With Wings As Eagles: Craig P. Steffen's Blog

2015 California Trip: Part 2

2016 February 20 22:24

After I went to Minneosota, I went on for the real purpose of the trip, to California to the GPU Technology Conference. When I got to my hotel, I opened the hotel directory to look something up, and I swear this was on the page as I opened it:

One interesting thing about this (clearly well-funded) conference is there were several neat cars in the conference center hotel:

I think that these were there to advertise some outing that the conference was advertising. I looked into it; it took more than half a day, so I decided not to do that.

Interestingly there were a bunch of power pods around the conference, with power cords set up for charging. (NVIDIA was the major sponsor of the conference.)

Given all of the security problems with plugging a USB device into an unknown device, I'm slightly surprised that they did this. But people definitely used them. It's definitely not the sort of thing you'd want to do at DEFCON, but that's another story.

I picked up three books at the book store:

The hotel was really close to the San Jose airport. Most people probably woudln't/don't think that's an asset. But it was great watching airplanes flying over low.

The view out my hotel window. The view did not suck. I grew up and mostly have lived in the midwest, so having palm trees immediately outside of my hotel is terribly amusing to me.

I rode public transit around the bay area while I was there. Not something I do strange cities very often, but I'm really pleased how well I did. I took the train up to Mount View to have lunch with a friend, and came back one evening.

Out waiting for the train, saw another plane flying over.

I realize that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was in SunnyDALE California, rather than Sunnyvale, but this station amused me nonetheless.

I stayed in California one extra day at the end, so I went to the Computer History Museum in Moutain view. It's AMAZING. They have tons of fantastic artifacts.

Here is a Babbage Difference Engine that someone built. It's a mechanical that was envisioned (but never actually built) by Charles Babbage. When people talk about "turning the crank" in a calculation, the crank is indicated the green arrow. Apparently turning the crank is an important very skilled job.

A NeXT Cube. With the original WORM drive, even. I don't know that this is the machine that the World Wide Web was created on, but it was on a machine basically identical to this.

The museum has a PDP-1 computer from DEC. Here's the front, with racks of paper tape for the loader and the paper tape reader. It was pretty cool to see it play Space War.

And then I flew home to Atlanta. This was directly above the parking lot where my car was. I would have loved to stay and watch airplanes for an hour, but since I started on the west coast, I lost three hours, so I needed to head out so that I wasn't getting back *too* late.