Went to watch a “Piano Drop” this evening at MIT Baker House. A semi-regular (based on availability of irreparable pianos) event, though none occurred during my four years there. I brought Clara and Tyler with me, thinking it would be a hoot for them. There were plenty of people there, news crews included, and a helicopter overhead for good measure.

Well, after all the build-up, it was honestly something of a disappointment (and it pains me to say so). They had two pianos, so it should have been spectacular — a grand piano on the ground, with an upright dropped on top of it from six stories up. In theory, practice should be more like theory. But in practice, it rarely is.

Here’s video from the original event, back in 1972. Thank goodness for the internet and YouTube, or I’d never have known what it’s supposed to look like.

A good part of the problem is that after 1984, they moved Amherst Alley (the street behind Baker House that runs parallel to Memorial Drive) away from the building. Subsequent drops (as far as I know) have been done on the Memorial Drive side, in other words, onto the ground instead of a hard surface. Ah well.

iPad, therefore iAm

I ordered an iPad the first day that Apple was taking orders. I thought (still thinkā€¦) it will make a great internet appliance for my elderly mom, who has no real experience with computers. Some of those characteristics that are perceived as negatives for techies I think will be positives for her. It has a great web browser, for an almost full internet experience (I will have to steer her away from, of course), a perfectly good email application, and there are already a bunch of apps for news, which she is feeling out of touch with. Having played with it for a day and a half (on and off), I am pretty impressed. On the down side, it feels a little heavy (compared to my iPod touch. What was I expecting?), and it won’t sync wirelessly, which is a shame, because she and my dad live downstairs, and that would make it just that much easier. On the plus side, it doesn’t multi-task ;-). The touchscreen is much easier to adapt to than a mouse. It just feels much simpler than a PC/Mac, which for my use case is a decided plus. I am now waiting for the keyboard dock, which should make it more comfortable to sit and type at before I give it to her, but I have added some music, photos, contacts, apps, etc. The on-screen keyboard is definitely usable, but the lack of tactile feedback is noticeable. We shall see…

Here are the obligatory, goofy un-boxing photos: