Stickin’ it to da man

I voted early, but I didn’t use one of those creepy touchscreen voting machines. I got a paper ballot instead.

Yes, I know that California isn’t using the Diebold machines (my county is using AVC Edge). But I still think we need a better electronic voting system. I am biased towards David Chaum’s Votegrity system, probably because I think using blinded signatures is a slick technique for an e-voting system.

If you want to learn more about David Chaum’s scheme but don’t have a PhD in math, check out “Tilting at the Ballot Box” from the September issue of Business 2.0 (local mirror).

Until we get a real electronic voting system, I’m going to stick to the paper ballots.

McWireless

mcdonalds-wifi.gif Ariella and I are at McCafe on El Camino Real in Palo Alto. She’s preparing materials for a lecture she’s giving this week, and I’m writing annual performance reviews for my team. If you buy a coffee drink (I got an Americano for $1.45) you get a free hour of wireless internet access. 802.11b/g network is provided by WayPort.

According to the Bandwidth Place’s Speed Test, I’m getting 316 kilobits/second. Not bad.

I am pleasantly surprised to report that the coffee is pretty good, too. And their baristas don’t seem to have the same angst that I expereience so frequently at Starbucks. And they even bring the coffee directly to your table!

I’m not thrilled about giving my business to McDonald’s (they have a bad track record for being vegetarian-friendly) but I just can’t complain about this place. Their Chipotle mexican fast food chain is also quite good.

That’s a lot of chili peppers!

One of the many dishes I did not eat tonight:

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Looks like it was 50% beef, 50% chili peppers. The entire conference (over 100 engineers) went out to dinner after a pretty full day of presentations. They stuck the two vegetarians (me and Tej) at the same table and gave us over a dozen dishes, but still managed to put another two dozen meat dishes on the table for the other 8 folks.

The schedule is pretty packed tomorrow, and I’m speaking again on Thursday, so it looks like I won’t get to do any sightseeing until Friday.

In Beijing

I’m in Beijing and checked into the hotel. Extremely nice place. Complimentary broadband Internet.

Air China flight 984 from LAX ended up being delayed 12 hours due to mechanical problems. It’s a real bummer, since I was supposed to give a “Platform Overview” talk at the conference this morning, but I missed the entire first day. I’ve been rescheduled to speak tomorrow morning.

Ironically, as I cleared immigration, I heard over the loudspeaker that United Airlines flight 889 from SFO had just arrived.