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At long last I am sitting at the gate in the San Francisco Airport where I will soon be heading back to the old hacienda. It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks with the long CES trip to Vegas, one day home and then out to San Francisco to meet with my buds at GigaOM. Both trips were well worth the trouble and went down swimmingly but it’s time to be home for a bit. I have not been in Mobile Tech Manor for a couple of weeks so had no columns during that time and I missed doing them. Consider this a poor substitute but here are my random thoughts from the road in no particular order.
Houston is the major hub in the US for Continental Airlines and both of my trips were on this airline. You can complain about any airline in the US today and Continental is no exception but my recent experience finds Continental to be doing a good job. All of my flights on their airline in the past year or so have come off without issues and by and large have been on time. I prefer flying them as a rule and these last two trips didn’t change that at all. Of course if my plane had crashed like the one in Denver recently I’d feel differently I’m sure.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) definitely suffered from lower attendance than in years past. The tone of the crowd was different too, perhaps as a result. It was common each day to see the big part of the crowd heading for the exits at 3 pm in the afternoon or so. Taxi lines, while shorter than in years past, would get busy at this time and then rapidly thin out. It was also obvious that many, many attendees left town at the end of the day on Friday, even though the show had another two days to run. The weekend was strange as a result.
Las Vegas is still a fun place to be, although much more fun when there’s not a working conference to attend. Hotels were definitely emptier than ever before and taxi drivers were complaining about the lack of fares compare to usual. It was still amazing to see how massive construction projects are still happening in Vegas given the economy.
I love San Francisco. This city is so vibrant and every time I visit I am more impressed. It seems there is always something going on and I always have a good time when I visit. I usually stay in the Union Square area downtown and there is so much to see and do there. I lost count at 20 restaurants within a 2 block radius of my hotel this trip. It makes it so easy to walk around when time permits and I love to sight-see downtown SF. This trip was no different than visits past, from the guy sitting on the street with his big dog with a cat perched on its back and a rat perched on its back to the guy who drummed each night on the sidewalk. I love this town.
BART is a great system that San Franciscans should be very proud of. It just works. Of course residents who deal with it every day may feel differently but the times I’ve taken advantage of BART have been very good.
AT&T service in San Francisco sucks. I always wondered why SFers were always complaining (seemingly) about the service but it’s crystal clear to me now. It was common to have full 3G signal that dropped to low signal EDGE and then to NO SERVICE in the span of 5 minutes. Without moving an inch. It was incredibly frustrating to find no way to get email or send a text message reliably on AT&T in SF. It is far different than my experience in Houston and other areas I have visited.
The team at GigaOM absolutely rocks! I have never seen such a talented bunch of people working toward a common goal and it is exhilarating to be a part of it. These folks are the rock stars of tech blogging no doubt (myself excluded, of course).
The Hotel Union Square is a unique and very cool place to say in downtown SF. It is right in the middle of things and the decor is tasteful and well-done. The WiFi all over the hotel came in very handy. I will gladly stay there again.