In my new role as "Early Availability Engineer" (speak: Beta testing) I occasionally have to travel, more specifically to customers who were crazy enough to agree to install and test a beta version of our software. My first trip was in March 2005 to Minnetonka, Minnesota to the company Cargill, a large food company (meat, salt, grain, etc.).
Fremont, California, one day before the trip: Sunny, warm, 75 degrees, great weather.
In Minnetonka, Minnesota, two days later: Sunny and damn cold, temperatures in the low 30s...
One of the customer's many buildings
My colleagues: Gaurav on the left, well-groomed, Australian passport. Ashish on the right, young, Indian passport, with beard. Result: Security control with rubber gloves, lie detector and X-ray any time he gets even close to an airport.
The rental car: PT Cruiser. What a piece of shit. The damn thing doesn't even have power locks. This week there was apparently some major event in the area as it was extremely difficult to book flights, hotels, and rental cars. The rental car agency where we got this car was called "Payless Car Rentals" - and charged us $93 per day for this crap mobile! It's all about supply and demand. The following week the price probably went down to $19.
Somebody recommended the steakhouse "Redstone". Rustic, wood, fireplace, and good food.
One of my online friends lives in the area. We've casually known each other for a few years via the Ars Technica Forum. We took the opportunity to meet in person and had dinner at Redstone. Hilarity ensued.
Here in Minneapolis is the main office of "Best Buy", a huge chain of electronic stores. A ginormous office complex.