April 1st, 2008

storyteller doll

At GSAW

I'm in L.A. (well, Redondo Beach) for the Ground Systems Architecture Workshop. Working groups are tomorrow so I don't need to do much more than touch base with my panelists today.

The travel was a bit annoying. The company travel agent had managed not to put in my frequent flyer number, but I discovered that back in February and called United to put it in (something you cannot do over the web, by the way) so I had a good seat. What I hadn't noticed until Sunday night was that they printed on the itinerary that "hotel is NOT guaranteed for late arrival." Why on earth would they do that? A call to my secretary got that fixed. (Or, at least, I did have a room when I got to the hotel, though my hotel points number wasn't in.) What I didn't notice at all was that they didn't put in my Avis number, so I didn't have a preferred reservation. I got that straightened out at the counter, but it took me ages to pick up a car. Why did they make us spend hours filling out their complex travel profile system if they're just going to ignore the whole bloody thing?

By the way, they gave me a Prius which is, um, interesting to drive. I had some difficulty opening the trunk to put my bags in, but eventually found the latch. Figuring out the key was more complicated. It's a sort of boxlike thing that goes into a not very visible slot. Figuring out things like air conditioning and the radio was similarly complex as those are all done on a computer screen. It may be an environmentally correct car, but, frankly, it sucks ergonomically. You should not have to be turning your eyes to a screen (and away from the road) to adjust the temperature. But I sort of knew that Toyota has never mastered ergonomics. While my old (long deceased) Corolla wasn't as bad as this, it had a dozen or so identical tiny buttons for the stereo system. In that case, they were more for tweaking things and could be easily ignored.