Destination: San Francisco. And Still NoGoBoingo

The week-long whirlwind of a tour to Israel is finally over. Waiting for my flight, I’m wondering when I’m going to get to sleep in my own bed. It is about 18 hours of flying time — London and Philadelphia are two stops on the way — with about six hours of layovers. Given that I am going to be flying on US Airways — an airline with a patchy track record of timeliness and service — I’m not sure if everything is going to work out. Never mind the fact that both Heathrow and Philadelphia Airports are shining examples of tardiness.

The nightmare ahead not withstanding, I have to say, the trip has been quite satisfying, for I am always amazed by the tirelessness of Israeli people. Tel-Aviv is a unique place, almost matching the pervasiveness of technology (and tech startups). Twice I got pitched while waiting for cabs on the street, a scene right out of a random meeting in Palo Alto. (Check out TypeMock, one of the companies I got pitched on.)

One of the promises I made to myself on this trip was that I would keep my computer time to a bare minimum and rely almost entirely on my mobile device of the month, the Blackberry Curve. The reason for my computer-free diet was to get some downtime and enjoy the lovely beaches of this country. I also wanted to take some time to write a longer-form report from Israel.

Well, the downtime didn’t quite happen, for I ended up meeting tons of companies — about 40 in all. Those meetings consumed a lot of cycles, not to mention the pages in my trusted MoleSkin notebook. I am going to use the long flight home to type out the notes about some of the more promising startups.

One of the highlights of this trip was an informal meeting with Yari Goldfinger, co-founder of ICQ, at the TWS 2008 conference in Tel-Aviv. Our chat was long, expansive and rambling, but enjoyable nevertheless, despite my jet lag.

Before I take off, one last word about the deplorable state of commercial Wi-Fi. The GoBoingo continues to fail the review, for the Tel-Aviv Airport is yet another location where Boingo — via its new client, GoBoingo — refuses to work.

The network shows up but error messages abound. You guys are aware of my troubles with Boingo thus far and how the service failed to work in certain major airports. The company’s spokespeople emailed and did some major verbal gymnastics, but the proof is in the pudding. Next stop will be Heathrow and then Philly. Maybe…just maybe Boingo can redeem itself, but I’m not holding my breath.

See you next week!