Where in the World is Jonathan Pickup

Saturday 12th June 2010, 1850 hrs.

I’ve just to to Auckland airport, and I’m waiting to board my Air New Zealand Flight NZ8 to San Francisco. I made the mistake of not giving my wife the car keys when I got on my flight to Auckland. Luckily, my son was able to bring a spare set for her.

Have gone through all the security checks, now just waiting to board. At the airport the signs tell you that final call for boarding has been made, which made all us late people run to the gate for boarding. We ran past all the shops, past all the duty free. It turns out that the Final Call trick is to get you to the gate, because there is so much security to go through. So, I had a long wait…

Monday 14th June
Have settled in. I’m staying with relatives in Pennsylvania and from here I will be able to visit several user groups in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The weather here is very hot, and when it rains, I’ve never seen it rain so heavily.
I have had trouble getting my computer online. I brought with me a mobile 3D modem, that will not work here at all. Right now I have hooked up directly to the household modem. Fast, but I can use this permanently. I will have to unplug at some stage.

I’m really tempted to solve my problem with an iPad. wifi, 3G, skype when I want. and my manuals are available on the Kindle app. I have not seen them myself, but I have seen an ipad with my manuals on them, they look great.

Tuesday 15th, Easton PA
Don Marquardt, from the Eastern PA user group gave me a lift up to Easton PA for the user group meeting (a long drive, so thanks Don). We had a great time talking about Why Use 3D. I’m a real fan of modeling projects. There are so many advantages, and so many things you can do with a model to improve the quality of your work. I reckon that in a short time (maybe a couple of hours) you can create your site model, building restrictions, space objects and then you can check for compliance, excavations and site fills, solar studies and so on. It’s great to see these things in a rendered view, and it is a powerful technique. See my blog on Productivity is not Just About Speed.

Wednesday 16th June, Columbia MD
I was due to be in Columbia and the Nemetschek North America for a webinar. However, I started my trip in the car and the GPS would not find a signal. Boy, I wish I had one of those old things, a map. I got lost more than once, and I ended up being very late. So for those of you that we expecting to hear from me on the webinar, I’m very sorry I was late.

I met with several people at NNA when I got there, and all of them were please to see me! I was really please to meet with them all and I was able to talk to everyone, even the CEO, Sean, had time to talk with me.

After the delayed start, the webinar got under way. Usually, I have some people live on the webinar, so I can have a conversation. This time, there were loads of people, and it wouldn’t be fair to talk to just a few. It felt very odd though, like I was talking to myself. There was a lot to cover, so sometimes I went too fast. If I left you behind, I’m sorry.

After the meetings at NNA I went out for a dinner meeting with JessieX. I had a great time. She has so many ideas for social media, I learnt heaps. I will be starting to put some of Jessie’s suggestions in place on my web site and blog.

Thursday 17th June, Columbia, MD
All day I had meetings at NNA. I met so many people there and they work really hard. I know every time a new Vectorworks comes out, I’m disappointed about things that I think should have been included. I know that the R&D team and the engineers are working as hard as they can, and they really do listen to what we say. Just because they don’t do what I want, doesn’t mean they haven’t heard me.

Friday 18th June, Warrington, PA
I had another series of meetings today with some very interesting people from NNA. They gave me so much or their time, that it was after 2pm by the time I got away. I went to Columbia Mall to get some more time on my pre-paid phone (that is a whole story on its own), I I found the Apple store. First time I have ever been to an Apple Store. It really was a lot of fun. The stores are very slick, and there are a lot of Apple devices to play with. There were 2 tables of iPads to play with, but not one to buy. I suspect that with Father’s Day here in USA, they have sold all the stock. I hope they have more stock arriving soon, otherwise I will not be able to get my one.

I managed to leave just in time to meet the rush hour traffic in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. So, basically, it was busy on the road all the way home. The GPS still confuses me. It told me to stay in the right lane, but the right lane was exit only… Still it got me back on the correct road in a matter of minutes.

24th June 2010, Philadelphia, PA – Frenso, CA
I needed an early start to get to the airport. The flight is scheduled to leave at 6:22am.  Because of the security checks. I was checked in about 5:00am for my flight.  Strange, I didn’t get a boarding pass.  It turns out the United runs a service where they overbook the flight and then issue you a ticket at the boarding gate.  So, even though I paid for my flight in March thus year, they would not let me on the plane. I got all the way to the gate, they even printed me a boarding pass, but the other passenger turned up in time.

I seems they over book the flight, in the hope that some passengers will show up late, or will not show up at all.  So, I was the unlucky one. I guess, now that I know this is how it works, I won’t be so shocked. At least I have my seat for the next flight to LA and then on to SF

Good bye Philadelphia, it is an old city by USA standards and they are very proud of the history. The oldest street, the house where the US flag was first sewn, the signing of the Declaration of Independence and so on.

I won’t make it a long story, but after 5 hours of delays at LAX, I ended up at the correct final destination of Fresno, CA. I’m not sure what it is but my US flights have not been fun nor reliable. Anyway. I got to the user group about 40mins late, but they were still pleased to see me. My luggage finally turned up at 11pm!

26th June 2010 Fresno, CA – San Francisco, CA.
My bother was really kind taking me all round Fresno yesterday. We visited his friends, the Apple store and anywhere else I wanted to go, like the motorbike shop. Today he drove me all the way up from Fresno to SFO. The dive reminded me of New Zealand, but bigger. Lots of farms, but bigger.

I have been hosted on my trip my NOVEDGE and Vectorworking. They have helped me plan this trip, and they took me out for dinner to meet the team there. We have a very long dinner, finishing about 11pm, and we had a fun time talking about my trip and Vectorworks. Please support these to web sites, they have been very kind to me.

27th June 2010 SFO – Home
It turns out that today is the Gay Pride day, so it is very busy here in San Francisco. But I have all day here before I’m due out at the airport for my 13 hour trip Auckland.

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