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In Ames, IA


Wow Mall of America

Wow an amusement park inside a mall!!! Cool!!


Just landed in MSP… Cold and white stuff everywhere… Burr…

All Aboard… :)

Super early start!!! 3 hour flight to MSP. Just barely fit everything on the flight… So many people … So much stuff!!
Packed flight!!!

Trip begins tomorrow…

Packing and getting ready for my big adventure. This afternoon I was getting really nervous for some reason. I guess it has been a while since I took such a long trip… I am always worry that I forgot something while I am traveling. I try to back light and still try to have everything. It is difficult. So… for my graduation, I have decided not to take the camcorder… and just my camera. 🙂

I am very excited and nervous all at the same time. So tomorrow morning bright and early I will be flying to MSP.

So let the excitement begin.


So I got my first Euros today. I have to say… I have never seen stick figures on money, i mean real money before. But they got them on Euros.

That is some funny money.. How come such funny money get such a high value???

Getting nervous and excited!!!

AT&T Experience

So… After about 15 dropped calls in under 2 hours and 3 calls to AT&T;, I finally got them to admit to their problem.

They even gave me a trouble ticket number (12590697).

So they actually say that they are working on multiple towers around the area. They are saying that there are alot of problems going around the area. maybe my Mark the Spot application is actually doing something.

Or maybe it is just a feel good app that send my complaint straight to the bit “trash” bucket.

oh well.. we will see…

This is the week!!

So this is the beginning of the week of my big adventure. It is funny… I am very nervous lately about my trip. This is the first time that I am traveling some where, where the locals speaks a language that I do not speak. (well.. since 1985 when I moved to the US). I am very nervous about traveling around France with my really really poor French.

But I am sure, no matter what it will be a fun adventure.

So… few things I just realized….

1) It is super cold in Ames right now!!! and this weekend it will get colder!!! Why Ames? That is where I am going for my graduation.

2) WHAT!?!?!? No hood for Masters Students ??? huh? Well… I just got informed that only PhD students have hoods for ISU. Is that true??? that is so weird… I mean… every other school that I have seen have hoods for their Masters students… but not here? oh… this bites! … maybe I should go get a PhD just to get a Hood… nah… maybe not.

3) The weather in France seems to be ok right now .. and the 10 day forecast seems to be good… I hope it stays that way.

4) Trying to wrap up all my stuff for work…

5) oh… I really wonder how connected will I be when I am in France? in some ways I probably don’t want to be connected…

6) Still need to pack… and damn US airlines for charging extra for bags… what gives…

7) got to work out all the logistics for the Thursday morning airport craziness. ( sure do help alot)

8) Plenty more of things to do…


12-08-2009 … choo choo…

So tonight I’ve reserved my train tickets from Paris to Tours. It’s going to be interesting… I will be riding on the TGV!!!
So what is the TGV… TGV is the high speed train in France. I remember reading about it when I was a little kid. I remember reading about the bullet train in Japan and the French TGV. Oh… and now I will have a chance to ride in one!!!! woo hoo!!!

I am very excited about the train ride…I love trains… I remember seeing a steam engine train when was little and riding a the back of an old train with my dad … so many train memories…

so… more information on TGV!!!

Next job rental car and stuff to do in Tours… any suggestions?


Today is my first day back to work after Thanksgiving. It was a busy day and I still have this nagging cold. This is very annoying.
But one good thing is that we manage to book the a hotel in Tours France for the first few nights. We are still looking for the hotels for the rest of the trip in Paris.

But this is where we are planning to stay for the first few nights.

View Paris Trip 2009 in a larger map

More to come… I am feeling tired .. so I am going to bed now… I will try to set up a new site for this month’s activities… maybe tomorrow.

Beginning of December 2009

So, gone is another November and so begins December. This year i will do something different. I am planning to post every day in December and document my busy and exciting December. So I am currently on my connection flight back to Seattle. Work tomorrow… But… Graduation and France in few weeks!!! More to come … Time to shut down and get ready for take off.

iPhone was lost now iPhone was found

Every few years, I get to experience a lost and found thrill. (my camera, my keys…) Well, this morning I had a chance to do it again. So here is the story…

So while I was about to step on to the plane for my flight to MSP from DSM, I realized that my iPhone is not on me. By the time that I’ve confirmed that I do not have my phone with me, I was already onboard and the flight attendant said that I can’t get off. I told her that I probably drop it or left it in the men’s restroom in the concourse. She said that she will call it in and see if they can find it. After a fe minutes, she told me that they can’t find it and they are about to close the cabin door. I was pretty much given up hope. The passenger behind me offered me his iPhone to call or send a text message. So I did. I was already planning to call my phone when I get to MSP. The airplane cabin door was closed. All the sudden, I see this guy running across toward our plane and the attendant signals me that they found my phone. Few seconds later she came by and said is your name Chen?? I said yes and she gave me my trusty little black iPhone. I asked where did you find it. She said I don’t know they found it and all I open the door and they handed it to me.

Oh my gosh!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!! Thank you the Des Moines NW Delta land crew, thank you, flight 3552 flight crew, thank you for the person that found the phone, and thank you for the passenger that let me text to my phone.

After this brief experience, I really believe people are by nature good people!!! It’s a good day!!!

Completion of another phase

After a super awesome and smooth presentation, I am happy today say I am an official graduating graduate student!!! Now all I have to do is to wait for December 18th for the graduation day!!!

So from my last post, I was pretty nervous. I had 60 slides and I had a total of at most 45 minutes to present. I ended up finishing around 35 minutes and started my demo. However, Murry’s law … I mean murphy’s law strikes again. I tested my entire setup before my comittee member’s arrival and it worked great. Half way through my presentation my VPN connection back to my home network dropped. I did not think much of it, I figure I can just restart the VPN when I am doing my demo. Well, when it is time for my demo, the VPN would not connect and I was not able to do my demo. My professors wanted me to move on and finish the rest of my presentation. I did and I was expecting grilling questions, but all 4 professors had no questions. So I was asked to leave the room and with in 1 min. I was congradulated!!

I am having alot of mix feelings… I am happy that is it over but it also means I will have to start to search for my next challenge 🙂

Yeah!!! I am graduating!!!

On Campus…

So I am in Ames, Iowa today doing my final exam. I think I am prepared, but I am more nervous than anything else I have done lately. So while I am waiting for my presentation … in 7 minutes… I am writing this blog.

So walking around a campus on a beautiful fall day in Iowa makes me really sad that I miss out on my grad. school on campus experience, but after thinking about it for a while… nah… I would probably hate all the test and all the research… but then again … they pay you money to do research… very little money .. but still..

So still 5 minutes left… no one here but me. well.. last night I have over 77 slides to present… now I have 60 slides to present. Ok ready for the kicker… I have total of 1 hour and that means 30 minutes to present my project and time for them to ask questions.

At least 30 minutes is my goal. you will see me talking faster than I have ever talked.

ok.. time to start

Happy Halloween!!!

I went to a pumpkin carving party tonight …. had a great time with lots of friends … and at the end…
My pumpkin looks like this 🙂

Happy Halloween!!!

Super Chestnut in Seattle!!!

While taking some autumn photos in Seattle, we discovered some supersized chestnut!!!

They are some of the largest chestnuts I have ever seen!!! They are huge!!! so maybe roasting some chestnuts tonight 🙂

Google Wave initial reaction.

So .. I got an invitation to the new Google Wave, and I even got 8 invitations to give away… but so far my impression is not that great. I watched some of the videos on this uber cool sharing and collaboration platform and how it suppose to be how email will be if email are invented today….uh… right… I don’t think it is an apples to apples comparison.

First my impression was that Wave was just another Twitter or Facebook or basically a virtual chalk board. It is a way to virtually have everyone at the same table all screaming or writing at the same time. It is a little bit crowded and messy and a confusing when there are multiple waves going on. I might as well write XYZ on the chalk board at the ShinJuKu Station and wait for the sweeper ;).

Second, the email comparison they make is not really fair. Emails are for multiple systems, any one can setup an email system, while the wave is a google contained system. it is not the same. They maybe opening the system or the protocol up in the future… but until then … it is no email.

Finally… it is just another social networking attempt… few new ideas in the product but … nothing too new or too shocking.

I maybe wrong or missing something, but I will update my experience in the next couple of day.

mean while … bye bye google wave… I hope version 1 will be better 😉

Sunset after a rainy day

Wow… The sun!!

Seattle Auburn Club Fall Food Drive

Oh.. It has been many many weeks since I last posted….
I am doing alot better… the wounds are healing up and the H1N1 bug has been beaten down. I am much much better!!!

So… work has been keeping me busy… Seattle Auburn Club and Auburn Football has been keeping me busy during the fall weekends.

So starting this weekend we will start collecting for our Fall Food Drive.

take a look.. (

We will also be selling t-shirts with this Aubie YES WE CAN design for club fund raising. Anyone interested in a t-shirt, please let me know.

Blogging from 36000 Feet off the ground!!!

So… it has been a while since my last blog entry… I haven’t been blogging doesn’t mean life hasn’t been moving. Actually, it is very much the opposite. So this past weekend was Labor day. as usually, I went back to Auburn for Labor day. It was also my Mother’s 60th birthday!!! The trip was good had plenty of good food and Auburn Won their first game of the season!!!..

oh don’t worry… more pictures to come when I get home. But as for now… let’s talk about on board Wi-Fi!!!

Woo hoo… so this flight from Atlanta to Seattle actually have on-board wifi…. actually .. I am writing on it right now!!!
So of course as a super geek… I took pictures.

and I ran speed tests.

All in all it’s pretty nice…

For on-board wifi it is pretty nice. 1.5mb/s down and 256k up. Not too bad..
.. I was not able to get voip to work… VPN works but very unusable. Youtube is watchable… but I wonder how many people can watch it at the same time.

The only problem I see is that my battery will only last 4 hours and the flight is 5 hours… yikes…

Well… I actually have to work now.. on the plan and send something out… ha ha … anyways… short week this week