Sunday, June 7th, 2009...11:47

Palm Pre SUCCESS, Moonbow FAIL

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On Saturday I woke up a bit early and arrived at the Sprint store in Emeryville at 8:06a with the hopes of purchasing a Palm Pre. I had received an e-mail the previous day informing me that certain stores would open at 8a instead of 10a (apparently I wasn’t special enough to receive the e-mail stating the Palo Alto, CA store would be selling the phone a day early). I had read a number of articles claiming there was a shortage of phones and if I didn’t buy one on launch day, I’d likely have to wait a few months. I wasn’t motivated enough to camp out overnight and figured it I missed the boat I’d just have to wait. I’ve had a cellphone for over 10 years, none of which has been anything more than a phone/calendar, so a few more months wouldn’t hurt.

My hedging paid off as the store had 60 phones and when I arrived there was a small line and the Sprint employee handed my wife and I numbers 38 and 39; we were guaranteed a phone. After about 45 minutes it was our turn to enter the store (they had 9 registers open). It took about 20min to make the purchase, activate the phones and transfer our contacts from our old phones. Incidentally, my phone froze and failed to start on the first try and had to be power cycled (hold the power button down and slide the vibrate mode switch next to it 3 times…). After that it was fairly smooth sailing, and I updated my Facebook status in the store, from the phone (very important). Maybe I’ll have to sign up for a Twitter account now and add to the noise that is our Collective Internet Intelligence since I finally have the ability to post from something other than a laptop/desktop.

I haven’t played with the phone that much for reasons I’ll detail in a bit; however, I have both my Yahoo mail accounts setup as well as gmail (we’ll see about my work Outlook account…do I really want that following me around everywhere?). I found the MAC address (Launcher->Device Info->More Info->Hardware) and added it to the access list of my wireless router, configured the WPA encryption and connected successfully. The phone comes pre-loaded with an Amazon MP3 store client application which worked seamlessly and looking on the Google Maps application, the GPS had me standing in my neighbor’s loft, so I’d say it was accurate to within 15 feet.

Enough with the phone, it was time to drive ~4hrs to Yosemite National Park in an attempt to witness a moonbow. Even though their was a 40% chance of thunderstorms and it was predicted to be mostly cloudy at night, I figured it’d be worth the drive because at the minimum I’d get to see the park in the midst of a storm (which hasn’t happened to me since March 1998) and eat at the Curry Village buffet. :) As you can see in the photo below, it was more like 100%:

Tunnel View

Oh well, I drove around stopping to take photos here and there, I put 8 photos in a Flickr Set. I could hear a helicopter flying back and forth in the valley, but it was too cloudy to see it, until after diner I saw it flying towards Halfdome and then it disappeared into the clouds surrounding the mountain. Not more than 10 minutes later I hear it again and joke with my wife that maybe it’ll reappear with someone hanging from it. All of a sudden it comes out of the clouds and sure enough there is a gurney hanging below it AND a rescue team member apparently attached/stabilizing/protecting the gurney. I’d never seen that before and was so in awe that I almost forgot to take a photo. I only got one shot off and my camera was setup all wrong (circular polarizer was still on) to take a photo of a fast moving subject after dusk, but even though it’s a bit blurry, if you look at the large size of this image, you can still make out the guy laying across the gurney (you can see his legs):

Thunderstorms And You Climb Halfdome?

I drove over to the medical clinic in time to see a second helicopter take off, likely taking the person to the hospital. Eavesdropping on the conversations of the other looky-loos it turns out a woman slid/fell 150 feet down the side of Halfdome and hit her head. The helicopter had been trying to get her for several hours but had failed until now. Apparently, in parallel, an 8 person crew had started hiking briskly up the mountain in case the helicopter was unable to make the rescue. Halfdome is a large granite monolith that is slippery when it’s dry, I can’t imagine going up there, knowing it’s raining (and actually snowing at the very top). Anyone who does that is just asking for trouble.

Anyway, guess I’ll try again next year. For now, back to playing with my new phone.

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