This destination has no photos. Upload the first!
Written by winwiz88 on 11 Dec, 2006
May 22, 2005
Today I would be leaving Seattle and heading back home to Panama City, while my Dad would be heading back to Rochester. We got on the Shuttle Express van that would take us to the airport, but we had to stop a…Read More
May 22, 2005
Today I would be leaving Seattle and heading back home to Panama City, while my Dad would be heading back to Rochester. We got on the Shuttle Express van that would take us to the airport, but we had to stop a few times to pickup other people. The van was completely full. When we arrived at SEA, the traffic was bad at the United/US Airways part of the terminal (first part you come up on at SEA). However once we passed that the traffic was good at the Delta side. We were dropped off between Northwest (my Dad) and Delta (me). As I approached the Delta counter, I saw just how busy they were. It was a madhouse. Usually I prefer to deal with an agent rather than a kiosk, but this time I made an exception. I went ahead and checked in but had to stand their forever waiting for the kiosk agent to print out my baggage tag for my checked bag. It was not a fun experience at this counter…. the small space, the long line for the counter, the kiosks crammed into a small space and the waiting for a bag tag. I just wish Delta would put the kiosks at the counter like most other airlines…certainly would have sped up the baggage checking time.
Anyways I got checked in and met up with my Dad to head to our gates. We made it through security quickly, and looked for something to eat, but I really couldn’t find anything that looked interesting or was worth the money. Well we then headed down the A concourse and then we broke away so that he could take the train to Concourse S. I made it to my gate, which was the last gate in Concourse A and had to stand for a while, before boarding called. I was put in Zone 8 because of the bulkhead seat so I was one of the last to board.
Delta Flight 528
Seattle, WA (SEA) – Atlanta, GA (ATL)
Departure: 12:08pm Arrival: 7:46pm
Aircraft: 767-200 Seat: 26C
My flight took off on time if not a little early. When we got up to cruising altitude, they started the same beverage/snack service as the first flight. The movie “Because of Winn-Dixie” started to play so pulled out my Pocket PC and watched a few episodes of The Amazing Race 7. Of course as I was watching, my seatmates had to ask me all about my Pocket PC. I told them little about it…they seemed to be mildly amused by it. Anyways they went back to whatever they were talking about (which they did for the entire four and a half hour flight). I listened to some MP3s and watched a show on Delta Horizons and then I pulled out my Pocket PC again as I was bored and decided that I would play Monopoly. By this time they had come around with the snack basket. Got Sun Chips as usual and then finished watching some shows on Delta Horizons. Before I could realize it we were landing in Atlanta. The IFE was still going and still had two shows left as we taxied to our gate.
We arrived at gate A25, the same gate that my flight to Seattle departed from. It was almost like all of Seattle was just on the other side of that gate door. I had to move quickly over to D27 to catch my flight back to Panama City. As I got over there they hadn’t started boarding, and luckily for me a Chili’s had been put in Concourse D (I never knew about it) right next to my gate, so I grabbed a to go sandwich to eat on the short flight home.
Delta Flight 4241 operated by ASA
Atlanta, GA (ATL) – Panama City, FL (PFN)
Departure: 8:28pm Arrival: 8:48pm
Aircraft: ATR-72 Seat: 14B
The flight boarded quickly and as I got on I noticed two women and two young children taking up all of row 15. I was hoping at this point that these kids would be well behaved for this short flight, but it would later turn out to not be good. At first these kids were crying over the fact that they didn’t want to buckle up for takeoff. Finally the mother did find a way with a suggestion from the Flight Attendant. The flight took off on time and soon we were headed towards Panama City. As we reached cruising altitude I pulled out my sandwich to eat, and the mother of the two kids in the row behind me pulled out their food for the kids. Luckily this kept them quiet for a little bit. But then when drink service came around, they started up again, but then luckily the Flight Attendant gave the mom some more tips.
The rest of the flight was good as we approached Panama City. As we began to come down low and I could make out some of the stores and areas of the city from the lights, the Flight Attendants started to collect the trash. They were doing this as the plane was diving and making turns. Unfortunately at the same time, those kids were crying again. This time they cried much, much louder and together! It was not good, but as soon as we landed they were quiet again. We got to our gate in Panama City and as I walked into the terminal noticed it was really empty. No one was even there for the next flight to Atlanta.
As I walked past the TSA checkpoint I spotted my Mom waiting for me. She was happy to see me and I told her about winning the $750 and everything as I headed over to Baggage Claim. It didn’t take long for my bag to come out and off I headed to the parking lot for the ride home.
May 21, 2005
Got up early as we were going to be shuttled over to the Microsoft Conference Center (MSCC) for the competitions. The entire day would be spent here. We arrived at the MSCC and they had a decent breakfast laid out for us…Read More
May 21, 2005
Got up early as we were going to be shuttled over to the Microsoft Conference Center (MSCC) for the competitions. The entire day would be spent here. We arrived at the MSCC and they had a decent breakfast laid out for us to eat through the morning. They went through on the updates about the competition including that some teams had to be moved around to the "west" regional so they could have WiFi access. One of those teams was my competitor, Carnegie-Mellon University. Taking their place would be Bradley University. The Bradley team went first, with me second and Georgia Tech last. We were escorted to one of the developer buildings next to the MSCC where we would present to two Microsoft employees. The Bradley team seemed to take forever in their presentation which was bad for me as they told us as you are going up the elevator boot up your laptop and have it ready to go to walk right in as soon as you get there. The battery on my laptop is practically shot so as I waited my laptop almost died, luckily I found a power outlet in the hallway so I could at least keep it from dieing on me. They finally came out and I hurried in with all my gear. I hooked up my laptop to the projector and got going. I was really nervous at this point and I know the judges could tell, but I kept going anyways answering every question they asked me and I made sure I covered everything even if I had to look at the screen every now and then.
I then got to the part of my presentation where I had to give a demo of my project. I gave the demo to the best of my ability, even though my web service wasn’t working I was still able to show the two judges how it would work. After I finished my presentation, a round of questions began. They wanted why I used one thing instead of another, why isn’t a certain feature there, and could this be used for xyz. After they were done asking me questions, they actually let me ask them some. Naturally I asked them how they got their jobs here and what did they do? Turns out only one was a programmer and he was a Project Manager on the Visual Studio 2005 team, however, I cannot remember what the other judge did at Microsoft. After the judging was done I had to head back to the MSCC for lunch and the national round of competitions. The judges came back with us as Georgia Tech had to have the WiFi too, for their product to work.
Soon Microsoft brought out box lunches again, but these were better than the salads last time. This time we got sandwiches. As I ate lunch in the MSCC I discovered one good perk of working for Microsoft… unlimited free drinks from drink coolers located everywhere on campus. All you can drink soda, juice, water, or milk for free! But then I guess you need that when you employ people who practically live in their offices (and yes I did see one office where someone had built a bunk bed over his desk). Anyways I finished lunch and just had to sit there. The one judge came by with the score sheet, so I could get some feedback on my project and see how I was scored. I got good scores, and some good remarks so I thought I was going to be getting 3rd place (there were 3 teams in my region, which means everyone gets money) and $500.
Shortly after this we were herded into the presentation room across the hall where they were going to announce the results from the regional round and announce who would move on to the national round (if you got 1st place in a region, you move on to nationals). They finally got to my regional and announced third place would be Bradley University from Peoria, Ill. At this point not only was I happy that I beat college students and I would be getting more money, I was scared that I was possibly going to be in 1st and have to present in front of almost all the other teams and seasoned professionals of the industry. And then they announced second place – IT WAS ME! I managed to beat a university, and get $750! Man was I excited! first place was announced and that went to Georgia Tech and they $1000 and advanced to nationals. After they announced winners they picked the order while I sat there on the Internet. I wanted to check my flight times for tomorrow so I logged onto Delta.com and checked the time. I felt lucky so I went to look at the seat map and all of a sudden a bulkhead-aisle seat opened up. I definitely grabbed that seat.
The national rounds were going on in the meantime and I just sat there a listened to a few (most of these teams knew so much more than me and everything they said went right over my head). For the rest of the time I listened to XM Radio Online while I surfed the web. Finally it was getting towards 5pm and dinner was supposed to be at 5:30, so we headed over to the other room. They had a nice snack spread laid out with jawbreakers, starbursts, cookies, and fruit for everyone to snack on during the day. We sat there and we noticed that it kept getting later and later and teams were still presenting. Finally though the last team finished up and the Microsoft Catering folks brought out the taco bar. The taco bar was awesome. These honestly were some of the best tacos that I have ever eaten. The salsa was really good too. They had a decent desert table setup; I think I got a piece of chocolate mousse. Shortly after finishing up they started with the awards ceremony. Since they were running behind they did not present the crystal awards to regional winners, but moved straight to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the national competitions. 3rd place went to Northeastern University with their translation program, 2nd place went to Carnegie-Mellon University for their SmartCare program, and 1st place went to one of the Virginia Commonwealth University teams – Team ECESIS. They get $8000 and a free trip to Yokohama, Japan for the Imagine Cup World Finals. They definitely were happy, when they found out that they had won. We got to claim our awards after the ceremony. I picked up my 2nd Place Rocky Mountain Regional crystal award and proceeded to find the team that had the 2nd Place Southeastern award. I couldn’t find that team so I got stuck with the Rocky Mountains. Anyways we headed back where finally I could relax. We started to pack everything back up for tomorrow we would need to catch our flights back to Minnesota and Florida. I actually got to bed early that night which was nice for a change.
May 20, 2005
Woke up early as we had to be downstairs early for breakfast, registration, and the keynote presentation. That morning we woke up to find a bill under our door (they wanted us to check out), so we went downstairs early to find…Read More
May 20, 2005
Woke up early as we had to be downstairs early for breakfast, registration, and the keynote presentation. That morning we woke up to find a bill under our door (they wanted us to check out), so we went downstairs early to find the event coordinator. We asked one of the hotel staff where this person was, they didn’t know, but they were the even coordinator for the hotel. We explained to her that we wanted to stay at the Marriott instead of the Residence Inn if that would be possible. She quickly said that it would not be a problem for us to continue staying at the Marriott. She walked away and updated our keys for us.
Since we made sure to get down there early, I got was one of the first to register and get all badge and voucher to spend up $120 at the Microsoft Company Store. I was introduced to the Microsoft person in charge or running this part of the Imagine Cup, who told me that I would be the only High School Team in the Software Design Invitational, and Since I am the only one on my team, I am the only High School student there (Except for the guy who won the IT Invitational, and the high school students demonstrating their Visual Gaming Invitational entry). I a novice programmer who has never taken a programming or computer science class would be going up against those who seeking their undergraduate or graduate degrees in the subject.
Soon the keynote presentation got started and we were filled in with all we needed to know for today’s events. One of the people from the team that won the US Nationals last year and got a trip to Brazil our of it, spoke to us about what the whole experience was like. Soon after that some people from the Windows Mobile 5.0 team did many demos of Windows Mobile 5.0 and its capabilities. Also some of the Visual Studio 2005 team was there to demonstrate some new features of that product as well. They closed with showing who we would be competing against tomorrow and who our judges would be for that competition. At that time I was slated to be going against Carnegie-Mellon and Georgia Tech.
As we left the conference room to head towards the shuttle busses, they handed everyone a nice O’GIO laptop backpack with the Imagine Cup logo on it, a nice certificate and some training DVDs. We all got on the busses and headed over to the Microsoft Campus where we would be visiting the Company Store and Museum. I found out while waiting go in that the Imagine Cup people were looking for me after the keynote presentation to do an interview for MSDN’s Channel 9 Blog, but I had been in my room at time getting some last minute items. We went to the Company Store first and use one of the vouchers we had to get a copy of XP Pro for only $35 which was good as now my server computer can finally have a more legal copy of Windows on it. The prices in that store were great! I really wish I could have spent more and bought a new keyboard and mouse and just about everything else that I could really use! After that we went to the Museum, which is right below the store. They had a wall in one corner showing Microsoft through the decades and had computers running DOS, Windows 3.11, 95, etc and some even forgotten products like Microsoft Bob. They also had some interactive games and a darkened room that had XBOXs and PCs with the latest Microsoft games to play. They greatest thing there was that wall of PocketPCs on it that made up the Windows Mobile logo. We finished up at the museum and then we headed back out to the bus. From the museum we would be heading to Building 40 on the Microsoft Campus.
We got to Building 40 and began to set up my table for the project fair. Microsoft provided a decent box lunch (salad) for us as we set up. My table didn’t take much time to setup (only a few small foam boards and the flat screen monitor they provided to show my PowerPoint presentation on. I was in the corner of the room, between the high school students there showing off their Visual Gaming Invitational project and next to the Boston University team. It looked like I probably got less foot traffic than some of the other teams (all of us in this room got less than the teams in the room over in the cafeteria next door), but still many people came by and asked some really good questions. Sometimes I couldn’t answer some questions (like why didn’t I use this or that), because I am just not as skilled as those people were….I am just a high school student learning and these were all college graduates with degrees in the field.
Luckily as the 2-hour session went by, a camera crew came by and got a demo of my software and took some video of my set up. Also later the editor of a Microsoft Computer Science Teacher Website came by and interviewed me for that website (I don’t remember what the web site was…maybe someone knows what I am talking about?). I also went by the other project fair room to check out the competition. I talked with some of the other teams about their projects like Washington State’s Song Seller program (allows you to resell downloaded music) and one of the teams from Virginia Commonwealth University, which had a program which helped collect data on immunized people around the world, especially those in remote areas. Also talked with them about the whole Real ID thing briefly, as their program could load up data from a barcode on a driver’s license. After that the fair was practically over and at 4-o’clock I packed up and headed back out to the bus. The bus took us back to the Residence Inn, so we had to walk over to the Marriott. No one else followed, which meant we were the only team left in this hotel!
Later that night Microsoft was hosting a Halo 2 Party in one of the conference rooms with big 40-50 inch plasma TVs. I had decided not to go as I had to tweak my presentation from today into the presentation I would be using tomorrow for the judging. Also I had a bug to fix and I needed to get working on many other loose ends in my program. Since dinner was supposed to be pizza at the Halo 2 Party, my Dad and I decided we would try the Claim Jumper. We got there and the inside of the place is huge compared to the what it seemed like on the outside. We ordered up some garlic toast for the appetizer, which we expected to be like 4 or 6 slices of toast. Instead it was like 8 huge pieces cut in two, for a grand total of 16 slices!! That’s a lot of garlic toast! Soon our food was brought out and we started to wish that we hadn’t ordered the appetizer. The amount of food was huge. I got chicken strips and the steak fries and there was more than I could definitely eat (but then I just ate 8 slices of garlic toast). My Dad had much bigger portions on his plate, big thing of potatoes, a good sized chunk of meatloaf and a biscuit the size of Texas! That was the biggest biscuit I had ever seen, it almost was the same size as the pile of meatloaf. We definitely got our money’s worth that night. As we were about to walk back to the hotel, it began to rain….so we waited for a while then headed back. As soon as I got back to the hotel room I started working on the presentation and program. After a while I was getting mad for something just wasn’t working right. The exercise room was down the hall so I went down there and lifted some weights. As I headed back to the room my key wouldn’t work. At first I thought maybe I have the wrong room. Well I didn’t and after a second of thinking (my brain is almost fried at this point) I knocked and was let in. We called down to the front desk and found out while our stay was extended, the keys were only good until 9pm, so they sent some new keys in just a few minutes. I got back to work and got where I could for the night and then finally went to bed sometime between 12 and 1 that morning.
Earlier this year I had signed up for a global technology competition hosted by Microsoft, called the Imagine Cup. I had signed up for all the possible invitational that I thought I could do. I had been learning Visual Basic .Net ever since Microsoft sent…Read More
Earlier this year I had signed up for a global technology competition hosted by Microsoft, called the Imagine Cup. I had signed up for all the possible invitational that I thought I could do. I had been learning Visual Basic .Net ever since Microsoft sent me a copy for watching a few web casts last fall, so I made sure to sign up for the Software Design Invitational. For the longest time I had been writing my System Information Tool, which as the name suggests tells you just about everything someone would need to know about their computer. I had been notified not long after submission that I would be competing in the US National Finals in Redmond, WA at Microsoft’s HQ. I was ecstatic about this and not to mention the fact Microsoft picked up the bill for the entire weekend (airfare, hotel, food, etc). However, soon I found out that my program really didn’t meet any of the requirements so I started work on a program for grocery stores and other retail stores to stock products more efficiently. This way I could ensure that it had all 3 of the design requirements (.NET Framework, Mobile Device, Web Service). Sooner than I thought May 19 rolled around and my journey to Redmond began. May 19,2005 Delta Flight 4509 operated by ASA Panama City, FL (PFN) – Atlanta, GA (ATL) Departure: 11:43am Arrival: 2:00pm Aircraft: ATR-72 Seat: 15A I got up early for my flight as I really couldn’t sleep at all. I packed the night before so I was ready to go, all I just had to do was wait for my mom to drive me to the Panama City Airport so that I wouldn’t have to leave my car there. I had her take her time getting to the Airport since I was expecting very small wait times. I got dropped off and In I went to the Delta counter to check in to my flights for the day. I was the only person in line, so check in took no time. Handed my bag to the TSA screener and headed off the to the security checkpoint around the corner, and cleared that within 30 seconds as well. As I sat in the gate area I realized that I now had a really long time before Boarding would commence. I pulled out my PocketPC and discovered an open wireless network so I got on and talked to my dad who would be flying RST-MSP-SEA to be at the Imagine Cup with me. I didn’t want to drain my battery so I got off and I noticed there was a bit of a problem at the Northwest gate. Apparently their CRJ200 was overweight and they had to bump passengers from the flight. A little while later the ATR-72 arrived and after the passengers from Atlanta disembarked, we loaded up fairly quickly. I was in Zone 8 as I picked a rear seat so I could be one of the first off the plane. Take off was a little early if I remember correctly, and the view of panama city down below was nice (I usually fly from other panhandle airports), however I didn’t get to fly over the Beach, where I live. After being airborne for 5 minutes the person next to me starts talking to me. A lady probably in her 50s who was retired was heading up to Baltimore for the weekend. She recognized me from a newspaper article about me going to the Imagine Cup the day before. She was a pleasant person to talk to, but she feared turbulence. Every time there was just a little bit of rough air, she would either grab the armrests or my arm. I really didn’t mind, as its nothing to me, and its just a nice thing to do to help others out when they might be a little scared. The Flight Attendants on this flight were not overly pleasant. They didn’t speak very much and the one that served my drink seemed to not be in very good mood. I didn’t really matter to me as this flight is so short. We arrived in Atlanta early, and wound up at our multi-plane gate in Concourse D. I helped the lady next to me point out where her flight to Baltimore would be leaving from, and then left the plane to head over to Chili’s in Concourse A. The layover was pretty uneventful; I just ate at Chili’s, and then checked out Concourse E for the upcoming Tuesday, as I would be going on a school trip to Italy. I then walked from Concourse E to Concourse A, something I had not for a while. Afterwards I headed to gate A25 for my flight to Seattle. Delta Flight 533 Atlanta, GA (ATL) – Seattle, WA (SEA) Departure: 4:33pm Arrival: 6:57pm Aircraft: 767-300 Seat: 27C So once again I was in Zone 8 for Boarding as I had picked row 27, a bulkhead seat. But even being in Zone 8 Boarding didn’t take that long on this full flight. This was going to be my longest flight ever (5 hours) as I mostly flew on flights between the Florida Panhandle and Minnesota. We took off on time and got to cruising altitude quickly. They started the beverage service as the movie In Good Company played. They handed out the snack packs which are the right amount of food for a small snack for that long of a flight. I didn’t watch the movie, as it didn’t really interest me. They came around again for more drinks and finally for the snack basket with about an hour left in flight. I watched TV shows I recorded to my PPC for a while, and just got done watching the Futurama Episode: Deep South (the lost, sunken city of Atlanta) when the First Futurama episode started playing on the projector screen in front of me. I was happy and I was entertained, and it sure did beat out SkyTeam’s Moving Planet or whatever horrible shows they play. Anyways the FA’s on this flight were a strong contrast to the ones on my ASA flight from Panama City. The FA’s made sure that even in coach everyone had everything that they needed all the time, and were good about switching the tapes for the IFE on time, unlike another flight where it played the movie, then a blank screen forever some of the remaining programs. As I was deplaning the people in front of me were talking to one of the FA’s about Seattle, when I think I heard that the Delta’s CEO, Gerald Grinstein, was on this flight heading to somewhere in the Seattle area for his son’s wedding. I didn’t see him, so I not 100% sure if he was on board or not. Anyways I got off the plane and headed for baggage claim and waited for what seemed like an eternity for my bag. I also noticed my Dad’s NW Flight was delayed and that he would be getting in 10 minutes late. I got my bag eventually and headed to the NW baggage claim as it was the next one over and walked around, trying to find my Dad among the sea of passengers. I couldn’t find him so I called him up to see if maybe he was still airside or what. I called him up and he told me that he could see me so looked around like crazy…….he was behind me by some stairs….man, I am blind. We headed to the parking garage to pickup the Shuttle Express to the Residence Inn Redmond Town Center. There were two people from the Bradley University team behind me (found out later as they were competition), who kept talking about how they could do this and that in their program and as a novice programmer who is only in high school, these guys fried my brain. We got to the Residence Inn about 45 minutes later and found out it was overbooked. We really were not excited about the Studio suite in the first place (one real bed and a couch bed), and were happy to find out that for the night we would be staying at the full service Marriott next door! Only downside was the lack of free WiFi, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make for a comfortable bed. We decided that we didn’t want to go anywhere far for dinner so we went to the restaurant in the hotel, the Meritage. I got the Flatbread Sampler, which had their four flatbread “flavors” all on one piece of flatbread. I had never had flatbread before, and I must say that it was extremely good; sort of like a high end pizza. Close