I got to discover the Providence airport (hint: it’s not in Providence!) as part of my short journey down to Washington, D.C. to see Adam and Yanna in their temporary summer digs. The weather was hot and balmy and occasionally water chose to pour from the sky, but that didn’t dampen the fun and good times were had by all, especially after a visit to the Apple Store. But more on that in just a minute.
What can you get with $3 million and a few miles of cabling? Why the incredibly cool parking system at BWI, of course. A big board gives total parking available at the entrance, boards on each floor give spaces available there, at each row is an indicator of spaces available in that row, and at each space is a sensor with red LEDs to show the space is occupied and green to show it is empty. Everything is updated in real time, of course, and it makes finding a free space incredibly easy, saving thousands of hours of driving, and the assorted gas and pollution, per year. I was suitably impressed with this feat of engineering. Sometimes its the most straightforward things that most elude us. The BWI parking structure is an example of really good usability design at work. I can’t wait to see it enter the mainstream.
While Adam and Yanna live in Arlington, Virginia, the District is just a short walk away. A few miles in the other direction is Maryland. In fact, Yanna has to walk across state lines to go to work!
We went around the Georgetown area and had drinks at a bar on Friday. On Saturday we planned on going to the monuments, but it was hot and we ended up going to the Air and Space Museum instead. Stopped at the Botanical Gardens first to look around and use the restrooms. Its nice to have things around that don’t cost money, even if you do have to go through metal detectors everywhere you go.
The IMAX show at the Air and Space Museum was a little creepy in its NASA worship, but I tried to ignore that and look at the cool pictures of the International Space Station. The stupid 3D glasses didn’t help in the least…the polarized lenses required that you keep your head in one exact position to avoid seeing double, and even then there was highly annoying ghosting. Since most of the film wasn’t really in 3D at all, I kinda wonder why they subjected us to the glasses at all.
I was introduced to Slurpees, which I didn’t like, and the George Washington University gameroom, which I did. The Hippodrome is a huge gameroom, pool hall, bowling alley, and lounge with food, a dance floor, and lots of couches. I got some good ideas for the gameroom at Brandeis and thought about what ours could be like if there was enough administrative will (and money) behind it. Sigh.
On Sunday we were all set for a trip out into…well, somewhere, but the pouring rain caused us to detour, and we ended up at the local Apple Store, after hatching a brilliant plan to do some serious wallet damage. Basically, I funded Adam’s new iBook, which he has wanted forever but has never been willing to take the plunge for, and in exchange for the no-interest loan, I got to take advantage of the Apple education rebates to swing a free printer and a reduced-price new iPod. Adam got a nice new iBook, my (only slightly old) 30GB iPod for $100, and an AppleCare, I got a shiny new 40GB iPd for only $69, the aforementioned free HP inkjet printer, and the AppleCare I’ve been meaning to buy for my PowerBook. Not wanting to feel left out, Yanna got the shoulder strap for her iPod mini. 🙂 This was followed, of course, by lots of time at home setting up and playing with various items. We also had to decide on names. Following my lead, with my AgBook and AgPod, there is now an yPod and a HermPod, with matching ‘Books. It’s one big happy Mac family! And another notch on my “people I’ve converted to Macs” list, which is growing quite large.
A trip would not be complete without a few hours of weather related delays for the plane flight home. I finally arrived back in Waltham, safe, sound, and tired at about 1:00am. Thanks Adam and Yanna for a great weekend!