on line at the Best Buy
Tuesday, August 28 2012
I'd looked at the weather map last night to see what Hurricane Isaac looked like and noticed another cyclonic storm of similar appearance over the Great Lakes. That must have been the storm that came through early this morning, dumping torrential rains for hours before slowly petering out. I had to go down to the City again for another meeting and at first I was concerned that I'd be dealing with rain down there (which I haven't had to deal with in any other New York City trips in recent memory). But the rain was pretty much done by the time I caught my bus in Kingston at 7:30am.
I had my new laptop Sailfish with me and I was all prepared to take advantage of the free Adirondacks Trailways WiFi and 120 volt power. But then it turned out that I was on one of the few buses without WiFi or 120 volt outlets. And then it turned out that I'd grabbed the wrong AC adapter for Sailfish. I had a Compaq adapter, but it was of the wrong kind. This was bad; the reason I was going to the City was to spend a whole day doing interactive web development with a frontend coder. Sailfish is a good laptop, but it probably can't run for more than three hours on a full battery charge. That would only last me until one or two pee em on a day that would probably last until six. So now I found myself wondering: would I be able to find a place to buy a replacement power adapter? Being the largest city in the wealthiest country on Earth, New York City has lots of stuff for sale. But I didn't have WiFi so I had no way to research where I might buy a replacement power adapter. The one comfort I had was the knowleged that I could probably MacGyver-together a connection between the power adapter I did have and Sailfish. It had the same voltage requirements as that adapter and I could probably get the two to connect with each other using wires with stripped ends.
Once I got to Port Authority, I took the subway immediately to the West 4th Street stop and then, instead of heading south on Sixth Avenue (my usual route, which I knew to be rich in restaurants and poor in other sorts of retailers), I walked west on 4th Street over to Broadway and then turned south. The likeliest stores to sell what I needed were drug stores, but in Manhattan the tech products at drug stores are fewer than what they are in the much larger drug stores upstate. But then I saw that there a Best Buy directly across Broadway from my workplace (which is in an upstairs office above the Crate & Barrel at the corner of Broadway and Houston). It wasn't quite 10:00am yet, and the Best Buy was still closed, so I ventured briefly south of Houston to see if I could find an electronics store down there. It was a waste of time.
I don't know what kind of idiot waits on line (this is New York City) for a Best Buy to open at 10:00am, but there was a line of about twenty people at the door as it opened, which mercifully happened just as I was arriving. It turns out that Best Buy carries several products billed as "universal" laptop power adapters. I bought the one that cost about $70, and it came with eight replaceable tips, one of which fit Sailfish. I wasn't going to have to cobble something together after all.
The day went better than other recent trips to the City had gone. I managed to make real progress on a number of items, including that complex AJAX interaction that had eluded us on Friday.
At the end of the working day, I took the next bus home without taking any further advantage of the biggest city in the most powerful nation on the only planet known to support life.
Back at the house, tonight marked the first night of our hosting Liza, our new houseguest. Gretchen met Liza while giving pro-vegan talks at a community college in Sullivan county. Liza was one of the students Gretchen successfully evangelized. And when Gretchen learned of Liza's crazy commute to Marist College (which she now attends), she offered her one of our two spare bedrooms to use during the week. I didn't actually come out of the laboratory to say hello to Liza tonight, though I could smell her in the distance. Unlike most of the people we know, Liza uses personal hygiene products that give her a fragrance strong enough for me to detect 60 feet away.
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