I'm back from my holiday, and as usual after a break trying to get back into the swing of things ...
Various observations seem to link together.
- Connecting flights in Miami rather than Nassau saved me money but it wasn't worth it. Miami International airport is purgatory. On the plus side it is nice to see that in the US people who would be institutionalised in other countries are given gainful employment in the immigration service - and the job of forming peoples first impressions of the country.
- A nice piece of customer service from BA and American Airlines. Not only did BA 207 to Miami have a more helpful crew than usual (BA crews are often better than their company deserves) but, aware of the probability I would miss my connection, someone met me off the plane with the news that they'd got me a seat on a later flight with AA.
- A thought on airports... there should be an express queue with a sign in very small print. Which says "I know I have to remove my Coat/shoes/belt/watch", "I know to transfer objects which will set the metal detector off into my bag/coat" , "I know what has to come out of my bag for separate examination", "I have not put any documents which will need to be inspected (again) in my bag", "I take to the trouble to read the notices, so you don't have to send me to the far queue".
- On my return I found there was a bit of a fuss about the software we're giving away at the launch events for Server 2008. It's not a full-so-sell-it-on-ebay copy. One attendee complained that the time limited version he got "wasn't much of a thank you for attending" a free event. The idea isn't to get lots of people to come to fill up a room and have a free lunch - if we wanted to do that we'd just invite people in from the local homeless shelter. The idea is for us to tell (actual and potential) customers about what our software can do for them - which is to their advantage as well as ours, and to set them up so they can try things out. Hopefully if you're attending any of our upcoming events here in the UK that's what you're looking for.
- As I've mentioned before I'm a Pentax user (except when diving). On the Pentax SLR forum on DP Review one of the regulars - an Australian called Lance - coined a term to describe the near obsession many of us have for buying lenses - he called it Lens Buying Addiction or LBA. It's widely used on the forum, and Pentax had some LBA stickers made which look like the country stickers for cars with "LBA" on them. Lance never really got any credit, until now. Pentax have recently put Ned Bunhill in charge of their US operations. I've got a lot of time for Ned because he's more a photographer than an administrator, marketeer or accountant. On Ned's blog today it says they're giving Lance their new top-end camera body, and a new model lens (which is eye-wateringly expensive). Excellent. I'm pleased for Lance, but also really pleased that Pentax would do a thing like that.
Just as a side thought - we're not in the business of giving away thousands of full copies of software to all comers, but we do reward people who make a contribution. If you're one - or you know one, and you don't think we know who you are, drop me a mail.