I am here in Santa Barbara to give a seminar at UCSB to the Center for Bio-Image-Informatics and to help show what it is that we do to the Fisher laboratory.

Flying out of Salt Lake, I spent some time in the Delta Crown Room only to have to deal with hoards of Hollywood people that have been in town for the Sundance Film Festival. Everybody was on their cell phones with multiphonic ring tones going off CONSTANTLY and each person discussing their deals quite loudly, appearing to be in some sort of competition show off with each other. Each of the Hollywood deal brokers was talking progressively louder about who got what deal with which moviestar. It was simultaneously repulsive and fascinating people watching and truly representative of what my wife refers to as Theatre Of The Pathetic.

Usually, the Crown Room is an interesting sort of place place where the business travelers go to avoid the plebeian hordes at the gates and manage to get work accomplished in-between flights. Of course, many of these business travelers are their own sort of plebeian horde, each one setting up business deals, fighting and negotiating with the vagaries of air travel while the executive officers of the companies manage to travel in their corporate jets or even personal jets. I often wonder how appropriate some of the conversations are that occur with cell phones in these business travel lounges. I make no effort to eavesdrop, but many people seem to have no concept of personal space or how loud conversations on cell phones can be. As a result, one often hears the details of myriad business deals and not uncommonly, names, addresses and sensitive information is disclosed leading one to wonder about the security of these travel lounges where lots of business is discussed. One might think that people would exercise a bit more discretion. This of course brings up another concern that I have not seen addressed anywhere….. What about network security in these places? The laptop with wireless connection is rapidly becoming ubiquitous and many of these travelers appear to be doing lots of business in these travel lounges.

At any rate, the trip was easy in the Canadair Regional Jet owned by one of Delta’s partners, Skywest, an airline I’ve always been happy with, but I just wish they had laptop power outlets on their planes. Plane rides are always a good time where one can get some work done and I absolutely needed it as my seminar Keynote presentation was still not finished. We flew out of Salt Lake City and travelled South over Southern Utah where I was surprised to look up from my work and out the window and see the family business (below left of the above image). It must have been a good vibe or something.

We continued on, flying just to the North West of the Hoover Dam and South East of Las Vegas on the approved commercial flight path to keep us out of controlled airspace to the North of Las Vegas where we turned West to fly out to Santa Barbara.

landing in Santa Barbara was a bit of a treat. The airport is informal and cute but most of all, it felt good to leave the cold and snow of Salt Lake City for warmer climes, even if it is only for four days.

More later…

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