Here's an brief write up of my trip to DC for O'Reilly's P2P Conference.
Because airplanes are becoming an increasingly unattractive travel option, I took Amtrak's Acela line from Boston to DC. With Hebrew National Hot Dogs in the diner car and 120V AC outlets at every coach seat, trains are my preferred way to travel. I like being able to get a worm's eye view of some of the cities along the route.
Providence, RI was the home of horror writer H. P. Lovecraft and it still has an omnious air to it, although that might be due the giant Fox Lady billboards. Commercial real estate is cheaper in Providence that Boston and it's only a 30 minute train ride away. Providence should be more aggressively going after businesses looking to locate in Boston, I think. There's money to be made there.
New London, CT has a cool boardwalk and ferry near the train tracks which facilitates travel. I'd like to visit that town more at some point. It looks like a nice place to live.
Arriving in New York by train remained me of where old tires go: along the train tracks in Brooklin. What the hell. I'd be unhappy to see my town marred by that level of garbage, but then I don't live in New York. Obviously, there was a noticable hole in the Manhatten skyline. My fellow passenagers where noticably quieter during the passage through Penn Station.
Trenton, NJ was a lot prettier than I remember. It's a shame that Newark ruins Jersey's reputation, although Newark really is an armpit. I have found memories a brief trip to Asbury Park I took a few years ago. Good times; good times.
There are two things I remember about DC: obfuscated roads and a barricaded Capital building. Boston gets a lot of flack for its suboptimal street layout. I like to remind those critics that our cows did the best they could while drunk, so just lay off! In DC, urban planners purposefully created a concrete maze that would foil foreign invaders. It appears that the only ones confused are the turists. Also of note was the security around the Capital building. I knew that the approach to the Whitehouse would be closed, but I was hoping to see the Capital building. Unfortunately, it was closed to the public. In fact, the entrance was barricaded by a car. Scattered throughout the city were non-descript black SUVs filled with men in dark glasses and ear pieces. So, it's good to see that we are winning the war on Terrorism.
I didn't go to many of the sessions at the conference. My purpose there was to present a talk on XML-RPC with Tim Allwine and to catch up with old friends. The biggest buzz was made by some folks from the Joint Chiefs of Staff who told the attendees that heavy military hardware (warships, planes, etc) was running on Lotus Notes and NT. Sleep tight, America. They urged the crowd to develop P2P solutions that could safely replace these desktop systems. For instance, they would like a network system where vehicles could approach each other and become part of the same network. That's a pretty groovy idea. I think that could also work for PC hardware. Imagine, just placing your printer near a machine in your network would make it available to your workgroup. Coolio!
I had a great time and hope to do it again soon.