Traveling as Education

No Jobs Yet

I just spent a few days in Newport, Rhode Island, to see the wedding for my friends Ryan and Erin. For July 4th weekend, I found out I’ll be staying at the Four Seasons HULAGHULAG for the International Achievement Summit. And I just bought tickets to go to see my ladyfriend in Barcelona. If I can’t get a job, I guess I’ll just travel! And just soak up and report back on everything I see!

I applied to Richard Clarke’s consultancy, Good Harbor, which handles advising for critical infrastructure, homeland security, etc. and I came in to interview and to do an Arabic test. The highlight was that I got to chat with Richard Clarke, former counter-terrorism director. He’s a great guy! I didn’t get the job though. Their people in the UAE said my Arabic fluency wasn’t good enough.

I also applied to another security-related project that handles open source collection of information related to disease control, societal disruption, and more. I interviewed well but again I didn’t get that job.

I’m still waiting to hear from another firm that does energy policy and news analysis for its clients. Since I haven’t heard yet, I’m willing to bet I’m not their first choice and they’re waiting for that person to respond.

So here I am, just chilling out. I am working on Galapag.us, and having given more information to friends and family, am enjoying more discussion about it and am receiving related news and data from others who want to help. I’m also reading a lot. I’ll write about the diverse books I’m reading at some later point.

Recon

I used TripIt for the first time. I just had to e-mail all my official itineraries to TripIt and it automatically scans the itinerary and loads it into its database, so you can consolidate all your trips into one location, and even share it with your other buddies on TripIt. TripIt also has a mobile app for the iPhone.

Speaking of which, the huge iPhone software update will be coming in July… The new iPhone with GPS and 3G looks worth it, too! I just really enjoy the iPhone, and most of the web apps I use (Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, etc.) are designed especially for the iPhone too!

I used Kayak to buy my Barcelona tickets. It has a nice AJAXy web2.0 feel and lets you filter out that pesky 6AM flight from your results, and lets you search multiple sites at once. Very nice! You have to be pretty savvy to get the cheapest flights with the best schedules, and I suck at it. I also hate how prices change online while you’re looking at them.

Anyway…

I love to observe when I travel.

What struck me most today was going to Logan in Boston and eating at Currito, which in my opinion will quickly make Chipotle obsolete. It has only a few locations right now, but offers different flavors of burrito besides just a Mexican saladish burrito. They have Asian flavors, for example. And not only that, they make smoothies! It’s like they made a fast-food joint JUST for me. Seriously. Currito will be everywhere soon. Chipotle struck me the same way! They have good-looking branding and cups and web site. So they will do well.

I took jetBlue on the way back to Dulles. I love the jetBlue font and colors and branding. The kiosks at the airport have an user interface (UI) that is very intuitive and easy to use. I just read a wonderful article about the Wells Fargo ATM UI re-design. It shows how much goes into designing a proper UI, and it shows how useless ATM UIs in the past have been. With large buttons, easy-to-read content, more functionality, a touch-screen (as opposed to those side buttons that never lined up with the screen), and more, these ATMs are a joy. My ladyfriend told me that in Barcelona, people can add phone minutes to their cellphones using ATMs, which I think is great but wonder why you can’t just do it over your phone (or can you?).

jetBlue has a well-integrated IT infrastructure. It also has satellite TV on its planes so I watched part of Euro Cup 2008 (Czech Republic vs. Turkey).

I also noticed the signage for companies inside Dulles. They’re very well-designed and make you want to buy things from the stores. The notable exception is Simply Books, which has the worst logo ever. I mean, it mixes fonts and just looks trashy.

It’s also nice to see the flat-screen high-resolution arrival/departure screens at the airports. They’re very readable although they’re not like the nostalgic clackety-clacking spinning-letter timetables at the European rail stations.

I’m very happy about seeing technology make our lives easy. Especially when companies like Delta and American and organizations like the TSA have managed to make flying miserable for Americans.

My ladyfriend is also raving about her trip cross-country on Virgin America and her trip to Barca on Air France.

So maybe there’s hope for air travel again.

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