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

November 10, 2007

More Fall Foliage

Two very red trees in Cambridge Commons, Harvard Square. The crisp cold weather seems to make the red even deeper.
Today's stair number: 1

November 09, 2007

In Search of the Past

An archaeology class is digging in the Harvard Yard in search of traces of the first buildings at the University. The center hole is about 6" deep!Today's stair number: 2

November 08, 2007

Jurassic Park?

Physics corridor at the Science Center. Is this a metaphor for the convergence of life sciences and physical sciences?Today's stair number: 4

November 07, 2007

The Charles

The Charles River in the Fall?Today's stair number: 1

November 06, 2007

GTA San Andreas

Crash and burn over the Golden Gate in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas.
Today's stair number: 1

November 05, 2007

Radcliffe Gym

The ex-gymnasium at night...Today's stair number: 1

November 04, 2007

Physics Corridor

The physics area of Harvard's Science Center hosts an exhibit of physics instruments that have found a more permanent use as plant holders. A series of colorful posters recounts A Century of Physics.Today's stair number: 2

November 03, 2007

Action Shot!

Today it rained all day, so here is a picture of a squirrel playing in tomorrow's sun in front of Leverett House.Today's stair number: 1

November 02, 2007


A staircase with a distinct Escherean quality.Today's stair number: 1

November 01, 2007

Home Cooked Food

Apple chicken, from an improvised recipe...Today's stair number: 1