Waiting in line in the dark and the cold

Sarah Palin has another book signing at noon today at the Barnes & Noble in Sioux City, Iowa. Supporters spent the night in the parking lot in hopes of getting their book signed. My friend Kay drove up from Des Moines to cover the event and took some photos. The wind chill was about 9 degrees.

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Her story and photos got me thinking about things about which I care enough to wait in line, in the cold (I hate both). I couldn’t come up with much.

There was the time George (pictured), David and I waited in bitter cold weather to attend a taping of Digg Nation in St. Louis.

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I had not idea San Francisco could be so cold at 4:30 a.m. or I would not have waited in line to see Steve Jobs give a keynote at MacWorld.

But the coldest of the cold will always be (I hope) the inauguration. My hands are shaking just typeing these words.

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For whom/what have you/are you willing to wait all night in the freezing cold?

First Bluetooth webcam?

So says Ecamm who showed this little bugger at Macworld. George saw it and says the video and audio are pretty good. And if you plug in a little dongle, you can increase the bluetooth range to 100 feet. Standard 640×480 H.264 video with 48 kHz AAC stereo audio and a promised four hours of talk time. Looks like it’s about the size of a deck of playing cards.

iLife ’09

Of all the things I enjoy doing on the computer, messing with images (still and video) has to be near the top of the list. You’ve heard me and others talk about how the Mac –or, more accurately, the software running on a Mac– makes working with media easier and more fun.

Today at Macworld, Apple made a number of announcements, as they do every year, including a new version of iLife, the suite of applications for working with photos, movies, music, etc.

The brief video tours of iPhoto and iMovie illustrate why we Mac users get so excited we pee our pants. My copy is on the way.

And I hate crowds

Did I mention that Barb and I will be attending the inauguration in a couple of weeks? I use the word “attending” loosely.

Bridges and major roadways closed to all but bus traffic; the D.C. subway system expecting ‘crush-level’ crowds; escalators closed. The Congressional Inaugural Committee issued an “Inaugural Advisory” that basically said: stay home.

From CBS News: “While the actual swearing-in will take place shortly before noon, the formal program begins at 11:30 AM and the musical prelude and seating will begin much earlier. Security checkpoints will open for ticketed guests at 8:00 AM, and the committee advises arriving no later than 9:00 AM to ensure that you are through the checkpoints by the time the program begins. Screening will end when the program begins at 11:30 AM and late arrivals will not be able to enter the grounds.”

And if it’s raining like pouring piss out of a boot?

“Regardless of the weather conditions, umbrellas will not be permitted in the ticketed areas.”

Same goes for “strollers, Laser pointers, Signs, Posters, Animals (other than service animals), Alcoholic beverages, (and) Other items that may pose a threat to the security of the event as determined by and at the discretion of the security screeners.”

But I’ll get some good pix that I can put online, right?

“Be aware that it may be difficult to talk or send pictures from your cell phone, according to wireless companies. Please use text messaging to send critical messages.”

What the hell. I waited in for five hours to hear a Steve Jobs keynote address at MacWorld (which, as it turns out, was his final one)… I can wait a few hours to watch history being made. I’ll be the one dressed like Frances McDormand.

Macworld: Day Two

Winding down here at Macworld. Hit the exhibit floor again and watched a very cool demo of Photoshop Elements 6 for the Mac. Out in March. Show continues through Friday but I head home tomorrow.

Devo150Last night our gang attended a Devo concert at the historic Warfield Theater. I lasted about 15 minutes. Not sure if it was the head-exploading decibels or the depressing sight of a bunch of guys my age (or very close) dressed in yellow coveralls and orange plastic hats.

Dinner tonight at some fancy-pants French restaurant. More on that later.

Macworld: Day One (SF: Day 3)

In line at 4:30 a.m. for Jobs keynote. Waited in the cold and dark for a couple of hours… and a couple more inside the convention center. Got in to the keynote room just as Jobs began speaking. If we (Mark Snell was with me) had gotten in line 5 minutes later, we wouldn’t have gotten in. We would have stood in line for almost 5 hours…for nothing. Glad I had the experience. But the keynote looks pretty good online.  I’m just saying.

After the keynote, we had lunch and then hit the exhibit floor. The Hot New Thing was/is the MacBook Air [Ad – Tour]. They have a long (150 feet?) table set up with 40 or 50 of these little beauties on display. But for the first couple of hours, you couldn’t get close. The crowd was three deep with people who just wanted to see, touch and hold The Worlds Smallest Notebook Computer. We got a few minutes with it and I must say it is impressive. But I am easily impressed.

Lots of other interesting stuff in the keynote but others will report on those. I’m looking forward to renting movies from iTunes. If it works as advertised, this could eliminate the need for Netflix.

I have some video of the day’s adventures and will post that later.

If you’re going to San Francisco…

Flowers_hair…and I am. Leaving for MacWorld tomorrow. As a MacWorld virgin, I’ll be under the collective wings of George, Tom and Mark. Seasoned veterans all. If we were driving cross-country, this trip might make a decent road-trip movie. Middle-aged geeks search for meaning and happiness among 40,000 people talking to each other on their iPhones.

I’ll have the MacBook with me (I’m not sure you can get into SF without one for the next week) but blogging might be light. I really hope to soak up the experience and not worry too much about recording it. We’ll see.

Macworld virgin

In couple of weeks I will attend my first Macworld in San Francisco. 60,000 rabid Mac fans gather for a week of… well, I’m not quite sure but look forward to finding out.

Three Macworld veterans are letting me tag along and their enthusiasm is infectious. These guys are my age and they’re as giddy as a GTO full of college sophomores on their way to spring break.

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They know the ropes and have planned our trip like a Delta Force strike. This morning at our planning meeting, I was informed that we’d be getting in line at 4:30 a.m. for the keynote by Steve Jobs.

Macworld sounds like a bouillabaisse of Burning Man, 60’s Be-In, and Jonestown (substitute microbrews for Kool Aid). Can’t wait.