Well, that was fun. But all good things must come to an end, and I'm on my way back to New York. I had a good time in Florida. I learned a few things about the product we use, I learned a few things about myself (mostly, that I'm 34 going on 74), I saw more fake breasts than I've ever seen before, and I got to relax on the beach and eat some great meals.
The conference ended last night around 8 PM, after a largely disappointing closing reception (not enough food, badly lit room). One of my former co-workers lives in the Miami area, and he met us at the hotel for dinner. We wanted to stay close by, but a consensus soon developed around the idea of going to the Hard Rock Casino on a nearby Seminole reservation. We had a bit of trouble finding the place, but once we saw the lights from the highway we couldn't miss it. I'd only ever been to casinos in Las Vegas, so I was curious if the typical Florida casino patron is of the same species as the Nevada variety. The casino is next to an outdoor shopping mall with a few restaurants, so we chose TATU, an Asian restaurant, for dinner. (No relation to the Russian pop duo, apparently.) I don't know if the place was a chain or a one-off, but the food was excellent. It was some of the best pad thai I've ever had. After dinner we went to the casino itself to see if we could find some of our friends. I was not surprised or disappointed to find that my anthropological theory was correct. There were plenty of old ladies (and old guys) in Members Only jackets chain-smoking in front of slot machines. There were also plenty of beautiful and surgically-enhanced women wandering around, but that didn't help with the depressing impression I had. I didn't like the casinos in Las Vegas, at least not the gambling parts of them, so I suppose I shouldn't have expected anything better from the Hard Rock. In any case we hadn't intended to gamble, and we couldn't find our friends, and it was after midnight and everyone else hadn't slept the night before, so we went back to our hotel.
Back in my room, I found that I'd somehow screwed up my Mac earlier in the day. I had no afternoon sessions to attend so I'd hoped to get down to the beach one more time before I left. But the afternoon thunderstorms that had held off most of the week appeared on schedule at 3 PM, and that put the damper on my beach plans. I went back to my room and read some blogs and tinkered with the Mac. I discovered via the system logs that the Mac was trying to load some software that I thought I'd uninstalled, and that some components of the software were still running. I found a tech support site that told me how to unload everything, and I rebooted and the Mac was fine. Then I went out for the night. When I got back to the room and plugged in my camera, the Mac was sluggish and unresponsive, so I rebooted it again. That's when things really got weird. The Dock crashed and Finder wouldn't load. I took a few deep breaths and didn't panic. What was the worst thing that would happen? I'd have a sad Mac to take home and fix back in my apartment, and I'd have to run to the office over the weekend to pick up my backup drive to restore my data. I rebooted in Safe Mode and OS X came up properly, and after a few minutes of checking some things I rebooted normally. So far (fingers crossed) the Mac has been fine since 2 AM last night. If I have any problems after this I have the Mac OS X DVD at home to help me through my troubles. Besides, I have TV on the plane so it's not like I NEED to use the Mac on the flight. I think I'll be OK.