started at 2:00 pm. To begin we walked through the public gardens and Boston Common which is green space right across from the hotel. Boston has a number parks around the city called the “emerald necklace” that were designed by the same person that did Central Park in New York. Hmmm...emerald necklace....greenbelt...do you see any similarities? From there we got onto a subway to the Fleet Centre and a really neat bridge. OK, let me stop there for a second. The subway. Boston does have a subway but what is interesting is that one of their lines (the green line) is actually a street car that just happens to run underground. Weird eh? The Fleet Centre wasn’t anything interesting to look at but right behind it is Boston’s newest bridge over the Charles River. The bridge has an asymmetrical cable stayed design and it is the biggest one in the U.S.. The bridge was part of the “Big Dig” project that has been occurring in Boston for the past decade. The Big Dig is largest, most complex civil engineering project in recent history. A entire stretch of highway in downtown Boston was amazingly completely buried underground all the while still being open to traffic. I bought a book about it at Barnes and Nobel that is a very interesting read.

By now it was after 10:00am and I still wanted to tour Fenway Park before the conference started. I hoped back on the green line and went across town. Before starting my tour of Fenway I had some time so walked across Harvard Bridge (which goes to MIT). The neat thing about this bridge is that it I measured in Smoots. What’s a Smoot? Smoot is the name of a MIT frat pledge. As an initiation one year the fraternity decided it would be interesting to measure the length of the bridge based on the height of Smoot. Those MIT folks are pretty geeky.

Fenway is old and green. OK I got a bit more out of my tour than that. It was pretty neat to walk around Fenway Park and think about how much history it has. It also just happened to be the ALCS weekend in Boston. Saturday, Sunday and Monday were Boston’s three home games. Now since Boston hasn’t won a world series since something like 1912 and the Yankees are their biggest enemy this series seems to be pretty important to Sox fans. Amazingly the Sox have come back from a three game deficit and have won the past two games. Needless to say Boston fans are pretty happy and you’d think they won the series by the way they were celebrating last night.

After the conference workshop in the afternoon we went to Cheers for dinner. The food was adequate but as you probably know its real draw is that its exterior was the inspiration for Cheers on TV. After dinner we then headed off to the Cheesecake Factory for some dessert. Yummy!

I’m moving on to Monday now. This was a full conference day but I did manage to get a little shopping and walking around done. In the evening however we had reservations for Top of the Hub, which is a restaurant on the top floor (52nd) of the Prudential tower. The view was absolutely amazing and the food was awesome too. I had the lamb and risotto.

Currently I am halfway through Tuesday. It is still raining. The last session I am planning on attending is just finishing up. Now what do I do for two hours?

I think a little more sightseeing and maybe even some shopping will be enough before going back to the hotel to get my bags a then head to the airport.

Boston - Part 1

October 17, 2004 – Day 2

I’ve been severely neglecting this blog lately partly because I’ve been keeping pretty busy and while it may seem contradictory I’ve had nothing that interesting to write about. Well I am currently in Boston attending a JavaPro conference so figured this would be a good time to start up again. While the official conference doesn’t start until tomorrow I am actually in a pre-conference workshop today.

Let’s start with yesterday...

So, what have I been up to up until today? Well I left home at 6:00 am on Saturday to catch my flight to Boston and arrived at 1:30 pm. Boston is pretty far eh? The flight is 1.5 hours but missing your Ottawa flight and having to go through Toronto instead takes an additional five hours!

Ok, so I finally got to Boston and checked into my hotel. The hotel was built in something like 1927 so needless to say it is very old and very grand. Many of the rooms, like mine, used to be two rooms. As a result they are quite big, have a king sized bed and two bathrooms (albeit fairly small bathrooms)!!!

After quickly settling in I found my co-worker and his wife and we set out to Boston’s north end in search of the New England Aquarium. We took the subway and found it quite easily. As we left the subway some local came up to us and asked if we were from Boston. We said “no” and then she said “do you want to go to the Aquarium for free?” Obviously we agreed so we followed her to the aquarium, she handed some magical coupon to the front desk, we entered the aquarium and then our mystery guide disappeared! Oh well, at least we saved $20 each on the price of admission.

After the aquarium we headed to a part of Boston called Faneuil (sounds like Daniel) Market. This is kind of like the Byward Market in Ottawa. It is a bunch of old buildings with restaurants, stores, stalls, street performers etc. It was early evening by now so finding dinner was next on our list. We found a restaurant called Chart House that was a steak and seafood type place ... let me digress ... Did you know Boston is right on the Ocean!!! Well apparently places that are close to the Ocean like to serve seafood. As none of us really like seafood this was a bit of a problem. For appetizers I did try some lobster spring rolls which weren’t too bad. For dinner however I wanted some real meat so got the prime rib. I guess ordering red meat in a steak and seafood restaurant in a city on the Ocean is a mistake. Needless to say the prime rib wasn’t too good and I think we were the only ones in the restaurant not ordering some type of seafood. Oh well by now we were getting tired enough so we decided to head back to the hotel for an early evening.

More on Sunday and beyond soon...