So much for knowing where I am….

I had two GPS disappointments on my journey from San Jose last night. The first was on American Airlines, as the flight attendant asked me to turn my GPS off — apparently, they’ve decided that there is a microscopic chance of interfering with aircraft navigation systems (or, perhaps, they’re tired of passengers asking why the plane isn’t flying in a direct route to the destination!), and so the latest list of prohibited devices includes GPS receivers (but only in the English-language list — the Spanish and French lists hadn’t been revised). Naturally, I complied — there’s no way to win an argument in that situation, and, technically speaking, attempting to do so may be a felony.

Once I landed in Austin, I thought I’d be all set, though; I’d built a route from the airport to my hotel and had loaded it into the GPS, and the GPS worked beautifully. Unfortunately, the route that Street Atlas had computed didn’t match reality, and I found myself way off course — I knew I was off course (thanks to the GPS) but I couldn’t figure out how to recover (thanks to not having a decent paper map). Fortunately, my cellphone worked, and I had the hotel phone number, so they were able to talk me in. But I would have been better off staying with the tried-and-true technology of printing the directions from the hotel’s web page and following them.

This morning came awfully early.

Avoid the Iron Cactus in Austin

Tonight, I almost had dinner at the Iron Cactus restaurant on Stonelake in Austin. I was here to participate in a press event, and the hosts had arranged a group dinner there. But the restaurant wasn’t at all flexible about catering to the needs of the guests — apparently, they’d proposed a menu with three choices, and if the guests didn’t like any of them, too bad. They eventually agreed to let a few of us order from the real menu because of food allergies or vegetarianism, but it was clearly being done under protest, and I decided I didn’t want to take the chance of having them cook my meal with shrimp and then remove it before serving it. So I left (the fact that the restaurant was horribly noisy didn’t make me want to stay, either — and the noise level was obviously by design, since the restaurant was all done in stone and tile) and went to Taco Cabana, which I’d walked past earlier in the evening.

Taco Cabana turned out to be a fast-food Tex-Mex place, but it was clean, simple, and good, and they were accomodating — I didn’t like the desserts they offered, so I asked the manager if he knew where there was an ice cream place in the area. He didn’t, so he asked his kitchen staff for recommendations for me, settling on Amy’s Ice Cream a few blocks away, which I also enjoyed.

I’m glad I decided to leave the Iron Cactus; I caught up with the group when they got back to the hotel, and several of them were complaining about sore throats from having to yell across the table.

Things you find out from referer logs

I look at my referer page and my Site Meter page from time to time, and today, I notice that someone was sent to my July 24 page via a Google search for “22 Paper Jam”. On that day, I was talking about the problems I was having with my Optra R printer; I’m happy to note (if I haven’t already) that I was finally able to fix the problem by replacing the paper tray, which got damaged when it was shoved back into the printer too quickly.