June 2013

Below, Heidi offers her impression of the show... but first, we have a winner! The gentleman below won our iPAD drawing at IMS 2013. Thanks to all who stopped by the EverythingRF/Microwaves101 booth! No that's not me in the bag.

Here's an alleged picture of me, maybe its time to drink more of that foul-tasting Ensure...

The sign below wins the 2013 IMS spell-check-fail competition. Thanks to David, a true friend of Microwaves101 for many years, for "pointeg" this one out! Let's all work this competition in 2014.

One further comment: the free gift supplied by the MTT-S (battery pack for charging cell phones) just about caught on fire when we connected it to an iPAD while watching a movie. I would be in favor of IMS not supplying a free gift, and using the money that is saved to provide a scholarship.

Now, on to the newby editor, let's see if she learned how to write at the prestigious yet economical U of A....

Who am I?

My dad is the Unknown Editor so I guess that makes me the Unknown Daughter. If you scanned my badge at IMS, it read: "Marketing Specialist for Microwaves101.com". This is just a fancy way of saying that I'm in charge of entertaining the 60 Facebook fans of the Unknown Editor and deleting inappropriate tweets that the UE sends out on Twitter (@unknowneditor).

(UE note.... when do I get my own LinkedIn account???)

Why I attended IMS 2013

MW101 was given the opportunity to go to IMS this year as an exhibitor. This was really exciting but the UE had to work at his day-job booth. There aren't many people on the payroll at MW101 (it's a mom and pop shop, literally) and my brother was "busy", as in, "not interested in donating free labor". But I was happy to tag along. I'm about to graduate college with my BS and I love seeing these types of industry events. My parents also bribed me with a free ticket to Seattle and a large budget for eating seafood.

The booth

My mom and I sat at the MW101 booth talking to people as they came by. We had a giant glass bowl of chocolates to lure people in with. We also had a WWII frequency meter at our table that brought smiles from older gentlemen who said they recognized the device. I think the meter was totally worth lugging around the airport to get it to Seattle but I probably only say that because the UE is the one who carried it, not me. With so many international attendees at IMS, my mom got a chance to speak German to some folks. She taught me how to say “Ich kann kein Deutsche sprechen” which is a worthy addition the only phrase I learned in Munich a few years ago, “Sprechen ze Deutsche?” I reciprocated by trying to teach her some Spanish.

(UE: a full and first-hand description of how the WWII Signal Corps Frequency Meter and Crystal Grinding Unit operate is located here).

The good/bad/ugly

The good

1. I was seriously impressed with the ways advertising is done at IMS. They had everything from sponsored coffee breaks in the exhibition halls to giant customer appreciation parties at Gameworks (thanks AWR!) The two other professional conferences I attended this year (one being another engineering-type conference) were nothing like this. IMS had free drinks everywhere you looked which I thought was great!

2. I was able to sneak away from the booth long enough to see Dr. James Rautio’s microapp talk about Maxwell and the four scientists who saved his theories. Dr. Rautio even had a few impersonations up his sleeve. I've never seen anyone who appreciates Maxwell so much. If I find this talk on YouTube I may just have to send it off to my electromagnetism professor from a few years back. (UE: you can find snippets of Dr. Rautio's speeches on YouTube, this one has the deathbed scene.... it is a crime against electrical engineering that Sonnet hasn't paid a production crew to produce a "real" video of this talk!)

The bad

This may have me sounding like a terrible college student, but I drank too much of that free booze. Or does this make me a good college student? There was even a point in which they wheeled portable bars into the exhibition hall with free wine and beer for everyone. Who was trying to kill me? I had never seen anything like this and didn't know what else to do but to accept all the free drinks in sight.

The ugly

1. Waking up Thursday morning was ugly after all of those free drinks. I guess to be fair, this is my own fault.

2. This applies to much more than IMS, but there were very few women at this event. This is hard for me to wrap my mind around because of how I was raised. When I was growing up, I didn't notice I was a girl. I mean, I had long hair and played with dolls but my brother and I were never treated differently from each other by my parents. We were both given the same Pokemon trading cards after we finished a marathon of chores. (UE: "marathon"=gross misrepresentation of the facts...) On the topic of what I wanted to do when I grew up, I never heard things like, "you can still be whatever you want to be, even though you're a girl".  I was simply told, "you can be whatever you want to be". My parents were also pretty good about diverting my grandmother from telling me how important it is to marry a rich man to have any chance of a good life.

It wasn't until I got to college that I started to realize this isn't how everyone is. I've done a few internships and while it was a different everywhere, there were always an overwhelming number of males. Are girls just not interested in STEM? Or, is it still common to have the idea that girls don't belong in STEM roles? Once, as a student employee, an older engineer gentlemen told me that it was a shame that I would never fully understand what engineering was about because “the female brain has been scientifically proven to be less capable than the brain of a male”. I laughed at him because I thought he was joking but he made it clear that he was being serious. (UE: old, creepy-ass crackers eventually go to jail or die off and you get to take over.... even if they have PhDs.)

Memorable things strangers said to me

"I just wanted to say, I love your site!"
I would just say “thank you” to comments like this, as if I have anything to do with the hundreds of pages of content that has been written over the past 14 years. By the end of the show, I realized that this site has reached a wide variety of people. Our badge scanner told us that we talked to people from 20 unique countries. It was really cool to hear the different ways people appreciate the site from all over the world.

"You helped me get through college! Thank you!"
Mr. UE is helping me get through college too, both financially and sometimes with my Circuits homework. He hasn't been able to help with Arduino programming, though. And he emails me questions on integration more than the other way around. Side note: my mom is really good at catching grammatical errors in my papers. (UE: guess who fixed them all this time Pumkin?)

"Your dad is the Unknown Editor?? Wow! What was it like growing up with him for a father?"
Haven't you heard that old expression about everyone having their own "normal"? My mom taught me how to cook, how to write (well, she tried to teach me how to write) and how to tell if a guy was bad news*. My dad taught me how to drive a manual transmission car, how to play pool and how to tie a tie. Although the UE has somewhat of an irreverent and inappropriate sense of humor, I think he and my mom helped my brother and me to develop a good perspective on life.  We all love to play bridge together, drink beer and argue about what the best kind of music is. That’s all normal stuff, right? I think my brother would agree that we love our parents for everything they've done for us.

*When I was 12, this advice generally ended with "they're all bad news, so stay away from boys".

"Are you the girl who got into that car accident?"
Two different people brought this up to me. It refers to an UE article from four years ago. Some of you have too good of a memory although I would like to take this opportunity to say I'm a much better driver today.

Seeing Seattle

We had some spare time after the conference but before our flight so we walked around the Pike Place market in downtown Seattle. We ate some delicious cod sandwiches, saw cheese being made and drank coffee at the first ever Starbucks. It's interesting that the first Starbucks is nothing like what they created with the brand today. There was no cafe, no wifi and nowhere to even sit. They had only coffee and expensive specialty mugs that said "first store". I bought two of those mugs, so don’t judge me. Added together with the other mugs I received as gifts from vendors, my bag was a lot heavier coming back home.

Meanwhile back at the Cat Ranch...

While Mom, Dad, and I had fun in Seattle, my younger brother was in charge of watching my two cats. I was worried because he kept sending me photos like this one below. He is a just as funny as the UE sometimes, huh? Don’t worry, it turns out they're both alive and well. (UE: are you referring to me and Eric, or those two nasty fur-balls?)


I hope whatever comes after graduation (this upcoming December) allows me to come back to IMS 2014 in Tampa!


Check out the Unknown Editor's amazing archives when you are looking for a way to screw off for a couple of hours or more!