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music garden, linux café

In a further departure from my usual refusal to plan anything while on vacation, I did a little looking around with Google and my guidebook in the morning after the usual breakfast routine.

I was delighted to find out about the "music garden". It's just a few blocks south of the B&B, was designed in part by Yo-Yo Ma, and consists of six little subareas, one for each part of the first Bach Cello suites. So I loaded the suite off my laptop onto my music player and headed there first. I spent enough time there to walk through the six gardens twice, and listen to each piece three times or so. They've found a way to trick me into looking at gardens! Usually my patience for them is more limited.

I'd also noticed the existence of a "Linux Café" well North of there, so I'd decided to go camp out there for lunch. It was a funky little coffeeshop, with a counter in front and tables full of people at laptops off to the side. Most of them seemed to actually be running Windows or OS X, but there was a guy showing off a prototype from the "One Laptop per Child" program to another patron. Neat-o. I listened in for a while and ask some questions. I ended up getting to play with it for half an hour or so.

The OLPC machine is small, light, and totally adorable. Unfortunately, it's also nearly unusable for someone with adult-sized hands--the keyboard is definitely meant for kids. The user interface is OK when running a single program, but very sluggish when switching tasks. That and the fact that it's a completely novel interface makes it a little confusing to work with. But it's a really impressive bit of technology.

I walked back to the convention center to meet Sara for dinner. We had a hard time figuring out where to eat, but eventually ended up some place a couple blocks from there that was a little overprice, but good, and fast--important because Sara had another meeting to go to after dinner.