Sunday, December 31, 2006


Slate has an excellent year end list of some of the worst civil liberties violations of 2006. Interesting and sad.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

I <3 my job :)

Sometimes I just need to sit back and think about how much I totally love my job! As I was sitting wire-cutters in hands yesterday I thought about all of the amazing things I get to do and the wonderful people we have in our lab. Where else would they let me go in the field and interview people one day, code MIDP the next, teach at MIT, and then play with some hardware peripherals the next? :)


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

a year in review...

So I did this last year and it was fun, so here we go again!

1. What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before?
Ran a 10k, half marathon and a marathon. Released a piece of software as a public beta on the Internet.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't really make resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
Just Canada. It was a very lame year for international travel. Next year I must do better here...

6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
More free time

7. What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory?
October 22nd: The Chicago Marathon. Freezing, but totally fun!!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Releasing a public beta of an application that I wrote. A first for me, and a first for Motorola!

9. What was your biggest failure?
My dating life

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I injured my foot a bit while training for the marathon. It wasn't bad though and I was back in action training in about two weeks.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My wood floor in my dining room/hallway!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My dad for waiting in line and getting me a wii for my birthday!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
George W Bush, and the rest of his administration (same answer as last year)

14. Where did most of your money go?
To my condo. At least it's not going away to rent!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Running the marathon!!

16. What song will always remind you of 2006?
How to Save a Life

17. Compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder? happier
ii. thinner or fatter? always the same
iii. richer or poorer? richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Spending time with friends

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At my parent's house with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Good times!

22. Did you fall in love in 2006?
Sadly, no, not even close.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Colbert Report for sure. And Mythbusters ranks high up there too! But Susan also got me hooked on Grey's Anatomy which is quite a good show!

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
There's only one person I've ever hated, and yes they are still on that very short list :)

26. What was the best book you read?
Teacher Man, Natural Capitalism

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Rilo Kiley

28. What did you want and get?

29. What did you want and not get?
a full paper into ubicomp

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
An Inconvenient Truth

31. What did you do on your birthday?
Had dinner with my parents. Pretty low key this year. Met up with friends the next day for Thai Garden and wii-playing though which was a lot of fun!

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Going on more than two dates with the same person :)

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
Personal fashion concept??? Um...I guess I did become more of a fan of the button down shirt this year.

34. What kept you sane?
Thai Garden

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
If we interpret "fancy" as admire and not so much the british interpretation, it's still gotta be Obama! Maybe he's not ready to be president, but he's got the best ideas out there right now among anyone close to the position.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Iraq and the removal of freedoms for US citizens

37. Who did you miss?
All of my friends in far away places

38. Who was the best new person you met?
All of the YRB people working on ZoneTag!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.
I learned when to take a break from work and how to live a much more sane life.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Who needs sleep?
(well you're never gonna get it)
Who needs sleep?
(tell me what's that for)
Who needs sleep?
(be happy with what you're getting
There's a guy who's been awake
since the Second World War)


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

the classics...

Everyone talks about how awesome the wii controller is and all the new games where you can gesture your way to victory, but you know, when it comes down to it, for me the wii is all about the classics. Last night, nintendo finally released SMB1 for wii's virtual console and well, I just had a blast playing it over and over again, even if I can still beat it in less than 20 minutes :)

Now they just have to release Dr. Mario and I'll be in heaven :)


Sunday, December 24, 2006

charlie on the MTA...

So first off, my friend Susan rocks for getting me an amazingly-hard-to-find Charlie Card for Christmas!! :)

Secondly, I just totally totally love the irony in the whole Charlie campaign. So the MBTA has these new cards out branded with Charlie of "Charlie on the MTA" fame, an old song that was part of Walter O'Brian's mayoral campaign in Boston making it clear that he was against fare increases in the subway and you should vote for him or you'd never have enough money to visit relatives and you'd get stuck in the subway without enough money to get out. And what does the MBTA do the day the cards come out? Raise the fare to $2 from the $1.25 that it's been for the last 5 years (and 85c when I was in college). Does anyone at the MBTA see the irony here, because it's pretty hilarious :)


Friday, December 22, 2006

why I'm buying an iPhone in january...

I couldn't have said it better myself :)


early christmas...

Today seems to be an early Christmas in the tech world. I woke up today to two awesome releases...

1) Sun has GPL'd the J2ME VM for ARM processors. This news is almost enough to get me into work today and playing with some linux phones! Maybe this evening... Nothing like a Friday night in the lab! :) Anyway, it's pretty awesome news and it seems that they have also included MIDP 2.1 which is more than we have on our phones right now!!

2) Nintendo and Opera released a web browser for the Wii. While it's not very easy to read on my very low res television, it's still pretty cool.

The best part is that both of these releases are free :)


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

top five...

The top five reasons that one-day business trips are awesome...

1) You get to O'Hare so early, you can park in the first row :)
2) You wake up and go to sleep in your own bed
3) You get a ton of reading done in a single day with two plane rides
4) You can check in for the coming and going flight at the same time
5) Wherever you are going is likely warmer than chicago, and it's nice to have a day where you don't have to wear a coat!


Sunday, December 17, 2006

is this december??

So it's December 17th, and today I went running outside. Without gloves. Without a hat. With only one layer of clothes. In Chicagoland. Did I mention it is mid-December? :) Yes, it was 50 degrees outside!

Anyway, it was wonderful to go out and run. I need to get into the gym more often this winter as the running regimen has not been so great lately!


Friday, December 15, 2006

CHI 2007!

I just got the official word today that one of my submissions to CHI was accepted!! Looks like I'll be talking in San Jose this spring on "Sharing Motion Information with Close Family and Friends" Now it's time to get going on those revisions...

Labels: , ,


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Don Norman on simplicity...

It's interesting to read Don's latest take on simplicity, or rather lack of simplicity. It's interesting to follow his thought from simple, obvious affordances to emotional objects, to complex and feature rich interfaces. If "marketing rules" why does everyone buy ipods?


Monday, December 11, 2006

make your own fab?

Now this is cool! :)


Sunday, December 10, 2006

american culture (an interactive post...)

Story to follow, but first, I'd like you all to comment on what you think "american culture" is. Feel free to leave a phrase that you think captures some aspect of it or however much you want to write. There is a point to this, but I'll tell you about that later...


Saturday, December 09, 2006

iraq report...

So I finished the iraq report the other night and just haven't gotten around to posting my thoughts. It's just been a super crazy busy week! Anyway, I though it was great that they felt free to say what's really happening. It doesn't seem like there was a ton that was new in there for people who have been getting their news from the right sources. I mean everyone pretty much knows that the country is in disarray, there is no law, there is no order, there is violence between religious groups, fights about oil rights, etc. The recommendations are good and I really hope that our president can try to be diplomatic with countries in the region. That's not exactly his forte. Especially when he refers to them as parts of the "axis of evil!" :) Anyway, it's a quick read and something everyone should pick up!


Thursday, December 07, 2006

number squares...

So it looks like kids aren't learning subtraction the way that we used to anymore. I was helping a student at 826 tonight with some math homework and she couldn't do a particular subtraction in her head so I suggested she write it down and do it by hand. But she didn't know how to do that...apparently CPS now teaches subtraction with a 10x10 grid that they call a number square. If you want to do 100-13, just move up one and left three and there's your answer. Great if you need to subtract things under 100 and you always have one of these fancy little squares around, but seriously if you don't, you have *no clue* how to do subtraction. I see this as a "bad thing."

Labels: , ,


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

speedy quick...

So I'm impressed. I picked up a copy of the Iraq Study Group Report today at Borders. That's right, at Borders. Apparently the same day the president gets a copy, anyone can wander into their local book store and pick one up too. The story goes that they finished writing the report last friday, edited it on saturday, printed it sunday evening, and then shipped it to distribution centers monday and stores on tuesday. I just find it so amazing that words that were in these people's heads only friday morning are now in millions of copies in millions of hands all over the country/world. It's like internet distribution pace but with paper. So impressive! :)

As to the contents of the report...I'm on page 10, so I'll write more about that when I've finished the report tomorrow :)


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

5 years...

Today I got a little certificate for celebrating five years of service to Motorola. It's crazy that I've spent five years of my life there already! But cool to think of all of the things I've worked on in that time. From the DocLink system to get patient alerts to doctors (summers from 1998-2000), to research on metadata, tagging content, and field studies of media use (2001-2004), to work on ambient communications and social networking (2005-present) there have been so many fun and interesting projects that I've learned so much from. The people we have in our lab now are just great, and I can't wait to see what we'll tackle next and what we can all learn together in the next few years!


military lasers...

I want to know what human subjects board approved the military shooting focused beams of microwaves at nearly 100 people until they nearly burned!

If the wired article isn't enough to make you go WTF, read this article that they wrote up about their experiments. They talk about this like they're measuring time to complete a task in a computer UI, but it's time until people can't take the pain and/or burn! Grr...


Sunday, December 03, 2006

wii control...

So I unboxed my wii tonight. And wow. Wow. I really have to give nintendo credit for coming up with a control system that is just so totally intuitive. You just pick up that controller and magically everything just works. You point it at the screen and move it around and it's a pointer, you swing it like a baseball bat and get the timing and speed just right and you hit a home run, you twist your wrist when you bowl and the ball curves. It's very magical. And awesome.

I also downloaded Sonic the Hedgehog for a little retro action bringing me back quite a few years. It's fun! I just can't wait for dr mario and tetris (i hope!) to come out! Those were my all-time favorites of the old games.

It looks like the wii just might get me back into video game playing. It's been a good ten years (except for the occasional tetris or dr mario tournament)! I think nintendo will do a good job of getting people like me who played video games growing up back into it. My dad is also super-excited to play. And I haven't seen him excited about a game since Pong :)