Monday, April 30, 2012


Hooray!  Thanks to everyone reading this blog, in 11 months, I have reached the 10,000 hit mark!  I hope to continue producing more useful and enjoyable posts and to show even more facets of the LGO experience.  May the next 10,000 come even faster :-)

image from:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Just putting it out there

I find I really do enjoy writing.  I wish I had more time to do it.  When I do make the time, write a post, add some photos and see a response, it's awesome.  Even when I just write for me, it's fun.  I like rereading what I've written later, since often I try and note things I won't necessarily remember about a time, place or situation.  Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes I find that pictures have fewer broad associations whereas with words you can picture an active scene or a 360 degree view or conjure up other related memories more easily.

Sometimes I wonder if I should try and incorporate writing in a more formal way in my career going forward.  I've done technical procedure writing for a job, and enjoyed that, but am also slightly curious about other company writing (PR?), though that takes knowing how to say things correctly and I know more how to say them honestly.  I'm concerned that it would feel very constraining.  There must be other company writing besides procedures and PR.

After thinking about it, and others might certainly disagree with me on this one, I would prefer to be an editor than a PR person.  I've been a tutor and peer editor in many ways, since even middle and high school, and think that I bring a solid command of English language and grammar to a piece that I'm reading.  Now that I've written that sentence, I expect I'll accidentally type a glaring spelling or grammar error, but you get the point.  Hopefully from reading ::ahem:: many ::ahem:: blog posts, you'll get a feel for how I write overall.

Instead, maybe writing is something to keep for my own reference, or at least more casual pursuits.  You reading this now, of course, means it's not just for me, but blogs are in that funny sphere of something that in physical form was usually private, a diary or travelogue or something, becoming more public in it's digital reincarnation.  I'm OK with that.

While I debate sometimes about writing for fun or writing for a job (though you can do both), what I have stuck with for a while is that on my bucket list is being a published author.  Not of a journal or an article (though I suppose those could be good starts depending on where I was headed), but of a real, find at a normal bookstore (or, ok on Amazon :-) book.  Having at least one hardcover or paperback book with my name on the spine would be so cool.  I have never written a long work of fiction, so I don't expect it would come out that way, but a group of essays or non-fiction or a memoir or something I can't even imagine right now would be wonderful to have in the body of my life's work.

This post concerns neither engineering, nor really business and a job only tangentially.  Instead, it's more just learning and thinking about what I would like and like to do in the long run.  I hope you don't mind humoring me.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Product Design and Development...Developments

Today was spent on a road trip to Rhode Island School of Design (in, you guessed it - Rhode Island!).  We went down there to work with our RISD teammates on our product design and development project which is to improve the experience of using a water fountain.  Our goal is to create a faucet/bubbler spout that encourages you to drink tap water from a water fountain versus buying bottled water.

At first we thought about telling you how much money you'd saved from the amount that you drank, but through our process decided that the fact of how much CO2 you saved by not buying bottled water that had been packaged and shipped actually had more impact.  Our aim is to have a final faucet where you know how much CO2 you saved depending on how long the button was held down (roughly equivalent to how much you drank).

While we've tossed around designs for faucets, we actually ended up primarily tackling the issue of how to present the water fountain concept, in a functioning way, without being near a bathroom or faucet.  Today, between work time and an extended trip to home depot, we spent eight hours working on building a cart to hold the water fountain as well as making sure our electronics worked.
It kind of explains itself
We were in the store for probably almost two hours - going over what we needed and verbally iterating our design.  It ended up working out pretty well.

The final faucet form for the review on Tuesday (yes, this Tuesday) is still in process, though we know what we want it to look like.  From our time working at RISD, I snapped a bunch of action shots.  Hope you enjoy.

On a side note, I saw something today when we grabbed a late lunch at Wendy's that was SO COOL.  There was a soda machine with one dispenser and a screen where you could pick many different sodas, but add flavor to them!  I don't know if these versions of the sodas were ever made, but I thought it was awesome to pick almost literally, whatever you wanted.  I had peach Fanta mixed with raspberry Sprite.  Where else could you do that??

The actual dispenser (I have since learned that this thing is called a Coca Cola Freestyle machine)
The soda cup (They called this a medium?!? It was so big!) that listed all the different flavors you could add to the core soda

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Open House - the beginning of transition

The '14s have come to campus!  Not for full-time yet, but with the happy knowledge that everyone they saw at this event has also been accepted (January's Interviewfest is kind of an awkward time in that respect).  Even though the afternoon weather last Thursday was not the most cooperative (it turned grey and rainy), we had a good time which continued into Friday.  Open House was my big committee push (people choose all kinds of different committees to get extra involved in) and I really wanted to make sure we gave the most helpful information and made sure the '14s had fun and could confidently make up their minds as to whether they wanted to come to MIT for full time this summer.  I should have taken photos, but unfortunately, I didn't have my camera in my bag.

Things have been ramping up the for the end of the semester.  I'm now less than one month away from finishing three straight semesters of taking more than 54 units of class per term, two straight of 60 or more (business classes usually are nine units each, and engineering classes are 12 units) and I am looking forward to the change of pace the internship with GM will bring.  I have no idea how the work loads will compare, but at least I won't have much homework for GM (though I will be taking notes and thinking about my thesis).  For reference, during undergrad, I took 60 units only one semester of the eight I was at MIT.

Working (or at least printing) in an Athena cluster, one of MIT's computer labs
At the same time, I can't believe that the 2012s will be moving on up and away and won't be here when I come back from internship - they'll have been replaced with the '14s!  Supposedly, each year the character of the class switches back and forth from more single party people to a class with more SOs, kids and stablility.  My class is in the stable relationship part of the pattern and has pretty much lived up to that - not much drama, everything has been pretty good.  At the Open House, rather than all being single and ready to mingle, the 2014s brought a bunch of SOs and kids, so it will be interesting to see if they live up to the every other year trend or start to buck it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I'm back!

After an April 1st that lasted for 30 hours due to all the time zones I was passing through and not having slept horizontally in a bed since the night of March 31st, I have returned safely home to Cambridge after working on our Lion Team project and then touring companies in Shanghai and Tokyo with the LGO International Plant Trek.

All in all, the trip had four parts, a LGO only benchmarking excursion to Beijing at the beginning of the trip (we wanted to see if another company had similar problems to those that Sandisk wanted us to address), then time in Shanghai with just our Lion Team - the 6 LGOs and 6 CLGOs, time in Shanghai with everyone on International Plant Trek (IPT) and then time with everyone from IPT in Tokyo, Japan.  It was a whirlwind 16 days.

Highlights of the trip included getting to spend a week working closely with six CLGOs on our lion team project for Sandisk.  They were fantastic hosts and translators and very encouraging as they watched me drop many things in my attempts to master chopsticks.  I appreciated getting to have extra one on one time with them because I feel that we were able to get to know each other much better compared to if I had just come for international plant trek.  50 with 50 is much more challenging than 6 with 6.

The Sandisk Lion Team at a classroom in Shanghai Jiao Tong University
We had many types of Chinese food with them.  Just as the US has regional specialties, we tried Hong Kong style food, Shanghai style, Cantonese style, etc. - some were spicier, some were sweeter, but I would say that I found all of them better than American style Chinese food.  I even tried frog and eel which I had never had before.

Our Hot Pot dinner at Little Fat Sheep (English Translation) - two types of broth were boiling in this bowl on our table and we cooked meat and vegetables in them
Between Lion Teams and International Plant Trek I visited six companies - Sandisk, another consumer electronics company for benchmarking (I'm not writing it here since we're not giving the name to Sandisk), Nike, Cisco, Sony and Nissan.  We got to see everything from production to distribution to product showcases.  It was pretty impressive.  I'm glad I chose to both do Lion Teams and International Plant Trek, but have been happy to be back in the US also.  I can't believe it's been a week already since I returned.  More to come!
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