Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Wow - I'm way behind in my blog postings. I'd better start catching up now or I'm never going to get it done. I guess I'll start with my vacation in Croatia.

I flew to Dubrovnik by way of LA, Frankfurt, and Zagreb on June 18th. Arrived at the apartment (just across the street from the right-most tower in the picture) a little before midnight on the 19th. My friends Noelle and Rachel arrived separately on the 20th, from Iraq and Florida respectively.

The old city is absolutely beautiful. We spent a day visiting all of the local museums, another island hopping in the Elaphiti Islands, took a day trip to Mostar in Bosnia, went horseback riding, attended a very touristy 'authentic village dinner' party, went on a scuba trip, and after Noelle and Rachel left on the 27th, I made a day trip by myself into Montenegro to see Kotor and Budva. The Bay of Kotor is gorgeous, but Budva is way over-touristed.

A couple of chance occurrences on the trip happend to contribute to my decision to leave my day job when the vacation was over. First, the guy seated across from me at the dinner party in the village turned out to be the former head of research for a major water utility in the UK - and had experimented with some of the same approaches we were working on in our project, and abandoned the effort because of the same problems that have always made me doubtful about our prospects for success. And over a bottle of Havana Club back in the apartment, Noelle described her personal experience with the Army system we were in the process of writing a proposal for. Turns out the system was an even bigger boondoggle than I'd guessed. And something she mentioned about another, entirely unrelated program, turned out to be directly relevant to what the company later tried to convince me to stay on to help with.

I had a 7-hour layover in Zagreb on the way back, and a local OpenTracker user picked me up at the airport and took me out for a beer. I found out a little more about commercial use of my trackers in the country, and maybe even got myself a legitimate business expense deduction for part of the trip.

I'll post pictures to my Flickr account when I have time, but I think that's enough for tonight.