Thursday, September 25, 2008

4 Years, 2 Dreams

Four years ago, as a freshman surviving the first month of high school, we were given a small assignment. In Life Skills class, a class taught by Peer Leaders, a group of Juniors and Seniors. It was simple, just write a letter to your future self. As an annual tradition, Seniors open their letters during the month of September... and today was the day I received mine.

Two things stuck me as amazing, in regard to the paths my life has taken over the last four years. Sure, I mentioned that when I was writing it, the top news was the fourth anniversary of 9/11, and that Hurricane Katrina had just struck, but these other messages I wrote to myself were more important.

"Self-- By the time I read this, I hope that...I have continued to work with the City of Rye."
At the time I wrote the letter, the only work that I had done with the City of Rye was a voulentary few meetings and a "modern" version of my Rye: 3D. The following two summers after writing the letter, I had the pleasure of being an intern in the City Planning Department.

Success? Yes.

"..I hope that... I have continued to succeed at SketchUp and hopefully gone to the users confrence (sic) once"
This one, this one I was most excited to read this afternoon... I wrote the sentence above during my freshman year because it was then when the first 3D Basecamp took place, back in 2005 in Boulder. Though I wanted to go, there was no way my parents would ever let me go.

Success? Yes, and so much more.
I went in 2008 (since that's what this whole blog is about...) and of course, I presented. It changed my life, and having seen today's letter only made me more proud of my accomplishments at Basecamp in June.

I wish that I had done something similar to this letter, but only let it sit idle for longer. I still have reletivly vivid memories of writing the letter, where I was sitting in the classroom, and what was going on in my life. Ideally, if I were to write another letter, it wouldn't be opened until the point in which I had forgotten about it's existance.

I wonder what it would include...


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Reflection: Yankee Stadium

I guess it just so happens that Yankee Stadium is closing today, this same year that so many things in my life are coming to a close.

The first time I ever went to Yankee Stadium was an Old Timer's Day back in '94 or '95. I've been a back a number of times, including three times this season, probably a personal record.

I do have one personal connection with the stadium that is about to close, however, but interestingly it comes from the opponent's side. My brother was given a gift for his Bar Mitzvah that changed all of our lives. He was to be the pre-game bat boy for the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays on an August day in 2006. It was truly a day I'll never forget. We arrived at the stadium around 10 AM and were escorted into the visiting team's locker room, a sight most never see. Susan Waldman struts in, checking out the batting order, taking little note in the player's bare behinds near her. Some players are in the kitchen area, others are sitting around a table playing cards. My brother has since gone off to do his duty, something with preparing the bats and whatnot, but we remain in the locker room meeting some of the players and coaches.

Then comes the one moment that I'll never forget. We exit the locker room and make a left, then a right and look straight ahead. It's a long, upward-slanting hallway with a blinding light at the top. Upon reaching the end, I realize we're in the visiting team's dugout. I proceed up the three steps from the dugout to the feild to meet my mom who's there, waiting. After my foot lands on the dirt, I suddenly hop back into the dugout, until I actually realize that I can be on the field. Looking every direction, taking in each sight, and watching the Yankees take batting practice. Gradually I become more comfortable with the idea of being able to walk on the dirt and grass, and I eventually get about 3/4 of the way to the home team's dugout. My brother was given the opprotunity to meet his hero, Bernie Williams, the handshake of which encounter I have a great picture of. I also have a wonderful picture of Joe Torre hugging Don Zimmer, reuniting after a year of seperation.

But it's the few memories of that day, exiting the hallway into the blinding light, crossing the grass behind home plate and looking into the stands, and being escorted through a tunnel through the Yankee's clubhouse hallway, the same hallway which the team's greats have also passed through. are things I'll never forget.

To Yankee Stadium, you'll be missed, but thank you for providing a backdrop for a lifechanging experience.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Reflection: Opening Ceremonies

School's been in full swing (and by full swing, I mean moving at the speed of light) for a little over a week now. This past Friday, however, the [almost] entire school gathered for one of my favorite traditions of the year, the Opening Ceremonies (Pre-K was not present this year.)

Maybe I've progressively begun to enjoy this ceremony more as I've gotten older because I've gotten closer and closer in age to the people who take part, but it's one of the traditions during which the entire school takes part.

Over the course of 20 minutes, the band performs a few songs, our Headmaster speaks, the President of the Student Body speaks, and the 12th Grade Class Officers present the Class Flag.

Being the President of the 12th Grade, a position I was running for (Post: What A Day) when I began this blog, it was my job to unfurl the flag that the officers and I designed over the summer. I was asked to introduce them and the flag, something I had not been expecting to do, but happily did anyway.

I remarked to a teacher, a few days ago, how I remember my first Opening Ceremonies. I was in Mr. Brockman's kindergarten class. It's one of my most fond memories, mostly because of that visual component, the flag of the Class Of 1996. It was with this memory in mind that I worked to design the Class of 2009 Flag as one that the kindergarden class will remember when they graduate in 2021. Our design was simple and classic, and I couldn't be more thrilled with how it came out.

Normally, the President and Vice President of the class unfold the flag, an awkward and drawn out experience for the nearly 1,000 students, faculty, and staff in the audience. This year, I had two goals for the unveiling: I wanted all four of the Officers involved, and I wanted to do away with the unfolding process. Having the flag already unfolded and placed along a step below the stage allowed all four of us to take part, making a true spectacle of the event.

The flag of the Class of 2009 is now a memory, etched right beside that 1995 Opening Ceremony unveiling...


Friday, September 5, 2008

Microsoft: A True Underdog Story

Microsoft signed a $10 million contract with comedian Jerry Seinfeld to star in a series of ads with Bill Gates. The goal? To make Microsoft "hip."

The first ad has been released; watch the horror for yourself:

My only response is this: HUH?
That might be the most pointless advertisement I've ever seen. Did anyone find that funny? And why is Bill Gates acting, anyway?

Not only was that one commercial a complete failure (at least to me) at making Microsoft "hip," but the whole plan has been doomed from the beginning.

See, Apple can be called "hip" because "young people" are the primary consumers. Using a celebrity endorsement, like Seinfeld, doesn't automatically make you part of the in crowd. Why?
Let's assume, for example, that Microsoft is targeting the younger generation: college students.

Jerry Seinfeld is 54 years old. His hit TV show, Seinfeld, was aired between the years of 1989 and 1998. A college sophomore was about 2 years old when the show began, and 11 when it ended. This student was probably watching Barney, Sesame Street, or The Simpsons at the time, not Seinfeld. Even worse, Seinfeld wasn't even a show aimed at kids! It could be an equivalent to today's Two And A Half Men--a show who's target audience is 20-30 year olds!

By hiring Jerry Seinfeld, Microsoft simply missed their target audience! I'm their target audience, and I barely know who he is, never watched his show, and actually don't think he's very funny!


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Summer's almost over

I'm going to keep this blog going. SketchUp will stay a prevelent topic, as well as other geeky things, but quite possibly also things going on in my life, like that whole college thing. Yeah, that.

After pledging my loyalty to Google, or maybe visiting, I've become an active user of most products, including Google Docs (which I'll get to later) that I never figured I'd actually use. I now use Google Maps as opposed to Mapquest, but there's one problem. Google Maps isn't a verb. (I use the word "verb" loosely. "to google" has only recently become acceptable, as has "to wikipedia.") You can't really say, "I'm going to Google Maps this," or "I'll Google Map it." Those phrases seem just too long. The problem here is that you can say "I'm gonna Mapquest it." Since "to mapquest" is taking on the meaning "to get directions," I worry that Mapquest will gain advertising from this word-of-mouth usage. If there's any solution at all, when you want to make it clear that you are going to get directions using Google Maps, my proposition is: "I'm gonna G-Map it."

Staying on the subject of Google, I'll talk about my newfound usage for Google Docs. Well, first of all, I've never really been a fan. Putting my all of my documents online takes faith. Maybe I'm a negative nancy, but I always think of the worst situations first: a need for documents without web access, Google crashes, I get hacked... all problems that I could theoretically face by using Google Docs as my sole location for storage. [And yes, Google Docs offers offline backups, but still, I can't be sure if that version is the most recent or whatnot.]

There is, in fact, a use for Google Documents for everyone. Wether it's planning a meeting, comparing notes, or working on projects. Here's mine, and it echos so much of what my life revolves aroud these days: College essays.
Google Docs is the perfect location for such files. I always have revision history and I can allow teachers, parents, or college advisors to be collaborators. Sure, commenting features have been around in local programs such as Microsoft Word, but that requires emailing back and forth, back and forth, and being unsure about which version is the most current.

That's all for now. School begins [for seniors] on Tuesday.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Keep on blogging...

As of right now, my presentation's video on Youtube has 1,297 views!

The last thing I want to do is let this blog die. I'm going to keep blogging here on the topic of SketchUp, but it might branch off a bit.

I'll start with my recount of Basecamp. In fact, 3D Basecamp was almost 2 months ago! It's kind of funny that just three days of your life can be that important. I learned a ton from the presentation, but that wasn't my favorite part. My favorite part was meeting the people and experiencing the atmosphere. I've said it before, but putting names to faces was an amazing thing to see. Not only that, but I had never been to a conference before. That said, usually when I'm in a class or walking down the street and hear the word "SketchUp," I do a little twitch. Often times, it's an, "Oh, you know SketchUp?" that I respond with, surprised that people are farmiliar with the program.

Being at Basecamp was an interesting event in that respect because everyone had a common goal and purpose: SketchUp. For the first day and a half, that twitch still went off because it hadn't set in that I was in the company of people who were there for the same reason I was.

In March, 2007, my school choir, of which I am a member, took a trip to Prague and Vienna. It was a life changing experience for me; I had never been outside of the north-east United States (with the exception of Canada) at that time, and what I experienced and learned on that trip changed my life. On that trip, using just my brother's camera, I shot more than 1,100 pictures. (I ended up cutting those pictures down to about 166 for Facebook. They can be seen here on Picasa.)

I have not counted, but I don't think that the number of photographs taken at Basecamp from our respective cameras matched the 1,100 from Prague and Vienna. The knowledge I gained from Basecamp, however, exponentially multiplies that of the Europe trip.

I think I'll run through, all in all, everything we did. This schedule has been scattered around countless blog posts, but here it is in one place:

  • Tuesday
    • JetBlue, JFK --> San Jose
    • Rental Car --> The Grand Hotel
    • Visit Stanford
    • Dinner at Chevys
    • Rest in hotel
    • Post-dinner dinner at In-N-Out
  • Wednesday
    • Breakfast at The Grand
    • Drive to Google
    • Park, register, meet Jon and Allyson
    • 2nd Breakfast at Googleplex
    • Talk & lecture room tour with Allyson, Diego, and Paul
    • Introduction by Aidan
    • Chaos rush to Charlie's Cafe
    • Lunch around the Basecamp tent
    • Presentation Block 1: Promoting Your Work Using Google Resources
    • Presentation Block 2: SketchUp and Green Design
    • Ice Cream break
    • Presentation Block 3: [Break]
    • Keynote Presentation, Cameron Sinclair
    • Basecamp party with BBQ, pool, ping-pong, and foosball
  • Thursday
  • Friday
    • Drove from hotel to Googleplex
    • Breakfast and conversation
    • Announcements from Aidan and Cameron
    • Went up to Seville to set up my presentation:
    • Presentation Block 9: Making Your Mark with SketchUp
    • Met people, answered more questions
    • Went to the Google Store again
    • Relaxed in the tent
    • Took a blue-bike trip around the neighborhood
    • Lunch at Charlie's
    • Sportables design competition results
    • Said goodbyes
    • Drove to Mountai View CalTrain station, met Billy in Palo Alto
    • Visited Billy and family at his house, took a driving tour of San Fransisco
    • Took streetcar to AT&T Park, saw the game
    • CalTrain back to Mountain View
    • In-N-Out desert visit
    • Back to hotel for 4 hours of sleep, 1 AM -- 5 AM
  • Saturday
    • Awoke, drive to San Fransisco International
    • Made plane by 10 minutes, fly home

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It all comes full circle...

Our final project of the year in Ms. Kubisch's Spanish class was to create and illustrate a children's story. I made a short story about a 10-year old girl who goes with her mother and her pet dogs to the Zoo. The plot, simply, is that the girl and her mother go to the Zoo and lose one of her 6 dogs, then have to walk around and find him. Of course, I illustrated with SketchUp. This project was one of many examples that I used in discussions at 3D Basecamp about SketchUp's application in almost every school course.

On Monday, I was reading SketchUpdate, the SketchUp blog, and I came across this post explaining that the pre-made component people in SketchUp are actually based off of pre-acquisition employees. Here's Aidan, John, and Dusty, just to name a few.

Allyson was the person who brought me to Google in the first place, has been my contact in the months leading up to the trip, and was my "tour guide," if you will, while I was there. As it would turn out, Allyson and her daughter are the central character of my Spanish class story!

Here's the story (PDF), and a rough English translation (PDF), for anyone interested.

What a small world.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

SkechUpdate Blog - 3DBC Post #2

(This is the design contest I discussed previously; bonus points if you can find me in the picture below!)

Sportables: a Design Challenge!

Last Wednesday's keynote at our 3D Basecamp by Cameron Sinclair (Co-founder, Executive Director and "Eternal Optimist" of Architecture for Humanity) was a real highlight for me. I've been talking to AFH for a long time now, especially about the talented SketchUp folks we have in our user community. We've been trying to come up with something that we can all do together – something that shows how great design work can make a real difference in the lives of ordinary people around the world. To that end, we decided to kick off a new Design Challenge with Architecture for Humanity.

The Challenge (should you choose to accept it) is to design a "Sportable". Sportables are highly-transportable and deployable play spaces that can double as a sustainable infrastructure nodes for the community in which they operate. Continue Reading...

SkechUpdate Blog - 3DBC Post #1

Dispatches from 3D Basecamp, No. 1

Posted by Beth Callas, SketchUp 3D Basecamp Team

Coming to you live from the Google SketchUp 3D Basecamp 2008! Nearly 400 SketchUp enthusiasts have descended on our Mountain View campus for two-and-a-half days of 3D modeling abandon. With plenty of SPF on hand, we’re enjoying the 85 degree weather with folks from all over the world. While some attendees breezed in by way of the light rail from San Francisco, others made the trek from as far away as Western Australia. Continue reading...

Interestingly, for me at least, this post only showed up on Saturday, though it was added on Wednesday. I have no idea why...


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Coming home

It's early afternoon on Sunday, here in New York. We left the hotel about 6:00 am yesterday morning, made it San Fransisco International, and we were in the air by 8:07. The flight, suprisingly and fortunately was only about 4 hours and 50 minutes. Any longer, we would have had issues, for as soon as we left baggage claim, thunder storms hit.

Here are a few pictures from my dad's camera of my presentation on Friday. All of our pictures (4 cameras, sorted down) from the trip are available on my Picasa album. At first, I was going to have an album per day, but instead, I just created one big album. This proved to be much better, for I could simply put the photos into iPhoto and hit export and not have to worry about changing links, code, and slideshows on this blog.

Anyway, here are the pictures:


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Presentation Notes & Info

Here's the information regarding my presentation, "Making Your Mark with SketchUp," given on Friday morning of 3D Basecamp

  • Click here for the OUTLINE that was handed out to attendees (PDF download)
  • Click here for the POWERPOINT PRESENTATION from Making Your Mark (PDF download)
  • Watch the RCDS 3D TOUR movie (Part 1 | Part 2) below (Youtube link):

  • Watch RYE: 3D, the Rye CBD tour below (YouTube link):

If you attended my presentation, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below, or send me an email--
Again, thanks for attending


Friday Recap

I woke up about 6, got to Google about 7:45, then just chilled with new friends until about 8:50. It was then when Allyson brought us up to Seville where I set up my presentation.

Then I presented. And it went fine.

The biggest request I got, however, was for access to my movies, slides, and information about my projects. Since I included my blog link on the presentation, I'll put a post related to just these items.

After the presentation ended and the adrenaline died down, we visited the Google store one last time to swap one sweatshirt and pick up some other pieces of paraphernalia. I'm honestly coming home with close to 15 Google articles of clothing (of course, not all are for me.)

Deciding not to do any of the ongoing sessions, I spent time in the Basecamp tent talking to people and just relaxing. One of the people I met in person over these last few days was Chris Fullmer. I originally came into contact with Chris in the summer of '06 when he began a website called SuWiki (You guessed it, a SketchUp Wiki.) I was asked to be a judge for their logo contest. It was a surreal experience to meet someone like Chris whom I had only known as an email address or avatar. I had similar opportunities to meet people such as Gaieus, the administrator of the SketchUp Community Forums and Aidan, the "Steve Jobs" of SketchUp, if you will. I also has the wonderful (kinda inspiring even) opprotunity to meet people who had read my blog and to see the comments from those who had, but were unable to attend either Basecamp or my presentation.

Following another delicious lunch from Charlie's (today it was "General David's Chicken" among other items,) we headed into Tunis, another presentation room, to see the results of the Architecture for Humanity/SketchUp challenge.

Here's the deal: following Cameron Sinclair's keynote, he posed a challenge to the 3DBC participants (read the keynote post for information about what his group does first.) The challenge: build a fully portable youth soccer stadium for a team of street kids from Brazil while incorporating an entrepreneurial or "green" aspect. Groups who completed the task had 3 minutes to present and explain their model to attendees and judges before first, second, and third place 3DBC winners were announced. This challenge is going global within the next few hours and will be open to anyone in the world (with cash prizes) through the end of the month. I'll post more information as it becomes available.

Anyway, following all this, we ended up leaving Google after saying our goodbyes and such. We took the Caltrain (MetroNorth of California, basically) to San Fransisco. En route, we were joined by my dad's Milburn (NJ) High School friend, Billy. We went to the San Fransisco Giants (vs. Oakland A's) game with Billy's family.

In true California fashion, we made an In-N-Out Burger run upon arrival to Mountain View after returning from the game.

Now we're back. And I'm exhausted.

I'll put up pictures and the presentation information (I promise) tomorrow upon return to New York in the late afternoon.

Until then, thank you for reading this blog. Whether you were here at 3DBC and I met you, you came to my presentation, or we didn't meet, or if I provided you with 3DBC updates from afar, thanks for following along. For the foreseeable future, I'll be continuing this blog, so please continue to read.


Friday, June 13, 2008


Ok. That was pretty sweet.

I presented at 9:15 this morning to a full room, probably 100 people if not more. Allyson introduced me and the presentation went off without a hitch. Asside from the computer lag for one moment, it was awesome. I can only wonder how many times I've said "Awesome" this week.

I'll leave it at that for now. We're off to do some bluebiking :)

If you were in the presentation this morning, thanks for coming and for visiting the blog. I will have more information, slides, handouts, and material coming soon. Please check back!


Nailed It!

It's done. And it actually awesome. More later


It's 11:23 here... which means it's 2:23 at home. Poo, no one's online. Nevertheless, I write to report that I finished reading over my presentation and editing the videos.

I'm very excited, I'm including two videos totaling 9 minutes (5 and 4 seperatly.)

Anyway, I'm off to bed..... but I'm WAYYY excited. Should be fun :)



I don't think I can really create a post title that's any more fitting than "Wow." That's exactly what this day has been: Wow.

Let me start with last night, my sleeping to be exact. It came to me, for some obscure reason (during my sleep) that RCDS bares a striking resemblance to Googleplex. 50% of my time thus far at Googleplex has been spent in and around the tent in the main "quad." I realized that the view I've been exposed to for the past day resembles the view one has at RCDS when exiting the big glass thing we call the cafateria. To the left side of both pictures, there's a bridge. For RCDS, it's a library, for Google, it's an air-bridge.

In my last post, I forgot to mention I made a trip to the Google company store. I did some damage. Basically, there won't be a day for the next 2 years where something on me will say Google.

This afternoon since my last post has been interesting as well. The session I went to at the end of the day was called "Cool SketchUp Stuff." This was originally the presentation I was supposed to be a part of. Three presenters (I guess I would have been one of them) showed 3 unique uses of SketchUp. Let me recap them (not in the correct order, intentionally):

First was a guy from Sweet Onion Creations, a group that takes SketchUp models and prints them in 3D. Basically, instead of your printer spitting one layer of ink on a paper, it puts down a layer of clay, then a layer on top, then another, then another... eventually creating a physical model of up to 8 inches. That's pretty sweet.

Presenting third was Rob Bell who hooks SketchUp to a woodworking table. His work in SketchUp then gets created in physical space by a drill on a track that takes away bit by bit of the plywood on the woodworking table. Here's a picture of him sampling.

The second person to present (who I'm mentioning last) was John Martin who demo'd a program called iClone. Simply put, iClone takes a SketchUp model and uses is as a background or prop for an animation. You can make people walk down the street, or have the camera fly around a car as it moves down the road. It was only earlier today when my dad asked, "When's SketchUp going to become an animation tool?"

Well, about an hour later, I ran into John in the elevator of our hotel and introduced myself. He had read my bio and actually offered a copy of iClone for free. Within 5 minutes, I had ended up in the doorway of his hotel room getting a free copy of both iClone and his other product, CrazyTalk. I'll give them both a try and report back. I can't thank him enough, though, for the unexpected software!

After that, it was off to dinner at a local fish place, then back to the hotel where about 10 presenters and attendees were preparing for a secret meeting (regarding SketchUp 7??) My dad and I spent more time talking with Diego, then headed back upstairs to where I sit and write this now.

That's all for tonight. I present tomorrow morning, and it should go well. If it doesn't, then I guess I'm not coming home.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

A day of workshops

Today has been full of workshops, to put it simply. I started the morning with a session on Photo-realistic rendering of SketchUp models. This has been an area that I've always been interested in, but never really learned a lot about.

Second was an overview of Boston Architectural College, their curriculum, and their SketchUp integration provided by Diego.

Following another fantastic lunch (some of the best pizza I've ever had,) I took my (thus far) favorite session of the day: "Building a presentation from start to finish with LayOut." What is LayOut? SketchUp's little, ignored brother only available to Pro users. It's a program that integrates your SketchUp model in a presentation format.

Here is a screenshot from LayOut. About two years ago, I dedicated my entire spring break to precisely modeling the renovations of a friend's kitchen to provide visuals before the construction began. It's the most detailed model I've ever made, so it was the perfect model for me to experiment LayOut with.

I took a break during the session following and took another bike ride around. No crashes this time.

Right now, I'm waiting for "Cool SketchUp Stuff."

More to come. Pictures too.


Keynote & Partying.... Google Style

Last night, we entered Charlie's to see a totally different layout than what had been there for lunch:Cameron Sinclair gave the keynote. He leads a volunteer architect team that organizes volunteers to design and build new homes in disaster areas, like the tsunami and Katrina. All very very interesting. And he's a great speaker.

Then it was off to the BBQ where we sat with a college senior and two young architects from Oregon. My dad and I ended up playing 3 games of pool against some of the other guys there, too. A band, aptly named "The Experience" played.

En route to the restrooms, I noticed the live search projection. That is, in the lobby, a projector displays seemingly every search currently being put into Google. I tell you, it's extremly easy to get lost watching this list form... and every so often an entertaining one comes up. One of my favorites was "Best Brothels."


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Taking a break

I opted not to go to my 3rd session of the day. None of the choices appealed to me and, honestly, I needed a break. I actually instant messaged with Mrs. Rees for a moment before having a conversation with Jon, the guy running this whole thing. I had to pull away from my conversation with Mrs Rees because of it.

As I sit here and type under the tent, workers are putting the legs on an air hockey table, a pool table, and a ping pong table for tonight's dinner. There are two foosball tables too. So Google.

Google has hundreds of blue bikes that are everywhere. Find any one, ride it to wherever you want to go, then just leave it. So I picked up a bike and got going... only when I neared the road, I noticed there were no breaks. It took me a minute to realize that pedaling backwards, just like a bike with training wheels, stops the bike. Too bad I realized that after I almost crashed.

This afternoon, I did a session on using the Google products to advance your models followed by a session on building "Green." Both were very interesting for the most part...

Tonight is the Keynote followed by a BBQ and music.

Some thoughts and things:

Reporting from Kiev

This place is crazy. We showed up this morning and spent our time meeting "Googlers," other presenters, and attendees. The central quad of Google has a huge tent, a smaller sample tent, and a stage. Oh, and a Google "Micro-Kitchen".... a.k.a. free food. and lots of it. I met Jon and Allyson and spent most of the morning sitting with Allyson, Diego Matho, and Paul Moore. Diego and Paul are professors at Boston Architectural College and Diego is also a presenter (also under the control of Allyson.) We got a tour of campus (kinda) which included seeing Charley's Cafe, the three presentation rooms, the Presenter Ready Room, and some offices. Very cool.

Then lunch at Charley's. It's basically like the best college cafeteria I've ever seen... only this isn't college. The food at Google is hyped beyond belief.. the result: it's all true.

I'm now in a presentation discussing how to use the Google applications (Youtube, Blogger, 3d Warehouse, etc.) to promote your model. I know some of this stuff, but there's some amazing stuff I'm learning. It's SketchUp from every aspect possible... Google, marketing, and sales.

More to come. Pictures too.


Goog Morning

The spelling of this post was an accident, but I decided to leave it.

So it's 7:30 am and I'm adjusted to California time. At about 10 last night (1 EST) I began to crash and my, that was a deep sleep.

So I've woken up and after [complimentary] breakfast, (this hotel is, shall we say, "off the hook") it's off to Google for registration.

This'll be a long (THE longest) day of the stay, so I probably (maybe) won't be on the internet as much. After registration, there's the opening lunch at 11:45 at Charlie's Cafe (location #22), 3 workshops, a cocktail party for the SketchUp Education attendees (which apparently includes 29 students, of college age I presume. I'll follow up,) then the opening dinner with Keynote speaker Cameron Sinclair.

Should be fun :)


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

And touchdown, part II

Out we went again, to kill some time. We visited Stanford, had a smoothie and took some pictures (most of which I classify as "artsy" and used the DSLR for... so I won't upload them just yet)

Then to Chevys, an awesome mexican place. Then back to chill at the hotel more, then the essential california experience: In-N-Out Burger. I had a double double & fries animal style... and for a second dinner, it was pretty awesome. In-N-Out is a rival to Burgers Shakes and Fries... a winner yet to be declared.

That's all for tonight. Off to Google tomorrow :)


And touchdown

Where do I begin? Not having internet for the last 3 days thanks to a lightning bolt to the house did not make my life easy. Nevertheless, at 5:15 (EST) this morning I was up and by 6:30 we were out the door to JFK. An uneventful but long (can you say 6.5 hours?) flight ensued, then we touched down in San Jose at 3:15 (PST.)

Rental car? A red mustang. 'nuff said.

So we made our way to the hotel and that's where we are now...
Not much more news to report, but here are the pictures from today, thus far. Remember, it's only 3:15 PM so there's much more of the day left for photos here.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Blog time zone

Well, we're one day away and I've just changed this blog's time zone to Mountain Time, -7. I'll blog as often as possible.

I layed out most of my clothes last night despite a power surge that took down two of our computers, some outlets, and some lights for some reason. Fortunately, my laptop and files are fine.

More to come soon!


Sunday, June 8, 2008

So soon...

So Gaieus has made a communal Picasa Web Album for all attendees to post their pictures to. I'll try my best to post my pictures to MY picasa album and put the nify little slideshows on this blog. I'll post my best on the communal one, probably. Google has free wifi (cmon, it's google) but I don't know what my timing and availability will be.) I'm actually looking forward to meeting some of these people who I've only known as computer aliases or email contacts.

I received the Google Non-disclosure agreement via email a few days ago. Nothing to worry about, and it seems that we can still take pictures. Basically, if they announce to us that they're building nuclear bombs or something, it means I can't tell you. I would post it here, if it weren't labeled confidential. As discussed on the SketchUp Community Forums, it doesn't seem to be 3D Basecamp-specific. That is, anyone who visited the campus for any reason would have to sign it.

I guess I'll pack tonight, but it should be fun. Of the technological things I'm bringing, there's the laptop, my dad's Windows laptop (to work as a backup, if necessary,) at least 3, maybe 4 DSLRs and point-n-shoots between the two of us, and my portable external hard drive. The external hard drive (damn, I feel like a secret service person or something in the way I write this) will never be with me. During travel, it will always be on my dad or in another secure location. It's got, not only my entire laptop backed up, but also my presentation and such. Basically, it will be available if we run into computer issues.

I'm giving SketchUp until Tuesday night to post the outlines/handouts for the sessions (mine included.) Otherwise, I guess, I'll just put mine up here.

Incidentally, Monday is WWDC. That means Monday is the Steve Jobs keynote. 3G iPhone, anyone? That'll be going on all week in San Fransisco.

WWDC, 3DBC, and Digital Wave, all in one week! Can it get any geekier?

For the record, In-N-Out Burger is really close to both The Grand and Googleplex. YESSSSSS!

(the yellow marker is the hotel, the green marker is Googleplex and the little flames are In-N-Outs :)

View Larger Map


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"Making Your Mark with SketchUp" and more...

So an email was sent from the folks at Google containing this information about a week ago, but the email linked to some Google Docs, not the 3DBC website... oddly.

Enough time has passed and the links have been posted by others on the SketchUp Community Forums, so I figure it's public information now.

Making Your Mark with SketchUp
Friday, June 13, 9:15 - 10:00 AM
Room: Seville

In this presentation, Andrew will present his SketchUp models that have opened doors and attracted the attention of local press and government. Having been introduced to SketchUp in 7th grade, Andrew has created expansive models of his school campus and the Central Business District of Rye, NY. He used SketchUp for two summers as an intern in the Rye City Planning Department and presented to the City Council, as well as school administration, parents, and students. Andrew has channeled his interest in architecture and urban design through SketchUp and made a positive impact on his school and community. During the presentation, attendees will see how one computer program has brought new opportunities, challenges, and life skills to this 17-year-old high school student.
Edit: * Fixed link


6 Days

The presentation is done, the handout is done, school is done. I'll post them both on this site once they go public and/or after the actual presentation.

So basically, I'm absurdly excited for this. The idea of going to Google astounds me still. Going as a presenter and on their money is still distant. This might just be every geek's dream.

I wrote the presentation with some humor and zest. I've got a story to tell, not a product or tool to sell or show. I want to incorporate so many thing from SketchUp in terms of education to SketchUp's effect on one person's life.

In an email yesterday from the folks at Google, they wrote that they'll be recording all the presentations and putting them on YouTube. I'll be posting the link here once that happens.
They'll also have a "presenter ready room" ... I don't know. Thats cool.

If this post makes absolutely no sense, I'm sorry. My brain is... off :)


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Presenter bios are live
30 listed presenters... that's impressive

Click for larger image


13 Days More...

Well, that's assuming I did my math correctly.

The past few days, I've been checking the 3D Basecamp Website pretty compulsively -- my sources reported that the final schedule and presenter bios and things were going up last Friday. Now, I'm not impatient, nor am I yearning to see my own information up there, but, taking a step back, how often do you have your name and picture on a Google website? Kids, this is GOOGLE we're talking about... I don't know, maybe it's just me.

Anyway, I checked today, and the sidebar of the site now has these links: (see right)

See that one that says "Presenter Bios" ?? It's brand new.

One problem, though:

Ah, well, paciencia y fe...

I did, however, get an email from one of my contacts at Google today. In short,
  • "Your session will [be] from 9:15-10am on Friday, June 13th."
  • "The session has been extended 45 minutes ... feel free to include lots of material and allow 5-10 minutes for Q&A"
Now all I have to do is write this presentation... Easier said than done. Maybe I should be doing that instead of blogging... oh, and there's that English essay (grrr.) Hey, only 4 more days of school, though!


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wesleyan Commencement

Barak Obama giving Wesleyan University commencement speech, "pinch hitting" for Ted Kennedy. Sitting on Foss Hill with 5,000 others (10,000 were seated on the field below.) Sunburn. What a day, what a speaker.


Thursday, May 8, 2008


My hope is to add little bits of info once they've set in and/or become public. Here's a little accumulation of 3D Basecamp-related:

1. Over the past week, I've been in contact with the folks at Google regarding what the presentation will cover. I'll post the description I was asked to write up once it goes public on their website.

2. They asked me for a headshot and bio, both things I didn't have. Mr. Gillies helped me out and professionally shot some pictures of me one warm morning this week. Over the course of 24 hours, I also came up with a half-page bio. Not too bad... [I'll also put them up here once they show up on the Google 3d Basecamp website.

3. My dad and I've dealt with Google's travel agent people who are great. jetBlue. Extra legroom seats (only $20 each, but probably worth it)... We'll be flying out on Tuesday and coming back Saturday. That means one day of Digital Wave '08!

4. Oh, and apparently I've been bumped from a 20-minute section of a bigger presentation scheduled for Thursday to a solo presentation on Friday. Yikes.

This whole thing has begun to give me a little glimpse into Google life. I'll show it more later, but all the people at Google have extremely non-corporation-like email signatures. One guy's is a quote from Almost Famous, another woman has a quotation from Frida Kahlo. Once I'm out there, I'll experience it firsthand (and post the pictures here,) but it just goes to show how different life at Googleplex must be in comparison to so many other businesses.

More to come soon.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Still Comprehending...

  • Congratulations: to junior Andrew Nathanson, who has been invited by Google to be a presenter at the Google SketchUp 3D "Base Camp" Conference. Andrew is quite an expert on the 3D graphics program SketchUp, and being asked to present is an honor and clear recognition of his accomplishments. Many of you may have seen his video renderings of the town of Rye, and of the RCDS campus.
RCDS E-Notes.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What A Day

This morning, I drove to school, parked in the lot, and trekked into school. Two hours into the morning, I gave my speech for President of the Senior Class. That should have been the biggest thing of the day. Too bad.

During my free, I checked my email, like I so often do. A message with the subject line "Could you please stop by and see me :-)" from Mr. Bartels. Figuring it was about my Architecture Independent Study, but never sure, I scampered down to the tech center. No one. It was later that I realized Mr. Bartels was teaching AP Computer Science during that block (ironically, only because I had previously dropped that class)

About half an hour later, I was getting ready to go to math when Mr. Bartels found me and brought me back to his office.

"I have good news and bad news, which do you want first?" he asked. "Bad news"
was my answer.

"You have a lot of work ahead of you, and some work and time demands."

"Ok. And the good news?"

I don't quite remember the next few sentences, let alone minutes. Everything began to blur. The conversation, paraphrased, went something like this:

"I submitted your resume to SketchUp and they would like you to present at 3D Basecamp in June. Air travel and hotel expenses paid."

*Blank stare.*

"What?" ...the only question I could think of.

"The only catch," Mr. Bartels continued, "is you'll need an adult to travel with you. Their expenses will be paid for by Google too."

"No way."

Thus began my day. That is, thus began my day being on cloud 9. Even as I write this summary, it still hasn't sunken in.

After Math, I headed over to the Performing Arts Center, one of the few places where you can "illegally" use your cell phone without being caught. I called my dad at the office first. He picked up and was ecstatic. I called my mom on her cell, had a poor connection, but after two tries was able to relay the basic information of the day. All in all the conversation summed up the day: "Remember the SketchUp conference I wanted to go to? Remember how you joked that I could go if they paid for me? Well they are!"

The rest of the day was a blur. I spent my afternoon free and Choir clutching a printout, the first page of which is how I introduced the situation to friends and teachers. I held the paper out and said, "Read this."

Hello Fred,

I'm happy to say we'd love it if Andrew would present at our 3D Base Camp. He would need to have an adult accompany him. We would pay travel and lodging expenses for both. If you could put me in touch with Andrew, we can work out the details on everything, including what he will actually present. The team here is quite excited to hear Andrew's story. Thanks for recommending him.
June 11-13. Mountain View, CA. Googleplex. Holy shit*.

More to come...

*pardon the language. In my opinion, it is warranted.