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Things I've Learned While Working at Verilab

I'm aware that from time to time some of you may venture past the confines of my blog over to the Verilab website (good for you!).  Once you get there, you may find yourself a bit underwhelmed.  Turns out, though we occasionally post new papers in the "downloads" section of the site, the site in general has suffered from a lack of TLC of late.  Since August, we've been working on remedying that, with a lot of effort having started just recently to develop content for a new and improved site, to be released within the next few months.

As part of that effort, I've been trying to come up with a compelling "Day in the Life" type story to add to the "Careers" section of the site.  I've had my share of interesting days working for Verilab, but as I started a trip down memory lane I realized that the most interesting part of my experience at Verilab isn't what happened to me on any one day, but instead, what I've learned while I've been here.  So, on that note, I thought I'd share with you a (somewhat incomplete) list of the interesting things I've learned while working at Verilab.

  • French gas stations don't always take US credit cards, and they definitely don't take American Express!
  • Diet Coke is not a recognized term in Germany, even though, based on the logo, you'd think it would be.
  • Police officers are nice during traffic stops in Monaco… in France, not so much.
  • Get to know a company's organizational structure as quickly as possible. Corporate web sites are a great place to start for photos… You never know when the CEO will drop in!
  • Being Scottish and being Irish are two entirely different things (unless, apparently, you're in a  pub)!
  • The proprietor of a Swiss mountain chalet is not the correct person for a novice to ask about the difficulty of the "easy" slopes.
  • Dallas has an extraordinarily large number of shopping malls.
  • Ticket machines for the TGV in France won't allow you to purchase a ticket for more than $300 Euros on an American credit card.
  • It only takes a little German (and a lot of gesticulating) to be able to give directions to a German-speaking Spaniard in Munich.
  • If someone asks if you're a god, you say yes! (Ok, you got me. That was from Ghostbusters, but they're still words to live by!)
  • It's best not to think about what's under those kilts. (PNSFW)
  • L'addition s'il vous plait. 'Le cheque', c'est quelque chose vraiment different!
  • The phrase "giant bug" makes (at least one) Scotsman laugh if said with an American accent.
  • The concept of Six Degrees of Separation really is true!
  • Dogs make fine office pets.
  • Booking hotels via Priceline.com or Hotwire.com sometimes works well… and sometimes doesn't.
  • Garage doors and roof mounted bike racks (with attached bikes) don't mix.  Use caution when driving home after a long out of town engagement!

Of course, there are a lot of technical things I could list here as well, but where's the fun in that?  I'll save that stuff for the offical Verilab site :-).