As soon as we landed in Seattle, we went directly to the Museum of Communication, which is only open a mere 5 hours per week (10:00 to 15:00 on sundays). Yes, it's not easy to get to, but it's well worth it: it's an old telco facility that was turned into a nonprofit museum where volunteers who used to work there, give you tours and explain the old technology that used to run our phone systems.
The mechanical switches and relays that route a phone call digit by digit were quite impressive to see, including manual switchboards where an operator would patch in your call with a physical banana plug. Here's a quick video summary:
Our great personal tour guide:
they used microwave links for point to point connections to other COs
an old AT&T video phone that worked over phone lines (with a slow bad picture due to line limitations)
check out the thousand+ amp switch with heavy copper
later semi electronic phone switches used boards like these, but they are impossible to fix or replace
it's fun to hand connect a thousand+ phone lines by hand in a conduit
Next, we went to the living computer museum, which also was quite good and gets credit for having many computers online you can interact with:
a 68k based Sun3, sweet (although it was slow)
the CDC 6600 was the first supercomputer before the Cray1
we had a Amstrad PC1512 at home
and an Amstrad CPC-464 too
we also had an Atari STF and later STE
Dongeon Master, I remember spending so many hours with this game
Both museums were quite interesting and worth the visit.
Monday night after the conference, we had a party by the Chihuly glass blowing museum by the space needle:
Wednesday night, our party was at the EMP. I decided to go there with the monorail, and as luck would have it, it was the same exact monorail driver I got 5 years prior. EMP had lots of random-ish expos, those on science fiction, horror movies, and indie video games were quite good:
On Thursday, after the conference was over, we started with a seaplane flight (on its own page), and then went to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to check out what they do. While we didn't agree with everything, overall they do good work and the foundation does a good job explaining what they do and why:
We then went to the science museum (which was ok, but not fantastic), and then the sculpture park before going up the space needle to watch sunset:
On Friday, we started with a VIP early food tour of Pikes Place Market. It was enjoyable, but overpriced in my opinion. The guide was very good though:
mmmh, ok :)
Next, we went to an underground tour which shows of the streets of Seattle at the level they used to be at before the city was rebuilt on top:
the underground streets got light using those
We then took a quick stroll through town to get to Columbia Center to have other high up views:
Next, we went to the Aquarium, which wasn't the best ever, but still worth a visit.
the underground bus system is nice
The pygmy cuttlefish they had were both cute and fun to play with (I kept them interested and occupied with pictures through the glass). Have look at the video, those things are super intelligent, they chck you out, change colors, and raise their tentacles when they're ready to pounce. It got even more funny when I showed them a picture of a small crab on my phone:
On the way out, we walked a bit and went back to Columbia Center for sunset:
Sunday, Jennifer got invited to go crabbing a bit up north, so we took a long drive by deception pass:
We then went to meet the friends that Jennifer made a few days earlier and who invited her to come ccrabbing with them. We got so many crabs that we had to put some back in the water (over quota).
Watch Jennifer in action:
jennifer happy :)
After crabbing, we had a look at the nearby parks:
We just had enough time to stop by Kerry Park for a nice elevated viewpoint, before driving back to the airport for our flight home. That was a good visit of Seattle, I feel like we got a good overview :)
Seattle was a nice city, good that we had the time to see most of it.