google

Worse for wear

Blog

I went over to Google today for a javascript meetup. I've been trying to be more active and involved in the various communities, groups and events that living in the Bay Area offers. This event was one in a small series of potentially interesting topics. I arrived, parked the car, and wandered around to the front of the building, not really sure where I was going, having only the building number.

When I arrived at the front of the building, the main door had a key pad on it. Okay, that wasn't the right door, so I asked the guy standing next to the door, with a key card in his hand. "Hi, I'm here for a javascript meetup. I'm supposed to go into this building, but I see this door requires a key card, and the lobby is dark. Can you help me?"

"Uh...."

"Could you suggest where I can try next to get into this building?"

"Uh, no?"

A little stupified, and more than a little annoyed, I asked, "Is there another door to this building, or is this the only door available?"

"Oh, yeah, around the corner," he answered, pointing to my left.

"Thanks," I offered, and started walking away, completely amazed that the company that supposedly hires the best and the brightest clearly missed the mark with some of its employees. Maybe lessons in "common sense" should be on their 20% agenda.

So, I wandered around to the next door, and found it happily open, with the lights streaming into the lobby and a small line of people waiting to sign in. I stood in line and, when I was second in line behind the guy entering in his information, I tried to see what he was typing so that I knew what to expect. I missed most of his work, as he shifted his body over to prevent my viewing the screen.

Because, you know, I wouldn't be able to read his nametag on his chest after he signed in.

So, when it was my turn, and the second page of options had more than one perfectly valid answer, I asked him, "What did you mark for the reason for the visit?" he threw up his hands and yelled at me, "OH I DON'T KNOW!"

Everyone in the lobby turned to look at us. I smiled. "Well, then, I'll just put down social visit here." He walked away.

Google is looking a little tired these days, I have to say. The energy and excitement of the place is totally gone. The enthusiasm of the campus, once so overwhelming, was absent, too. I can't say I felt any of the tech love that just oozed from the buildings. Instead, the place felt cold and down. Even the seats in the auditorium we were in are, well, a lot worn:

IMG_0770.JPG

Of course, that could have been because I had people yelling at me and staring at me. The first not so enjoyable. The second can be entertaining, appropriately applied.

The actual meetup was a little weird, too. About 10 minutes into the first presentation, which wasn't the expected first talk, a group of four Asian kids walked into the room. Okay, not kids per se, they were in their early 20s or so. They couldn't have been too old, as a few moments later, a girl walked in, clearly knowing the other four. Close to her hip, an an old woman walked in behind her. The girl quickly sat down in the last empty seat in the first row, next to the four guys, leaving the old woman to wander and find her own seat. A few moments later, an even older guy came in and spent the next 10 minutes wandering back and forth and back and forth in the rows looking for a seat.

IMG_0768.JPG

I couldn't figure out if these two really old people were really interested in javascript. More power to them, if they are. if they aren't, good lord, you ignornant, disrepsectful, asshole kids, find f---ing seats for your parents.

The talks themselves were, unfortunately, not what I was interested in hearing about. Although I was impressed somewhat with the first talk, and unsure of the point of the second talk, the third talk was fun, but not as applicable to my project as I had hoped it would be. I think my next JS approach is going to be a post to the list asking for help instead of trying face to face.

Beagle murdered. News at 11.

Blog

Last December, I finally removed the don't search directive. and opened my site up to the various search engines. Honestly, putting anything in a robots.txt file won't really prevent a spider from crawling a website, and to think the site wasn't being indexed would have been rather naïve. It was being indexed, the results just weren't displayed on Google. Sure, that's 80% of search engine traffic, but the results were displayed in other search engine results.

So, when I did open the website, I set up a few Google Alerts. Google Alerts are lists of new content Google found based on specified search words and phrases. I set up three searches to watch for references to this site: "hodsden", "kitt" and "kitt hodsden".

Now, "kitt hodsden" immediately started returning results to this website. Yay, me!

"hodsden" didn't start returning references to my site for a month or so. Most of results initially, and (honestly) still, were for Lee Hodsden, a cop somewhere in New England, and a Chris Hodsden, a principal for some school somewhere and not my brother.

Results for "kitt" were a mixed bag among K.I.T.T. the car, Earth Kitt the singer, David Kitt another singer, Michael Kitt an Irish politician, Tom Kitt another Irish politician, Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona, kitt.net posts and some kittbo author from somewhere I haven't bothered to find. Note the distinctive lack of the "kitt" of me in that list.

Well, today's alert finally had one of my posts in it:

When I read the extracted part of the post, which is essentially the first sentence or two of the post, I realized, good lord, I take a long time to get to my point when I'm telling a story. I can't say that if I were reading the first two sentences of my posts that I would be inspired to read the rest of the post/article.

One of the many suggestions for writing blog posts (or copy in general) is to write sensational titles to capture attention. Use hot, popular words and say something declarative or even confrontational. I don't know, is it worth it for traffic?

I can't say it is.

I think I'll go back to my boring post titles.

And, no, the girls are just fine. Bella says, "Arooo!" And Annie offers lots of licks to you.

Bay Area Geek Girl dinner

Blog

Went with Andy to Google tonight for the first Bay Area Geek Girls' Dinner. Food was served both before and after the panel of four speakers.

The panel was introduced by Ellen Spertus, whose presentation was quite entertaining. I'm fairly certain I've seen her speak before, either at Blogher or some other event such as SxSW or OSCON. I'll have to look it up. She had a top ten reasons why it's great to be a geek girl, the only two I recall being, "You'll always have a place to store your USB drive," (which humoured me) and "You can wave to the men in the line at the restroom as you pass them by." Indeed.

The panel consisted of Leah Pulver, Sumaya Kazi, Irene Au and Rashmi Sinha, and moderated by Katherine Barr. The panelists' ages ranged from 24 to 36, with only one woman being a mother.

The first question posed by the moderator annoyed me more than maybe it should be. It went something like what do you need to do to legitimize yourself as a woman in the workplace.

Not one of the panelists answered the question as I would have: "I don't do anything to legitimize myself. I don't need to prove myself because I'm a woman, I need to prove myself because we work in a meritocity in the Bay Area. Being a woman has nothing to do with my skillsets or ability to complete tasks or think clearly."

I completely questioned the need for such a question.

Other questions from the audience were spectacular in the answers they elicited. The question that stands out in my mind was, "As a woman, I find my ideas and suggestions are not taken seriously until specifically approved by a man or someone above me in management. How do you deal with this?"

The first two panelist's answers were something to the effect of, "That never happens." Ah, to be so young and full of yourself that you can actually believe such a world exists.

The next answer was "get another job." Ah, a valid solution, but not necessarily possible, given the questioner was Indian and may need to stay with the company to complete her green card status.

Irene's answer, though, was right on, spoken with both authority and experience: align yourself with a person of authority, find out what they believe, make friends with them. If others see you in this group, your ideas have legitimacy by association.

Overall, I need to admit I was disappointed with this whole presentation. It may have helped the early 20 year olds who are just starting in the work place, but it did nothing for those established and wondering what's next.

I did, however, find the two people having sex in one of the stalls of a women's bathroom entertaining.

That, and Google's heated seats.