Ian McShane Rotating Header Image

Travel

Nice boys don’t play rock’n’roll

I got to Alcatraz this time around, it’s probably the best ‘audio-tour’ thing i’ve been on.  Of course the views on the ferry to and from were great also.

Most of the week was, understandably, tied up with work.  Some good presentations during the day, and a days course on Product Management MRD (Requirements That Work) which really was excellent.  The instructor had some awesome anecdotes (true or not) that really got you thinking about the requirements process.  For example,  take the zero gravity space pen.  Legend has it that after they discovered that the bog standard ball point pen wouldn’t work in zero G environments, NASA spent millions of dollars developing the aforementioned space pen.  Of course, when you look back at the potential product goals and use case (enable astronaut to write in space),  it is penned that the Russian Cosmonauts simply used a pencil.  An example of over thinking?  Maybe…

On the day I had free and after hitting Alcatraz, a colleague and I hired a couple of mopeds and spent 5 or so hours cruising around the city,  There is a handily signposted ‘scenic drive’ around that takes you past the obvious places (Fishermans Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge) and out to the not so obvious (names escape me now).
I also managed to go to the late-opening Apple store about 4 times in the week, further tempting myself with the Macbook…  I held strong, I’ve still got a feeling about an announcement this month..

Finally, the Wednesday evening 5 of us hired out a practice room and some equipment (drums, keys, bass, axes, mics, amps..) and had ourselves a wicked little jam session.  None of us having played together before, it was none too shabby.  Belting out such classics as Hold The Line (Toto), Run To You (Bryan Adams), Paradise City (GnR) and also a sweet rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, intertwined with some ‘freestyle’ 12 bar blues and failed attempts at other tracks (Sweet Emotion, Don’t Fear The Reaper).

Off to The Valley

Heading out to San Francisco tomorrow courtesy of work for some post-project review stuff. I get Friday and also Saturday before my flight home to do the tourist thing, I’ve been before but never got to Alcatraz so that’s on my list. All suggestions welcome.

Before I go:

I’ve been using Ebay for a good 5 or 6 years and never had a *real* problem at all, until January this year. I took a BiN auction and paid the (fortunately) reletively low price via PayPal. Ebay has this to say about PayPal:

When a buyer pays with PayPal for a qualifying listing, s/he is protected up to £500 at no additional cost if that item is not as described or is simply not received at all.

A week passed with no correspondance from the seller, which isn’t unusual. That became two weeks and 7 days later three. No response at all to emails so, out of principal more than anything I logged the claim case with paypal. I just got this response from them:

After careful review, we have concluded our investigation of the Buyer
Complaint described below.

We have decided in your favour, however, we were unable to recover any
funds from the seller’s account. As stated in the PayPal User Agreement,
recovery of funds associated with a Buyer Complaint cannot be guaranteed.

Brilliant.

Judging by the number of negavative feedbacks against the sellers paypal account, it wasn’t a one off. Now, I know about people getting their accounts hacked and everything but in most cases i’ve heard of the person on the wrong end of the hacking usually has the decency to reply to the emails sent – even if it is just to say WTF. Besides, in this day and age when EVERYONE should know about phishing and the importance of strong passwords I have zero sympathy for people who cannot protect themselves online, especially when other people lose out because of it.

Thanks Ebay, Thanks PayPal and thanks [email address redacted]

What’s goin’ on

  • I’m in Orlando, FL with work.
  • The exchange rate is great.
  • Living on expenses is great.
  • The weather is weird.
  • I love Black Stone Cherry
  • I wanted to get a Wii out here but they are apparently region locked 🙁
  • I wanted to get a PS3 out here but they are sold out 🙁
  • My iPod is starting to wear out I think 🙁
  • Time for a new iPod 🙂
  • We’re off to Winghouse tonight.

NYC

Last time I came here, the WTC was standing.

The last two days i’ve been one of the “experts” at one of our user groups, this one hosted at the Millenium Hilton on Church St.  If you know NYC, you might know this is *directly* opposite ground zero.
It’s been quite distracting really, the space where they are building doesn’t look big enough to house the 2 WTC towers, let alone the other one (or was it other ones?) that collapsed.
Apparently this Hilton was shut for 18 months after that day, there is a building to the left of ground zero that is still being fixed up from it.

From the heady hights of the presidential suite (swanky cocktail party, unfortunately i’m not staying in it!), which is atop of the hotel, the footprint just doesn’t compute.

Oh, and I went to the Apple store the other day and am gonna take the plunge and get me one!