Category Archives: Travel

If the Mayans are wrong, here is what 2013 holds in store for me…

January 19 – SharePoint Saturday Utah.  The SharePoint Saturday brand is one of those amazing things that has taken on a life of its own.  I remember when it was a few of them in a year, and now there are SPS going on almost every week in a year.

SPSSLC

February 4-7 – European SharePoint Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark.  The European SharePoint Conference takes place in wonderful Copenhagen, Denmark and is the first major conference of the New Year.  I am honored to have be chosen to speak at this event.

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March 9 (tentative) – SharePoint Saturday Phoenix.  I’m organizing this one and enlisting the help of the SPUG and Microsoft.  More details to come!

April 10-12 – Fusion 2013, Nicosia, Cyprus.  Part of the DiveDeeper Events Family, this conference is like a mini-TechEd, in that multiple Microsoft technologies are presented.  I participated in an event some years ago in Reykjavik, Iceland and had a blast….except for the part when the country went bankrupt while being there and wondering if I would be able to return home.  Smile

Fusion-2013-Large-Cyprus-Speakers-2

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Airlines are Evil

One would think that airlines would be more helpful these days seeing how badly they have fared over the last several years.  It has been my experience (even recently) that airline are becoming more and more callous to their patrons.  They charge now for things for which they used to not charge, for example.  This past trip to Houston accentuated this and is now embellished forever in my mind.

I purchased a ticket for Houston for which I would return in two weeks.  The project was shortened and I only needed to stay one week.  I figured that I would simply fly standby and hopefully get home earlier.  Upon calling the airline to get on the standby list, the customer service agent told me that I would have to go to the airport to be put on the list.  Furthermore, there would be a $50 fee for being put on the list!  WHAT?!!  Oh wait, she says…your ticket isn’t qualified for standby, she says.

Why? 

Because your flight doesn’t leave until August 7.  You can only fly standby on the day of your original departure.  You will have to *change* your ticket.

How much is that?

$150 plus any change in airfare.

How much would it be for me to change my ticket?  She starts typing madly on her keyboard and says,

$423

But, say I—I only paid $328 for this ticket.  How can a change cost me more than the price I paid?

It’s $150 for the change, plus the difference.

So you are telling me that the difference is $273 between the new fare and what I paid?

yes.

But..a new ticket is cheaper than that.

That is correct.  I would recommend you purchase a new ticket, rather than change your existing ticket.

sigh…ok…so.  Can I redeem the unflown portion for a flight credit?

Yes, sure.  You have $128….oh…it wouldn’t be worth it.

What? Why not?

Because I will charge you $150 to apply your unflown portion.

WHAT?

yes, because it is bascially a “change”.

At this point I stop asking questions, bend over, and let her have my credit card number.  All I want to know is:  when do *I* get a bail out?

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Trip to Berlin

I have now returned from Germany.  It was a LONG week and it seemed an even LONGER plane flight; more on that later.

I was asked to present at the MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer) Summit for EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Asia) which was held in Berlin, Germany.  I presented in the first Summit which was held in Zurich last year, so to be asked to return is an HUGE honor.  I presented three sessions: one on Migrating from SharePoint 2003 to MOSS 2007, one on Using the SharePoint SDK in your training, and another on using Demos in your training.  I haven’t received any feedback as yet, but I think it will be OK.

 

I arrived in Berlin Sunday morning.  It was a long and somewhat frustrating flight.  As I was sitting on the floor at the Zurich airport waiting for my connecting flight to Berlin, I notice that there is ONE…*ONE* AC outlet in the whole area.  WHAT THE $##@$%^$% is wrong with this world?  AC outlets need to be EVERYWHERE!  EVERYWHERE; MULTIPLE times.  Bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, AIRPORTS!! I have ranted over and over about how the US airports SUCK on this issue and here I am across the pond and the same dang issue is here.  *SIGH*. 

The hotel in Berlin was nice.  There was a "Bear Garden" in one of the foyers and each bear represented a country.

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The opening of the conference was great.  The production is definitely getting more and more professional.  At the reception, there were the usual suspects and then the following day, the sessions were in full swing.

 

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On Monday, we took a tour through Berlin to visit the sites; Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate, etc.  Even at night you could still see the sites.  It was cold that night but I managed to stay still enough to have a picture taken. Right next to the gate is where the new US Embassy is being constructed.

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On Thursday I after the conference was over myself and another speaker went to Dresden.  Great historic scenery there.  I knew the Allied Forces brought Germany to their knees, but I didn’t realize the total destruction of that city was, in fact, total.  It burned for 5 DAYS…I remember the LA riots, which burned the city for two days.  and that was MAJOR…I can’t imagine a large city of that scale burning for that long.

I rented a vehicle and got to drive on the famed "Autobahn".  I had heard you can drive as fast as you want, so I wanted to test that theory.  I started out pretty conservative (120 kph), and got passed like I was standing still.  So I put the pedal to the metal and let it fly!  It was hard to drive and take this picture at the same time…I will never be able to only drive 75 again.

 

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I took lots of photos in Dresden, so I won’t post them here, but in the albums folder on this blog.  My colleague and I went on a 22 stop tourist bus ride through the city and learned a lot about the history, and see a lot of what has been done since the bombing in 1945 when most of the city was destroyed by Allied bombs in WWII.

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All in all, a good trip.  I’m a little sick of sitting on planes though. 

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One day Hawaii trip

I would never have thought I would ever go to hawaii on one day and turn right back around and come home to Phoenix. I have determined that one day in Hawaii is better than no day in Hawaii.

Sent from my TMobile Dash – Windows Mobile

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Quick trip

I have an upcoming business trip.  Nothing too terribly different from other business meetings that I’ve had, except this one is in Hawaii.  The thing about this trip is that I wll be on the plane slightly less than on the island.  12 hours in the air, 24 hours on the island….and I thought my 2 days in Switzerland was short…

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Zurich trip coming to a close

Had my first presentation today.  Rocked the house!
 
Oh, I should have mentioned earlier–when I *finally* arrived in Zurich, I go to the Lost and Found to retrieve my luggage as they were on the *first* flight. 
 
Baggage Guy: "Halo. Sprechen sie Deutsche?
Me: "Um, no.  ¿Habla español?"
Baggage Guy: "Nein. Parlate italiano?"
Me: "uuhh. no.  But I can read it!"
Baggage Guy: "OH, you speak English!"
 
After our Abbott and Costello routine, the baggage guy tells me that my bags never made it to Switzerland.  They were still in London.  "So, I miss *TWO* flights and my bags aren’t HERE YET?"  I say incredulous.
 
"We will deliver them to you as soon as they arrive, which should be by tomorrow. Hopefully.  No promises."
 
The bags made it that night, actually.
 
I’m hoping to do some shopping here and get a REAL Swiss watch!
 
 

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What do I have to do to appease the travel gods?

How does one appease the travel gods?
 
I arrived late and missed my first connection.  I was in the restroom when the announcement came for the next flight (which was delayed 30 minutes).  10 minutes after it left, I make an inquiry as to the status.  The concierge looks at me as if I had called his mother ugly and says, "the flight is gone.  It left at 15:47." 
 
So now I’m waiting for the NEXT flight which leaves in about 1 hour.  I will go down NOW and camp out at the check-in desk…..meanwhile the person I report to is wondering why I haven’t logged in when I promised he wouldn’t even know I was gone….there are no RJ-45 connections here (only wireless) and I need to get to a wired connection for VPN.  I hope and pray the hotel has wired or I’m in BIG trouble.
 
I am the travel gods toy right now.

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