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  • Take the man out of England

    So the wireless stuff worked out brilliantly - about as straightforward as it could have been.

    And what’s the first thing I did when I suddenly had bandwidth to burn on the old laptop? Yep, that’s right - catch up with the Archers omnibus. Something very bizarre and entirely appropriate about listening to Radio 4 from the comfort of the house in Santa Fe, NM.

  • Welcome to the wireless world

    OK, so every blogger who’s gone wireless has posted one of these posts: ‘Oh wow - I’m surfing from the garden - it’s great.’

    Now it’s my turn. The Airport’s still on its way, but the wireless card arrived today (Linksys 11g Cardbus card because my old TiBook only supports 11b with the original Airport Card slot), and it was ridiculously simple - slot the card in, head down to Sun Mountain Bikeshop (and its partner store, the Back Door cafe next door), and Bob’s your digital uncle.

    The biggest problem was that the optical mouse got confused on the glass table. I hope setting up the base station tomorrow will be as easy.

  • OK, so not everything’s 20% easier

    Try returning an iPod to Apple because the hard-drive has toasted itself. Yes it’s under it’s one year warranty, but after 6 months you have to pay for shipping, even if the repair is still free. So that’s $30 for a free repair.

    Or for 60 bucks, you can buy Apple’s super duper warranty that will mean free shipping for your iPod now, and cover you for another year after your first (already pretty flimsy warranty) expires. Given the hassle some owners have had with battery life, this sounded like a good deal.

    But I can’t buy it immediately because I forgot to register my iPod when I bought it, and I need to prove the purchase date. ‘No bother,’ I tell the Apple dude on the phone. ‘I’ve got the Amazon receipt right here on my machine - I’ll email it over to you.’

    ‘Sorry sir, you’ll have to fax it to us.’

    What is this, 1986? So I have to make a hard copy of a digital receipt for a digital product I bought online then fax it to Apple - a computer company. Then email them to tell them I faxed it, so I can give them the money I want to give them to fix an iPod that’s still under warranty.

  • New Mexico facts for the week

    -- New Mexico has the highest per capita number of deaths by lightning of any state in the Union. It’s monsoon season here now, so the hot and sunny mornings give way to big storms in the late afternoon and evening. Two state troopers were struck by lightning (but fortunately not badly hurt) while helping drivers stranded in a flood here earlier this week.

    -- State Governor Bill Richardson this week attended a presentation to mark the shipment of green chile to New Mexico troops serving in Iraq. The 505 company (named for the telephone area code for the whole of the state) are donating $25,000-worth of green chile, packaged in what they described as the world’s first single-serving green chile sachets. Anything to cheer up the reservists and enlisted men who I’m sure would much rather be anywhere else than Iraq right now, although I don’t know how much competition there was from outside the state to be the first to issue green chile in single servings.

    -- Buying a carnita from Roque in the Plaza on Friday, I overheard a tourist identify himself and other Texans as ‘your favourite neighbours’. Roque, a native New Mexican and a polite man, declined to comment.

    -- Signs that America is at least four years behind Ireland in the maturity of its mobile phone usage: lots of guys are still wearing their phones on those dodgy holster things on their belts, and almost all the phones I’ve seen here are silver. Weird.

  • 20% Easier

    An old friend of mine (an Irishman married to an American woman) maintained that it was over all 20% easier to live in most parts of the US than to live in Ireland.

    Things worked a bit better, there was a greater commitment to customer service, and the cost of staples was less.

  • Across the Desert 2

    (being the reverse journey to this one)

    Somehow the giant empty spaces of the Mojave seemed only slightly deadly this time, as we drove back from Los Angeles to Santa Fe. Here are some pics from the two-day trip, and the thought remains - why the hell would you want to leave in Needles, California or Ludlow, Arizona?

    At one point when we stopped to get petrol (my brain said ‘gas’ first there, which is a little worrying), the temperature was 116F in the shade. And we were about a day’s drive in all directions from an espresso machine.

  • Say goodbye to the bike

    I’ve a blogging backlog to get through, now that I’ve arrived in Santa Fe to start a new life. So let’s start during the frantic last week in Dublin, and a problem I faced with regard to one of my bikes.

    The road bike and the mountain bike were going to the US - boxed up and surrounded by as much stuff as we could squeeze in. But there was no room for the old touring bike, which had made it from Bangor to Bobbio but had since been relegated to hack bike.

  • Approved

    My visa for the US was approved today after 3.5 hours of scary waiting interspersed with paperwork and questions - a pretty good definition of hell.

    The whole room in embassy was filled with uncertainty and responsibility without control - the classic stress-inducing combination - with plenty of people being turned away ahead of us, computer malfunctions, and sundry departures from the stated requirements.

    But I’m approved - it was great that Buendia was there as well - and now I just have to go back tomorrow to pick up the visa (the computer problems meant they couldn’t give it to me then and there).

    Doesn’t seem quite real yet, but I’m in - and leaving next week for a new New Mexican life. Right now it feels like I’ve been flattened by a train, but I’m delighted.

  • Fast and Luas

    I was one of the hundreds of thousands who spent part of the weekend on the Luas. Despite being clearly designed by a Wexford man - the floor looks disconcertingly like the Cusack stand during a Leinster hurling final - the whole thing is great.

    With the sun shining on Sunday afternoon, you could almost be in another city - one with a real public transport system. And one with a few places most people on my tram had never even heard of - Cowper? Ballaly?. And a few that confused us - Kilmacud looks like it’s the Irish for ‘middle of nowhere’, and the Stillorgan stop is about 50 yards away from the Sandyford stop, and nowhere near the bowling alley.

    But as we zoomed back into town - there are a lot of stops but the thing really accelerates between them - and rounded the elegant curve of Harcourt St, I was glad to have been on it during its opening weekend.

    Now can someone remind my why the two lines don’t meet up?