Home from Home

With the luxury of a little spare time, I hopped onto the L and headed into Chicago yesterday. My objective – find winter clothing before the cold snap hits and I freeze to death. Of course, I got completely distracted and ended up wandering around a shopping centre instead.

I was fascinated to discover which shops are common between the US and UK. My feet took me into a Macy’s, which seems to be an equivalent of Debenhams. After a little consternation on having to wade through seven floors of women’s clothing to get to the men’s department, I was perked up on finding this little gem.

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It is indeed an iPod vending machine. I’d read about this on Engadget somewhere, and I could hardly believe it at the time. I suppose the disappointing size of what you get when you actually BUY an iPod lends itself well to a vending machine – but I’d feel a lot happier about buying a $1 chocolate bar than a $300 piece of consumer electronics.

On the way out I was further amused by Macy’s employment of Windows in an embedded device:

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I’m always surprised when I see Windows in this environment. I feel that Linux / Unix has a number of advantages on embedded that make it a persuasive choice of base OS. Though, if that embedded shop has plenty of Windows development skills, I can see how it would happen.

On the way out of the centre, this raised a titter:

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Some brands are strongly associated with the UK, like “Rimmel London” – it’s prevalent in the advertising and the product takes on some of the emotional attributes of the city. However, Clarks is not one of them. For my new American friends – Clarks is a maker of generally boring but dependable shoes, and we just call it “Clarks”.

This may tickle any gamers out there, which I spotted on the way out. Perhaps this is a bus for campers?

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Finally – I’m no expert, but I do like the occasional clips of interesting architecture in the city. This is a car park next to the Water Tower.

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