Sunday, March 04, 2007

Saturday in San Fran

Saturday was also a long day, but some real moments of success and getting used to the city and seeing more tourist style little insights into San Francisco's America...

Spent most of the day in the hotel working. Mainly in Leif and Tom's rooms, which have great views across the city to remind us that we aren't still at Nottingham University or our office.

The GPRS problem got resolved at 1pm in a frenzy of excitment, when the SIM cards we had suddenly started working, Leif and Capra accidently used one thinking it was one of the SIMs that did work and we were on... All six of us jumping around the room setting up PDAs. Sounds very sad when written down but after a day or tearing our hair out it was very exciting.

Did our first full test with the new version. Several issues now being sorted out, the heart rate monitors and GPS are acting strange now, just to wind us up some more on a sunny sunday morning...

Worked until late and split up to focus on what we needed to do. Me, Matt and Robin ended up roaming the streets late into the night, caught the end of the Chinese New Year parade in Union Square, which was exicting although only really got to see the SFPD strutting their stuff.

Completely forgot to watch the red eclipse which was a real shame, but heads were down at the screens!

Found a great Turkish restaurant a bit further out from the downtown area we have been in so far, really busy. Had a shocking walk back, the streets where lined with homeless people, so obviously with no health care as many of them were severly disabled and hardly any of them were white. We've seen loads of begging and homeless people, at times it feels like India, it was like the area around the hotel I stayed in, in Mumbai. People living on a square of pavement each. Proper Skid Row, in one of the richest cities in the world. It makes you sick.

Maybe I just don't see it in England, I know it was getting more like this in the 90s in the UK but not on this scale, and I have never had this feeling of such obvious apartheid in the UK.

Anyway, it is Sunday 8am so back to work on the heart rate monitors, hopefully today will be a bit easier and involve lots of running around testing in the streets.

Pictures to come... and there will be some of me (Rachel) for my Mum and Dad who have complained it is just pictures of the geek boys - sorry guys I will stop calling you that soon and it has been agreed that Matt is a nerd not a geek (:

Friday, March 02, 2007

second day in San Francisco

Matt and Robin at Snap Fish's office, The Bay Bridge, the Hyatt Hotel (my camera phone doesn't do this justice!), the team in Union Square and the skyscrapers.

The evening ended in a chinese meal in China Town which was great and a bar tour of downtown, ending at the Hyatt Hotel which looks like the senate in Star Wars, the most amazing architecture. The guys had a right laugh at me as I had to hold on to them all to look up and was getting really bad vertigo wondering around the streets of the financial district with all the skyscrapers towering over us - I am like Vitalstatistix from Asterix, I have told them they have to carry me around on a shield. Having to survive being the only girl in a group of geeky men warrants this I think!

A long day in San Francisco

Breakfast in the 50s diner - I ate all that!!!, Hilton lobby

It is 10.56pm, everyone in England must be just getting up. I am ready for sleep.

Today has been the difficult day, there is always one with these kind of projects. Lots of Good News Bad News. The bad news being that GPRS to set up the multi player game is not as simple as the research that was done for us before we arrived. We can't access the internet from the PDAs without paying for a full years contract (total costs would be around £1000) for 10 players and we can't even buy this because we don't have social security numbers in the US. Not enough time really to sort it out through HP. Also the heart rate monitors got stuck in customs and wont be here until Tuesday, the day we go live.

The good news is there are other options, maybe wifi, maybe use our UK sim cards as it still will be cheaper.

The day started well, meeting in the lobby of the Hilton and off for the largest breakfast known to mankind, disgusting but oh so nice. Fiddling with sim cards for me, Tom and Capra and sorting out some of the new version of the game for Matt, Robin and Leif. They got stuck in the hotel room all day, great view though.

The day has ended in exhaustion and with a huge mexican meal. I can feel my stomach stretching everytime I eat, it's scary how easy it is to expand to the food. Tomorrow I am getting up to do exercises and I am eating fruit and salad all day!

Everyone has worked so hard today and is so commited, it is really amazing to be working with such a brilliant team of people, with usch difficult technology that just hasn't been used in this way very much before. Leif and Robin are still working at the hotel back on Love City which of course is still going on back in Blighty...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

first day in San Francisco

Robin and Matt outside the hotel on Ellis St, Matt and Tom at the Park where people will be playing Dragons.

We got here yesterday afternoon and meet Tom from HP at the airport. He had managed to hire the smallest car in the US (and the cars are here are so BIG) so all four of us squashed in with our equipment and bags and drove into downtown San Fran. WOW. It looks like the films... as everyone has always said about the states. So familiar, unreal and also so strange. Wierd to travel all this way and everyone still speaks English.

Lots to say about first impressions of America, I have been trying to keep my big lefty gob shut as much as possible. Then again lots of surprises, it feels like a developing country, one of the richest cities in the world yet it feels quite poor. Big buildings, big sandwiches, big bridges, big people (as expected)...

Last night we wandered around the Chinese and Italian area, had some sushi and some drinks caught up with Tom about what needs doing.

Today so far we have wandered around the area near the conference centre, Tom has taken us and sent us up at an office near the conference centre or a subsidary company of HP called Snap Fish (they do photo uploading stuff), they've been really helpful and friendly and we have tons of desk space at our disposal in a big open plan office. Matt and Robin are working there now, I am back at the hotel because the internet isn't working yet at the office. We had proper BIG bagels for lunch from a great deli with every type of food you would ever want for lunch in it. Sushi, chinese, sandwiches... mmm, i'm going to go to the hotel gym so that I don't come back looking like a big bagel.

I am off now to check out the GPS in the area where people are playing Dragons. Tom has gone off to HP headquarters (Silicon Valley!!!) to pick up the rest of the kit and sort out the T-shirts we hope are going to be made for us, and Leif and Capra (from MRL) are probably going through customs as I write.