Having lost more money, eaten more buffet food, cursed more expletives, taken every god's (and even a few goddesses) names in vain, my first comped Escalade limo rides to and from the airport (see below), walked up and down the Strip in heat that is only suitable for fallen angels, seen thousands of octogenarians "become one" with a slot machine (not often a pretty sight), wanted to hit a dozen twenty-something guys for standing on 12 when the dealer was showing a face card because their "expert" buddy told them they could bust if they take a card, aghast (yet often transfixed) on what passes as a "clubbing" dress for twenty-something women these days, felt pitied for my luck by several dealers and looked at with a "you stupid bastard - take the rest of your money and go to bed" look by others, been awoken by a fire alarm in my Strip hotel at 7:30am (after getting to bed at 5:00am) only to have it sporadically go off another dozen or so times over the next two hours, each time prompting me to scan the Nevada skyline for a mushroom cloud that may indicated re-instated atomic testing or expecting to hear "DIVE! DIVE! DIVE!" in U-boat fashion, and, finally, sat on a discount airline across from a screaming baby for 4.5 hours while trying to find 11 on my Nano's volume setting, I am still unsure about whether to love or hate Las Vegas.
I will try to refine my opinion after my visit in December.
* please don't think that a comped room and limo indicates that I'm a high roller of any sort. They seem to get more of my money every time and I believe my official status in their eyes has moved from "low-roller" to "not-so-low-roller".
Desk sweep (right to left): DVD boxset of every Star Trek film, Hewlett Packard printer manual, stack of old invoices and utility statements, unused disconnected inkjet printer, 200 CD/DVD binder (full), right-channel speaker, three stacks of compact discs, one stack of cassette tapes, three VHS tapes, scattered burned CDs and DVDs (some on spindles, some not), ball-point pen / AM/FM radio, CD/DVD labelling device, PC tower case (dual core, 500GB, 2GB RAM, DVD, DVDR), 7 port USB hub, external 800GB HD, wireless FM audio transmitter, All-in-one printer/scanner/copier (see aforementioned manual), USB cords (digital camera, 2GB I-pod shuffle, 8GB I-pod nano (3rd gen.), Motorola KRZR cellphone), 17” flatscreen monitor, cheap plastic hologram refraction simulator, property tax bill, digital camera mount, old but enduring stereo amplifier, cable modem, 3 CD spindle tops upturned and filled with assorted crap, cordless phone, box of business cards, two more stacks of CDs, left stereo speaker, spindle of REALLY old software CDs, a final stack of files, books, magazines and assorted papers topped with the Season One DVD boxset of The West Wing, and a box of Kleenex cleverly disguised by a plastic cover that resembles a stone head statue from Easter Island.
And it's not that all of my sci-fi geek hopes were dashed when the writer of the article had me believing for at least the 5 seconds I was waiting for the page to load that I was going to be able to fly the particle-filled skies like George Jetson.What it really is the time that gets wasted every year filling my head with the promise that these bizarrely-shaped vehicles will ever make it to the road. No, it's not that I don't believe some of the technology will not incorporated into the average 2009 coupe. It's just that the focus of every car show are these crazy, bubble-shaped, alien fishhooks that we drool over on lame CNN reports by Miles O'Brien with an accompanying piece on the threats of future vehicle lumbar support by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. They've been showcasing these concept cars for years on revolving gameshow turntables while vacuous models strike weather-vane poses to the drones of Yello's "Oh Yeah". I've never seen one of these death traps on the street. And for all of you Car and Driver aficionados who achieve post-coital shudder whenever there's a back cover fold-out ad for the new Ford Mustang, don't get all up in arms and quip "that's why they call them concept cars". Maybe you'll be exciting to test pilot the new "concept" food additive yet-to-be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Maybe you'd like to mount the turntable while the aforementioned "vacuous model" injects you a new "concept" Viagra that may or may not make your testicles fall off. Maybe you'd like to buy front row seat at a test range in the Nevada desert as they try out a new "concept" warhead. If they can make a car that runs on air - MAKE IT! Don't get my hopes up then dash them as I'm still inhaling petroleum exhaust 20 years from now. Until then, I'm waiting for The Homer by Powell Motors. HATE
While Twitter has achieved a certain mainstream appeal in the geek-savvy community, the omnipresent whale stands to make players out of Friendfeed, Plurk, Pownce, while denying Twitter any hope of crossing into general societal mainstream use. The same mainstream use that Facebook has had for some time now – put it this way, if one of your parents, aunts, uncles, or grandparents has a Facebook profile, you know we've "crossed the breach".
While I've certainly loved the open approach that Facebook has taken with letting developers create some fantastic (and a whole slew of absolutely craptastic) apps and profile boxes, my biggest complaint for the past year has been wading through the endless Fun Walls, Super Walls, Scrabulous stats, Compare People lists, Super Pokes, and ILike icons to find something on MY OWN PROFILE. (Yeah, I know I could click those little icons up at the top left to get to the widget I want, but I've got half of them buried)
The preview build of the new Facebook profile template has become more portal-like, reminding me of i-Google ability to have tabs for different content, allowing for the front page to contain your wall and some of the other vital profile stats. While I'm sure there will be some purists who will complain that their friends will now have to expend energies that extend beyond a scrollwheel to "give you more cowbell", the redesign is sure to cure some of my persistent scrolling headaches. I don't know how customizable they plan on making the tabs, but I'm betting that Facebook (with its MS funding) is going to try and take a run at being your new homepage/portal. When they make it simple to create your own RSS feed widget, like in I-Google, the game will be afoot.