I try to avoid travelling on a Monday as it means packing a bag on Sunday night. As such, Mondays are often spent in Edinburgh, with the bag packing chore postponed to Monday night.
I flew down to London – I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve made the trip this year, either Dopplr or TripIt will give me that information if required.. Travelling through security is now a finely tuned process: all metallic objects are in my cabin bag, including my belt (I’m so sad that I actually pack the belt in the bag the night before). All that I have to do is remove the laptop and liquids.
For liquids, I have a “right sized” zipper bag that I bought from M&S – it’s perfect. However, today the zipper bag isn’t perfect. I’m told that liquids have to be in a vacuum sealed bag. Where am I going to get one of those from at Edinburgh Airport? Fear not, the security staff will issue you with a regular transparent bag that is vacuum sealed! For real – the same security attendant who told me I needed a vacuum sealed bag issued me with a flimsy “stay shut” polythene bag, he stated that this was vacuum sealed! What did he do? He stuck my zipper bag inside their flimsy bag! He let it through anyway. I have “issues” relating to the consistency of airport security – the strictness plastic bag “rule” appears to depend upon who is working on the day.
Tuesday night saw me join up with @zimakki, @kareena and @serialseb (not exhaustive) for a chat about alt.net, beers and some Italian food. This was the second alt.net beers meet up this year, details about the first one can be found here. Thanks to Zi for pointing out a couple of podcast victims. We dined at Italian Graffiti. Of course, had The Blue Posts bar in Kingly Street chosen to keep their kitchen open for 12 hungry people, we would have stayed there. Photos here.
This evening I attended the Vista Squad user group – their meeting was code-named “The Wrath of Khan”. Giorgio Sardo a UX Consultant for Microsoft spoke about Building RIA for Desktop, Web and Mobile using Silverlight and WPF (slides are here). Stephen Lamb, also from Microsoft, spoke about Network Access Protection (using a Mac and virtual machines). Photos here.
An evening of SQL Server 2008 courtesy of the SQL Server User Group. Simon Sabin and Jasper Smith took to the floor, holding the attention of nearly 100 attendees as they discussed and demonstrated TSQL improvements, new data types, changes to CLR, spatial data, hierarchies, service broker, changes to tools, SSIS improvements, Integrated Full Text, Sparse Columns, Filtered Indexes, XQuery changes, Compression, Change Data Capture, Change Tracking, Intellisense, Table Valued Parameters, Script Task in SSIS, Performance Data Collector and Reporting services. Photos here. Whole crowd chinposin here.
Prior to the SQL meeting, I took the tube along to the Tottenham Court Road (tube station). Here you will find a very large bookshop: Foyles. I was in the market for a couple of dictionaries (one Spanish, one Italian) and some Paddington Bear books.
After I had completed my book purchase, a short walk to Oxford Circus was required – I needed to take the Victoria Line south to get to the Microsoft offices for the SQL meeting. However, what should have taken me 5-6 minute on foot (0.5 of a mile), took me nearly 30 minutes. This delay was due to the fact that I appeared to be the only person walking down Oxford Street with any sense of purpose and/or urgency.
Three user group events; 160 folks, this tweet: less than 10 females.