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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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GPS guru explains its immense capability in Rotary Club of Los Altos appearance


John Hammerschmidt/ Special to the Town Crier
Frank van Diggelen, an expert on GPS, addresses the Rotary Club of Los Altos Oct. 24.

That tiny global positioning system chip in cellphones has had a big impact on society, according to GPS expert Frank van Diggelen, Ph.D., who appeared at the Rotary Club of Los Altos meeting Oct. 24.

Van Diggelen is senior technical director at Global Navigations Satellite Systems, chief navigation officer at Broadcom Corp. and consulting professor at Stanford University, where he teaches a graduate course on GPS. He holds 69 U.S. patents and won the Institute of Navigation’s Thurlow Award for outstanding contribution to the science of navigation in 2010.

We are living through a huge technology transition that allows access to navigation, formerly limited to the elite, to the general population, van Diggelen said, a shift equivalent to the development of the printing press in the 1500s, which brought literacy to the masses, or the development of computers in the 1980s, which made personal computing available to the general public. Smartphones produced since the first 3G iPhone have GPS capability linked to the 32 satellites now in orbit, he added.

Satellite navigation began when Sputnik was launched in 1957, van Diggelen said. It broadcast radio signals that reached Earth in 70 milliseconds. The time delay and Doppler effect could be measured to establish locations on the planet. The U.S. Navy built the first GPS for Polaris submarines. Satellites’ atomic clocks keep time accurately to a billionth of a second. There is just one line of code in smartphones that establishes their GPS location, van Diggelen said.

In geoscience today, fixed reference stations measure crust motion on Earth accurately to millimeters. A receiver near Stanford University indicates that the Los Altos area moves northwest 3 inches per year, van Diggelen noted.

He predicts a “big future” that includes GPS forensics to prove where a person’s cellphone is located at any time, and autonomous vehicles that communicate other vehicles’ positions for safe, automatic driving. With GPS, even “economically efficient” traffic lights may become available.

“How much are you prepared to pay for green lights?“ van Diggelen asked the Rotarians.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

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