I hope you’ve been enjoying your summer! I saw it all… flash floods in the UK and 115 degrees over in the ever-changing weather in Florida.
The floods in the UK made international news a few weeks ago. Oxford was badly hit; we had a lot of torrential rain fall upstream. This then flowed down the river and it burst it’s banks along the Thames. Luckily I survived without much damage, although I did end up walking for 3 hours back from work due to traffic chaos!
I visited Florida this summer which was as wonderful as ever. I was trying to avoid the theme parks as much as possible, and Florida sure has a lot more than just theme parks!
I was lucky enough to be able to see the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour from the Kennedy Space Centre. It was a wonderful sight and I feel very priviledged, given the uncertain launch schedules of the shuttle and it’s impending retirement. I think it’s totally inspiring hearing about the history of the United States space programme and I look forward to the day we return to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
Even if you don’t manage to see a launch when you visit Florida (and I highly recommend it, even given a 3 hour wait in 115F), the Kennedy Space Centre is a fabulous place to learn about the history of space exploration. There is a Shuttle Launch Experience simultator which is really cool and allows you to get a feel for what it’s like going through the launch (albeit with lower g-forces!)
The main reason of my holiday, of course, was to visit the Apple Store in Florida. I played around with the iPhone and it’s a nifty piece of kit. It works as advertised really! To say it’s a revolution in mobile phones wouldn’t be an understatement. But I can’t see me wanting one – apart from being a thief magnet, I don’t see myself actually wanting all these elaborate features. My current phone already fulfills my needs by a long way!
I tend to hold my phone horizontally which confused the iPhone a bit as it wasn’t sure which orientation to display the pictures and web browser, but I suppose this would require some minor changes in usage habits. The whole experience of using the phone is nice though. Typing was one thing I found a struggle on the iPhone, but again this is probably something which improves with time.
I posted an image that I took in Florida to my Flickr account which I’m really proud of. It’s of a sunset at Clearwater Beach.
One final thing: being a non-US citizen, I signed one of those green visa waiver forms when entering the US. Basically you’ve just got to tell the government where you’re staying, say you ain’t a foreign spy, etc. One thing which caught my eye was the condition of not reporting for foreign media.
I know that there is currently a debate in the USA about whether blogs count as media and whether bloggers are protected by the first amendment (or something along those lines). Now the question is this: would posting to your blog whilst on vacation in the USA count as reporting for foreign media?