An Idler In San Francisco

Gate-fold

You can attempt to divide by zero or take the square root of a negative number. It’s adorable that you’d even try, because it’s impossible, of course.

“Getting from downtown San Francisco to Cupertino without any fuss” is the divide by zero of Bay area logistics. It can’t be done. It’s doubly-frustrating because I’m not battering my head against eternal principles of mathematics but against lousy urban planning.

Why, yes! I am on a southbound Caltrain! How perceptive of you! Continue reading “An Idler In San Francisco”

Like an X-Prize for boozehounds

DNA Lounge is putting together a robotic bartender competition. Competing robots will be judged on all good things. Does it make good drinks? Does it do it with a certain style and grace? Is it “Full-Assed,” in the sense that it’s a robot that makes drinks without a full pit crew hovering over it constantly? And: “Extra consideration will be given for terrible ideas and Mad Science.”

As DNA Lounge is located in San Francisco. This is a part of the country where a kitchen drawer is most likely to contain an Arduino board and a few stepper motors. I am therefore optimistic that the competition will draw a great many highly beautiful, functional, and obliquely dangerous competitors.

(Given how rapidly robot battle competitions flourished in the Bay Area back in the Nineties, one hopes that this robot bartender competition will finally produce an end-to-end solution: robots will get robots drunk, and then they’ll fight each other.)

iPad 2 Event: The Liveblog

11:03 — gb will be $4.99 on march 11.

Welcome back steve.

Recaps, and introduces a new video.

(Healthwatchers: Steve still looks fine, his voice is solid at the end if thie event.)

Video.

“technolog isn’t enough (that’s in Apple’s DNA) we are the intersection of technology and liberal arts.”

“these are post-pc devices that need to be even easier to use than a pc, even more intitive. The hardware and applications need to intertwine in an even more seamless way than on e pc. We think were on the right track.”

“we stand a pretty good chance of being competitive in this market.”

Tradition: he asks everyone who worked on iPad to stand p for a round of applause. They get it.

Also thanks everyone’s families. “because they support us and let us do what we do.”

Thanks and try the hands on area,

10:55 — keyboard has multiple very good modes, including a Hammond b3. Console turns into the controls you’d see on a real b3.

Drum kit is also veloci sensitive. And ig knows where you’re hitting the cymbal and drumhead…makes different sounds depending on where you hit and how hard,

Guitar amp. You can plug a guitar straight in. But also includes a “smart instrument” for guitars, keyboards, bass, drums…let’s people play who can’t play,

(let’s call it American idol mode)

Guitar: just tap on a chord and strum. Or you can tap individual strings, or even dampen strings,

Many smart instruments have an auto play dial. Tao a c chord and it’ll fingerpick that chord. “its like musical training wheels.”

You can record from these intruments to GarageBand, just ap on the record button and youre adding a new track,

Looks like lots of fun. Again i say: this is a big “screw you” to every Google tablet. Nothing made by anybody else can provide this kind of demo, or look THIS cool to consumers.

Track editing looks very much like it does in the desktop. Can edit up to 8 tracks, control the mix levels, cut in and out.

“back when the Beatles recorded sergeant pepper, they only had 4 tracks on a machine the size of a washing machine.”

It’s all swiping and pinching and tapping. It’s also a great demo of how a great iPad app should function.

can export an AAC file right from the app. Can put it ib the iPad itunes library where it’ll be imported like any other new music, or export it as a gb file the usual way.

10:49 — can share directly to YouTube, me, facebook, even CNN and others,

New front facing camera is dead-center in frame, by the way.

Steve returns to the stage.

“it’s awesome. It blows my mind!”

iMovie is $4.99 on the app store, march 11.

Garage Band for iOS. Tuch instruments (piano, organ, guitars, drums, bass)

Amos and effects, 8-track recording, AAC export, can also work with e desktop GarageBand,

Xander Soren (director of music marketing) gives demo.

(IMovie and garage band are a big middle finger to every others tablet on the market. Message “Your so-called ‘tablet’ can’t do anything even marginally as powerful, dynamic, and difficult and cool as this. Screw y’all!!!”)

Keyboard is even velocity sensitive: ioad can tell how much it’s rattling thanks to the accelerometer. Hit it hard, and the keys sound like. Oure. Hitting them hard.

10:45 — precision editing (can cut down to the right frame, it looks like). You can use themes and transitions.

Audio: you see audio waveforms for all of your cli OS (great for precise editing of video) yu can change volume level, add sound effects (over 50 effects included).

Audio clips can overlap…just drag to where you want audio to overlay on other 3 audio tracks. Can also add a voice over right on thhe ipad,

3 new themes for a total of 8.

Does face detection on stills. Ken burns effect keeps faces in frame,

10:42 — two new apps (“we feel that by doing our own apps, we set the bar for independent developers”)

iMovie for iPad. Precision editor, multitrack audio recording, new themes, airplay to AppleTV, share videos in HD.

Universal app…will also work on iPhone 4.

Randy ubillos shows off a demo (chief architect, video apps)

Opens with a view of an old timey theater showing your projects.

It really does look like the desktop iMovie. Makes me want to identify last year’s iMovie as the first example of Apple desktop being influenced by iOS ideas. The demo really does make video editing look like it’s fun.

10:39 — FaceTime, of course. Can video chat between anything and anything (iPad iPhone desktop)

Points out how cool it is to do chat on such a big device. I can definitely see that.

(aside: I am sitting one row away from someone with unfortunate lower-gi disorders. The things i do for you people)

iOS is a free download on March 11.

10:34 — Airplay can now use photo transitions if viewing photos. And intent videos can now also airplay video as well as video.

Now there’s a preference for the ipad switch: use it for mute or for orientation lock. (damn right, this should have been the way it worked from day one)

Personal hotspot feature has been enabled for the iPhone 4 (not for the iPad).

New software for the new cameras:

Photobooth on the iPad, live demo.

Nice demo: shows 9 live video views each one with a live preview of a different video effect. Not a single frame drops…man, thats fast graphics.

10:27 —
Video makes this look very slick, commercial just puts the cover off and on, “it reminds me of a pixar short.” says steve.

Magnets in the iPad itself and the cover, available in 10 different colors. $39 for poly, $69 for leather.

New release of iOS: iOS 3. Scott Forestal takes us through.

Improvements:

Safari performance. Runs javascript twice as fast thanks to nitro javasrivt engine.

iTunes home sharing. Can wirelessly stream library right from computer to iPad.

Airplay improvements.

10:26 — ships March 11 in the US.

Two new accessories:

HDMI out…he called out that this is for teachers. Includes mirrored video out! Yay. Up to 1080p. Works with all apps. Supports rotation. No setup or configuration, can rven charge while using (has HDMi anqd dock connector. Just $39.

“something that’s even going to be more popular” — “Smart covers.”

“we made his beautiful iPad design, andq covered it with a case, adds thickness, blocks stuff.

We designed the case alongside e produce. It isnt a case, it’s a cover. It bends around like the covef of s book,

Automatically wakeqs the iPad when you open it, automatically sleeps when you close it. Can fold into an easel Or typingq easel.

Has magnets that grab ipad and auto aligns itself. Microtones linings.

Polyurethane or leather.

(looks very nice…like it’s hard-mounted.)

10:22 — also lighter by .2 ounces.

Available in black and white… “white eill be available from DAY ONE,” he said, to laughter and applause.

Available on both AT&T and Verizon from day one.

“something’s got to give” after all of these improvements. But no: engineers say it gets the same 10 hour battery life, despite hotter processor, new hardware, thinner and lighter.

Steve pointedly compares this new iPad to all of the new Google tabs: thicker, heavier, less battery.

We also presented he price: “same prices across the board,” also note in table: max storage is still 64 gig.

“we have only one model thats more expensive than $799” (the price of the Xoom).

“we think 2011 will be the year of iPad 2”

10:20 — “2011: the year of the copycats.” most of these aren’t even catching up with the firs iPad.

What can we improve?

A completely need design. It’s dramatically faster. A5 CPu. Dial core processors, up to twice as fast ad the a4.

Geine all out on graphics performance: up to 9x faster.

Same low power, don’t want to give up battery life.

“first dual core tablet to ship. In volume.” (what about Xoom?)

Video cameras: bac and front,

Gyroscope.

One of the most startling things about thhe iPad 2 is that it’s dramatically thinner.” 33% thinner: 8.8 mm instead of 13.4.

“actually thinner than the iPhone 4”

“it feels totally different.”

10:11 — Video of “the year of the iPad.” steve stands just offstage.

10:09. — 65,000 apps optimized or made for iPad.

User interface, large canvas, more resources, he cites as reasons for ipad’s success.

“Android has at most…100 tablet apps.”

10:05 — “I didnt want to miss this.”

users have download 100m books in less than a year. And Random house is joining the catalogue.

Just crossed 200 million accounts on the iTunes stores. “Likely the most accounts with credit cards on the Internet.”

“We recently paid out over 2 billion dollars to developers.” yes, let’s flex muscles and explain why publishers and developers aren’t going to leave Apple iTunes marketplace, like, ever.

Just shipped 100m th iPhone.

IPad: “our third post-pc blockbuster product” after iPod, iPhone.

“most of our revenue comes from thee post-pc products.”

Sold 15 million in 2010, more than every tablet pc ever sold, generated 9.5 billion in revenue in just 9 months.

“Competitors were flummoxed!”

10:03 — Steve himself takes the stage, to standing ovation. Looks pretty good!

9:59 — Any second now. “Last call” announcement, please turn all devices to Silent.

Typing on ipad held in my hands, with virtual keyboard. just can’t find a comfortable angle on the Bluetooth keyboard in my lap. Have a snazzy seat with plenty of room and a power strip, though.

9:55 — Now seated, and ready to roll. 6tasteful Beatles music is now ping in, soothing us all. lending credence to the rumors that the Beatles catalogue arrived on the iTunes store late last year.

9:36 — Hooray! My (loaner) T-Mobile 4G works here. Hope to fight against…

Line moving! Doors open!

9:23 — I have eaten a free scone. Now in a big group in the lobby waiting to get in. Trying hard to at best, retain some personal space and at worst, at least get a marriage proposal.

7:03 AM
Ideally, this post will be my iPad 2 event liveblog.

Ideally.

See, I don’t have any fancy-schmancy live coverage app here on my iPad. Instead, I simply paste in the correct CSS code form and then fill it in as necessary.

It’s possible that this might not go well.

I also need to write and post as I listen to what’s going on.

This, too, might not go well.

But it’s worthwhile for me to set everything up here in the hotel room before I hit the mean streets of Slightly South of Market.

Push the button, Frank…

Greetings from A Reasonably-Priced But Still Very, Very Nice Hotel Room in San Francisco.

(No, it’s not a name-brand place. But I have free WiFi and a room overlooking a garden. Keep your fancy Red Roof Inn.)

It’s a barnstorming trip; one night only. I’m here for the iPad 2 Event. I’ll be covering it for the Sun-Times and the TWiT Network. Then I’ll buy this week’s new comics, I’ll sneak in dinner with a friend, and then I’m off on the redeye tonight.

“What wonderful news, Andy,” you say. “Thanks so much for bothering to blog this.” 

Look, there’s another reason for this post: I’m testing out my new jerry-rigged “Laptop iPad” setup. If it weren’t for the need to liveblog, this is the sort of trip that my iPad excels at. I’ll just be gone for a night or three and there’s a well-defined set of objectives. The iPad, plus my Bluetooth keyboard, is all the computer I need; my MacBook is thousands of miles away.

Ah, but over the past year I’ve discovered that there’s only one laptop-ey thing that an iPad simply cannot do:

You can’t use it in your lap.

This is a big problem at an event like the one I’ll be attending. I’ll be in a folding chair, trying to either liveblog or take notes as I go. I can lay the iPad flat in my lap and type on the virtual keyboard and it’s sort of okay, but I can’t type fast or accurately and my brain quickly gets disconnected from either the task of listening to what’s going on or the task of writing it down as I go.

This time, I’m trying the Scosche FoldIO case (my iPad’s usual home) on top of Griffin’s iRizer. Yes: I’ve got the iPad in one easel and it’s sitting in another easel.

My Laptop iPad Typing Setup.

It just goes to prove that while I lack the bravery and sense of duty of the journalists in the Middle East, who are choosing to stay behind in a zone that was dangerous enough before waves of rebellion and desperate, violent government backlash swept through the streets…at least I’m willing to suffer a little.

Covering the event for TWiT adds a new wrinkle: I need to be able to send video. That’s much less of a pain in the butt than it might have been. What might have been a no-negotiation, Must Bring MacBook trip is instead a “Bring the iPad, plus three phones” one. Viz:

  • My Usual iPhone, for doing iPhone-ey things.
  • My loaner iPhone 4, for actually sending video (so I’ll have a 100% fresh battery on both iPhones for their intended purposes.
  • T-Mobile’s new 4G Samsung phone, for use as a WiFi hotspot, so that I stand a chance of getting through without being clobbered by all of the thrashing of AT&T and Verizon that’ll be happening all around me.

There’s also the hope that the 4G network will actually be available downtown. These hopes aren’t high, but without hope, we would live in a world in which Humankind plans for neither human exploration of the Moon and other celestial objects, nor the 2011-2012 season of “Two And A Half Men.”

Speaking of hope, I’m writing this with the iPad version of the WordPress app. Previous versions of this app hold the current course record of Screwing Up In Stroke-Inducing Ways. The last edition I tried had evolved from “losing posts as I was writing them” to “destroying posts that had already been published to my blog by other apps” and here, I set something on fire and then moved on with my life.

But that was ages ago. I’d rather use a good app than the web client when I liveblog (starting at about 9:30 AM Pacific time).

Let’s see what happens this time.

Push the button, Frank…

[Edited to add: No, of course it didn’t work. I know that the WordPress app is free software, and it’s the result of the generous contributions of the WordPress and iPad communities…but I’m just dying for a version of this app that functions as it should. A for Effort, but otherwise…oof.

City Lights Is Not A Bookstore

MW10 - City Lights  469.jpg

 

Macworld Expo is now over. I have put myself into Recovery Mode, in which I get to lie perfectly still in my hotel bed without having to stand, run anywhere, speak to anybody, or listen to anybody speaking to me. The past few days have all been wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but after 96 hours of it I’m ready to recant anything negative I might have ever said about staying put and doing nothing.

(I’m trying hard to remember what it might have been. I believe my only complaint about entering a state of total inertia was “I can’t convince anybody to pay me to do it.”)

All week long, two phrases have motivated me to bust out of my hotel room despite my feeling absolutely birched and asking myself “Why am I leaving this bed, again?” If it was the morning, the argument-ending answer was “Because you’re a grownup and it’s your job.” In the evenings, it was “Because after you leave San Francisco and get home, you’ll have limitless opportunities to lie in bed and avoid contact with the Humans. Whereas you only get one or two chances a year to hang out with these friends.”

And so, I spent Saturday evening hanging out with my good pal Dave, whom I’ve known since junior high. And not with my mattress and pillows, which I’d barely been acquainted with since I checked in on Tuesday, but which I desperately wanted to get to know better. They seemed like decent folks with a lot to offer an exhausted journalist.

It was a fine trade: dinner in Chinatown followed by dessert in North Beach, two areas bustling with activity and things to see on a beautiful Saturday night. During the walk back to Dave’s car, we passed by the popular landmark shown above. On this site there once stood a famous bookstore known as “City Lights.” I don’t know when it finally went out of business. Sometime during the Ford Administration, I think. But it’s a fixture on the tourist circuit so the City took control of the property and chose to maintain City Lights’ traditional facade and front windows, and staff it with historical reenactors playing the part of bookstore staff, so that tourists could get a sense of what City Lights must have been like, back in the day.

Yeah, I know. They’re not fooling anybody. But it’s a good show for the out-of-towners.

I kind of enjoy mixing it up with historical reenactors. If you’re ever walking through City Hall Plaza during Boston’s three-day Fourth of July celebration and someone asks “Who is that idiot who keeps shouting ‘Lobsterbacks! Assassins!’ at those folks dressed as a regiment of British soldiers?” the answer is probably “Andy Ihnatko.”

So I stepped up to the “counter” and asked the “clerk” where I’d find books by P.G. Wodehouse.

It wasn’t an off-the-wall question. Sometimes Wodehouse is shelved in Comedy, sometimes in Fiction, and sometimes — most appropriately — his books are found in the Classics department.

The clerk searched the database. Yes, the computer was a historical anachronism for a 1960’s bookstore but I let it pass. Finding nothing in inventory, she called out to a fellow employee.

“Where’s do we keep the Wodehouse?” she asked him.

“We don’t have any.”

“We’re out of stock?”

“No, we just don’t carry him. Paul doesn’t like Wodehouse.”

He’d blown it, of course. That doesn’t happen in real bookstores, does it? The 20th century (19th century, actually) produced no greater or more important novelist than Pelham Grenville Wodehouse. You can argue that point. But do understand that if you’re arguing with anybody whose IQ higher than the square root of itself, then they’re just leading you on. They’re really trying to determine just how deep your intellectual ignorance actually goes, having just realized that this is in fact the only sort of intellectual depth of which you are even capable.

So the idea of any employee of a supposedly literary bookstore not liking Wodehouse is ridiculous. The idea of a bookstore banning Wodehouse instead of celebrating his genius and exploiting his enduring popularity is even less-believable. It’s like when the Confederate colonel at the battle reenactment spurs his rebels onward by shouting “Git ‘er dooooonnne!

I wasn’t there to make a scene or ruin the illusion for the other out-of-towners. So I merely bade my goodbyes in the fashion customary to the time period during which the actual City Lights Bookstore had been in operation (a foggy “Keep on truckin’!” followed by a quick query as to where one might purchase some cocaine tablets) and took my leave. I bet it was this fellow’s first day.

He was a terrific actor, anyway. For a moment — a moment — I actually believed that this “City Lights” was a real bookstore and that this “Paul” person (presumably Paul Yamazaki, a fictional character described on the “bookstore” site as “Chief Book-Buyer”) actually had chosen to run a bookstore in which the works of P.G. Wodehouse would never be sold.

I know: how silly of me. It’d never happen. It makes much more sense that City Lights isn’t a real bookstore.

I mean, I’m right either way. Either this is indeed a historical reenactment of what the “real” bookstore once looked like…or else City Lights Bookstore cannot in any way whatsoever be seriously thought of as a seller of literature. Tourist destination, sure. But bookstore? No way.

Apple Tablet Week: They Broke My Airplane

Bastards. There I was, thinking I was getting away with something by avoiding carryon baggage fees. But the airline got me back by making my plane go broken before anybody boarded and then canceling my flight. Whoof. That mulched the money I spent on shuttle fare to the airport, one day’s parking, and one night’s hotel in San Francisco.

There was a very quick “Damn and blast,” then I launched a litany of punchier comments at the airline’s automated reservations line which, in my estimation, was severely underperforming, and then a Very Nice Lady re-booked me on an early flight tomorrow.

Well.

I truly think that anger and frustration are voluntary choices as often as not. How do we choose not to react that way?

First, we acknowledge that there are things that can’t be changed. Then we move on from there and make a frank assessment of the potential for credible self-pity:

1) If the original rumors had been true, then I would have missed the Apple Event. I’ll still get there the day before.

2) I’ve been rebooked on an early flight. I can still meet my friends for dinner on Tuesday, as planned.

3) I’m even in a window seat. I could have wound up crammed into a middle.

4) If this had happened on my return flight, I’d be scrambling for a hotel room, imposing myself on friends, or sleeping in the airport. As-is, I get to sleep in my own bed. And the last thing I did before I left the house for the airport was load up the fridge with Heritage Dr. Pepper.

5) It was the very first time that I’d packed for San Francisco using nothing but carry-on luggage. So when they canceled the flight, I was able to just grab my things and catch the next shuttle back to my car.

6) I get a “do over” on my packing. I realized on the bus that I’d left my camera at home. Plus, I’ve checked the weather in San Francisco and feel very good about leaving my leather winter coat behind and traveling in my sportcoat. It’ll be a bit nippy when I return home, but sitting through the 45 minute flight delay reminded me that a reproduction vintage leather bomber jacket was not designed for breathability in heated spaces.

7) I suppose it’ll be easy for me to file a column tonight before I go to bed.

Etc.

Final tally: oh, stop whining and grow a pair, for God’s sake. You lost a hundred bucks but things could have turned out far, far worse. Look here: you’re watching tonight’s “House” and “Big Bang Theory,” too! We’re admittedly far from a blessing in disguise but there’s no need to deploy the left-paren emoticon.

Plus, I’m sure that my luggage enjoyed the little day trip to the airport.

So far, incidentally, I’m a complete convert to the carry-on style of travel. At least 20% of the hassles of airports were eliminated by virtue of the fact that I had a very light laptop bag on my shoulder and a single wheely case. No paperwork or procedures for checking my bags, no delays…and the Pelican 1510 LOC case makes one hell of a comfortable footstool when you’re stuck in Terminal B for an unknown, but profoundly nonzero, length of time.

Okay. That’s a wrap, folks. Let’s pick it up from here tomorrow. See Gene or Stu for your callsheet.

I Hereby Put Apple On Notice

Okay. So I closed my eyes, put my hand on my heart, commended my soul to God, and booked a flight to San Francisco in three weeks.

“Oh, dear,” was my frontmost thought after my credit card had been charged.

I’m not used to gambling like this. Apple hasn’t announced any sort of event for the last week in January. If there’s an event, there’s no assurance that I’ll be invited to it. If I’m invited to it, there’s no assurance that it’ll be the world’s first look at an Apple tablet device. If it’s a Tablet announcement, there’s no assurance that I’ll get a private briefing and a little one-on-one fondling time with the thing. And that’s what would put this trip squarely in the “It’s my job to attend this event” category.

If none of this happens? I can certainly get some work done in the city. And it’d be nice to record a MacBreak live in the massive steel-and-glass TWiT Towers Studio And Resort Complex. I’m still surprised that Leo convinced the San Francisco Board Of Supervisors to tear down the Transamerica Pyramid and its adjoining block to make way, but hey, more power to him.

Time was ticking. We’re nearing the crucial day when the burden of desperation shifts and airlines stop sweating about selling all of these unsold seats and begin salivating over how much they can stick it to a business traveler who clearly will pay almost anything to be somewhere in four days.

I think I timed it almost just right. $239 (including taxes and fees) is certainly the lowest airfare I’ve ever found from Boston to San Francisco. They’re nonstops, they’re on the carrier that has almost all of my miles, and the plane was so underbooked that I got aisle and window seats without any trouble.

Still, it was an expensive morning. I also booked my flights for the Conference On World Affairs in April.

My annual Denver travel is always a Big Lose. Traditionally I arrive in Boulder with barely enough time to change clothes and make it to a mandatory reception, and my flight home on Saturday requires me to be on my way to the airport at an hour of the morning normally associated with the full half-hour extended director’s cut of the Magic Bullet infomercial.

I got off a little light this time: nonstops in both directions and an early-ish arrival on Sunday. I’m on the redeye flying home, but that comes with a payoff. The Boston Comic-Con is that weekend, and landing in Boston at 11 AM allows me to catch a few hours of the show and then get dinner with an artist friend who’s coming into town.

It’s a little scary to witness how easy it is to spend money these days. Just last night I was tempted to just go to Chipotle and grab a burrito for dinner. Simple math kept me home with a can of Chicken With Dumplings soup. Yes, $1.65 is a lower number than $6.70. I ended the day up $5.05 and feeling slightly proud of myself.

But after 45 minutes with this blasted computer I’m down more than a hundred times that!

Why stop there? I could buy a couple of TVs! An X-Box! Once I’ve maxed out my credit card, I can hit my bank’s site, move more money around, and keep spending until I haven’t a penny left! Hey, doesn’t eBay sell cars?

(Whew.)

Boy, am I glad that my reckless spending is generally limited to an occasional book or DVD. Being a compulsive spender these days is as big a problem as being a compulsive gambler who lives next to a casino. Complete financial ruin is available to you at any hour of the day or night.

So my flight to San Francisco has been confirmed. The money’s gone. The ball is now in Apple’s court.

If they don’t hold an event in San Francisco during the last week of January on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, well, I gambled and lost. Fair enough.

If they hold an event and it has nothing to do with the tablet (“The iPod Shuffle: Now Two Grams Lighter”) I will be Miffed.

If they hold an event and it’s about the Tablet and it takes place on Monday or Friday…

…Well, I’ll probably have to take the Steve Jobsbruin and Steve Wozbearnak that I made at “Build-A-Bear Workshop” off of my dresser, that’s what. Let that weigh on your heads, Apple.

In any event. I will very likely have plenty of free time during my visit (Jan. 26-27-28) and a San Francisco Tweetup will almost definitely happen. Venue suggestions are welcome.

Touchdown, San Francisco

Greetings from San Francisco…the city that never pays less than $6.20 for a cup of coffee.

I am in bed. Still. Even though it’s about 2 PM Boston time. Blame the bed here at the Marriott.

When I’m home, I can’t convince myself to spend a thousand bucks on bed and bedding. When I’m in a nice hotel, lounging in a king-sized pillowtop with nice sheets, pillows, duvet, blankets — okay, there’s a lot of stuff on this bed that I don’t know the names of — I realize that I’m an ass.

(But by the time I get back home next week, the Marriott bed’s reality distortion field will have collapsed, and I’ll once again recognize that a man who falls asleep on the sofa as many nights as I do probably isn’t going to get a cheerful return on invesment with a purchase like that.)

For now…I’m prepared to lounge like either a caliph or a concubine on high-threadcount sheets. This is Bad. Macworld Expo (or any other really big show like it) is supremely tense because I feel like I should be getting things done every single second. Even when I’m not doing actual work, well, I’m in San Francisco! I should be going out there and revisiting favorite haunts and discovering new ones! Why am I grabbing a takeout sandwich across the street when I could be dining at the fabulous culinary hotspot known as In-N-Out Burger?

Etc.

For all my laziness this morning, I did manage to have a full day. Was picked up from the airport by a pal, had a Mexican lunch that couldn’t be beat, copped a free ride to my hotel, realized to my delight that I wasn’t nearly as wrecked a I thought I’d be (after a 2 AM departure and no sleep except what I got on the plane), so made a quick trip back to Japantown for an assault on the Way Cool Stationery Store At The Mall, copped a quick nap and then met another pal for a dinner of tapas that coudn’t be beat, followed by a quick tour of the Castro.

And there was even a small bit of Business. I now have a piece of information that will put a big damned smile on the face of any Apple fan. Just a big, fist-pumping expression of glee.

No, I can’t tell you what it is.

Yes, I’m just a big no-fun jerk.

See, before I was told this thing, I agreed to go off the record. Then I was told that thing, and I immediately said that I took back what I said about going off the record because this was just too damned cool. But…a promise is indeed a promise. I wouldn’t even be saying this much if I hadn’t cleared it first.

Now what?

I suppose I ought to get out of bed and Do Stuff. I’ve gotten through the morning email — lots of “So, are we meeting, or what?” sort of stuff — so I’m technically free to go. I do need to hit the hardware store and an Officemax or something to supply up for the week.

Other than that…food folks and fun are the order of the day. Ideally this will involve only the spirit of the McDonalds’ ad campaign and not the venue or the food.