MSR Redmond

2011 January 19

I’m now in Redmond, Washington (USA) for a few months working with the great folks at Microsoft Research (MSR). This is my second research internship with MSR and I’m now joining the Computational User Experience (CUE), working closely with Asta Roseway, Dan Morris and Desney Tan. It is all very exciting and I’m super happy to work with them for this internship. The facility is amazing, and the whole Microsoft campus in Redmond is huge. I expected a large campus, but I didn’t expect a local bike shop and a private/public transportation service.

The city of Redmond is know as “the bicycle capital of the Northwest” (wikipedia) and that fits me pretty well. There are a lot cars and highways around, but I’m impressed by the amount of cycling infrastructure the area has. There is a velodrome just 1km from where I live, but unfortunately it’s an outdoor therefore not actively used during the rainy winter season. Oh well, there are plenty of gravel trails and paved shoulders to keep my legs spinning. I decided to not live in Seattle to avoid the long daily commute to Microsoft. The bridge connecting Seattle and Redmond is not accessible by bike. I choose to live in Redmond with my friend Chao who also works at Microsoft. The bike ride to work takes 20-25 minutes in the morning with a long ascent. The return journey is much quicker as it’s all downhill minus a few sections and road crossings. It rains a lot so the full rain kit is mandatory, but I much prefer to be soaking wet and cold than stuck in traffic. I’m quite happy to be able to commute to work on a daily basis. I realized over the years that this is important to me.

I’m off to Madeira (Portugal) this Friday for TEI’11. I’m presenting my paper and demos from the work I did at MSR Cambridge last Spring with Richard Banks. It will be quite fun so catch up with a few friends and colleagues on this island off the coast of Morocco. I hope to do a bit of hiking too after the conference.

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