Sitting in Chicago

I missed the Microsoft employee meeting today. Douglas Mahugh has a report on it. I will watch it over the weekend. It’s really great that our execs are meeting with employees again.

Me? I’m sitting on the floor in Chicago’s O’Hare airport. I hate airports that only have Wifi in certain places (it cost me $7 to get on here, and that was after struggling to find a user name that would work — I forget my old password I used last time I was here. Sigh.)

I am SO getting an EVDO card and service now. By the way, if you buy a laptop, make sure you can use one of the new EVDO cards from Verizon. You’ll probably want one at some point in the future.

Next stop? Oakland. Sigh, I gotta find better flights next time. On the other hand, not being online is letting me catch up with email.

Thank you Carnegie Mellon!

Yesterday I spent most of the day hanging out with professors and students at Carnegie Mellon. What an amazing place!

First of all, the robotic lab is oooohhh sssoooo cccoooollll. I got an hour tour through four of their labs and I’ll get that video up in a couple of weeks.

Second, I spent an hour with Randy Pausch, co-director of the Entertainment Technology Center. You know how sometimes you meet someone, you have no clue what they do, but within the first minute you realize they are just freaking smart and you’re going to have an interesting conversation? That is what happened in the first minute of meeting Randy.

And, it wasn’t exactly an easy conversation either (smart people often challenge you). He took Microsoft to task (and really all of the industry) for not doing enough to build relationships with academics. He says it’s a rare day when he gets a call from a hiring manager at Microsoft. Says that five minutes with him on the phone will teach you more about a candidate than a day-long interview. Great lesson for anyone hiring students (and Carnegie Mellon has more than its fair share of the best).

Anyway, Randy also showed me Alice — a new programming environment that makes it fun to learn how to program. This is a HUGE advance in the ability to make programming fun for newcomers. I got video of Randy showing it off (Randy has been working on this since the early 1990s). Stephen Figgins over on O’Reilly has more.

Thank you CMU for the wonderful day!

Travel day

I’m coming back home and I’m exhausted. I have so much blogging to do it isn’t funny. And my email. Oh, my email.

In there, I see lots of people asking what I think of the latest government action that Microsoft gave in to. I’m too tired to say anything, but it isn’t a proud day for Microsoft or our country. There are lots of opinions on this one — it’s at the top of Memeorandum. It’s also being discussed over on Channel 9.

Just a note on Pittsburgh. It’s been very good to me. The panel discussion last night was interesting and sometimes even a bit controversial (very few businesses in Pittsburgh allow blogging, I learned, and there’s lots of people out there who are trying to get their management to let them do it.) It was recorded so hopefully the recording will be up soon.

I’ll try to check in from the road. I think I have a stop in Chicago on the way to Seattle. Have fun!

Oh, I’m suprised at how few of the people who read here follow Memeorandum. I’ve met quite a few people this week who say they regularly read me but don’t follow either Memeorandum/Tech nor Memeorandum/Politics. After I show them those pages they always say “that’s cool.” It makes me realize just how tough it is to get people to try something new.