Back in Seattle

I recently came back from visiting Seattle (where I'd lived and worked for 7 years before returning to Sydney). My wife was presenting at TechReady, so I figured I'd hitch a ride and make a vacation of it. It was also a good opportunity to meet up with my team and try to remember what their faces looked like :)

Random thoughts from the trip:

  • The Pacific Northwest is just stunning in summer. Mind you, I'm not convinced that cold and grey for 7 out of 14 days should really qualify to be called "Summer".
  • Due to TechReady, downtown Seattle was packed with MS nerds from all over the world; Almost 6000 from what I heard. It was definitely evident when walking around in the morning and seeing a whole sea of TechReady badges converging on Pine St. It was also weird seeing restaurants and pubs packed on weekday evenings. The city seemed to have a little more vibrancy to it.
  • In what might be the coolest technological feat I've seen since the Amiga, building 41 (and probably the rest) now has tiny touch-screen LCDs outside every conference room. You can see who's supposed to be there, find a replacement room, etc. They even make beeping noises.
  • Microsoft is going even greener: The new eating utensils are all bio-degradable. I'm told that the forks/knives/spoons are made from a weird mixture of potatoes and/or corn and/or interns. They definitely have a faint smell of corn oil (interns?), but contrary to what I was told I couldn't get them to melt in either hot water or diet coke. Judging by the latter experiment, perhaps NASA might have a new material for the Shuttle's construction?
  • Downtown Bellevue looks like Dubai, and areas around the main MS campus are similarly festooned with cranes. The amount of construction going on in the area is scary.
  • In the past 5 years or so, my weight has fluctuated between about 170 and 171 lbs; even on vacation; even when being force-fed by in-laws. However, after 2 weeks in Seattle of hanging out with friends who have an inhuman capacity for drinking beer, I suddenly find myself about 7lbs heavier. Ouch.

It was a great trip, great to see the old friends, who now need to plan a trip to Sydney :)