December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve

American Guild of Organists concert at the Arlington Street Church, part of the 2008 First Night Boston festivities.Today's stair number: 1

December 30, 2007

Boston Library

Ceiling in one of the reading rooms at the Boston Library.Today's stair number: 4

December 29, 2007

WCCV on the Mac

The Webcam computer vision project is now available on Mac OS X. Picture: Haar face detection demo, using Intel OpenCV library, applied to my blog picture.
Today's stair number: 2

December 28, 2007

Spiral Staircase

Spiral staircase dressed up as a spiral array, complete with pitches, key, center of effect and trajectory.Today's stair number: 1

December 27, 2007

Tiramisu and Cappuccino

Back to Caffe Bella Vita. This time, the tiramisu was gone to fast, only the cappuccino was left for a picture.Today's stair number: 1

December 26, 2007

XO Surfing

WPA wireless now works. Web browsing, including Blogger and Gmail, work fine. The controls book-mode configuration do not really work: no way to point and click, and no remapping of buttons in portrait orientation.Today's stair number: 1

December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

The Harvard Yard is very quiet and peaceful (and cold).Today's stair number: 3

December 24, 2007

Fluffy Snow

Thick on the trees.Today's stair number: 2

December 23, 2007


Our little bench looks like it is sinking in the snow!Today's stair number: 2

December 22, 2007

Proud Banners

Against the crisp blue sky.Today's stair number: 1

December 21, 2007

Winter Wonderland

It is really starting to feel like Christmas in the Cambridge Commons.Today's stair number: 1

December 20, 2007

Let It Snow!

It snowed from the wee hours of the morning, late into the night. Tomorrow, it will look like this (trust me...)Today's stair number: 0

December 19, 2007

Educational Indeed

The XO laptop comes with very little printed documentation out of the box. It took me a while to figure out how to open it without breaking anything. I learnt from the OLPC wiki that I cannot use my WPA encrypted Airport wireless out of the box. I had to get to the office to find a proverbial "linksys" open network in close range, and be able to surf the web and check my email on Gmail. By the way, that worked quite well. Back at home, I had ample time to decipher this somewhat cryptic but undeniably central message, which occupies a whole sheet of paper in the sparse printed documentation, and comes up every time the machine shuts down. I really feel I am being educated...Today's stair number: 1

December 18, 2007

It's Here!

My own XO laptop! I hope the lucky kid who gets the donated one is as excited as I am!Today's stair number: 5

December 17, 2007

Widener Library

The sign reads: "Due to winter conditions please use center steps." (just in case we could not figure it out ourselves...)Today's stair number: 1

December 16, 2007

Harvard Square Cemetery

Harvard Square under a foot of snow and crisp blue skies.Today's stair number: 1

December 15, 2007

Frozen Pond

Fresh Pond partially frozen.Today's stair number: 1

December 14, 2007

The Day After

It's just beautiful. Almost a foot total, and there's more to come!Today's stair number: 1

December 13, 2007

Vous Avez Dit Blizzard?

Almost a foot of snow, and still going strong!Today's stir number: 1

December 12, 2007

December 11, 2007

Club Cafe

Very cool BMOP Club Concert, hosted by, and featuring the work of, fellow Radcliffe Fellow Lisa Bielawa.Today's stair number: 1

December 10, 2007

No Fire...

... just very cold!Today's stair number: 1

December 09, 2007

Natural Glitter

The branches are covered with ice.Today's stair number: 1

December 08, 2007


Wonderful performance by the Harvard Contemporary Dance Ensemble, featuring fellow Radcliffe Fellow Christine Dakin.Today's stair number: 6

December 07, 2007

Peace And Quiet...

...and cold!Today's stair number: 2

December 06, 2007

Proposal Complete!

Proposal complete, uploaded, and ready to submit!Today's stair number: 1

December 05, 2007

More Bunting Quad In The Snow

It seems only yesterday that I took a similar picture on one of our very first few days in Cambridge. In 3 months, we have had only 4 or 5 rainy days, and only recently some freezing temperatures and this beautiful snow!Today's stair number: 2

December 04, 2007

Stock Footage

Too busy working on a proposal to take pictures, so here is a snapshot of the Stormwind Cathedral I took some time ago in World of Warcraft.
Today's stair number: 1

December 03, 2007

Real Snow!

More snow than I have seen in years! Apparently, it's only the beginning, and I hear it gets a old after the first 3 months. But for now, it's just great!Today's stair numebr: 5

December 02, 2007

First Serious Snow

This is the first snow that stays. The streets are white!Today's stair number: 1

December 01, 2007

November 30, 2007

XO Laptop

One of the many high points of the day: I got to play with an XO Laptop. I even snatched my own picture of the device!Today's stair number: 1

November 29, 2007

Indoor Garden

View from the Stata Center's pub.Today's stair number: 5

November 28, 2007


Italian home cooked pasta for the Wednesday night Fellow soiree.Today's stair number: 5

November 27, 2007

Map For The Lost

Map For The Lost, 2002, Jill Reynolds (BI 1998-1999).Today's stair number: 1

November 26, 2007

The Moon

Taking a bath, as the French say (means it's in the clouds.)Today's stair number: 1

November 25, 2007

Mountain Biking

Got another guided tour in the full GTA San Andreas world. Highlights include mountain biking...Today's stair number: 1

November 24, 2007

Busy Day!

A picture of Harvard's Science Center, taken a few weeks ago...Today's stair number: 4

November 23, 2007

MuSA.RT On The Big Screen

Everything looks (even) better on a large bright screen!Today's stair number: 2

November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

The first of many servings of wonderful Thanksgiving delicacies.Today's stair number: 1

November 21, 2007

Holiday Wish

With the Holidays around the corner, many news outlets have already compiled lists of best gadgets and revolutionary devices, that have, or will, revolutionize everything and more. The iPhone has certainly been a source of hype and praise (and criticism). I do not have an iPhone, and I am unlikely to get one, because as cool as it is, I have no need for it. Here is what I really want in a portable, personal device:
  • A screen that is readable, not too large, not too small
  • A usable keyboard, one that does not require me to use my thumbs and/or press multiple times to get the letter I want
  • Energy consumption and battery power that allow me to go unplugged for, say, a whole day
  • Networking capabilities that allow me to remain connected no matter what, and does not subject me to the tyranny of cell phone companies or local IT policies
  • An interface that does not get in the way of what I want to do (and if possible designed so that a kid could pick it up and go, kind of like a good video game...)
  • Open source hardware and software, so no commercial interest stands in the way of usability and innovation
  • Fun and good looking design (but with no sacrifice to usability)
  • Can play music, videos, games...
Not uncorrelated, here is what I do NOT want to see on a portable, personal device:
  • Windows (of any kind): they are not useful for most personal tasks!
  • Office power-suites: only the simple functionalities I will use everyday.
  • Backwards compatibility with principles and protocols that were invented in a different and irrelevant context
  • "Features" that commercial interests decide I absolutely need (and pay for)
In summary, something efficient, cheap, fresh and fun. So it turns out that this is pretty much the specs for the device One Laptop Per Child thinks will help them "provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment and express themselves." Well, that might very well work for us too... Because if I sincerely hope that the kids in developing countries enjoy the experience, it is pretty clear to me that this gadget is going to appeal to the kid in many of us over here (in fact, perhaps more in Cambridge, MA than anywhere else in the world). And if it works, it has the potential to spark a real revolution. Think about it: freedom from all arbitrary legacy and commercial interests, for significantly less money than an iPhone! I don't know if it was planned that way from the start, but in retrospect, apart from altruism and humanitarianism, there is pure strategic genius in arguments such as "we're designing for kids in developing countries who cannot afford all the big commercial stuff anyways," and "big companies could not be interested because there is no real big market there." They give true license for aggressive innovation. So I put in my order through the Give One Get One program. I hope the XO works, and I look forward to getting mine!
And yes, my picture of the day is of the XO laptop (from the OLPC web site).Today's stair number: 2

November 20, 2007


First snow flakes of the season! Really, that gray patch on the ground is snow, and if you squint, you can actually see the snow flakes falling...Today's stair number: 1

November 19, 2007


This time I managed to take a picture of the Kronos statue in the Barker Center's Thompson Room (actually, I will take this picture tomorrow:-). Next time I will write down who did it, where it came from and what the symbols are.Today's stair number: 1

More info (added 13 April 2008): The statue is by Frank Edwin Elwell. According to the plaque, "the original heroic-sized statue was made for the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY, 1901." The plaque also reads: "Kronos (Time) with veiled face, moves forward inevitably whether on swift wing or at the pace of a turtle. He holds in his hands all things that we know."

November 18, 2007

Radcliffe Yard

The future home of the Radcliffe Fellowship in Radcliffe Yard, reflected in the Fellows poster.Today's stair number: 4

November 17, 2007

MIT Infinite Corridor

Another chamber music concert, this time at MIT. This picture is of the ceiling at the Mass. Ave. end of the Infinite Corridor.Today's stair number: 2

November 16, 2007

Chamber Music Concert

Wonderful chamber music concert the New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall.Today's stair number: 1

November 15, 2007

Stata Center

The Stata Center in the night.Today's stair number: 5

November 14, 2007

Fellowship Poster

This is posted in the Radcliffe Yard, and lit at night. It lists each fellow's name, affiliation and project.Today's stair number: 2

November 13, 2007


After concert dinner at Bertucci's. Of course, no time to bother with taking pictures when the pizza gets to the table! Instead, here is a picture of the olive oil plate that, together with the bread, helps make the short wait more humane.Today's stair number: 2

November 12, 2007

H for Hat?

The weather is wonderful, but temperatures have plunged. Time to invest in the proper winter attire. Next up: matching gloves...Today's stair number: 3

November 11, 2007

Dusk Over the Charles

I cannot seem to get tired of this...Today's stair number: 1