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These original Kirt's Cogitations™ may be reproduced (no more than 5, please) provided proper credit is given to me, Kirt Blattenberger.
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Cog·i·ta·tion [koj-i-tey'-shun] – noun: Concerted thought or
reflection; meditation; contemplation.
Kirt [kert] – proper noun: RF Cafe webmaster.
It is hard to believe, but the 2011 Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S), aka International Microwave Society (IMS) show has come and gone. Held at the Baltimore Convention Center from June 5-10, the show seemed to have attracted a large number of both participants and exhibitors. An official report will be published by MWJ in a couple weeks to provide the exact figures. According to the exhibit floor map, there were about 550 displays. It seems like more than at the IMS2009 show in Boston.
Melanie and I arrived Tuesday morning when the exhibit floor opened. We spent the entire day in a whirlwind roaming of the area, getting hundreds of photos of the event. This year I managed to capture pictures of every display case in the Historical Electronics Museum display - an awe-inspiring presence. There are also lots of photos of the crowd, so if you were there on Tuesday, you might just spot yourself in one of the pictures. Although it took many trips back to some of the RF Cafe vendor booths (didn't want to interrupt the staffers talking to potential customers), I believe I got photos of all their display booths. I even got a pic of one RF Cafe advertiser's roving booth - über microwave design consultant Lance Lascari, of RF Dude.
Thanks to Brent Campbell, at Z-Communications, for providing exhibit floor tickets to Melanie and me. Others offered, but he offered first, so Z-Comm gets the honorable mention!
Foot traffic was dense most of the day. Asked how the show was shaping up compared to the last couple years, most of the vendors remarked that while there were a lot of spectators, not as many seemed to be stopping to inquire about products - although they were sure to pick up the free handouts. I remember at the IMS2009 show the vendors said that a good portion of the inquiries were by salesmen and distributors looking to pick up product lines to represent, so maybe there was a lot of that going on here, too. Since we were not there beyond Tuesday, the scenario could have changed later in the week. Wednesday had free access to the exhibit floor, so maybe the crowd size grew the next day.
As with the IMS2009 show, I saw a handful of engineers I worked with at one company now working for a new company. I won't mention who changed from Company A to Company B. In about half the cases the companies were competitors... and now for the obvious follow-on statement... but the other half were not. A couple of the guys were actually manning the display booths for their newly adopted companies. There were a lot of faces I did not recognize, so evidently personnel shifts were going in both directions.
My favorite and most recent former employer of nearly seven years, RF Micro Devices, had their traditional very large display set up. Diana Baxter, manager of my department for the last few years there, was entertaining customers' questions. She reluctantly agreed to be photographed, so here she is with Melanie. Because my cubicle at RFMD was in the Mahogany Row area of the corporate building, I had the good fortune of being around the top dogs - even the founders - on a daily basis. It was impressive and inspiring to have a front-seat view of how business was conducted. VP of sales, Greg Thompson (one of the company's first employees - see pic on right), was one of the guys I had the pleasure of interacting with on occasion.
Vendor display booth quality was exceptional. I have never participated in setting up and staffing a booth at one of these trade shows, but I imagine it is a lot of hard work. Packing up all the gear, travelling to the show and dealing with getting your stuff from the shipping company, setting up the display, wearing a smile and entertaining potential customers for 8 hours a day for four days, and then breaking everything down and shipping it home has got to be utterly exhausting. It might be easier for the veterans of the communications and sales departments, but it still takes its toll. Display space carries a premium price for a show like this; it is the companies who foot the bill for the entire show. Thanks to all the exhibitors for their contributions!
OK, enough blabbing; you're here for the pictures. I think I have them in alphabetical order. If you spot yourself and want me to include you, please send me a copy of the photo and point yourself out. Enjoy!
This is the registration area of the IMS2011 show in the Baltimore Convention Center
Click here to see all the photos of the National Electronics Museum display
Melanie and I plan to attend the IMS2012 show in Montreal, Canada. It is about a 500-mile drive form Erie (it was 400 to Baltimore and 600 to Boston). We hope to see you there!
This story needs to be told as well. The Comfort Inn hotel where we stayed had a wicked toilet flushing mechanism that scared the bejeepers out of me the first time I hit the handle. The force was so strong and loud that I imagined that is what it would be like flushing a toilet in an airplane at 30,000 feet if it had a direct vent to the outside. I had to pull the tank top off to see what was responsible for the experience. To the right is a photo of the awesome device - a Sloan FlushMate. It evidently is to toilets what CFL bulbs are to lamps - complex, expensive solutions to a government-imposed regulation. In this case, it is to fulfill the low water usage mandate. Remember all the jokes about the defense industry and the million dollar hammers? It's still you paying the bill for government regulation run amok.
6/15/2011 -- Here is an interesting e-mail from Paul A., of NY:
I just read your review of the MTT show. The last photo (the one showing the Sloan Flushmate toilet), struck a nerve. I had a similar toilet in my house a few years ago. It was made by Kohler. One morning, as my wife and I were preparing to leave on a 2 week vacation, the pressure tank in the toilet failed. It began to leak water at a moderate rate, about 1 pint per minute. The first sign that something had gone wrong was a very large puddle of water on the bathroom floor, spilling out into the hallway. The traditional ceramic outer tank (which was identical in appearance to a standard toilet tank) filled up with water and overflowed. There was no overflow drain. Water gushing out of the ruptured pressure tank had no place to go except over the side and on to the floor. I called Kohler and complained. They told me that they have had numerous failures with that particular model toilet. Apparently, the subcontractor who made the pressure tank had some QA issues and had since gone out of business. Kohler had no explanation about why they designed the toilet tank with no overflow drain. I was offered a free replacement toilet, even though the warranty had long since expired. They gave me a choice of several models which were available at Home Depot. I picked a nice one and installed it myself. By the way, all of the replacements were gravity fed, not pressure assisted. So much for "green" toilets! 73, Paul A.