Destination Tel-Aviv: Some Work, Some Fun

Updated From Frankfurt: It has already been a long day! I got up at 3 a.m. to get ready and head to the San Francisco Airport in time to catch my early morning US Airways flight to Charlotte and then connect to Frankfurt and then to Tel-Aviv. US Airways doesn’t tell you that you that you’re flying through “some city” on your way to Europe, which was funny because I ended up at the International Airport and then had to head back to the domestic terminal.

I am going there for the TWS 2008 conference, where I am one of the judges. I fell in love with Tel-Aviv on my trip last year, but never got to really chill and enjoy the city very much. This year, I plan to enjoy the beaches and recover a little from Structure 08-related madness. I have to say, I am seriously nervous, because this is a long trip, my first one since my heart attack and my first attempt at normalcy.

While the first part of the journey turned out to be fine, at Charlotte I found out that the connecting flight was going to be late by three hours, so the day — which was going to be around 18 hours — is now going to be even longer. While waiting for the next flight, I tried to log into T-Mobile via Boingo, whose new offering, Go Boingo, is going to be released on Monday and I am testing out right now. You can try out their free day pass, and the best part is it’s ready for Mac users — and is pretty awesome.

Speaking of Mac, I saw dozens of people toting Macbooks of various kind in the airport and its various lounges. Something interesting or maybe just a coincidence? I’m not sure. Regardless, it’s nice to carry the AIR as it doesn’t break one’s back!

Without access, I had to come with a way to connect. My connection with my 3G Nokia N95 didn’t seem to work, so instead I turned to JoikuSpot, an application I’ve written about earlier. Now the connection via JoikuSoft isn’t fast and isn’t letting me download emails, but it is letting me surf the web. It’s better than nothing, and JoikuSoft delivered as promised. Now I’m glad that I wrote about this little application. (Anyway, if you have any tips on how set up a Nokia N95 as a 3G modem, let me know. The default settings aren’t quite working.)

Update: Finally got to Frankfurt at about 3 a.m. PT, or around 11 a.m. local time. The airport is a mess — chaotic and disorganized. It can’t be called “efficient” by any means, and reminds me how old this hub really is. In comparison to SFO’s International Terminal, Frankfurt is provincial. Lufthansa’s business lounge is nothing but a giant, messy hall. For some odd reason, the T-Mobile USA hotspot passwords are not working and it costs 18 euro cents to get a WAN connection. Nice to be a monopoly.

On Boingo: Well it’s proving to be utterly worthless. In the places you really need it — like my two stops thus far, the damned so-called Global Wireless Service hasn’t really worked. I’m wondering if the the dream of a seamless global network that provides endless connectivity will remain just that — a dream.

My flight isn’t till 11 pm tonight and I get into Tel-Aviv at around 3:30 a.m. in the morning. There is little or no chance of any sleep. It’s the last time I trust a failing airline like US Airways fulfill to my travel plans.

I will update the post when I get to Tel-Aviv.