Wheh!  What a long day today.  Started off great in the morning at Northwestern University showing off the Ford Fiestas and the Fiestaware platform, built on Windows 7 and Microsoft Robotics Studio, to engineering students and anyone else passing by.  We gave a lot of demos, handed out a bunch of DreamSpark and BizSpark postcards, and gave away a bunch of t-shirts, too. 

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Actually, too many t-shirts… as we accidentally gave away some of the ones we were planning to wear over the next 4 days!  Fortunately, we should get more in Colorado tomorrow night. 

After Northwestern, we began heading out of the city but decided to make a stop for some electronics supplies at Office Max.  I picked up a portable GPS (as the Ford Flex I’m driving is an engineering test car that is not equipped with navigation).  I think it will get a lot of use in my 2002 Mercury Mountaineer when I get back home, too. 

After setting up the GPS, and adding a couple of uninterruptable power supplies to the Fiestas to smooth out the power flow coming out of the inverter to the Windows 7 pieces, we got back on the road. 

That is when things turned south.  The yellow Ford Fiesta on our trip was sideswiped in heavy traffic, leaving black marks all over the side of the vehicle, chipping the paint, and putting a very small dent low in the driver’s door.  Ugh.  The yellow Fiesta, which we’ve affectionately named “Mac & Cheese”, is a 2011 pre-production American model running the new SYNC AppLink that we intend to show off at Maker Faire… major bummer.  Fortunately, everyone is safe – no one got hurt.  Hopefully we will be able to get it cleaned up in time for Maker Faire on May 22-23rd. 

Mac and Cheese sideswiped

By the time the police came, took the the accident report, etc., and we finally got packed up and out of Chicago it was well after 3:30pm. 

Finally got into Omaha, Nebraska after 1:00am… wheh!

Tomorrow, we’re having breakfast with Ford Dealers in Omaha, and then it’s on to Boulder Colorado, and a what will be much needed day of rest on Sunday in Boulder. 

If you’re in Boulder this weekend, come on out and join us at the Bookend Cafe on the CU campus, Sunday, May 16th!  The fun starts at 6pm, and officially goes until 8pm – though we may go longer.  We’d love to say “Hi”, introduce you to AJtheFiesta, and show you the platform for custom in-car apps on Windows 7 and Microsoft Robotics Studio! 

Videos from today are processing to Vimeo now… i’ll get them up as soon as I can, but for now please enjoy this video of Professor Jason Flinn talking about what he learned running this class at the University of Michigan with Ford and Microsoft! 

Jason Flinn - American Journey 2.0 interview from John Mullinax on Vimeo.