Michael Karlesky

A cabinet of wonders. Minus the cabinet. And possibly the wonders.

I just flew in from Paris and boy are my arms tired…

Bonjour. When I left New York a week and a half ago, there were no leaves on the tree outside my bedroom window. Now it’s green everywhere I look. Prospect Park is beautiful.

I got to go to Paris for the CHI 2013 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in order to present some work of mine and attend sessions. I attended last year as well in Austin, Texas. It was an exhausting week but a great experience.

The CHI conference was four days attended by over 3,000 people from all over the world with more than 400 papers presented and hundreds more posters and interactive projects on display. To give you a sense of the sort of thing I saw at this conference, see Microsoft’s Illumiroom project (be sure to watch a video). This is a really polished project that is easy to immediately understand. Other presentations delved into the philosophy of computer interaction or even looked at using cups of water as a computer input device.

During the time I wasn’t at the conference I was working on schoolwork and seeing Paris — often at the same time. I spent plenty of time at some great cafes working on my laptop and reading computational geometry papers on the Paris Metro.

The first full day I was in Paris before the conference began I climbed all the stairs to the top of Montmartre to eat lunch on the steps of Sacré Coeur and take in all of Paris with the two students accompanying me on this trip. After the conference was over, we visited Place de la Concorde and walked the Seine in the evening to see Notre Dame and eat dinner in the Latin Quarter. When we entered the restaurant for dinner, Holly (one of the students with me) said to the waiter “cinq” (“five” in English) while holding up four fingers. There were three of us for dinner. The waiter was perplexed until I died laughing and held up three fingers and said “trois.” Holly will never live this down.

In the last two days before I returned to New York I saw the Eiffel Tower and experienced the incredible Ladurée macaroons before strolling around the courtyards of the Louvre.

The shuttle to Charles de Gaulle airport left from the Arc de Triomphe yesterday morning. Twelve hours later I and my luggage were rolling by the Barclays Center stadium in downtown Brooklyn.

The next two weeks are a sprint to finish the semester. I have three final projects, a homework assignment, and a final exam. In the week following the conclusion of the semester I have the last portion of my doctoral qualification exam. Ya know. Not much to do at all…