Friday, February 29, 2008

you know you're in the valley when...

1) There's a billboard for invisalign that says "go wireless"
2) You go into a Starbucks on a friday night and there are about 20 people in there all with laptops open working away
3) You get free bottles of Naked Juice when visiting other companies
4) Almost every other car on the highway is a Prius
5) There are three Thai restaurants on the same block
6) Soda is free, or 25 cents at the most, even at Motorola

Ah, I love this place. If only it wasn't so suburban...


Thursday, February 28, 2008

long day...

It's been a long day that has left me with lots to think about. I've been running all over the bay area but generally having a ton of fun!

Mirjana from Nokia invited everyone from HotMobile over to NRC Palo Alto today. It was fun to see the lab again, talk with people I knew, meet new people, and give a quick presentation on some of our research. The mobile research community really does need to be more collaborative. So many times, many of us are working on the same problems, and working together would be so much better for research, consumers, and the industry.

Then this evening, I CalTrained it up to SF to see some Yahoos and get some beers in the city. Lots of great conversation and a lot to think about. CalTrain really is wonderful and I got about half of BJ and Dean's book read on the one trip. I love the the trains are the same as Metra but the seats are much more comfortable. And they take credit card! :)

The next few days are filled with meetings and such and then a PC meeting this weekend at Stanford. I'm really not looking forward to returning to the frigid winter in Chicago :)


Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Originally uploaded by bentley79.
I've just returned to Mt View after a fun two days in Napa at HotMobile 2008. I was the poster and demo chair this year so Monday was a bit stressful, but everything came together wonderfully and everyone really enjoyed the session! We had to pull people away from the posters for dinner, so there was definitely a lot of interest in everything that was being presented.

The workshop itself went well and there were some great talks. Most interesting and relevant was the keynote by BJ Fogg. I had some more time to talk with him at an organizing committee dinner the night before and there's a ton of overlap between many of his thoughts and work that we're doing in our lab at Motorola. It was great to talk to someone else who is looking at presence from a wider viewpoint and sees the value of lightweight communications and building systems to persuade people to communicate more. He has a new project at stanford with a goal of world peace in 30 years. It's nice :)

Anyway, that was HotMobile. I'm down in the valley for the next few days, so if you're around here, definitely let me know!


Saturday, February 23, 2008

prairie home

So I usually don't listen to A Prairie Home Companion on NPR, but it was on tonight while I was coming home from running some errands - and it was live from Winona State University. As many of you know, I spent a bit of time up in Winona back when I was dating Annie - hiking in the bluffs, swimming in the river, etc etc. So it was fun to listen to all these winona-themed songs and guests that they had on the show and remember those fun times that are now almost 10 years old.

In other PHC news, I'm going through and watching The Wire (thanks to a co-worker who got the series on DVD and is loaning me the discs!) and the first episode of season 2 has some of the drug guys going up to Philadelphia and they're listening to the radio and land on an NPR station there and Prairie Home Companion is on and they comment about never wanting to leave Baltimore again if this is what people in other cities listen to. It was funny :)

I'm off to CA tomorrow. Should be a fun week!


cubs tickets...

Well, my wristband may hve been off by about 14,000 but I was still able to get through a few times yesterday and get cubs tickets. I ended the day with seats to a Braves night game in June, bleachers to a Marlins day game in July and section 205 for an Astros game in August. All in all not a bad take for just using the Virtual Waiting Room.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

veggie bite

There's a new vegan fast food restaurant opening up across the street from where I tutor on Wednesdays. It's called Veggie Bite and it has such wonders as vegan chili cheese dogs, gyros, chicken nuggets and burgers. I can't wait for it to open! More here


Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Today and tomorrow are wristband day at Wrigley for 2008 Cubs tickets! I made it down today since I was already in the city to tutor at 826. Everyone should root for 14047 to be the first number drawn :)

For those not familiar with the system, in order to get good Cubs tickets, you need to go down to the stadium and get a plastic wristband which you have to wear until 6am Friday morning at which point they will draw a number at random. They start selling tickets in person at the stadium to the person wearing that number and go sequentially from there. There is also the more traditional on-line sale that starts later in the day, but has a one game ticket limit. If your number is up at the park you can get something like 30 tickets (or maybe even more?).

Anyway, that was the fun for tonight...


Monday, February 18, 2008


Those of you who grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago certainly remember Randhurst mall well. As we all expected, it's going to be torn down soon. But what you might not know, is that under the mall is a 3-4 acre bomb shelter! Such was like in the 50's when the mall was designed. I also had no idea it was so revolutionary in its time. Apparently it was the largest structure with air conditioning when it was built and people drove for hours to get there.

I have many fond memories of the mall and walking all the way there in high school with friends, seeing movies there, and visiting friends who worked there.

Anyway, more details on the redevelopment here.



I made it back from my vacation in FL late last night. It was about 84 yesterday in FL and right now the wind chill is -10 in Chicago. Fun.

The trip was wonderful and it was great to see my parents and their new community. They are living in one of these ultra-planned retirement communities in central FL. They have almost 100,000 residents and more moving in every day and it's pretty impressive how the place is scaling.

I joked with Alison that it's Disney World for old people, but it's sort of true. In the development, there are two "themed" town squares. One is a Spanish city and the other is a lakefront town (think Lake Geneva, WI). The Spanish one has a spanish-style cathedral and everything. There's live music in both squares every night, litle festivals, and lots of little stores and restaurants in each square.

All of the houses are organized in villages - there are like 50 of them so far. And each little village has a swimming pool and facilities for bocce, shuffleboard, etc. And then there are themed "regional" centers for sets of villages that have pool tables, computers, tennis, etc. It's all pretty cool.

Visiting them felt sort of like a seinfeld episode though. There was the obligatory shuffleboard playing and such and their development might as well have been called del boca vista :) It was really nice though and I was able to go for a run and swim a bit outdoors (until I got kicked out of the pool for being "underage" - apparently you have to be 30 to swim there).

All in all a great trip and good to see them. And as you saw in my last post, Disney with Alison was also a major highlight!


Saturday, February 16, 2008

happiest place on earth :)

Yesterday was a crazy non-stop day at Disney World! Alison picked me up and we hit Epcot right at opening, making it on all of the big rides including Sorin' which was just amazing! I love that they made the original prototype out of connex!

Spaceship Earth was also newly opened and now isn't so much about the history of communications but about how people "invented the future" throughout history. Um, ok. They had Woz in it, and that's sort of cool. The narrator was like "young people in California made the next revolution" :)

Disney has a new head chef, and he's been introducing all sorts of veggie friendly dishes all over the parks. It's really wonderful, and I had a very excellent mediterranean platter for lunch in Morocco. Of course we rode the Norway ride, which makes it look like the only modern occupation in norway is off shore drilling. I'll need to confirm this with a norwegian coworker :)

We made it on a bunch of other Epcot rides and made it over to the Magic Kingdom for the afternoon/evening. We hit pretty much all of the rides and even the fireworks and the light parade at night. They changed a bit of the haunted mansion and one of the rooms is very Escher like now with all sorts of staircases in odd orientations. And the crystal ball lady floats in the air now! So crazy :)

Anyway, it was a very wonderful, happy day and just the break I needed from lots of work and everything else going on right now. I love Disney World :)


Sunday, February 10, 2008


The windchill in Chicago right now is -27F (-33C). That is all...


Saturday, February 09, 2008


I do believe that Amelie is quite possibly the best movie ever made :) I watched it again tonight and it really never does get old!

Also tonight, another small-world connection to the twomey family when someone I had known since I was born and went to my church growing up happened to have been one of Diana's friends in middle school. I swear my life is so random :) Either that or everyone in this world knows diana and susan!


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

cubs tickets...

Hey Cubs fans! They've announced policies for ticket sales this year! (And I'll actually be in town) Wristband days are the 20th and 21st and tickets go on sale on the 22nd. If anyone wants to go down with me on the 21st and pick up a wristband, let me know! More details here.

Good luck to all!


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The insanity...

The insanity...
Originally uploaded by bentley79.
CNN has gone graph crazy...


voting "irregularities"

So in voting and talking to people who voted in Cook County today, there were a few things that seemed pretty upsetting to me.

1) There was a couple in the Palatine voting center this morning that had registered together, both had receipts of their registration from the same day, yet one was not in the voting book. They told her she had to vote provisional, but really didn't know how to do that. The election officials were still reading the book on how to do a provisional ballot when I left.

2) My friend Jen voted in Chicago today and they told her that she couldn't bring the judge "cheat sheet" in with her. You can bring in any notes with you that aren't campaign material, so she should have been able to bring it in.

3) When I choose to vote with the electronic machine instead of the paper ballots, the election official said, thank god, we don't really understand the new paper ballots. (ok, so this one isn't an "irregularity" but it certainly could have led to some)

Wow. Oh well, at least it looks like obama got about 2/3 of IL!


Sunday, February 03, 2008

chicago weather...

I just love chicago weather. It's snowing right now...we're expecting 4" or so. And then tomorrow it's going to be 40 degrees with tons of rain and thunderstorms. So weird.

It's going to be a busy week or two here, so apologies in advance for unanswered emails. But a week from Friday I'll be hanging out at EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom! :) It will be a well-needed mini-vacation. Time with family and friends in FL with no meetings, no conference calls, and hopefully lots of time for running.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

I love obama...

From an interview at google...
Google guy: What's the best way to sort 1,000,000 32 bit integers.
Obama: I think the bubble sort would be the wrong way to go.

But more seriously, there's a lot of great stuff in this video about policy and education and war and other important issues. Everyone should watch it before tuesday!