In a diversion from my usual programming related geo-geeking, I'm heading to China on January 20th to do some in person, on the ground examination of geography. I will be visiting a friend there, and returning on the 29th. I will be visiting Shanghai, and Fuzhou (on the coast roughly half way between Shanghai and Hong Kong).
Today I received my visa from the Chinese embassy. This is the first time I've ever had to get a visa for international travel, and I have a new respect for those who have to do it regularly to attend events like FOSS4G. It is nearly a five hour activity to travel to Ottawa and visit the embassy, which I had to do to drop off my request, and to pick up the visa. Also, they were going to refuse to accept my request until I could provide a clear address I would be at. I had to rush out to an internet cafe to book a hotel for the first night just so I would have an address to write on the form. I barely got back before the office closed (9am to 1pm!), which would have cost me another day of travel. Normally I prefer to play things by ear after I arrive.
I'm flying via Newark despite my preference to avoid going through the USA given the security hassles that entails. But the price difference over flying Air Canada through Vancouver was just too significant.
I'm not sure what my connectivity will be, so I'm hoping to load up my laptop with some work I can do offline if needed. Likely I will focus on write/update access for PCIDSK vectors in the PCIDSK SDK.