gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for March 2008

Allergies and flying

March 21, 2008 @ 01:19 By: gordon Category: Health, Seen on the 'net, Travelling

I’ve been reading a travel-related blog called Gadling lately.  Recently, one of the bloggers there recounted his experiences on a Southwest Airlines flight and ranted about the fact that he wasn’t served peanuts on the flight.  Apparently, Southwest Airlines opted to not serve peanuts because one of the other passengers was very allergic to peanuts.  The blogger was very skeptical that there are people with allergies that are so severe that they can’t even be in the vicinity of the allergen.

Unfortunately, there are.  And there’s an increasing number of people with nut allergies. 


VoIP update

March 20, 2008 @ 10:00 By: gordon Category: VoIP

I haven’t blogged about VoIP recently. If you look back through my blog, you’ll see that I started dabbling with voice over IP (VoIP) technology at the end of December 2004 and bit the bullet and started using my Unlimitel number as my main phone number in May 2005. I’m happy to report that the savings I wrote about realizing in an entry I wrote at the end of the first year of the experiment continue to be realized. I still have a Bell Canada phone line, primarily as a backup in the event of an emergency. Though my Unlimitel service does include 9-1-1 access, I haven’t had occasion (thank goodness!) to test it out. If there’s a prolonged power or ‘net outage I know that I can still call 9-1-1 if I need to. (Of course, I have a cell phone that I can call 9-1-1 from, too.)


So, it’s over

March 20, 2008 @ 02:13 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, Photography, San Antonio 2008

The SAS Global Forum 2008 that is.

I spent much of this morning in the Coders’ Corner sessions, which were short sessions with tips for programmers and users alike.  Ten minutes in length, I found these sessions quite useful.

I also attended another session on OLAP data cubes and one that discussed a factor analysis of a health care provider survey.  The latter was of interest to me because it used a technique that I’d like to use at work.

Papers from each of the streams were judged and the best were recognized during the closing ceremony.  I was unexpectedly asked to grade one of the sessions I was in this morning, which was kind of neat.

The closing ceremonies also had some pretty cool door prizes ranging from clothing donated by the various sponsors to a pair of airline travel vouchers to a pre-paid registration to SAS Global Forum 2009.  A ripple of "oohs" washed through the audience when they announced that prize.  Unfortunately, my name wasn’t drawn for that one or any of the other prizes.

After things wrapped up, I walked back to the hotel with a colleague who was staying here.  Along the way, we stopped to do a couple of geocaches before heading off to do our own things this afternoon.  I continued geocaching and ended up logging 5 caches in total today: 3 traditional caches, a virtual cache and a webcam cache.  My friend Rob helped out with the webcam cache by making a screen capture of me standing in front of a webcam that’s pointed at the Alamo.

I hopped in the pool for a few minutes upon my return to the hotel before I headed out to find somewhere to eat.  I ended up having dinner at Boudro’s on the Riverwalk where I was lucky and only had to wait about 5 minutes for a table.  Other people were being given wait times of an hour or more.  (It would have been worth waiting that long.)


SAS Global Forum 2008 in San Antonio, Texas

March 19, 2008 @ 02:05 By: gordon Category: Photography, San Antonio 2008

I’ve been attending the SAS Global Forum 2008 in San Antonio, Texas this week.  Things started on Sunday with a couple of pre-conference workshops and the opening night gala.

This is the first time I’ve attended a SAS Global Forum.  They’re held every year in a different city and are attended by thousands of people from around the world.  As of last Thursday, they were expecting something like 3750 people to attend and that didn’t include the walk-up registrations.


Geocaching in the HemisFair, a bug and more walking

March 16, 2008 @ 01:50 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, Photography, San Antonio 2008

IMG_0572I headed over to the convention centre to pick up my registration package for the SAS Global Forum.  On the way, I walked through La Villita Historic Arts Village, which was in full St. Patrick’s Day mode, and encountered a St. Patrick’s Day parade just starting to pass by.  I stopped to watch for a couple of minutes before continuing on my way.

The Convention Center is on the edge of HemisFair, which was built for the 1968 World’s Fair.  The park has a number of buildings, sculptures and other things, including the Tower of the Americas.

It also is home to a couple of geocaches.


The Ides of March

March 15, 2008 @ 04:00 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Current affairs

Caio Giulio Cesare in lorica da parata, (101-44 a.C.) Today is the Ides of March, famous largely because Julius Caesar was assassinated on this day in 44 BC by his enemies in the Pompeii Theatre, where the Roman Senate was meeting. He had been warned in early March about some danger that would befall him no later than the Ides of March by Titus Vestricius Spurinna, an Etruscan haruspex (soothsayer or astrologer). Caesar encountered Spurinna on the way to the Senate on the 15th of March and made fun of him saying “The Ides of March are come”, to which Spurinna replied “Yes, they are come, but they are not past.” Caesar should have heeded these words because later that day he was assassinated by his enemies. But he didn’t. Oh well. (At least it gave Shakespeare something to write about.)

But what are the “Ides” exactly?


Flying to San Antonio and walking the Riverwalk

March 15, 2008 @ 01:43 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, Photography, San Antonio 2008, Travelling

IMG_0527 I got up at the extremely uncivilized hour of 4am this morning so that I could catch a 6am flight to San Antonio, Texas via Newark, New Jersey.  (Those of you who know me know that I am not a morning person so this was a major accomplishment in and of itself.)

We boarded the plane on-schedule and then spent about half an hour driving around the airport visiting the de-icing pad and then holding before taking position for take off in order to allow the engines to warm up since this was the first flight of the day.

Although we arrived about 20 minutes behind schedule, the flight to Newark was uneventful and I got a nice picture of sunrise above the clouds.  This made the connection to the flight to San Antonio was one of the tightest I’ve ever had in all the flights I’ve taken over the years.