Hello from Palm Springs

It’s Esri Developer Summit time again! I am in Palm Springs, taking in the sights and sounds and learning all that I can.

The weather is nice, but not hot. It’s been raining here lately and much cooler than usual. Still, considering it was -22 when I left Calgary yesterday and +21 when I landed here, I am not complaining at all. I was out at the fire pit at the hotel last night with Dave Hamilton, Matt English and others who came and went. I introduced Dave to the Godfather (the drink, not the movie). My roommate this year is Chris Dupont.

Today is the first official day, with the plenary session in the morning and technical sessions starting in the afternoon. Here we are ready to go at the plenary this morning.

The one pain in the butt so far is that the J key on my Bridge keyboard for my iPad has come off. A tiny little plastic bit has broken. I should be able to fix it with some Crazy Glue, but I am glad that I brought my MacBook as well: it is not my main note-taking device.

Updated Friday Morning

It’s almost time to come home. This morning I’m up a little early to meet some co-workers at Sherman’s for breakfast. Then I will probably get one session in before checking out and heading for the airport.

The conference has been great. Long days and constantly having to choose between or among different sessions that all sounded worthwhile. There were only two in three days where I wanted or chose to leave to see something else. The weather has been behaving. While the forecast from last week threatened rain, there have only been two precipitation events: Tuesday night when I was asleep, and Wednesday at lunch when it was barely spitting in the sunshine. It was quite refreshing, actually.

Last night was the party and the weather was a little cool, but it was warm inside where the annual dodgeball tournament was on.

Dodgeball semi-finals

I didn’t participate in the tournament: I am a large target. Instead, I chose to try SAFE Archery Hoverball, which was challenging. Oh, and I blew up the Death Star.

I discovered that Michelle is very competitive when it comes to air hockey, but she and Konstantin met their match against a couple of other guys.

I have been able to FaceTime with the kids and Tammy most nights this week. It’s been a challenge with Tammy working in the evenings, but not too bad. It will be good to be home.

Updated after arriving home

Friday’s travel back to Canada was problematic for a lot of people I work with. I was pretty lucky, only getting delayed about an hour and then another half hour waiting for my bag to show up. My delay was caused by a plane having a mechanical issue and being parked at a gate in Palm Springs. When the Calgary plane arrived, it had nowhere to park, and was sitting on the tarmac for an hour. We felt like we were chasing it around the airport as first it was supposed to park at Gate 8 (where the borked plane was), then it taxied to Gate 17, and then back to Gate 8. Since I had a non-stop flight home, I was only inconvenienced, and so were Tammy and the kids picking me up.

Others were not so lucky. My roommate Chris ended up having to stay an extra day in Palm Springs because his flight was cancelled. Many of the Esri Canada staff from Toronto were going to be delayed into San Francisco and so would miss their connection. There were three people from Ottawa on my flight to Calgary, and they missed their connection.

It was the wind. The wind is always a problem at PSP. It has a lot to do with the mountains to the west and the fact that it only has one runway.

Today, the wind was blowing from the north-east, which put gale force gusts right across the runway. There’s no option to change runways to point the nose into the wind for landing and takeoff. When I arrived at the airport, the wind was strong enough that you had to hold onto the car door to prevent it from slamming shut. Planes that were trying to land were getting redirected to other airports, and since those planes hadn’t landed, the flights out of PSP on those planes were either delayed or cancelled. This happened to me in 2016 and I was lucky to make it home.

Some people fly to Los Angeles or Phoenix and then rent a car to drive to Palm Springs, but that’s adding considerable time and expense to the trip. I don’t imagine that I will do that in the future, and will continue to roll the dice with Palm Springs International Airport.

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