MacWorld Expo 2014

MacWorld Expo 2014After scoring a FREE floor pass for MacWorld/iWorld Expo 2014 from MacKeeper (thanks!), I went up to San Francisco to check things out. I’ve been to the 2006 and 2007 expos when Apple was still the centerpiece exhibitor, and the 2009 expo when exhibitors shifted away from the Mac to the iPhone (the name “iWorld” got added in 2011). Crisscrossing the North Hall floor of the Moscone Center for two hours, my impression of the post-Apple expo haven’t changed at all since 2009: “Meh…”

When Apple was still at the expo, I dropped 50+ business cards into the fish bowls and brought home two plastic bags of promotional swag (most of which ended up in the trash). This time around I dropped two business cards into fish bowls, scanned my badge for two contests, and took home several promotional fliers. On the bright side, I’m not going to get 50+ phone calls from sales people when I interrupted their sales pitch to ask if I won anything, found out that I had no interest in buying their product, and then hang up.

The seventh anniversary of the iPhone introduction at the 2007 expo came earlier this year when I still haven’t gotten an iPhone. That changed several weeks ago when I picked up an iPhone 5c at the Valley Fair Apple Store. What finally pushed me over the edge to get an iPhone was finding a solution to my job search problem: I had phone numbers on my dumb cellphone and email addresses on my MacBook from recruiters, but no easy way to put the two together into a unified contact list. The iPhone brought the two together and LinkedIn provided all the recruiter-related info.

The only thing that caught my attention at the expo was a waterproof iPhone case by Optrix inside a five-gallon fish tank. The iPhone video outputted to a big screen monitor above the fish tank to demonstrate the underwater clarity. The person demoing the product conceded that the water was cloudy (looks like dust from unwashed gravel), showing me the crystal clear video taken from underwater in a swimming pool. I would love take videos of my tropical fishes from inside the tank as they’re very camera-shy if take pictures and videos from outside the tank.

The Metreon has undergone quite a few changes since my last visit when I came up to the City to see “The Dark Knight Rises” in July 2012. Target occupies the second floor, AMC Metreon 14 on the third floor, and the fourth floor, where I saw “Titanic—The Exhibition” in 2006, remain reserved for special events. The circular food court got cut in half to three restaurants, and all the other restaurants now had street entrances for people to get food without wandering through the building. The double cheese bacon hamburger at Super Duper Burgers was incredible for lunch, and the best part of going to San Francisco.

Death Knell At The Century Domes

Century 22 DomesThe first time I went to the Century Domes on Winchester Boulevard was see “Star Wars” when it first came out in 1977 and before it exploded as a cultural phenomena. My aunt took my cousin and I to see a weekday matinée showing. The massive parking lot was empty except for a few cars. We had the entire theater to ourselves. That was thirty-seven years ago. The Century Domes today are heading for the dustbin of history unless the Century 21 dome gets a historical landmark designation by city, state and federal authorities.

The Century Domes are twentieth-century buildings that preservationists are trying to save. The Retro Dome (a.k.a., Century 25) at Westgate Mall got demolished last year, which showed classic movies like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” and now plays at the Century 21 dome. The Century 24 dome, down the street from the Century 21/22/23 domes on Winchester, recently got torn down, which showed all the movies destined to die at the box office (a very reliable indicator). The remaining domes are next for the wrecking crew.

The families that own the nearby Winchester Mystery House and the land underneath the Century Domes for the last 90 years refused to renew the 50-year lease for the theaters and sought out a developer to revitalize the property. I’m surprised they didn’t try to sell the land. The 11.6-acre property is prime real estate in the heart of Silicon Valley. With the movie crowd watching movies at modern multiplex theaters around the south bay, this area was long overdue for a major change.

The developer for Santana Row across the street, which was the home of the Town & Country Village movie theater before it got razed in 2001, has acquired the new lease. Expect more of the same with mixed-development (i.e., ground-level retail space built from concrete and four-story housing from wood) and seven-story office buildings (the flight paths of nearby airports prohibits skyscrapers in Silicon Valley).

The Flames restaurant, formerly Bob’s Big Boy back in the day, will get demolished to square out the property in front. A small senior citizen mobile home park that I didn’t even know existed behind the Winchester Mystery House and Century 23 theater may get rezoned for development, which is a serious issue for these senior citizens as mobile home parks are disappearing from owners selling out to developers. I very much doubt that a multiplex movie theater would go into that location. The developer for Valley Fair Mall floated a proposal to build one down the street from the Century Domes that died without a whimper.

My friend and I stopped going to the Century Domes after the Borders bookstore closed at Santana Row in 2011. Without a convenient hangout spot, there was no reason to go there. We will be attending the Retro Dome movie, “Raiders of The Lost Ark,” which played for a whole year at Century 21 when it first came out in 1981, on March 30th at 7:00PM. Never mind that we saw “Raiders” when it came out on the IMAX screen a few years ago. This movie is a fitting tribute to a piece of Americana that may disappear soon.

Hiring Managers Are Wasting My Time

Free To WorkAs a favor to a recruiter, I went to a job interview at a startup company in North San Jose to gather more information on the position in question. The HR department wanted someone with desktop experience in rolling 300+ systems, setting up cubicles and doing occasional phone support. A perfect match to my resume. The last candidate who interviewed ran out when the hiring manager presented a different job description. According to a recent Monster article, this was the number one job search lie when a company can’t agree on the same job description.

When I sat down for my job interview, the first thing that the hiring manager told me was that he hated my four-page resume. That didn’t surprise me. Recruiters and databases love my four-page resume, chronicling my 15+ years of misadventures in Silicon Valley. Hiring managers, not so much. I do have a two-page resume with the last three years on the front page and a summary of past positions, education and certifications on the back page. I haven’t found a right balance for this particular problem.

Although I offered him a copy of the two-page resume, the hiring manager didn’t what to see it. What he really wanted to see was a one-page resume because he didn’t like to read. That’s an interesting attitude. Most tech professionals, especially those going after certifications, have to read volumes of technical data to become proficient in their field. I’m always fascinated when I run into people who are tech-savvy but don’t like to read. That seems like an oxymoron to me.

Who in Silicon Valley looks for a job with a one-page resume?

High school and college graduates. The 18- to 25-year-old demographic was probably what the hiring manager wanted to hire. Get them young and cheap by dangling the pre-IPO carrot in their face. Being the young and the restless in this economy, they have no clue of what they are getting into and will run the treadmill for an elusive carrot.

A pre-IPO as a recruitment inducement doesn’t mean squat to me. The last pre-IPO I went though started off at $20 USD per share in 1999 and dwindled down to $0.20 USD per share in 2001 during the Dot Com Bust. With 15+ years of technical experience, I did have enough experience to go after the hiring manager’s job and get in line for a bigger slice of the pre-IPO pie. Another reason not to hire old farts like myself.

After I spent ten minutes explaining what I did for the last three years, the hiring manager told me that he wanted a person to do phone support exclusively, provide encyclopedic answers to technical questions, and hit the ground running without any training. Like the previous candidate before me, this was where we parted ways.

This wasn’t the first time that a hiring manager pulled a bait-and-switch on the job description—and usually for less pay. One company lured me into an interview for a $25 USD per position and interviewed me for a $15 USD per hour position. I walked out. It didn’t help matters that the hiring manager assistant accidentally emailed me the salary spreadsheet that showed everyone making an average $10 USD per hour.

The recruiter wasn’t pleased to hear that hiring manager wasted our time. This feedback will go back to the HR department at the startup company, where the hiring manager will get upbraided for wasting everyone’s time. Maybe, maybe not. Startup companies tend to breed peculiar people who are unlikely to change, especially when a pre-IPO carrot in front of them.

When Godzilla Comes To San Francisco

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According to this Snickers candy bar commercial, Godzilla is a regular guy. (I’m assuming that Godzilla is a “guy,” although the 1998 American movie with Matthew Broderick turned “him” into an asexual iguana.) He flirts with the girls at the beach, rides an ATV on a dirt course, can slam down a Ping-Pong ball like a Japanese master, and becomes the center of the party. Unless he gets hungry, grows to skyscraper height, and starts trashing the place. His friends unwrap a Snicker candy bar to throw into his mouth, returning him to regular guy size and everyone watches him go water skiing.

With the new Godzilla movie coming out in May, I’ve been trying to avoid any pre-release news (i.e., I’ll see the trailer if it appears at the movie theater). Alas, my roommate is the biggest Godzilla fan in the world. Any Godzilla-related news that hits the Internet gets repeated to me within minutes. This week’s news trend is what the brand new Godzilla toys say about the forthcoming movie.

The synopsis for the movie has Godzilla traveling from Japan, stomping through San Francisco, and getting wasted in Las Vegas. When he does come to San Francisco, we can give him some Snickers and send him down to Los Angeles for a thorough stomping. Las Vegas is only a short stroll through the desert from the burning City of Angles.

The Thing About Emma Watson’s Thong

Emma Watson At The OscarsWhen I heard the news that Emma Watson sported a see-through dress and a thong on the red carpet at the Oscars, I had to groan and shake my head. But, being the huge Hermione Granger fan that I am, I did check out the pictures. The back of the dress was a see-through from top to bottom, the top being more so than the bottom. I don’t think I would have noticed that the bottom was a see-through unless someone told me. I was quite relieved not to see the triangle of the thong peeking out from underneath.

As a young computer technician many years ago, I had a woman co-worker who was always flashing her thong at me. I could not look away from my computer screen without noticing that her T-shirt and jeans had parted ways as she bent over to do something near my cube. A tiny triangle of cloth rested above her bare ass cheeks. Everyday she wore a different thong. I don’t think I ever saw the same thong twice. That went on for a year.

One day we had lunch together in the cafeteria when most of our coworkers who would normally join us were out sick. Somehow we started talking about her collection of thongs. Somehow I mentioned that I wasn’t a thong kind of guy. Somehow things remained awkward between us for the rest of the day.

The thong has no appeal to me. I’m a big fan of the well-defined bikini tan with a full bikini covering front and rear with enough fabric for four or five thongs. (Bikini top, underarm hair and being French were optional.) Since I grew up in the 1970’s with the Coppertone Girl appearing on numerous billboards and reading my father’s Playboy magazines from underneath the bathroom sink, the sexist media of my formative years may have influenced my tastes in young women’s behind.

You can guess what happened after my co-worker and I had that conversation.

She started wearing low-cut panties that covered her bare ass cheeks from side to side while revealing her plumber’s crack. Everyday she wore different panties. I don’t think I ever saw the same panties twice. That went on for another year. After we were both lay off from that particular job, I never had to worry about thongs and panties ever again. Sexual harassment and political correctness seminars eliminated such flirtatious behavior in the corporate work environment.

I always wondered what her motives were for flashing her underwear at me. I doubted she wanted a quick fling in the office supply closet. Maybe I was a special challenge because I didn’t respond to her flirting like the other guys did, and acted like a professional by ignoring her outrageous behavior. Although I could have taken advantage of her (and she might have let me), I didn’t want to have that kind of trouble at work. If she had a well-defined bikini tan, things might have been different.