Sunday, May 27, 2007

Friends from Stanford

Spotted old colleagues and new at CHI last month. Not only are these talented technologists from Stanford also great kazoo players, they also take requests. Mike Bernstein, Dave Merrill, and Monzy from Stanford performed impromptu kazoo renditions of popular songs, like "Wipe Out" to entertain Wendy Ju and other CHI reception partygoers. They were definitely the highlight of the closing CHI ceremonies.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Toasty friends

It was fun to see Elwin and Mandy again at Legal's yesterday. Since Elwin was visiting from LA, it was a real trip to hang out and talk about life outside MIT. Mandy has returned from India (and doing artistic things). Also met Frank, who is the head of UCLA's alumni group. Missed Zahra and LiWei, but maybe next time!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Engelbart & Clinton

This week, our group met with Doug Engelbart, the inventor of the mouse. He gave a talk about his new vision. It was terrific to meet a living legend. It was great to spend time listening to him talk about where HCI should go and how representing knowledge in different ways would be useful to mankind. He was very positive, and just enthusiastic. The best part about meeting great people is how nice they usually are, and how happy they are about the work that they do. Usually they are very generous with compliments and his thoughts on what was interesting about the work he saw. For example, Doug also invented a chording keyboard, and he brought it out and talked about how people were able to use the keyboard effectively/efficiently even more with chording and how amazed he was by that. His enthusiasm for this chording feature was clear.
Reminds me of the time I met Douglas Dayton, from IDEO (and before that Hovey-Kelley), who drew the CAD drawings of the mouse for commercialization. Always cool to meet people who worked on a seminal project, and listen to their stories.
I'm rambling now, cause its 5:30am, but I recently caught Bill Clinton on TV talking to the Potomac school. It was great to hear such an articulate leader who had thought about the pros and cons of world situations. Again, his strong convictions on what America should do in Iraq and other places was clear, and he showed his understanding was more than surface level. He identified that Democracy is not just majority rule, but an idea based on respecting the greater good and minority viewpoints. The best thing I learned was that different ways of seeing things (e.g. multiple identities/sympathies) are good. He applied this to religion: we can have many different religions and celebrate their differences, but also having alternate identities than just a religious identity helps people understand their fellow human beings and celebrate mankind. By understanding differences in different ways, we can understand that there is no ONE correct or dominant way of doing things. As long as we respect each other and seek the greater good, humanity will always triumph.

It is impressive the amount of background knowledge this man had in his impromptu speech. Here are some interesting quotes that came from the Fairfax Times news article:

"...Study something they love, and to challenge themselves, make it difficult ... spend some time getting to know people different than you."

"Globalization is inadequate. Our world is too small, we all need each other, and divorce is not an option. You cannot escape each other."

"Everybody needs an opportunity to participate. People need to feel responsible for the success of an endeavor, a sense of belonging."

Other than that, I had a terrific time seeing my friends who I have neglected in a while. Lily and Ben, Rich and Virginia showed up for dim sum, along with Jim Barabas, Betsy, MayLin, Lily and Jordan, and new folks Jo and Nick. It was a terrific time, and I learned about what was going on with everyone's lives it was good to appreciate how hard everyone works and enjoys their jobs.

Congratulations to Lily & Ben for getting married! They are very happy and i'm sure it will be a motivating factor for Lily to finish her thesis so she can go on a honeymoon!

We went shopping at Costco today, too, and bought finals breakfast food. It will be an exhausting week but I'm sure we'll have a lot of good times as well.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Flowers everywhere

Everywhere around campus, there are azaleas blooming. Pleasant breezes and nice weather were the norm until today. Today it is rainy and full of thunderstorms. I'm going to go out in it, to have dinner at Penang with Aileen.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Post Sponsor week catch-up

Its been a looong week. After flying the red-eye back from San Jose, it was time for sponsor week. I think I must have slept a total of 8 hours the whole week. I took advantage of this weekend to catchup and see my friend Sarah (and my cousin Joyce) who was visiting from Miami. Sarah has a baby, Violette, who is ultra cute and quiet. It was nice to get our mani-pedis in Harvard, and just catch up. So much has happened since we were last together about 3 years ago. Its nice to know that things are going well. When you're in school it doesn't seem like time is moving. Its like a vacuum, or as TadT says, its a bubble that reflects in on itself. Still, it seems like life is good. Otherwise, things in school are coming to an end of a semester. Students are getting their plans together for summer, and all the end of year events are rolling by. It will be a busy end of semester, as many of the seniors on my hall are moving on to bigger and better things. We'll be doing some end-o-year events and as usual, it will be a busy but fun time.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Back from California

Me, Tom, Julie and Duff are having desserts at Mel's diner in SF here. I am back from a great time in california, after hopping off the red-eye to partake in Sponsor week at the Lab. I started off at CHI (flickr posts coming soon), then LA and SF. It was very nice to see a lot of ML alumni, get a sense of what they were working on, and give me perspective on what life could be like after MIT. The work that they're doing now out west seems satisfying and deeply meaningful. I was amazed at the level of detail, quality, and robustness of the engineering work being done at Oblong and BlackDust. Lots of startups. Tom's got Whooptones and some secret ones that will be announced soon...*hush*. These guys have visions on on the future of technology, and you can buy/play/live with it. More on this in a later post, after I get the pix up. I also had a terrific time meeting with old MIT friends, and soaking up the rays on a hike at Penitencia Creek Park with c/o 97'ers Julie and Duff-- its been too long. Here's a shout-out to the i-dogs "Arrouuuu!"