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The thoughts and theories of a guy who basically should have gone to bed hours ago.

I know, I know - what's the point? But look at it this way - I stayed up late writing it, but you're reading it...

Let's call ourselves even & move on, OK?


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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Geeky side of a Disney Vacation


One more word on the disney trip, but this time for the select few people that I know read this blog with some regularity: the things my family & friends would find bizarre if I brought up in a "What I did on my vacation" conversation:


  • As some of you know, I have an iTrip attachment for the iPod that lets me play the thing through the car radio to keep the kids entertained on car trips. Turns out, when we hit the hotel room & have a few hours to kill, I was able to do the same thing with the crappy little clock radio in the room, and prevent the standard "veg out in front of the TV until we hit the theme parks" mode that I assumed would happen. Kids were amazed to hear their own music in the hotel room, too. I was very proud...


  • Disney technology is an absolute marvel. Quick example: the electrical (nighttime) parade through Magic Kingdom is about 25 minutes long. We were sitting about 20 minutes into the parade route. There are speakers hidden all throughout the park (I couldn't find them even though I periodically looked for them). At fifteen minutes past the posted parade start time, I hand't heard a peep and them - whammo! trumpet fanfares and an announcement from Jiminy Cricket that the parade was starting in five minutes. We got the entire experience (music & characters) just like the folks at the beginning of the route got, and there was nothing to indicate that the sound was moving along with the floats. I'm told the floats actually have RFID devices on them, so that the speakers react to the actual position of the floats (rather than running on a timing routine). That way, if the parade has to stop for whatever reason (technical difficulty, kid runs out in front of Mickey's float), the appropriate music stays with the approrpiate character/float. Awesome stuff & highly effective...


  • For $30 in Epcot, I took a one-hour Segway class. Got to ride one for about 45 minutes, ask a bunch of questions, etc. Quick review: it's not as effortless as it was made to sound when it came out. You need to practice a bit to get the hang of it. After the 45 minutes, I was pretty good at generally moving around, but going up & down hills (especially down) was still a little uncomfortable). Also, you use a dial on one of the handlebars to turn, so you really can't have both hands free for any length of time while riding it. Finally, something that hadn't occurred to me until I was on one: if you're walking around for 45 minutes, your leg muscles are getting exercise. If you're on a Segway for 45 minutes, your legs are basically standing still for that entire time. When I got off the thing, I had some significant cramps/soreness. Odd for a device I would have thought would be a pleasant alternative to walking around all day. The instructor told me they're working on a four-wheeled version that you sit in, rather than stand on. In any case, I still stand by my original assessment from years ago: if they cost $200, there'd be millions of them all around the country. At $3,500+, they're mildly interesting for postmen, security guards, etc., but they'll never catch on.

posted by Brian at 1:49 AM


2 Comments:

  • You can get the Segway class for free by showing up at a local user's group. I see them all the time, they have a monthly event where they hang out in front of the Apple Store and give lessons.

    Yes, you can stop snickering now.

    I assume that the soreness from the Segway was from standing without moving -- that goes away quickly. When I work retail, the first week is always hell, but afterwards I don't notice being on my feet N hours a day.

    By Anonymous jeff Porten, at 2:19 PM, January 26, 2006  


  • Jeff:
    I assume that the soreness from the Segway was from standing without moving -- that goes away quickly. When I work retail, the first week is always hell, but afterwards I don't notice being on my feet N hours a day.

    Maybe you're right, but remember, even standing behind a counter all day, you're still moving your legs quite a bit. On the Segway, you're literally standing still on a small platform for long periods of time. Not a lot of room to stretch your legs, even if you wanted to.

    Granted, if I actually owned one of these things, I could GET OFF OF IT once in a while, as opposed to the lesson, where you stay on for as long as they'll let you...

    By Blogger Brian, at 10:49 AM, January 27, 2006  


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