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Showing posts from March, 2011

Carriers are not ready for tablets

This week I spent at least two hours on the phone trying to convince both AT&T and Verizon to give me online access to accounts I set up for tablets that I am testing -- the Samsung Galaxy Tab (AT&T) and Motorola Xoom (Verizon). They are both great devices; I like the Galaxy Tab's form factor (like a paperback book) and the Xoom is incredibly fast. But it is clear that the wireless carriers have no idea how to incorporate these devices into their billing and customer service ecosystem. It was such a painful and frustrating experience that I wonder how the cellular carriers expect to leverage these devices as more tablets come onto the market.

First, my story with AT&T. I bought the Galaxy Tab a few months ago which came with an AT&T SIM card pre-installed. When you boot the device for the first time, there's a widget which takes you to a registration page, which I filled out to activate the tablet on AT&T's network. Since then I have not received a bill …

Thinking back on 8 years in Boston

Tomorrow I will be packing up and moving from Boston to Seattle with my family. I thought now would be a good time to reflect on living in Boston as a city and recall some of my best memories here.

I've never lived in Seattle, though have been there many times -- it seems like a wonderful city, full of funky crazy people and absolutely beautiful geography. I'm not terribly excited about the rainy weather, though something tells me it can't be any worse than the Boston winters, when I always feel cooped up. I really miss getting out to go hiking with the dog or mountain biking during the winter months in New England -- and now that I have a kid it's especially hard to get out when it's well below freezing outside (he has a lot lower tolerance for the winter weather than I do). Rain I can deal with; negative 20 wind chills and a foot and a half of snow are something different altogether.

On finishing grad school at Berkeley in 2002, I had a few faculty job offers, and …

Running a successful program committee

Yesterday we held the program committee meeting for the 13th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems (HotOS), for which I am serving as the program chair. This is the premier workshop in the OS community and focuses on short (five page) position papers meant to bring out exciting new research directions for the field. In some years it has been more exciting than others. What tends to happen is that people send five-page versions of an SOSP submission they are working on, which (in my opinion) is not the best use of this venue. When HotOS becomes an SOSP preview I think it misses an important opportunity to discuss new and crazy ideas that would not make it into a regular conference.

We accepted 33 out of 133 submissions. The number of accepted papers is a bit higher in previous years because I wanted to be more inclusive, but also recognized that we could fit more presentations in at the workshop when you don't have 25-minute talk slots. There is no reason a 5-page paper needs…