Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Raleigh, NC

The majority of Sunday was spent in the air or in airports. I left Fairbanks at 1:25AM and arrived at my hotel in Raleigh, NC, around 8:00PM. The first leg on Alaska Airlines was fine though subsequent legs on Delta were cramped and crowded. The first thing that struck me was all of the green. There isn't even a hint of autumn. Even when passing through Minneapolis, I was astounded by all the lush, green foliage. I guess I though that since our Fall has ended everywhere else must have at least started.

I am here attending the Internet² Fall Member meeting. The Fall meeting gets moved around the country as it is hosted by different member institutions just as the University of Alaska Fairbanks hosted the Joint Tech meeting last July in Alaska. This year the meeting is hosted by MCNC, the operator of NCREN (North Carolina Research Education Network.) We are meeting just a few blocks south from the capitol building and last night, a couple of us headed that direction looking for dinner. We found the Oxford gastropub a couple of blocks down the street. I had not heard the "gastropub" term before but I the food selection was absolutely phenomenal. Since I have no pictures, I won't go into their wonderful offerings.

This evening, a group of us found a Lebanese restaurant and I must give them credit, they took our group immediately without a reservation. The food was also phenomenal.
I had the fatteh with lamb. Stewed lamb over white rice, crispy phyllo triangles, pine nuts, whipped yogurt and garlic. This is in addition to a bunch of cold and hot appetizers shared by the table. This was a great end to a great day. All of the sessions I attended were varied and interesting. There was some controversy on whether Internet² should even be in the software development business as there is no long term roadmap or business plan and many institutions rely on the software products.

Wednesday Afternoon - I must admit that I am feeling a bit like a slacker. So far this week, I've only walked about 12 miles and I can't use weather as an excuse. The weather has been really pleasant and there are no hills to speak of. This evening, there is an NCREN reception at the North Carolina Museum of Natural History and that may be a mile away or so. It should be a nice walk. Last night, we had dinner at a small restaurant serving "local cuisine" and it was pretty good. Fried chicken, turnip greens, fried eggplant and rice with gravy. All finished off with some sort of berry cobbler. Fortunately, the servings were small (as was the price).

It has been great to visit with colleagues from all over the country and hear about what new things they are working on. During one of the sessions this morning, I noticed that they were setting up some sort of Lego displays for an upcoming conference. We thought that maybe we need some sort of Lego mascot for this organization. Maybe initiatives such as IPv6 will get more attention...

Thursday morning - Yesterday evening, MCNC and NCREN hosted a reception in the Natural History Museum of North Carolina. Pretty nice facility. I finally found out what MCNC stands for or at least what it used to stand for. Microelectronics Center of North Carolina. Since the name is now almost meaningless, they retained the acronym but dropped the name. All three floors of the museum were open to the attendees and they had whales hanging from the first floor ceiling. I don't know the species but was reminded of the Heritage Center in Barrow where they also had a whale hanging from the ceiling.

The second floor had the mammals with a section highlighting the very early days of the museum with hundreds of small animals, reptiles and fish floating in some sort of liquid in glass bottles. That's how things used to be preserved. A short talk was given by Dr. Meg Lowman. the new director of their new Nature Research Center still under construction next door. Fascinating talk about the huge number of species discovered in the last 25 years. Lots of food and drinks provided with music provided by a jazz combo from the Durham School of Music for most of the event.

During breakfast this morning, Doug Van Houweling, the former CEO of Internet², joined us and started telling Steve Jobs stories. Most of the stories were from the '80s and '90s starting with demonstrations of the Mac before it's release trying to generate interest in the higher education community. And the introduction of the Next computers which were focused on higher education and research. As you may be aware, there was not wide scale adoption of the workstations though the University of Alaska Fairbanks did set up a Next lab in cooperation with the Computer Science and Math department. I must admit that I enjoyed using them and they were much more stable that the Apple and Windows platforms of the day. Interest in doing anything with higher ed ended with the failure of the Next. After that, the primary focus seemed to shift towards the consumer.


  1. RichardM:

    I'd be more interested in food than internet, software stuff. I notice you left a pile of bones, I supposed you enjoyed yourself

    Riding the Wet Coast

  2. I love Lebanese food!!! Yumm!
    Enjoy the green stuff as long as you can.

  3. Raleigh is a nice city, spent many a weekend there while stationed with the US Army at Fort Bragg.

    Am starting to wonder Richard, do you ever get to spend more than one week at a time at home?

    As you're on the East Coast, you should "re-arrange" your travels to have perhaps a day's layover in could try out the new rig...


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  4. RichardM,

    Looks like you had a hell of a time. I've heard the term Gastropub thrown around for a year or two now, but I've never made it to one. Is the atmosphere as welcoming as the advertising would have you believe? I don't go in for dining in places where they act like they don't want to get you in the door.

    I can't claim such amazing, honed cuisine, but the exotic cuisine available in Europe is pretty astounding. You can buy a Donner for 3E! Amazing. Hope you enjoy the rest of your NC time.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  5. Bobskoot:
    No bones, I had just started to enjoy it when I thought about taking a picture. And yes, it was very good.

    I've managed to fit in a couple of miles of walking around town just about everyday, so far. I think that this was the first time I've ever had Lebanese food.

    I looked into it but flights through Denver were more expensive than the flight through Minneapolis. And I think that you may be right about being away pretty often. But then again, I really like to travel...

    So far, no problem even when a bunch of geeks show up. Both places were very welcoming and had excellent service in addition to the astounding food. Both places even assumed that we wanted separate checks.

  6. You sir sure travel a lot. It seems every month you are in a different state.

    At least you can enjoy some greenery and variety in dining options that way.

    I am glad there have been no issues with airport security too. They are always a worry even when we do everything right.

  7. Trobairitz:
    I don't travel much compared to some others around here. (Here being at this meeting)

    I don't think I've ever had a problem with airport security. They occasionally have questions about some of the stuff I carry around but seem to be pretty flexible. The whole thing seems to be overkill but, with planning, it's never been an issue.

  8. Richard,
    Are you ever tempted to move further south to extend your riding season?

    How long have you been in Alaska?

  9. Dear Richard:

    I remember when I used to travel for business, and one of the few perks was getting to dine in some special places. And in some cases, the local restaurants provided a much better idea of regional cuisine than did the representation far afield.

    And I am always amazed at how quickly trade shoes sprout up and then evaporate.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

  10. Geoff:
    I've been in Alaska for 29 years and before I started riding, I was never tempted to move out of the state. Now, it is something I am considering.

    Back in the 90s, I used to volunteer for the setup, operation and teardown of the Networld+Interop show as part of the InteropNet team. The university agreed with my opinion that it was a great learning experience for me. We would show up to a completely empty Las Vegas or Atlanta convention centers and in a very short period, we would have thousands of network connections available, high bandwidth backbones and connections into the Internet. During the show, we got to play with the network, collect statistics and just try out things that none of us would be allowed to do at our home institutions or corporate networks. Then we got to tear it down and package it up for the next show (it travelled around the world).

    Thank you everyone for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment!