August 13, 2005

Back from "Vacation"

I am back home from a week (um, with an interruption) at the New Jersey Shore. It was a good week, but a different week. Our usual destination of Spring Lake is undergoing change. Over the past seven years we have been going there we have watched the housing prices rise. But this year we were seeing many of the stores we knew replaced by real estate offices and many stores were saying good bye to us as it was their last year, they too are being out priced and replaced by real estate offices.

The oddity is that many who go to this quaint little slice of the shore love the quiet, the wonderful neighborly nature of the community, and the main street (3rd Street). The increasing residential housing costs have hit the main street and part of what has made Spring Lake a great destination (very much like going back in time) is being thrown away. The success is killing what has made it a success.

We also noted there were far fewer people this past week than there have been in past years. Many have said the B&Bs are getting overpriced and a couple have left the marketplace. We also have noted that the homes that are for sale are on the market for a lot longer. The quiet nature is getting some of the pushy New York feel (which is fine in NYC or the Hamptons, but that is not what we have been wanting on a week away).

This trip also had a quick jaunt out to San Francisco thrown in the middle so to speak at . I ordered a car service that picked me up at 5:40am that took me to the Newark airport. The driver was one of Jackson Browne's road keyboard players in years past. We talked about the music industry, travel and kids, Europe, and the changes in Spring Lake (echoing all that we had heard). I got to Newark to find out Continental had overbooked the flight and I did not have a seat (had I known this I would have booked on an other carrier), but it turned out well.

I had another whirl wind trip through the Bay Area and had not enough quality time with people I wished I had more time to hang with. I met a few new people that I a really would like to have gotten to know a little better. I must apologize to a couple people I cut short at as I was leaving PARC, as I was running late to, drive up 280, return my car, have a quick face-to-face meeting, and get on my plane. I am now trying to sort out my next trip back.

I got back into LaGuardia the next morning at 9am (after changing planes in a quiet Cleveland). I took the shuttles to Grand Central then to Penn Station to catch the New Jersey Transit train back to Spring Lake. I was running to get a ticket and then catch the train, but did not get the arrival time into Spring Lake. I figured I could get the information on my Treo easily enough as it was New York and it would be mobile enabled. Um, wrong. The web version is only JavaScript enabled (with no thought for no script versions) and therefore does not work on a mobile device (it can be a rather slick site on a laptop or desktop), which is what I needed.

I had a nice last few days at the shore and it was more relaxed than the first part. I had a nice chat on the beach, which may turn into a trip north in the end of September.

It is rather nice to be back on my laptop with a broadband connection. Using my Treo for connectivity to my digital life was a stretch. It was better than the year prior, but there were also times then the advances of the web toward AJAX, general DHTML, and rich interfaces left the needed information unaccessible from a mobile device. The page size for these pages was huge (many over 200kb), which is fine on broadband, but not smart on a mobile device. The lack of a link to a mobile version (I have not found a version of a site that I needed that offered a mobile option) was quite silly (a page without the JavaScript would have worked just fine or search for mobile could have been a solid solution).

Lastly, my Treo 600 seems to be on its last legs again. It has been only 18 months (or 20) since I got it, but it is not keeping up with the my wear and tear. My Startac and my Motorola 270c took more punishment and kept going for twice as long. The OS is getting buggy and crashing on me, which was not happening until my last day at the Shore. But it is a recurring problem tied to Snapper mail and the web browser in some way. The limitations of the memory, the added large SD card does not help, really show when trying to use the devices as one's main devices for a week. It is just an intermediary device, which it is designed to be, but the rigors of vacation use for light web, 50 plus e-mails a day, calendaring (although not dealing with iCal subscription) really made live tough. I did not have access to, Flickr, nor my RSS feeds (although I could have loaded FreeNews from FreeRange Communications if I could get Java running on my Treo again without it crashing).

Well, I am home. I have a ton to catch up on this weekend and to follow-up on from this week. I have to nail down some arrangements for the "Fall Tour". I will be back shortly with some more stuff here or over at the Personal InfoCloud site.

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