Wednesday, July 30, 2008


After being out in the Newark area for work yesterday, I took the train into the city and found some time to catch up with friends. First on the list was visiting a friend from Yahoo and his brand new baby boy! This was also my first trip to Harlem, which was interesting. I must say that I am a fan of the D train express :) It was great to hang out for a bit and always odd to see west coast people on the east coast! I was able to walk through Columbia's campus on the way back to the 1 and's beautiful at night! I wish my phone was up to taking better pictures at night because they just didn't come out well.

Then it was back down to midtown to see an old motorola colleague now striking it out in the finance industry in nyc. And I was reminded of one of the reasons that I love nyc - Yuengling beer! We had a few pints at an English pub along with some excellent curry fries. So good!

And this morning included a wonderful run through central park. I'm quite jealous of people who live near there and can run there everyday. So many paths, hills, trees, and just a total isolation from the city. I really felt like I was far removed from the city which was nice for a run. I only went four miles but was scoping out longer runs for future trips.

I was also reminded of some of the reasons I don't like nyc. I hadn't been there in the summer for a while, and I was reminded of the horrible smell of garbage that takes over the whole city all summer long. A friend of mine always comments on how clean Chicago is and I never really realize it until I go someplace dirty and smelly. :)


Saturday, July 26, 2008

"from your web-enabled mobile device"

I was on the number 80 bus yesterday on my way to Wrigley (more on that later!) and one of those automated announcements came on. I was sort of not paying attention to it until it said "You can check the location of any CTA bus by visiting from your web-enabled mobile device" Wow. OK. Well I guess mobile web penetration has finally made it to a significant number in Chicago. It's pretty cool that it's getting this kind of publicity on the buses!

Speaking of web-enabled mobile devices, I just ordered my iphone 3g. It should be here in 10-14 days!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Batman at Jordan's IMAX!

This weekend while in Boston I joined some friends in seeing the new Batman movie at the IMAX at Jordan's Furniture in Natick. Now I know what you non-Boston folks are IMAX in a furniture store!? Yes, it's true and something you can only explain by watching the endless competition between Boston-area furniture stores.

So the theater is at the back of the store and also happens to be a few blocks away from Bose Mountain. So it seems that Dr. Bose and company have turned the theater into their little playground. The latest innovation, a subwoofer under every seat. So when there's an explosion, your whole chair shakes. It was sort of like a Disney ride :) And quite excellent for all of the explosions, crashes, and other chair-shaking action in the movie. Bose rocks :) It's really too bad that he doesn't teach his class at MIT anymore. He was definitely one of the best professors I ever had.

The rest of the Boston trip was wonderful and included some running along the river, good food at Grasshopper and Wagamama, and cold beer in Harvard Square.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Apple Wins

Many of you know that I've been looking for a new phone for a while. Since I work for Motorola Labs, it's been a hard choice since Motorola isn't making many great phones right now. And then the new iPhone came out. And Motorola split up so that I'm no longer with the cell phone business.

I had a post last year about why I wasn't getting the first generation iPhone, but a few things have changed since then. Sure they still have no removable battery, and they still don't support video capture or MMS. And the keyboard is still a bit hard to type on. But Apple has changed the game in many ways.

1) Exchange support - corporate email on your iphone! It's a feature I've always wanted, but struggled to find a phone that did everything else I wanted and wasn't the size of a Q!

2) App Store - this is really the game changer. A non-carrier portal for apps with 500 at launch! It's exciting and there are already about a dozen apps that I want/need :) And the option for OTA download + sideloading through iTunes is fanstatic.

3) Auto-geotagging of photos. Sure I could get an n95 and use ZoneTag, but having it built in is nice.

4) 3G - I wasn't about to buy a 2.5 G phone in 2008!

5) United has decided that the Apple Dock Connector is the default media interface and you can now use your iPhone to watch movies on the 15" screens in business class!

So after my trip to Boston this weekend, I think I'll be making a trip to the nearby ATT store to pick one up.

As usual when it comes to postings about phones: "The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent Motorola's positions, strategies, or opinions."


Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I went to see WALL-E tonight with my MIT friend Stacie. It was awesome! :) And definitely a fun movie to see with another robot-building MIT alum. A few observations...

1) I loved that they really got WALL-E's robotic movements down. They clearly had some serious experts on hand.

2) Robots in love are cute :)

3) It was awesome that WALL-E's startup sound after charging off of his solar panels was the Mac OS 7 startup sound!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gang Leader For a Day

I finally got around to reading Gang Leader For a Day. Sudhir was on The Daily Show and other venues a few months back talking about the book and I really wanted to give it a read. I'm sort of in a rut of books on inner city life from The Corner earlier this year to There Are No Children Here right now (about Henry Horner). Gang Leader For a Day is also set in Chicago, down in the Robert Taylor Homes on the South Side. It's written in a very readable way and recounts the author's experiences interacting with gang leaders, members, residents, community leaders, and police in the area. While a lot of it is similar to what was reported in The Corner, it's really amazing to me how much police bribing and crimes by the police that there were. Sure, it's Chicago - home of the bribe. But reading about the police regularly rounding up gang members to steal their money or taking bribes to arrest or evict people just really surprised me. And it should be shocking to read about these things. It reminds me of reading the police brutality in Courtroom 302. It shocks me how corrupt the Chicago Police were in the '90s (and probably still are today).

I guess like Sudhir in the beginning of the book, I really don't know as much as I probably should about how things work in the housing projects of the city. It's such a lonely, seperated world with very little support from any outside organizations including the police and government. The book was a good insight into how people in this community banded together to make the building and community work and how often it was the gang that held everything together and helped bring order and togetherness into the buildings.

I'd really like to read more and might try to find a copy of his dissertation to get some more scientific data. The book was a good read but totally devoid of any theory or data beyond some interesting stories.

Anyway, highly recommended and a good plane read. You could definitely finish the book in a flight to the west coast :)


Monday, July 14, 2008

you know it's bad when...

So this evening at work I was talking to a colleague from another part of the company and happened to mention that "I'm going out to [a major US carrier] in a week and a half." And he just totally assumed that I meant to leave motorola and work there, not, you know, like for a meeting. Ah yes, it's some hard times in Moto-land.

As usual - "The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent Motorola's positions, strategies, or opinions."


Friday, July 11, 2008

bastille day race

So many running posts lately! I need to start doing other things, but lately running and work are taking up most of my time. I'm looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend next weekend in Boston though, so there should be lots of fun to blog about there. And if you're in Boston, let me know!

Last night was the Bastille Day 5k. The sole reason I signed up for the race was that I had tied my previous 5K PR at Race to Taste and I knew I could beat it. Unfortunately, it was raining all afternoon yesterday and I was having serious doubts if I'd be able to make a PR in a downpouring thunderstorm. I jumped on the train downtown in all the rain, and magically when we pulled into the station downtown the sky to the west was bright and sunny! The race started (to French music!) in beautiful weather and I was feeling great.

The first 1/2 mile or so was a little rough since a bunch of packs of very slow running 20-something girls had decided to start at the very front of the pack and were running 5-wide down Jackson St. After getting through that, it opened up and really was not too crowded of a run. For those not familiar with the course, it's a dumbbell shape with lots of turns every few blocks. Thankfully I never really got in too many bunches of runners and was able to make it through. At mile 1, I was just about on pace to break my PR and I was feeling great, so I decided to kick it up a little bit and just give it what I had in me. I approached mile 2 a bit winded, but generally feeling good. Unfortunately, the clock at mile 2 was a bit off (reading 4 hours and 13 minutes). I knew I wasn't running a marathon, but had no idea how fast I was actually going. I continued at probably an even quicker speed towards the end. As I turned one of the final corners with about 1/4 mile to go there was a giant bolt of lighting a few blocks away and the sky just opened up with rain. I stepped it up a little faster and saw the 3 mile clock at 25:30. That surprised me a bit and I started running even faster!

In the end, I crossed the finish with a chip time of 26:11 (8:26 pace) which was almost a full minute off my previous PR from the Taste. As I got my bagel, banana, and Gatorade the rain really started coming down torrential downpour fashion. It seems that all of the people handing out food and beverage had gone home and we had to pick them up ourselves. I went over to gear check to find all of our bags in the street covered in water and muck from the backed up sewers. Fun.

All in all though, it was an awesome race and I'm quite happy with my time. I just wish it would have been nicer at the end for the post race block party with french music, wine, and lots of friends who ran the race. I ended up just getting a ride with a friend home and trying to stay warm and dry after being soaked through for a good 1/2 hour after the race trying to find my bag.

By the way, throwing my time into McMillan gives me a 4:15:15 marathon...which would be awesome!!


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Running log is back!

So I'm back in training mode these last two weeks. I'm running the hal higdon 1/2 marathon training program. Just the beginner one as I basically didn't run last year and feel a need to warm up. I'm thinking of maybe switching to something more advanced for the marathon training later this year.

In any case, a formal training plan means that the running log is back up for any of you who wish to follow it. It'll be an overview of what I've run and hopefully some insights and notes about routes as it goes on. Much like it was in 2006.

Speaking of running, I had a nice 4 miler today up at Moraine Hills State Park. It's definitely one of my favorite places to run with nice limestone trails and lots of hills.