I spent Saturday walking around Amsterdam, mostly along with my colleague, David Fallside. Not many pictures, however.
[details to follow]
I took a lot of pictures (digital film is free, especially when using rechargeable batteries), some of which did turn out to be worth posting (and I’ll post others when I have better connectivity).
Then we returned to Amsterdam’s Centraal Station (we were supposed to go back to RAI where we started, but we decided to see if we could go downtown instead and succeeded in the attempt) and went to the Anne Frank House. There’s often a one-hour wait, but we picked a good time and got in in just a few minutes; then we spent a very sobering hour-and-a-half going through the house.
After that, it was too late to go to any other museum, so we decided to find the Red Light District. But none of our maps showed where it was very clearly, so we spent an hour or so wandering around (at times in circles) before finding it. No pictures, I’m afraid. Nothing dramatic happened, either.
Then I went to the WWW9 “thank you” reception at the official residence of the Mayor of Amsterdam, which is a very nice canal house. Here’s a picture of me in the back garden; I have more to add later.
And then dinner with some Microsoft and W3C folks; unlike other evenings when dinner ended after 10, this time we went right to midnight. I don’t think I’m going to get up as early tomorrow as I’d originally planned!
Or maybe it’s my discovery of vieux jeniver (I hope I have that right — the old stuff, not the new stuff) at the Poster Reception at WWW9 last night. It’s probably a good thing that it took me longer than I planned to go stash my laptop back in my hotel room yesterday afternoon, or I might have used the extra drink tickets I collected and then I know I’d be in trouble!
More later; I’m hoping that getting this writing out of my system and onto Dave’s servers will let me go back to sleep.
Hmmm…just found a little buglet…I adjusted my timezone to “Central Europe (UTC+0100)”, since that’s where I am, and also changed my page to put a byline on the page with the time of last edit. Much to my surprise, UTC+0100 means exactly what it says — no adjustment is made for summer time. When I get home to California, I’ll reset my timezone preference — I wonder if being in the same timezone as the server will cause it to honor daylight time.
Larry Lessig (Harvard Law School) gave this morning’s keynote speech. He was erudite and polished — possibly too erudite for some of the audience, I’m afraid. What I took as his message is this: government’s proper role in the evolution of the Internet is to ensure that the net itself remains neutral, that it doesn’t discriminate based on who’s using it or what application is being used, and that a balnance must be restored between intellectual property rights and the rights of the community (the users of the intellectual property). When I get home, I’m going to move his book much higher in my stack of books to read!
I’m going to miss most of the afternoon here at WWW9 in favor of discussing the possibility of holding a future Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference in Europe, quite possibly in Amsterdam. It’s not clear that the timing will work out for 2002 (2001 is already planned for Cambridge, Massachusetts), since there is a great deal of planning needed to pull off the conference. More later.
I had a pleasant walk through Vondelpark while waiting to go to my meeting; it would have been even nicer had the weather been warmer, but it was still a nice change from concrete. Then onto a crowded and late tram (it appeared that two or three scheduled trams didn’t run) to return to the hotel, pick up my briefcase, and tram to Centraal Station for lunch at the “First Class” restaurant (a former first class waiting room; part of the waiting room was converted to a Burger King, so don’t take the name too seriously!) to discuss CFP in Europe. Details when they become clear; I think we made progress, though.
I made it back from the CFP cabal meeting in time to use the Internet connection to fetch e-mail and then catch the closing ceremony — it looks as though the WWW10 committee has their act together. I’m hoping they will be able to get more papers on the effect of the Web on society and the world, not just the usual run of technical papers.
Then a last hit of e-mail (well, this is Amsterdam!) and back to the hotel with Andrew Donoho and Kelvin Lawrence (IBM colleagues from Austin), then to dinner. We all wanted to walk and enjoy the fresh air, so we strolled much of the way towards Centraal Square, then turned around and ended up at Myrabelle (an eet-en drinkcafe) at Vijelgracht 1. We had a very pleasant meal (I discovered that I like Amstel mittlebock (I may have the spelling of “mittlebock” wrong)), with good, friendly, reasonably fast service — this was a pleasant change from the last dinner I’d had with Andrew and Kelvin. Then we walked back to Leidsenplein and tried to go to an Australian ice cream place, but it was closed, so we ended up at Ben & Jerry’s. It felt just like home, though it was a little less crowded (and a few cents cheaper, too).
Tomorrow, I hope to visit Keukenhof if the weather permits. Unlike the web site, the real place does not require Flash to be installed!
Well, I didn’t get a chance to edit anything yesterday (16 May), but that’s OK; I spent the whole day at the conference, so there’s nothing terribly interesting to talk about. :-)
Unless you’re interested in weather, that is — the beautiful weather ended abruptly yesterday evening with a torrential downpour and thunderstorm which reminded me of living in Florida. I haven’t seen so much rain in years — fortunately, the storm was short-lived (maybe an hour) and by the time I was ready to leave, the rain had subsided to a tolerable level. But I was happy to split a taxi with some of my colleagues instead of taking the tram back.
We had dinner last night at an Argentinian Steak House near the hotel. It was a much more drawn-out process than any of us had expected — one of our number ordered soup, which resulted in the main courses being delayed for close to an hour! Silly us — we didn’t realize that it was impossible to start the main courses until he finished his starter and the waiter had picked up the empty soup bowl. It was close to 10pm before we got fed, which was a bit late for a heavy meal — so I had a hard time falling asleep. I finally managed to drift off about midnight; the alarm came awfully early this morning!
I had breakfast with colleagues this morning at the hotel; again, we had some service problems, resulting in our arriving at the conference at 9:15am instead of 8am and so I missed most of the opening plenary panel. But I got to see enough to have an idea of the preceding discussion.
And now I’m in a panel session on “Practice and Experience”. There’s Internet connectivity in the back of the room; but there’s only one power outlet here, and that’s being used by the hub, so I’m on battery power at the moment. More later….
By popular demand (my mother), here is a picture of me in the terminal room at WWW9.
I had an uneventful flight (I slept more than usual for a trans-Atlantic flight, which was nice…but probably only four hours, which is not really enough). But I got to Amsterdam too early; the hotel wasn’t ready for me. So I left my luggage and walked to Centraal Station to buy a train pass for my entire stay; then I took the tram down to the RAI convention center to register for WWW9, and that’s where I am as I type this.
But en route, I stopped for lunch, having an old Dutch favorite…
I also noticed that some of the least savory aspects of the global culture have reached Holland.
It’s a beautiful day in Amsterdam, making for very pleasant walking. And my path took me past the street of flower markets, which was very pretty.
I only wish I were wearing short sleeves — it’s probably 80 or so, so long sleeves are less than optimal (on the other hand, they’re keeping me from getting sunburned). I have a few pictures, but they’ll have to wait till I get back to my computer — this one doesn’t seem to have a PCMCIA slot. (Thanks to Rohit Kahre for loaning me his computer; it’s different enough that I’m going to stop editing now after getting one picture up. Macs may be easy, but I’m too imprinted on Windows….)
But now it’s 3:15pm here and my hotel room should be ready, so I’m going to blow off the tutorials here and head back to the room. More later, perhaps.
I eventually got into my hotel room, where I discovered that the phone charges are rather high by my standards (roughly 40 cents/minute (US), topping out at $10/hour/call, or $1.75 to access AT&T, plus AT&T charges), so I don’t think I’ll be connecting up from the hotel very much!
I went to dinner with Rohit; we ate at Little Tel Aviv, which, of course, was a pizzeria. I declined the ham pizza in favor of mushroom, which was very good.
So far, I like the DC280 quite a bit; I’ll know better after my trip, of course. I am not quite so happy with PhotoDeluxe; after I use it, my display is sometimes fouled up (odd colors all over the place) and there doesn’t seem to be any good way to recover short of a reboot. (A little experimentation shows that I can recover by setting the desktop to 256-color mode and then back to 24-bit color. Whew!)
Now, I should get off the computer and start packing. Oy!
As shown by extensive personal research at the Pen and Parchment, the following ranking is true:
There is nothing like doing a live demo.
I’m glad to have something to say good about today. Except for the Wizard of Oz Purim Shpiel and Megillah Reading at Shir Hadash, today has been an archtypical Monday — not a day to enjoy.
Besides being very busy at work, and having to rush to get to shul on time, after we got back from services, our son mentioned that he had to finish his Mission report for tomorrow (a standard 4th-grade assignment here in California). There was much more work left to do than he had told us — even with our help, he didn’t finish until nearly 11pm, well past his bedtime (and awfully close to ours!). And there are still some final touches he has to add tomorrow before school — but there was no way he would have been able to do them tonight.
And apparently he has a science project due soon, too. Oh, well; I remember burning sugar as my science project in high school when I’d left it to the last possible night — it didn’t go over very well with the teacher, either. And I also remember putting off an 11th-grade term paper until the day before it was due,then cutting classes to do the research and staying up until the wee small hours typing the paper up — that was probably the first time I ever drank coffee. Perhaps procrastination is inherited!
Yesterday morning, GTE rang the bell very early to tell us that they were ready to install a new data line. Since the installation was entirely outside, we didn’t have to stay around and we didn’t — we took off for Torah Study and Minyan, and then lunch and Love in the Title, an Abbey Theatre of Dublin production at San Jose Rep.
The play was, ummm, different — it takes place in a meadow in Ireland, where three generations of the same family meet: Cat, from 1930 (age 20 or so), Triona, from 1960 (age 30 or so), and Kate, from 2000 (age 37). Cat, the grandmother, hasn’t gotten married yet; Triona has just had Kate. It was a very talky play (difficult to follow because of the authentic Irish accents).
Eventually, we came home, and I discovered that neither of our phone lines worked, though our data line was just fine. So I went next door and borrowed a phone to call GTE, who warned me that there would be huge costs if the problem was inside. I didn’t think this was likely (two lines? Right after a service call?), and I didn’t have much of a choice anyway.
So this morning, after a trip to the Y to exercise, I came home and found GTE here — working inside. There was dialtone at the junction box (there’s no delimiter, so I couldn’t plug a phone in to check myself), but none as soon as he wired up the inside lines. So we dug out the access to the crawl space (it’s in our son’s closet) in case the guy needs it, and he’s busy working under the desk in the other room. And now he’s fixed the lines. I still believe that it was yesterday’s work which caused the problem, but I don’t have any way to avoid paying for the call. *sigh*
Once the service guy leaves, I’m going to go to shul and catch up with the book group, which is discussing I Married a Communist by Philip Roth and picking out books for next year. Then we have the Purim Carnival, and then our havurah is going to see Mission to Mars; we saw part of the filming in Petra, Jordan last year on our trip to Israel.
Mission to Mars would have been a better movie if it were 20 minutes shorter — but I’m not sure which 20 minutes I would have cut. Suffice it to say that I kept checking my watch during the film. And I kept waiting to hear the Blue Danube or Also Sprach Tharathustra! But we did get to see the Mars rovers that we’d seen in Petra, and also some shots shot in the siq (the channel leading to Petra), which is where we were delayed on our trip.
The Purim Carnival was fun, especially for the kids — our son went through $5 worth of tickets and came back with 2 cents worth of plastic toys, and a goldfish. We’ll see how long the fish survives.