With apologies to Tom Petty, waiting in Charlotte has reached a whole new level. After patiently waiting for 6 years on a list while the city considered his request for a sidewalk that would make things easier on his wheelchair-bound teenage daughter, Darrell Pritchett found that... he has to get on a whole new list!

On our way back from Seattle, we noticed a cell phone lot at their airport. It makes sense, but like the social networking services that I just never seem to use, I don't know how often we would use it.

It seems that generally if my wife is traveling, so am I - at least at this point in our lives. And we're typically on the same flights to boot. I don't know if I could get away with any other arrangement! I wonder how long you're allowed to park in the cell phone lot? If we take a fast enough vacation, maybe we could get away with not having to pay much for parking.

I signed up for LinkedIn the other day on the recommendation of a friend. I don't know what to think just yet. I was finally able to get linked up with that friend - even though he was in the system, I was unable to find him when I searched. Then I sent him a connection email, which he thankfully accepted, and I was suddenly connected. So now what? I don't know.

Apparently the idea is that if I'm looking for something, I can search this trusted network that I'm building to see if I can find someone. Same with previous cow-orkers and the like. Thus far, it just seems like another service that I probably won't use.

The whole problem that I have with social networking of any kind, be it contacts or bookmarks, is that I rarely look for stuff in that way - though perhaps I'm just proving my age and should get with the program. We'll see how it turns out.

Not only was this guy unlucky enough to have been beaten up and left for dead while on his winter sojourn to find work, but he was in a coma so long that animal control gave away his dogs. I don't blame animal control, and neither does he - but man would that stink.

Now don't get me wrong. I like parks as much as the next guy. Heck, I may like them more. The simple fact is that, with the possible exception of Stumptown Park in Matthews, the parks in Charlotte are way underused already. And we have a pretty decent number of them. Freedom Park is one of the largest, and unless an event of some sort is going on, it's not better than a trickle of people.

Marshall Park uptown is one of the worst. It's actually a decent park, with a nice waterscape, close proximity to many uptown employees and everything. Yet it's often nearly deserted. I've seen a lot of people there, and that's only when a special event of some kind is going on. See the theme?

Phillip Torrone (PT) from Make Magazine just showed us how to load your iPod with iPodLinux, which allows you to do fun stuff like record on your iPod, play games and even some (very) low-res movies. Very simple install, update and uninstall via a desktop app. PT also brought along his analog cell phone. Very cool.

Update: In a later presentation, PT held a contest to see who would be the first to call his phone. Yours truly won a subscription to Make as the first one through!

Unlike some others, I don't think that Microsoft Extending RSS is an entirely bad thing.

Can it be bad? Sure. But so can just about anything, by any company. I am the last to say that Microsoft is my favorite company - but the stuff they've done with RSS, merely be extending the spec (a move which is allowed, by the way) is pretty cool. I'm looking forward to it.

It seems that Microsoft is somewhat monopolizing the sponsorships. Not only are they a banner sponsor, with their name up top on a huge banner in front, but they are listed again on the banner as "Windows XP", "MSN Search", "Windows Marketplace", "Microsoft". Two other initiatives, "Playsforsure" and "The Hive". The latter doesn't really appear to be a "sponsor", as they aren't listed on the banner, but they are passing out hats and t-shirts, and they show up on the screen quite a bit. So it looks like Microsoft is interested in spending a bit of money in this space.

Dean Hachamovitch, from the Microsoft "RSS Team". Very interesting that there is an RSS Team at Microsoft. The whole Microsoft bunch is all wearing "Longhorn (Heart) RSS", which would seem to indicate that there's some big news coming. MSN Spaces purportedly has more than 14 million users, over 1500 Microsoft employees are blogging and all MSN Search feeds include a link to a feed. Their new tagline is Browse. Search. Subscribe. It's on the back of their t-shirts, in fact.

Sounds to me a lot like they are planning to be the Tivo of the online world. In fact, Dean just mentioned the first time he met someone with a Tivo. Imagine that browsing and searching won't go away, as you'll find new information. But being able to then subscribe to that information is where the power lies. Apparently Longhorn will have a "big bet" on RSS.

This means three things. First, that throughout Windows, RSS is enabled and "just easy". Second, providing an RSS platform to make it easier for developers to RSS-enable everything. More than just in the browser and aggregator. Third is making it easy for everyone to just use.

Recent build of Longhorn now on-screen. IE7 is coming. Allegedly we are the first to see this in a public forum. RSS support in the browser. When the browser encounters a page with a feed, there is an RSS button that "lights up" and will display the feed with a sort of XSL stylesheet, so you don't see all the ugly XML. Looks nice.

There is also a "plus" button that allows you to subscribe to the site. This would seem to indicate that IE7 and/or Longhorn has a built-in aggregator of sorts. An example is searching MSN Search, which results in an RSS feed, that you can then read and/or add to your subscriptions.

IE7 does this through a "common feed list", which stores all the feeds in the subscription, and that list will then be availble to all other applications in Windows. This means another application - in this case, RSS Bandit - was updated to allow the application to synchronize with the common feed list.

This allows the feeds to be shared across the entire platform, which encapsulates the complexity. This allows moving from blogs and news to audio podcasting to delivery of any content - pictures, spreadsheets, presentations, calendar events, etc.

Chris is currently on stage here at Gnomedex. So far so good. The suspicion is that the WiFi won't last long - there are fifteen or so laptops just on the row where I'm sitting. Plenty of power, but I think the WiFi might just be overloaded, as things are a bit funky. My wife is on one side, Nick on the other. So far not much to report, but I'll update this as the conference moves along.

While we've nearly exhausted our tourist time, we did manage to fit in a nice day of driving by heading down the length of Whidbey Island, just North of Seattle.

But on the way, we had to visit the Fremont Troll, since it was so close and we barely missed it on our Duck ride the other day. Luckily it was indeed on our way, and we simply stopped for a few minutes and checked out the massive sculpture. Very cool.

Then we hit the road, and took I-5 towards Vancouver, veering off to Anacortes before we made it quite that far. Unfortunately, the ferries were not cooperating, so we decided to drive some more. We had hoped to take a ferry out towards the San Juan Islands, but it just was not to be on this day.