This morning however, an entirely different story. I spent some time wandering around Tate Modern which thoroughly lived up to its reputation. Anyone with an interest in modern art must visit it at some time. If you are interested in architecture all the better, because the gallery is housed in a majestic old power station - the original architect was Sir Giles Gilbert Scott who also designed the iconic British red telephone box.
Then for a break I popped into the calm, cool & quite stylish Salvation Army Cafe where I paid an astoundingly cheap 80p for a 500ml bottle of vanilla coke (which is hard to come by in London at any price). It also claims an "internet hot spot", but I didn't have my laptop with me to test it out.
The coffee is undrinkable. I leave a coffee unfinished less often than a University student leaves a free beer unfinished (I only recall doing that once - and it was Swan Gold...), but after only three (3) sips I won't be drinking any more. The spirit of Rutho failed me and I couldn't be bothered complaining.
Furthermore, the free wifi doesn't work either. My Powerbook found the access point fine, but their DHCP server wasn't listening hard enough apparently, and OSX boldly, but in futility, self-assigned it's own 169 address.
In London, is a Mac a McIntosh?
It's also tempting to buy a new 15" Powerbook here. With the current exchange rates, they are quite a few hundred dollars cheaper than in Australia. The main reason I definately won't is because of the wacky UK keyboard layout. Not that I'm afraid of different keyboard layouts (every keyboard I use is different - especially my Kinesis-Ergo contour!), but the UK keyboard as implemented on Apple laptops has a horrendously hard to hit return key. The left shift is also smaller than normal. It's not as bad as the insane backspace key on some PC keyboards, but still offputting. I don't like the new-ish silver PB keyboards as it is.
On the plus side, the trackpads on the new PBs are MUCH better than on my original model Tibook.
Nothing too interesting in the genius bar either, so it's time for my next stop - let's see where I can get wireless next!
Update: I decided to go and checkout the training session anyway. The interesting thing is that of the probably 50 people there, I counted exactly two (2) listening to the session. Everyone else was just taking advantage of the comfy seats and free wireless. Maybe they were taking notes on their Powerbooks? Well, some were so blatant as to wear their iPod headphones, and I even spied one Windows laptop! I was grateful for the seat though, because my back was really sore from loads of walking with my Crumpler bag slung over one shoulder.
Free wireless & cheap Leica's in London [www.cameracafe.co.uk]
As you walk in you can browse the coolest of second hand Leica's, large format and regular SLR cameras.
Past them is the very friendly and helpful café staff who put up with me trying to describe how a "flat white" coffee should be made (a foreign name over here - does anyone know if it is specific to Australia?).
The coffee is good and the wireless is free :) They ask for a donation, which is more than fair since you can use it as long as you like and the drinks are well priced.
London - Hot, Sunny, Humid!
Ironically, one of my first ever weblog posts (on my long gone first blog - I can't even find it on the wayback machine because I can't quite remember it's url...) was titled London, 6am, cold, raining!
Roaming on wireless over here, I have discovered how terrible IMAP (and OSX Mail.app in particular) is over high latency connections (may mail server is in Sydney).
High latency connections also make you do more than one thing at once (while you're waiting for a conneciton to open etc.) and that makes me realise how much I depend on virtual desktops X-Windows style. OSX-sexiness aside, boring old virtual desktops are my favourite - I get virtual desktop functionality in OSX from Desktop Manager, and I constantly wonder how I lived without it. Fortunately it is now (according to it's website) Tiger compatible, so all my pre-requisites are now met to allow me to upgrade. Not while I'm travelling though - I don't like to live quite that riskily! (is that a word?)
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