antiorario

Orme di Antiorario

My rest stop

For one whole day the car stayed in a parking lot. The city we chose for the rest stop is New Orleans, not even at the physical half of the trip. It’s an absurd city that I thought I hated, but at least learned to appreciate when I was here last April. This time, here she is again in the climate, which I very well remembered, of the first week of August. The city was announced by an electrical storm over Lake Pontchartrain one hour before our arrival. No rain (not that I could see), only lightning embedded in giant clouds.

My experience of New Orleans is still limited to the French Quarter, which doesn’t seem to have changed since the students’ spring break. It also seems that the students have never left, captivated by the hidden forces of the city.

My musical cities

I might have been expecting more from the musical cities. Having a certain history doesn’t necessarily mean that a place can live up to it. Neither Nashville nor Memphis has left me with an intrinsically bad impression, but in both cases I couldn’t help but think that they looked as if someone had scattered buildings on a previously empty space, without any particular attention.

My thousand miles

I’m in the lobby of the Thrifty Inn near the Nashville Airport. Last night we reached our first 1000 miles, crossed our first time zone and got our first (and possibly last) speeding ticket.

Alright, these things happen. I maintain they happen more easily if you have a New York license plate. The only times I’ve ever been pulled over by the police (well, not I specifically, as I was never at the wheel, considering the first two times I was 13) I had a New York license plate.

My road trip

After three days in New York, I’m having breakfast at Starbucks in Washington Heights, getting the final details ready for the road trip. In slightly more than three hours I’ll meet Matteo at the Newark Airport, where, we hope, the car we rented will be waiting for us.

It seems that New York will give me a clear enough sky this morning, as opposed to yesterday afternoon’s crazy rains. Don’t get me wrong: I loved it. The temperature was agreeable, and having an umbrella (which, in my case, started falling apart, as do all the umbrellas I bring to New York) is enough to keep the experience under control.

Plus, it only takes a quick walk into the Subway system to completely dry off – except for some residual sweat, which is due to the system’s tropical climate. (And I thought hell was supposed to be a dry place.)

Our first leg will take us to Washington, D.C., which is actually a last-minute addition. Not too far, just enough to warm us up.

That time of year

I don’t think I had realized what jasmines were before the summer of 1989, when their violent scent made me twitch my nose every time I passed by (or entered, which was also very frequent) the McDonald’s restaurant on El Camino Real in Palo Alto. I found it nauseating, and one of the reasons was probably that on our first afternoon we had decided to walk all the way there from Barron Park – a walk that took our European legs forever to accomplish, and probably also left us quite scorched by an unusual sun. That walk became familiar very soon, and such familiarity made it feel shorter and shorter every time we took it.

My spring break

Three more days and I will be at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol waiting for a flight to New York. (Newark, to be more precise, but who really goes to Newark anyway?)

A week in New York was supposed to be just a relaxing gateway to the PCA/ACA conference in New Orleans, but, considering the way my work has been going lately, I think it will be slightly less relaxing than expected. By now I’m used to roaming the city to find spots where work can be done – if not necessarily quiet, they should at least provide a comfortable, long-lasting place to sit and wi-fi connection. I used to be fond of Doma, but I think I was more into their rugged wooden floors and the good music than anything else. Also, their lack of wi-fi is a deal breaker when I have work to do.

U2’s web designer: funny or incompetent?

Here’s the notice at the bottom of the u2.com home page:

The site is designed for the widest possible access.

For best results, please use a recent browser, set your screen size to 1024x768 and install the latest version of Flash.

First of all, asking users to set their screen size to 1024x768 is misleading, if not just plain wrong: if a screen’s native resolution is larger than that, there should be no problem at all, and it would make no sense to lower it; if, on the other hand, the native resolution is lower, chances are it will be impossible to set it to a higher value. Not to mention the fact that changing a screen’s native resolution most often results in very bad graphics.

Second, “install the latest version of Flash”? Since when does that equal to “widest possible access”?

Events of the week (Jan. 5-11, 2009)

Last week was full of events, both in the real world and in my little world, where some news seems to arrive with uncanny lateness.

Macworld

In that real-world fantasyland that’s better known as San Francisco it was Macworld week. I think the best summary of it was provided by my Berkeleyan friends, Sheila and Lloyd, in a recent e-mail:

This has been the quietest Macworld week ever. You weren’t there – Steve Jobs wasn’t there.

I’m flattered that my absence didn’t go totally unnoticed. On the other hand, Mr Jobs’s absence was highly publicized, so much that I don’t need to explore it any further. Despite him not delivering the keynote, and leaving it to Phil Schiller, I don’t think it was as underwhelming as a lot of people claim.

Pages