New York, New York…

… so good he wrote blog entries about it twice (as the song goes… or something) :).

Day 3

Today was the day of my talk! I also, somewhat unexpectedly, ended up on the panel for a discussion afterwards. I’m glad this was unexpected, if I’d known it was coming I would have dreaded it and probably ended up sitting there rooted to the spot and saying nothing, whereas I actually did manage to contribute something this way. It all seemed to go well and get some interest from the audience. But of course the most important thing was the gifts afterwards!

I couldn’t work out what on earth the blue thing was at first. I thought maybe a doorstop, but it seemed too flimsy for that. When I showed it to Laura back home she suggested maybe it was a phone holder. It turns out the blue stuff does indeed have a weird texture that makes things stick on it rather than falling down. Anyway, whatever it’s supposed to be, it makes a great Raspberry Pi stand.

(Unfortunately when the cables are plugged in they tend to pull it off the stand again).

The afternoon sessions were about biology, and I found two of them really fascinating, particularly the one about emulating a fruit fly’s brain including how it processes vision (really!). I’m interested by how many parallels there seem to be between computing and biology, and how nature seems to do a lot better than us at some of them. It’s an area I’d like to learn more about, though realistically I’ll probably never find the time. I also managed to finally fit in a Skype call back home (which was more difficult than it should have been, thanks to Virgin Media having managed to completely balls up our internet connection and Laura not being able to get a data signal, so I ended up having to buy Skype credit and call the landline instead).

Our evening consisted of a trip on the Staten Island Ferry (cue yet more photos)…

… followed by a nice, very duck-centric Chinese meal in Chinatown. It was interesting to see that even in Chinatown there was at least one McDonalds, with the sign written in Chinese no less, though I still preferred the very sparkly one that looked like a Broadway theatre by Times Square. It was also interesting to see that some things are the same all over the world. BMW drivers, for example. Most drivers were resigned to sitting in the big queue that stretched off round the corner and waiting for it to move. Not so BMW guy… he came haring up to the end of the queue, slammed on his brakes, leaned on the horn for a good ten seconds solid, and finally proceeded to get out of his car and nearly have a fist fight with someone who’d been walking past and took exception to the noise.

After the meal some people went off to find a pub, but tiredness had caught up with me again so I got the subway back to the hotel, wanting to leave some energy for…

Day 4

Sightseeing!

It was a nice day for it too. I’d already decided I wanted to see Central Park so after checking out of my hotel I set off up there.

It was even bigger than it had looked on the map. I found my first ever international geocache (leaving a travel bug that was on its way to Canada), and saw some of the locations from Home Alone 2. After that I did a bit of souvinir buying for people back home, then wondered what else to do. It seemed a shame to spend too long indoors on a day like this. But after flicking through my guidebook I found this…

… the High Line. An old elevated railway line that had been converted into a sort of linear park and walkway. I really liked it up there and walked further than I’d intended to. Lots of other people were out and about enjoying the sun and it was a nice atmosphere. After walking in the heat for a while I felt tired and thirsty and retired to an Irish bar to spend my last hour in New York reading the start of Game of Thrones.

So yeah… I liked New York, probably more than I expected to. I have Sweden and Berlin coming up in the next few weeks, so seems like I’m hardly going to be in the country this month!

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