Geek out with computer artifacts

Geek out with computer artifacts

Have you ever visited the ‘Birthplace of Silicon Valley”? The HP garage is a national landmark, at 367 Addison Ave, in Palo Alto. Unfortunately it does not offer a public tour.

Replica of the HP garage and workbench, StanfordIf you really wonder what it was like to work in the garage you should go visit Stanford’s Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center. On what they call the terrace level, I would refer to as the basement, is a replica of the HP garage and workbench. This replication illustrates the size of the workplace and feels like a homage to the first tech-founders out of Stanford. The chairs and the table inside weren’t part of the garage, but they are a great way to collaborate with fellow students and let your creativity flow, like Hewlett and Packard did back in their days.

Other artifacts in the Engineering Center include Yahoo’s motherboard, the geometric engine chip (necessary to render 3D graphics), the Intel 4004 (the first microprocessor) and NVIDIA’s first GPU (the GeForce 256). All on the first floor.

The first Google storage server, StanfordMy personal favorite is the first Google storage server (on the terrace level). The case is made out of Lego’s and it is said that Google’s affinity for primary colors came from the building blocks color scheme.

All these exhibits remind us that Stanford’s engineering department has a longstanding history of enabling successful companies.

Stanford Engineering HerosYou can pick up a copy of the Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center self-guided tour at the computer kiosk located at the first floor lobby or in suite 135. One hour tours of the Engineering Quad are offered 3-4 times a week and require reservations (



What is your favorite computer artifact?

Sit by the Stone River

Sit by the Stone River

Andy Goldsworthy’s sculptures in San Francisco’s Presidio are well known and worth seeking out. But did you know that Silicon Valley has one of his nature sculptures?

Andy Goldsworthy’s Stone River at Stanford UniversityAcross from the Anderson Collection at the Stanford University you can sit in the park and enjoy a picnic, while you marvel at the snake like sculpture. Goldsworthy’s Stone River. It took about 128 tons of material to build in one month. During his work on Stone River, Goldsworthy has also created a “heap of pieces with grasses and leaves” just a few yards away from the sculpture.Andy Goldsworthy’s Stone River at Stanford University

Every third Sunday, at 11:30 a.m. there is a free 1 ½ hour docent led tour for the outdoor sculptures. Tours start at the front of the Cantor Arts Center.


Have you walked along the Stone River?


Claim Women’s History month

Claim Women’s History month

I hope you all celebrated the International Women’s Day. Just one day? you thought. No, women get a whole month! [insert sarcastic comments here]

Nevertheless I think it is important to celebrate the diverse and beautiful females all around us. I have compiled some options for you.


Raging GranniesA Woman’s Fight – exhibit of 100+ years history of The Women’s International League For Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and its Palo Alto Chapter, and a tribute to the Raging Grannies. Ends March 24th.

The California History Center at De Anza College

Tuesday-Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to noon, 1:00-4:00 p.m. and Friday by appointment.



Sheroes! – A powerful poster exhibit focuses on female heroes.

Foothill College, Campus Center Dining Room (Room 2201)



Women’s History Tour

March 25th, 10 a.m.

Free tour by the Mountain View Cemetery

5000 Piedmont Avenue

Oakland, CA 94611

(510) 658-2588


Edit-a-thon – edit, update and add articles on Wikipedia

Less than 10% of contributors of Wikipedia are females, here is when this changes.


March 11th, 10am – 4:30pm

Bowes Art & Architecture Library, Stanford University


March 13th, 11 am – 2 pm

MLK Library, San Jose, CA


March 21, 1pm – 6pm

UC Berkeley


Are you going to any Women’s History events in the Bay Area?


You decide: Rodin vs. Papua New Guinea

You decide: Rodin vs. Papua New Guinea

Stanford is famous for their large Rodin collection. In fact the bronze collection with over 200 pieces is amongst the largest in the world. Two of the best known sculptures are  ‘The Gates of Hell’ and ‘The Thinker’. You can admire them inside and outside the Cantor Arts Center. They also offer docent lead tours Wednesdays at 2 pm, Saturdays at 11:30 am, and Sundays at 3 pm, rain or shine. Meet in the main lobby. Learn more

The two gates of hell at Stanford University

A different display of art is the New Guinea Sculpture Garden. As a modern / tribal collaboration project they mixed traditional stories with modern ideas. When they learned about the famous Rodin sculptures one of the artist proclaimed: ‘”I can do this – even better!’ Their versions of ‘The Gates of Hell” and ‘The Thinker’ can be found among a multitude of other sculptures.

Which is the better version will be in the eye of the beholder.  If you are willing to judge or explore you can find the garden on the corner of Lomita and Santa Teresa.  They also do a tour every third Sunday at 2 pm.
Which artist do you prefer?

Soundsuit up!

Soundsuit up!

When I saw pictures of the new exhibit at the Anderson Collection at Stanford I was confused. Nick Cave an artist, okay. But these colorful costumes from the man I knew who ‘really didn’t want you to know about a girl’. (Watch Wim Wenders movie Wings of Desire, if you are not sure what I’m talking about or this clip on YouTube)

Of course there are two famous Nick Cave! They even met, at least once, in New York.

SoundsuitWell this Nick Cave is a dancer, a collector and an artist. The suits are whimsical, they contain a lot of things he found in flea markets. But they also hide the person, they are true color-blind.

Nick Cave created his first soundsuit after the Rodney King beating. From twigs he collected in a park, where he tried to reflect on the beating and the riots that followed the police officers acquittal, he  made a sculpture that would strike him as a “second skin”. “I started thinking about the role of identity, being racially profiled, feeling devalued, less than, dismissed.”Cave said.  While the first one is not wearable, it striked the creator as a form of armor. He liked the sound the twigs made, so he named it Soundsuit.Two Soundsuits

There are eight Soundsuits and a video installation where people actually dance in the suits, that you can scrutinize at the Anderson until August 2017.

Just to see them is impressive.

What is your costume?

Presidential digs

Presidential digs

view from the hoover towerStanford’s most iconic structure is the Hoover tower. The observation platform on the 14th floor is a nice place to comfortably see the whole campus and beyond, even for someone who is afraid of heights.

The entrance hall showcases the careers of Herbert  Hoover, 31st President of the US, on one side, and his wife, Lou Henry Hoover, on the other. Both were alumni of Stanford. The entrance fee is $3. For more information you can visit the Stanford site:


docking for the USS PotomacAnother presidential dig is a bit harder to spot since it is a floating fully functional ship. The Potomac used to be called the floating White House for President Roosevelt. He apparently hated flying and used this accommodation quite often. Like I mentioned it is still in service, you can rent it or take a cruise, so it wasn’t available on my recent visit to Oakland. To check availability, visit their website:


Do you know of other presidential digs in the Bay Area?

Transport yourself to Arizona

Transport yourself to Arizona

Why Stanford’s Arizona Garden a blooming cactusis also called Cactus Garden is quite obvious when you come closer. Here are more than 500 species of cacti and succulent. In fact, these species are from around the world, not just local to Arizona.


I was there when some of them were in bloom; what a spectacular site!


While lizards are native they tend to be rare to find, but here you have a great chance to see them. We saw at least three on our little excursion.

another cactusYou can find this free garden between Campus Drive and Arboretum Road. It  is a bit of a hidden treasure; when I asked about this in the visitor center, the students had to ask around to find out where it was.


Have you ever been to this garden?  What did you think?


Do you have another favorite public garden?