Page January 2011
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The skating rink
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In the morning, El and I played with the tablet computers and then I cleared the rink. At this point, I like the Galaxy Tab much better than the iPad, although both are great.
After lunch, our guests arrived and we did puzzles, played games and everyone tried out the tablets. After coffee a group of us went out and shot the puck around the ice a bit and skated for an hour.
By seven, everyone was gone. I now have one full day to get ready to go to Galveston.
This morning I took out ashes again and got the basement ready so that Ellen won't have much to do while I am gone. I checked in for my flight and found that my favourite row (13) had an empty window seat, so I took it.
Once I had checked in, I expected to be offered a boarding pass on my tablet, but I was only given a print option and I have not configured a printer or figured out how, so fortunately I had installed Dropbox and Evernote on the Tab and was able to send it to my laptop.
* * * * * * * * *
This must be a first. I'm packed and ready to go at 8 PM. Usually I pack in the last hours before my flight. I get up at 3 and pack, then go, but this time is different.
I was up at 4 and drove to Airdrie, where I met Mike, Liz and Attie. Attie drove us to the Airport and after long line-ups, we boarded the plane and took flight just after 9. In the airport, we ran into quite a few beekeepers from Alberta and Saskatchewan, headed to the same meeting.
Although we had reserved separately, and chose our seats without consulting one another, Mike, Liz and I found we were sitting together! How about that?
Mike had reserved a car and we drove to Galveston from George Bush International, over an hour's drive, arriving around 3 local. I checked in to my hotel, which has turned out to be very nice and Peter, my roommate showed up a few hours later. Weather here is a bit chilly and breezy, but a pleasant change from home.
I slept well. There is nothing happening at the convention until this evening, so I have the day free.
Mike called around ten and he and Liz and I drove out to the Houston Space Center. The facility is not as elaborate as the one at Cape Kennedy, but still has a lot to see. We spent the afternoon there.
I'm still learning about this Android Galaxy Tab. I see it will not replace this netbook I'm using to write on right now. For one thing, the Galaxy has no real keyboard and unless I dictate using the voice recognition, writing on it is slow. For another, the screen is pretty small. Its main advantage is that it is small, always on, has great battery life, can stay connected all day, and is easy to hold and carry.
In contrast, my Acer Windows 7 netbook takes forever to come back on and has a short battery life. There is a 12 hour battery available and I guess I should have bought it, but I haven't.
The shot at right, through the window of the hotel room, was taken with the Galaxy Tab, which shoots good pictures. It even has a flash! I reduced the image size and quality a lot for use here. The picture at top of this page was also taken with the Galaxy.
Even if I had longer battery life, and even with the relatively small size, for a PC, a netbook is awkward to use on a plane. I am always worried about the reclining seat in front of me coming down and slamming and pinching the upright screen and breaking the hinges. The netbook is not a whole lot better in a car, since it is hard to hold in position, open on the passenger seat. Tablets have the advantage there. If the iPad were not so restricted by Apple, I think it would rule. Even at that, though, it is a real hit and very popular. In a year or so, we probably see some real competition, though from Android, and I think devices like my Tab will beat the iPad. As it is, the iPad has no camera, while this Tab has two.
I installed anti-virus on the Android Tablet today, BTW. There are some exploits out there, but not many yet.
Last night, there was a reception for the incoming attendees, complete with food and it was well attended. I had a good time, but left around nine and hacked around on the computers until midnight, then slept well.
Today was the first day of the Conference programme and I took in sessions all day, but breakfast was the highlight because I ran into just the guy to answer a question that has been in the top of my mind.
At noon, I went to Krogers and got some chicken and ate alone on the beach across from the Conference venue. I had enough left to make my supper as well.
The afternoon had more sessions and after supper there was a CHC meeting which turned out to be very subdued and without the controversy which has marked previous gatherings.
I had a touch of food poisoning today and as a result found I was tired, and had to take Imodium (Thank goodness for Imodium).
The sessions were from good to excellent, as usual, but, also as usual, some of the talks were shuffled in the program for various reasons and puzzled people were rushing between meeting rooms to hear talks which had been given hours before and finding themselves attending presentations of no interest to them.
At right is a most interesting chart that Medhat presented today. I don't recall the context, but it very neatly outlines how the numbers of hives in Alberta has increased over the years, while the total hives in Canada have declined. Although pollination has been helpful in Alberta, pollination alone cannot account for the differences. Other provinces have pollination too, and as the years pass and Alberta becomes more developed, the quality and diversity of Alberta bee forage has gone down.
In my opinion, there is one strong factor that favours Alberta and it is the strong pro-business, free market philosophy that prevails here, along with a strong co-operation ethic and refusal to be polarized into camps or be stampeded into setting quarantines or other restrictive measures which cripple businesses.
I attended sessions all day. Some were good, some were less good. I'm hoping to get the audio recordings later when they appear online. I was still suffering from the food poisoning, so took it easy.
On the way we came across a supposed reenactment of some Civil War battle. There was a lot of noise and smoke, but little real semblance to the terrible conditions of real warfare. It was just a bunch of men having fun dressing up, running around with guns and pretending, just the way we did when we were kids.
Peter went out to the Healthy Chinese Buffet again, I had a nap and was awoken by the phone, still tired and a bit chilled. It was Chuck suggesting a steak house, but I was not up to it. I had a hot shower, ate a light late supper in the hotel alone, and had a quiet evening. I like some time alone, sometimes.
I slept 9 or 10 hours and awoke feeling better. Peter and I went down for our customary breakfast in the hotel one last time and he went off to the wind-up social. I didn't bother. It was pouring rain, very windy, and the power went off for a while. (Later, I saw a lamp post had blown over).
Apparently, of the 1,100 or so conference attendees, only about 30 remained for the social.. Apparently the topic of discussion at one table was Sarah Palin. Ho-Hum.
I spent the time packing and organizing for my move to the Beachcomber, which I booked for $31.95 +tax. The $100 or so the Holiday Inn cost would be less bearable with no roommate, and Peter is headed off to see his daughter today and I have another day until I fly to San Diego.
In Alberta, Ellen reported blowing snow and cold temperatures when I called her last night. In Galveston, we are being treated to wind and rain. The Gulf has been calm all the time we have been here, but today I see big rollers coming in onto the beach from several directions, nothing like the Pacific, bit bigger than I've seen here.
Peter dropped me off at Beachcomber on his way out of town. The Beachcomber Inn is a step down from the excellent ocean-view room we had at the Holiday Inn, but is very clean, roomy, and up-to-date. The Internet is actually better and does not require an annoying sign-on every time it drops. The Beachcomber is also right next to our favorite supper restaurant and across from -- you guessed it -- McDonalds.
One thing that I learned again is that I should have rented a car. Without one, I am somewhat stranded. A car would cost me $125 or so for a week and a convenient airport shuttle is as much as $100 one-way. I managed a cheaper shuttle back to IAH for $40 (senior's rate) but it will get me to the airport much earlier than I would have liked. I did catch rides several times with friends who had the foresight to rent cars, but now I'm older and wiser. I try to be frugal, but sometimes it is better just to spend the money and be done with it.
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