[TRAVELMAN] Oslo, Digicam, and India (?)

Rohit Khare (rohit@4K-Associates.com)
Sun, 20 Jun 1999 19:23:34 -0700

After a few weeks of wobbling and hedging hither-and-yon, I still
hadn't decided to go to IETF-45 in Oslo last Friday. First, it's not
UCI-sponsored research, this time, so it had to be justified as a
vacation alone. Second, as Joe Touch long warned me, you're not
somebody until you *don't* go to every last IETF on the circuit --
but I'll note only that he's listed *twice* on the registration board
for this one :-)

To make a long story short, the deciding factor was a $347.50
round-trip from LA to Oslo (!)

[Yes, three hundred and forty seven... the long story is that after
weeks of considering gambits like Icelandair through Reykjavik and
bucket-shops to London with a #88 add-on, I was dropping off my
parents at LAX and I called in to Northwest one last time to check on
the new Minneapolis-Oslo nonstops they were promoting at IETF-44 in
MSP. Lo, and behold, they mysteriously dropped $400 off the cheapest
economy rate for one-night -- if I bought it immediately. So I turned
back to the airport and cashed in $475 in travel credits from
overbooking and damaged baggage on my last Northwest-to-IETF
experience. $849 r/t otherwise...]

So, I'll be in Oslo July 11-23rd. I don't really have a plan for what
to do after IETF, so this is going to be an adventure. One of the
other reasons I put transiting through London aside was to resist the
temptation to just see England and visit Rob Harley in Paris and do
the comfortable old stuff. Instead, it's gonna be as much trouble as
a lone Indian Californian in Tevas heading for the Arctic Circle and
get into...

I'll get to see Hakon and Ingrid and the usual gang of cronies --
hey, it'll be our first European FoRKcon! Anyone got suggestions for
Wednesday the 14th (or 15th?). Perhaps we can find a nouvelle Swedish
place like we did in Minneapolis, purely for the entertainment of our
dour Norse hosts :-)

It should be one of the best-documented 'cons, since I promptly
applied the proceeds of the discounted fare to a new digital camera,
the Agfa ePhoto CL50. 1.3 megapixel, audio notes, tiny SmartMedia
stamps, actual zoom, and both LCD and viewfinder. $666.95 from
Buy.com, with a $100 rebate from Agfa, and it may get even better.

For those of you who know me well, I shop quite methodically,
quantifying, classifying, prioritizing, economizing, comparing notes
with all and sundry, and then just deciding everything on a massive
burst of impulse anyway. In the end, while there are slightly better
price/performance combos (2 mpel Fujis for $542), I decided because I
liked the samples I found on the net, and I'm tempted to push the
limits of Buy.com's "lowest prices on Earth" guarantee...

The camera: http://www.agfaphoto.com/news/990218/pma99-02.html
>ePhoto CL50 combines a compact design with sophisticated technology.
>The proven features adopted from the ePhoto 1680, Agfa's second
>high-end camera, such as 3x zoom and megapixel image quality, have
>been expanded to include things like an LCD monitor with SunCatcher,
>sound, burst mode and the option of merging photos into panorama

The demo: http://members.xoom.com/mstone/cl50demo.htm

The guarantee: http://www.buy.com/corp/support.asp
>At BUY.COM, we take pride in bringing you the latest products at The
>Guaranteed Lowest Prices On Earth. BUY.COM's "10% Below Their Price"
>guarantee will beat the price of any product in stock from our list
>of competitors. If you find a lower price for your product within 7
>days of your invoice date from any of our list of competitors,
>BUY.COM will beat that price by 10%. If you find a lower price for
>your product within 7 days of your invoice date from an authorized
>reseller, to have our customer service department verify the price
>you found.

The approved list of competitors are CompUSA, CDW, and NECX, but I
found lower prices at two Agfa resellers. (The price scanners'
engines will show some even lower, but those are stores that already
applied the $100 rebate). Buy.com's weasel words start almost
immediately. For example, on another page, they seem to imply the
discount only applies if all three of them are below Buy.com, and
those are the only three: http://www.buy.com/corp/support.asp

>If our price is not 10% below the price of these 3 competitors for
>that product, we will credit you the difference when you purchase
>that product from us... in quantities of less than five. The low
>price guarantee does not apply to resellers' liquidations, closeouts
>or below cost loss leaders. BuyComp.com will not match it's own

$535.50: http://www.beststopdigital.com/directlink/agfa.html

After all, if the program does work as advertised, they'll beat that
last one by $53.55 and I'll have this camera, after rebate, for
$381.95. Let's see... I think they won't, because this camera was one
of their 'front-page' deals, and they must have moved quite a few of

Oh, and since Buy.com is down the pike in Mission Viejo (as is
Shopping.com, right here at UCI Research Park), I'm dodging sales
taxes by having it shipped ahead to Maryland -- I'll be in Alexandria
and Baltimore next week, June 27th-July 7th.

And if that isn't hectic enough, I'm considering going up to
Headlight.com's beta party the night before flying out (a high-school
friend's startup)... in San Francisco. And after returning on the 7th
and heading out on the 10th to Oslo, I may go to the NSF Smart
Environments workshop at Georgia Tech a day after returning...

And if that still isn't hectic enough, I'm still tempted to see the
August 11th total solar eclipse (next one in Western Europe...?
2080!). In India. And this is barely a week before Irvine's planned
workshop on Internet-scale namespaces...

Of course, NASA has been a real downer about the whole thing: the
weather forecasts make it extremely unlikely any Indians will
actually see totality:
>As the track moves into India, the low Sun angle, late hour, and the
>extensive cloudiness of the Indian monsoon bring the poorest
>conditions of anywhere along the track. Satellite pictures reveal a
>land cloaked in cloud day after day and the probability of seeing
>the eclipse declines rapidly. By the time the shadow reaches the
>sunset terminator, the chances of seeing the eclipse have dropped
>almost to zero.

A more approachable NASA site is at
>On Wednesday, 1999 August 11, a total eclipse of the Sun will be
>visible from within a narrow corridor which traverses the Eastern
>Hemisphere. The path of the Moon's umbral shadow begins in the
>Atlantic and crosses central Europe, the Middle East, and India
>where it ends at sunset in the Bay of Bengal. A partial eclipse will
>be seen within the much broader path of the Moon's penumbral shadow,
>which includes northeastern North America, all of Europe, northern
>Africa and the western half of Asia.

Of course, the part of the track south of London at 11:11AM BST is
vastly over-touristed and the subject of many, many websites. Some of
them do, though, manage to look further afield than the channel:
. NASA has much more detail of the cities involved.

pg [relatives in Surat]
jpg [relativs in Nagpur]

I do want to seem my grandfather, now 89, so this may happen, monsoon
or no. But I don't know if I'd rather wrap up early and see the
eclipse with Rob & Myriam in the French countryside...

Anyway, the upshot is that my real goal for this summer is
self-discovery (aside from those pesky Incompletes, that is :-)

At least my new 4K Associates business cards should be getting quite
a workout...

a/k/a Rohit Khare

PS. Okay, I can't keep up the facade for long. Yes, I *do* intend to
plan my Norwegian adventure to wit's end. I'm just in such shock over
the fare I can't get myself to go read up -- besides, Scott and I
need to wrap up that TLS/HTTP Upgrade I-D...