Lunch at ILM

Peter Murphy a former colleague both at Pulse and at BIAS is now working at ILM (along with another ex-Pulse colleague Alex Tang).

Again the benefts of working in San Francisco this week meant I could spare the time to have lunch with Peter in the new Letterman Digital Arts Center (aka ILM Buildings) in the Presidio. I’d seen the buildings as they were being built since Michele’s office is also in the Presidio but this was my first visit inside.

In a word – Cool ! It’s a really nicely designed complex ! The buildings are large and spacious and whilst I only got to see a couple of ‘offices’ they were large open spaces with almost no pillars or vertical cable conduits, rather all the cables come up through the floors. I also got to see briefly the inside of the main preview room. Now that’s a place to watch a movie ! Digital and film projection and of course the highest quality THX certified sound system and environment money can buy ! The local AMC Cinema is about as far removed from this cinema as a cheap saloon car is from a Rolls Royce !

Peter’s working in the R & D Dept on ILM’s in house modelling and animation tools and right now is working to make sure that the Technical Directors on Pirates of the Carribean 2 can continue to work and have their bugs fixed etc.

Posted under Work

This post was written by awk on March 31, 2006

Ex-Be Lunch

For a few years now there’s been a regular weekly gathering of Ex-Be folk around the bay area at Clarkes in Mountain View. Until now I’ve never really been able to make it since the drive from Petaluma to Mountain View is around 90 minutes each way (at best). This week however I’m working at Digidesign in Daly City and the 30 minute drive was more reasonable.

it was good to catch up with Dianne, George, JBQ, Marco and others (who joined after I left Be in 2000). A few of these people still form part of the software development team at Palm Source, however many of those who moved with the aquisition have also now moved on. There’s quite a gathering of exBe folk at Google right now (about 6-8 I think) including groups who left Be for Danger but are now at Google (Brian & Ficus to name two) and those who went from Palm to Google (Dianne and others).

With a bit of luck I’ll be able to make the lunch the next time I’m back in the Bay Area at the end of April.

Posted under Work

This post was written by awk on March 30, 2006

Home Again

I’m back in San Rafael for the next week. Iain has definitely grown whilst I’ve been gone for the last three weeks (intellectually – physically he seems about the same). He’s speaking much more and more coherently, he’s stringing words together to form longer and longer sentences and is much better at expressing his emotions verbally than physically.

One thing that hasn’t changed however is the weather – it was raining when I left and it was still raining when I returned. Apparently there’s only been a few days of dry weather in the past few weeks !

Posted under Personal

This post was written by awk on March 25, 2006

Dinner in Somerville

I managed to catch up with an old colleague from Be last night – Jim Rippie. Jim’s a long time resident of Boston and of Somerville in particular, so he was a good guide to the ‘cool hip spots’ 8-) We had dinner at Gargoyles on Davis Square, a restaurant that would fit right in on Chestnut St or similar in San Francisco. A good contemporary american menu with asian influences. I had a good duck confit on sticky rice, Jim ordered a crusted halibut (roasted I think) with a chili accompaniment. Desert was a great small flour-less chocolate cake.

Tomorrow I head back to California for a week. I’ll be spending quite a bit of time being a father again – especially since Michele will be in Denmark for much of the week. I’ll be working in the Digidesign offices for most of the week, trying to fix bugs and also do some research into some technologies that we might be able to share between Digidesign and the audio team at Avid. I’ll be back in (a probably still chilly) Boston on April 3rd

Posted under Work

This post was written by awk on March 23, 2006


I went to a couple of Open Houses in Lexington this afternoon (I’d been feeling a little unwell, but thought the ‘fresh air’ would be good – it seems to have helped).

First stop was a pair of houses close to downtown. They were well laid out and well appointed properties, however they both suffered from the fact that two largeish adjacent plots had been redivided into three properties (the first had already sold). What was left were some nice houses on a very small amount of land (considerably less than we have in California), and although flat there was really no place for children to play etc. A pity because in all other respects the properties were very nice and in a good location.

The second home as a non-starter, it looked good in the photo and from the descriptions however it was really very small and very old inside. With some considerable interior updates it could be quite a nice house, but that’s probably more work than we want to sign up for right now.

The final home was on a nice lot but quite a long way from the town center of Lexington, it was also close enough to the 95/128 freeway to hear the traffic noise. Again it was an older property and although it had been updated it still felt a little ‘dated’.

Posted under House Hunting

This post was written by awk on March 19, 2006

V for Vendetta

I went to see V for Vendetta with Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving last night. It’s a good movie – well worth the trip to the cinema. It’s got a lot of British references though, and I do wonder how many of them will connect with an American movie. To start with the major character ‘V’ is a modern day Guy Fawkes, and although they open the movie with a recreation of events in 1605 when Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament I don’t think the fireworks used elsewhere in the movie special effects will connect to americans the same as they will with a british audience.

It’s also not subtle about it’s political points – but whether Americans will see that too remains to be seen.

Posted under Personal

This post was written by awk on March 18, 2006


James Cameron (an old friend from Australia not the film director) sent me email yesterday to say that some of the links on my web site (which has had less updates than this weblog !) were broken – probably as a result of moving servers.

So I was inspired to give iWeb a quick try to rebuild the site – the new version took about 10 minutes to do and includes a lot more photos of Sylvie and Iain (the old version was so old that Iain didn’t even get a mention !) Very easy to use, with reasonable templates and a nice integration with iPhoto and iMovie (of course). I’ve not bothered to try the blogging templates they have since I have this movable type installation but they look relateively straightforward if you want a straightforward blog without support for comments etc.

Posted under Personal

This post was written by awk on March 14, 2006


This show continues to have surprises even after last weeks ‘fatal events’ for a cast member they’re still killing of significant cast members this week. Since there’s still serveral (10 perhaps 12 – I’ve lost count !) hours remaining at this rate there won’t be anyone left by the end. Perhaps that’s the idea though – perhaps if they kill everyone off in this series they really can’t do another.

Posted under Personal

This post was written by awk on March 13, 2006

Newton, Sudbury, Acton & Andover

Househunting day again today.

I drove over to Newton this morning – it has a reasonable town center around the ‘T’ (commuter rail) station. It didn’t feel all that ‘great’ though – a bit too urban I think. Especially in comparison to towns like Concord. There are certainly some nice properties but they’re more expensive and I think the commute is probably a bit too long for the ‘value’ of the town.

After Newton I drove through Sudbury and looked at a few houses. Sudbury feels a lot like Lincoln, plenty of open space, but no real town center like Lincoln, it’s also small enough that it doesn’t have it’s own High School, in fact it shares it’s High School with Lincoln.

I then went on to look at open houses in Concord, Acton and Andover. More details below …

Read More…

Posted under House Hunting

This post was written by awk on March 12, 2006

56 Degrees

That’s how warm it was this evening when I left the office at 6:30 pm ! In California at this time of the year that would seem pretty chilly, but after only a week of near freezing temperatures it felt quite balmy !

I went to see Ultraviolet tonight – mostly a waste of time ! Really not a very good movie at all, the CG special effects looked very cheap and had very low rendering resolution ! it’s possible the director was just trying to go for a comic strip look but really it just looked cheap.

Tomorrow I’m off to check out a string of towns north of here : Acton, Woodford and Andover.

Posted under Personal

This post was written by awk on March 10, 2006