Still cruising slowly home

Editor’s Note: Turns out Christopher Breen’s return from MacMania isn’t done yet.

Wichita, Kansas —If one were to measure a successful trip by the amount of time versus dollars spent, my trip home from the recent MacMania cruise is a grand success.

When last we met, I was lost in a vengeful fantasy—planning how I would serve Alitalia representatives Paulo-of-the-white-Eurotrash-glasses and Blameless Marco for turning what should have been a long day of travel into a days long endurance contest. Little did I know when I filed the story that there would be more to tell. It’s like this:

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Cruising slowly home

Editor’s Note: MacMania 4.5 is history, and Christopher Breen wraps up his European-based blogging with one final entry.

Rome —“But I have a confirmed ticket.”

And Paulo-of-the-white-Eurotrash-glasses who you’ve waited for in line for more than an hour sighs for the dozenth time and repeats, so slowly that even a stupid American can understand, “You have a confirmed ticket but not assigned seat. Flight is oversold. You have no seat.”

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Notes from the boat

Editor’s Note: As the latest MacMania cruise heads into its home stretch, Senior Editor Christopher Breen continues to file reports from ms Noordam.

The MacMania 4.5 cruise is winding its way back to Civitavecchia, Italy, the port city about an hour outside of Rome where we first boarded the ms Noordam. Since we set sail a little over a week ago we’ve visited Monte Carlo, Monaco; Livorno (the port city that acts as the gateway to Florence and Pisa); Barcelona, Spain; Mallorca, Spain; Carthage, Tunisia; and Palermo, Sicily. Tomorrow I plan to dip my well-fed self in the waters surrounding the isle of Capri while many of my other shipmates explore Naples and Pompeii.

But forget the exotic locations. What’s interested the sea-going geeks were David Pogue’s iPhoto and Tiger sessions, Sal Soghoian’s AppleScript and Automator talks (and the cool way he found to allow students in class to surf an Automator Web site without having to be connected to the Internet), Janet Hill’s iLife and Software Extravaganza sessions, Jack Davis’ Photoshop classes, Bill Durrence’s photo expeditions and photo critique get-togethers, and, okay, maybe even my talks about iLife, Apple’s Information hub, iTunes, and the iPod. Luxury learning at its finest.

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A stitch in time

Editor’s Note: Senior Editor Christopher Breen continues his report from the MacMania 4.5 cruise.

Somewhere in the Mediterranean —I admit it, when preparing for the MacMania cruise I was in a bit of a rush—wrapping up my stateside work and prepping my presentations for the cruise. As such I didn’t pack my PowerBook as completely as I might have. Specifically, I neglected to include the photo-stitching tool for my camera. Given the number of panoramic views I’ve encountered on our voyage, this was a big mistake.

But, by Neptune’s beard, I’m on a Geek Cruise and if I can’t find a way to fake it with the tools provided by Apple, I deserve to be set adrift.

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Life is Beautiful

Editor’s Note: Senior Editor Christopher Breen is on board the MacMania 4.5 cruise and will be checking in from the ship during his 10-day voyage.

Somewhere in the Mediterranean —On this, my third MacMania Geek Cruise, I travel without the companionship (and, OK, the added expense) of my loving family. I’m sorry that they’re not here with me not only because we’re a chummy clan who enjoy each others’ company, but because my daughter has missed the opportunity to meet one of her heroes.

This is a hero she (or, perhaps, even you) wouldn’t recognize by name, but if you’re a longtime Mac user who’s had children in the past 10 years, you’re more than a little familiar with his work. I’m speaking of Geek Cruiser Craig Hickman, the inventor of the original Kid Pix.

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Roamin' the ocean

Editor’s Note: The MacMania 4.5 cruise is underway, with Christopher Breen checking in from the ship with his third MacMania dispatch.

Somewhere in the Western Mediterranean —Just hours ago, Holland America’s newest vessel, the ms Noordam, put to sea with a passel of passengers (including a respectable complement of Mac geeks and photo enthusiasts). Participating in my third Geek Cruise, it took little time for me to fall into the pattern of shipboard luxury living—eat, drink, sniff in the ocean air, and geek-out with the passengers and other instructors.

This is made all the easier by the fact that each of Holland America’s “dam” boats is laid out in exactly the same ways. The buffet can always be found on the 9th (Lido) deck. The aft areas of the second and third decks host the Vista dining rooms where we tuck into sumptuous meals after a long day talking tech. And you’ll find the same two pools—one indoors and the other out. The Ocean bar invariably appears mid-ship on the 3rd deck and the Internet Cafe…

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