I bought an iPad almost by accident. A family member was vaguely interested so I had a look on eBay and there was an iPad for sale, at what seemed like a good price. I bid, knowing I wouldn't get it and lo and behold I got it. So this weekend I've been away and I took my iPad with me, a chance to get to know it on the really quite long train journeys involved. Perhaps a train isn't the ideal environment to grow to love an Internet connected device, but it didn't do very well in the hotel either. Apparently when the iPad was announced I pontificated to my family, in that rather tedious way we boring old fools tend to, of the reasons I would not buy one. I was so uninterested in what I was saying I don't even remember saying it. But I was right. As far as I can tell the operating system is not multi tasking, so while one slow task plods to a conclusion it is not possible to start another. Safari, the built in browser, is so far from being multi tasking it does not even remember what is in the tabs you have open, so when you go back to one Safari reloads it. This means that you can't start typing a note in one browser tab, switch to a second to look up a cross reference, and then switch back to the first without losing all the unsaved typing!
And the way hotels and train companies (specifically The Scotsman in Edinburgh and East Coast) have implemented internet connections mean that if you look away for a few seconds you have to log in again, which given that each page takes tens of seconds to load seems an intolerable burden.
However the weekend itself was a success. I have been to Edinburgh once before and I thought it was OK. I have substantially upgraded it in my mental catalogue of places to visit. Edinburgh is quite a small place and as one object was to get to know it better I walked every where, so I may have walked 30 miles this weekend. There was a moment of triumph for an Apple iDevice. The queue to buy tickets to get into the castle was long, but the queue to collect pre-paid tickets was short. So rather than wait in the queue I suggested that we buy tickets off the Internet and leave the queue. This worked a treat and involved almost no effort from me as my long sight and fat fingers are ill suited to iPhone transactions. Saved about half an hour my reckoning.
The castle is a pretty good visit too, the highlight being a simultaneous gunshot and visible signal at one o'clock. Important stuff for 18th century navigators and nice that it has so far survived GPS.
About 2,000 of us gathered on top of Calton Hill to see whatever fireworks displays Edinburgh had to offer. Clearly this was the place to gather. Logically and topographically the location could not be faulted. A high spot with an all round view of the whole town. At least three keen photographers with tripods and long lenses were set up ready to record the events. The only drawback was an almost complete absence of visible fireworks. A few did begin to go off to one side behind some trees. The crowd lurched in that direction. But no, this display was barely visible. The crowd lurched back again, looked about a bit, hung about a bit and then made its collectively disappointed way back down the hill. As pleasingly comical an interlude as you might find in real life.