A One-Handed Blog Entry

Last week, as previously mentioned, I made my way to Las Vegas for Mix10. I’d never been to Vegas before, and was very excited – though less keen on the Cork > Dublin > Gatwick > Vegas journey this trip entailed, what with that totalling 22 hours and all.

For the record, I love Las Vegas, and think we should all move there. It’s like Disney for grown-ups, and as long as you embrace the Matrix and its transparent artificiality, it’s sort of magical. I also really enjoyed MIX, and learned a lot; it was a great experience and I’m glad I went. Highlights for me:

  • Getting to hang out all week with Martha Rotter and Claire Dillon from Microsoft Ireland, who looked after me in spectacular style and have my undying gratitude for making my trip possible;
  • Getting to meet Joey deVilla, aka Accordion Guy. I’m ashamed to say I’d never heard of him and didn’t know Accordion Guy was famous, nor did I realise I had parked myself at the Cool Kids Table in the lounge, but he was just plain nice to me. He has a Vegas Travel Diary that perfectly encapsulates this trip, and a toilet that tweets.
  • Standing within 6 feet of Douglas Crockford and Dr. Dr. Dr. Bill, who also answered a question for me in a session he ran as an open conversation with just one slide (it was a good slide, to be fair.)

Interestingly, when I went to Nishant Kothary’s excellent session on The Elephant in the Room, his last slide was about a conversation he’d had with Bill Buxton that was virtually identical to my last blog post. I was flabbergasted and delighted in a way that is probably only meaningful to me, but I consider it a highlight of my geek life to have my crankypants validated that way. In fact, it ranks right after getting an email from an old-guard hero of the internet saying he liked a design I did for a project he was involved in.

In Vegas, I stayed at the Luxor, which I am well aware is virtually always a mistake. However, if what you need is a room on the strip for $79 a night, it’s a pretty sweet deal. I actually liked #1091, my ground floor, casino-front room; sure, the rooms really need a refurb and I was sleeping 20 feet from a slot machine, but on the plus side, I was also 15 feet from Starbucks, and Starbucks buys you a lot of points in my world.

Less impressive: the Luxor provides wired ethernet internet access only and the hotel has no open WiFi. It has WiFi, mind you; I saw plenty of Luxor nodes, just none open for guests. This is very frustrating, and after getting no reply from “all access” @LuxorLV, I typed $sudo apt-get install firestarter into my Ubuntu-running eeePC and opened up a public access WiFi node.

This access point was called, obviously, TheLuxorSucks, and ran for four days. And that, kids, is why you do not place signs in your hotel inviting people to tweet you and then ignore the unhappy geeks.

Sadly, while I am typing this entry one-handed, it is not because my other hand is busy rolling dice on a Vegas craps table. After a rather epic return journey flying Vegas > Gatwick > Dublin and a three hour train journey from Dublin to Cork, I fell (literally) at the last hurdle before reaching home and slipped spectacularly on the wet platform at Cork station, dislocating my left shoulder. So instead of going to my badly-needed bed, I went via ambulance to A&E at Cork University Hospital, where I waited for 6 hours to be seen, x-rayed and discharged with a suitable sling and referrals to the fracture clinic and physiotherapy.

For the record, while I realise the health service is in a terrible state, I’ve no real complaints about that experience. While it was a long night, I consider 6 hours at an urban A&E with a paediatric unit to be an appropriate L4 triage wait time. Paediatric and life-threatening emergencies should always take precedence over stable patients with managed pain. (Infants are notoriously unreliable patients.) Similarly, a few years ago when I went into the Mercy as a L1 triage, I received excellent and immediate care that was entirely responsive and appropriate.

People die of heart attack, blood loss and infection; nobody dies of a dislocated shoulder.

Anyway, here I sit typing slowly with one hand. I can’t dress myself, cut my own food, or bend over to pet my dog, and I’m pretty sore. I’m also exhausted, although not too tired to put a personal injury law suit at the top of my To Do list today. There is something ironic about the fact that after doing that website last year, I found myself referring to it today, but also nice that I know what this long process will entail, and doubly nice my fabulous solicitor takes my call on a Saturday.

So there you have it: I love Vegas, MIX and Simon McGarr; not so much the Luxor and Irish Rail, who can kiss my crankypants arse.