JC (John Cholewa) (jcholewa) wrote,
JC (John Cholewa)

more vacation ruminations, new PDA

I just blew a hundred bucks on a fancy-schmancy Android phone. Turns out I could have gotten it from Amazon for thirty bucks less, but my laziness is overriding my urge to return it and get it again for the lower price. So far, it's much better than the terrible phones I've been recently using. The interface isn't quite as good as the Palm OS PDAs from a decade and change ago, but it's definitely an improvement over everything else I've used. The touch screen isn't as precise as the old, pen-based kind, but it is more convenient for most things that don't involve games or web browsing (seriously, I have to zoom in every time I want to click a link now!). Keyboard input is decent, though I still would prefer hard keys or something like graffiti.

I like that they have very elegant package repositories -- ten years ago, it took hacks to be able to install applications over the web, and there wasn't a unified interface involved. And that capability generally got worse in the intervening years until Apple jumpstarted the modern phone revolution.

So, anyway, I now have a gps and a compass and a web browser and a barcode scanner and a flash video player and a decent ebook reader (last good one I had was -- again -- on Palm OS, circa y2k) and an audiobook player and a tilty planetarium. Also, it can display 3D images and movies and games without requiring 3D glasses, and it has a 3D camera.

I think they advertised something about being able to make phone calls or something, but I have not delved into this obscure feature of the device.

Addendum: It seems to get roughly twenty minutes of battery life. I understand this is just a natural part of life these days, so I do not complain.

Here's a bit more on my vacation:

After Worldcon, I was originally planning to go to San Francisco right away. As fate would have it, I came across a special hotel promotion at the Grand Sierra Resort -- they give you two nights in a room for free (well, there's an eleven dollar a day "resort fee", but for a hotel that's still pretty free!). I opted to stick around in Reno for two nights.

The first night was right after Worldcon closing, and there were a lot of people still there. People who worked the convention had to stay in their rooms many hours past the official check out time, so they just kept on for one more night. Other people would likely have had flights the following morning, since you don't get many flights that start off in the evening, so they stuck around, as well. As a result, the con suite stayed open overnight, and there were a couple parties going on. I surrounded myself with pretty girls and enjoyed these unexpectedly extended hours of nerdery.

The bus from the Casino kept going overnight, pretty much every half hour. I took it to the downtown terminal and learned to my chagrin that the connecting bus would not come for another three hours. So I hoofed the rest of the way, a two mile journey that took probably around forty minutes.

The next day, I took a fifteen mile stroll through the Sierra Nevada mountains. There's not much to say about this except that there were a lot of obstacles (like gigantic farms) which prevented me from taking direct routes and required a few extra miles of travel to be put in. The vertical bits were a little challenging, but the peak that I scaled was more a tall hill than a mountain. Only the middle four miles or so actually involved going up and down, though I spent a lot of time there. I've got some cool pics up from it elsewhere on the web.

The trip to the Bay Area was via Amtrak, and it was uneventful. I went though Donner Pass, though. Fortunately, we all made it to the other side.

A lot of my travels from this point on would have me carrying all my luggage, as I'd be staying in a different place each day. As suggested by my mother, I walked down from the station to the nearby Target to get a rollable carry-on suitcase. After transporting much of my heavy stuff to it, I found it more than a bit easier to get around. It was a four mile trudge to where I was staying next (and I randomly passed an SF&F bookstore!). I'll get to that part next time.
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