The warm embrace…what inspired me about #WBC10


Just a quick post really because as soon as I got back to the real world I was up to my ass in alligators!  I don't think David Honig will be too psyched about this post because its not edited and not even re-read.  In fact, I'm posting it from my email account (hell, he's lucky I'm not posting this from my iPhone!), but I think its necessary.

I am overjoyed at what I've been reading about the conference.  So many people enjoyed it and thought it went well and I can tell you that I think my partners at Zephyr and I are learning as we go and this year we anticipated much better than we had in the past (and we already have some great ideas for next year).  But I think thats table steaks – we listen to ALL the feedback we get and try to continuously improve.  Its definitely gratifying that we've gotten better, but not "inspiring".

What inspires me, personally, to improve it and push harder are the little things.

At breakfast on Saturday, I ran into two women (I am absolutely terrible with names so I apologize ahead of time…it is strange because I can remember obscure movie trivia from the 1980s and quote most of The Breakfast Club, but I can't remember names…).  They were smiling and laughing and when they saw me they thanked me.  Not for how well the conference went off, but for giving them to opportunity to meet each other.  They felt they were becoming fast friends, as if they had known each other for years, but they only met because of the conference.  They were simply giddy…  I LOVE that people connected on a personal level and made new friends and enriched their lives in that way and I'm honored that they attributed that friendship to something I did…

At the Safeway up the street from the Marcus Whitman, Allan and I stopped by for some sundries and a sandwich.  The woman behind the counter saw Allan's shirt and said "are you with the conference?" to which Allan replied "Yes.  How did you know about the conference?".  "Oh, it was in the local paper and people have been talking about it…" she replied.  Related to this was the moment in the taxi on the way to the airport.  "Are you with the conference?" the driver asked me.  "Yes." I replied.  When I told her I was an organizer she went on to thank me for bringing everyone to town and how happy she was for it.  

On this point, let me first say that this conference wouldn't even be if it wasn't for Sonoma, the related organizations there, and the Flamingo Hotel and Conference center.  But what is inspiring about this last conference was the total embrace of the entire town of Walla Walla.  I've read online some more about this and what I didn't realize was that the community was truly excited about the conference.  That they saw this as an evolution of Walla Walla into a more wine-based economy.  We were important to this community and they were, as a collective community, completely embracing us.  Not just the hotel and the wineries – every person in the town seemed to know about the conference and were genuinely happy to have us.

This warm embrace by an entire community made me feel inspired because I didn't realize it but I think we really helped the community.  The warm embrace of an entire community and their reasons for it changed how I feel about the conference.  I was heads down working on the network and stuff and didn't partake in too many of the festivities because of that.  In fact, I participated WAY less than I had in the past.  And yet, this was the best experience I've had at any of the conferences at a personal level.

If the Wine Life is all about the experience then Walla Walla is all about the Wine Life.  I truly hope that the "thousand voices booming", as Steve Heimoff described it in his keynote, rings out to the world that if you want to experience the wine life, you should head to Walla Walla, Washington.

Catie, thanks for riding my ass until we came to Walla Walla!

How do I find an archive of #wbc10 tweets and stuff? Here’s how…


Actually, its crazy simple.  Good old Google makes it easy.  Just search on "#wbc10" and click "Updates" on the left hand side.  You can then adjust the timeline very very easily.

Even easier?  Just click this link to get there:

@CarriBugbee created a nice little archive using "The Archivist" which has great stats displayed about the tweets and an archive as well:

Finally! Explanation of iPhone 4 Antenna issue that isn’t hysterical blogger crap! (thanks @johnwcoxnww)


If I buy an iPhone 4, am I going to have big radio frequency reception problems, apart from being on AT&T’s network?

It depends on how you define “big” and on a whole bunch of other variables, such as what 3G frequency you’re on, maybe your body mass index and even whether your hands are sweaty. There have been a rash of complaints from new iPhone 4 users that when they wrap their hand around the phone to take or make a call the phone’s signal strength indicator — those bars on the screen — can show a big drop.


What do those bars actually mean?

Apparently, not very much, at least from an RF engineering viewpoint. There’s been an interesting discussion online about this issue. The consensus is that Apple’s bar display of signal strength is highly relative: it’s actually showing only a small part of the lowest end of possible signal strength, according to two bloggers, Steve Gibson, and Simon Byrnand. (Byrnand first identified potential antenna problems in a June 8 post on the Talk3G mobile phone forum.)  

That seems weird, doesn’t it?

Keep in mind that the five-bar display — and this is true for all cell phones, not just iPhone 4, according to Byrnand — is in effect “only supposed to give a relative indication of likely call quality — any signal stronger than 5 bars whilst stronger, won’t lead to better call quality so [it] isn’t indicated to the user to keep things simple,” he writes.

(According to Byrnand, the iPhone operating system used to have a very detailed signal strength reader, a hidden app that was activated by dialing a specific numeric string and capable of showing the exact received signal strength in –dBm. But it was removed from an early beta version of iOS 4.)

To get a good, clear conversation, Gibson says, you might only need 5% of the signal strength from a 3G base station. So the “5-bars” covers any signal strength from 100% down to 5%. “It’s only when the received signal strength begins to drop below 5% that conversations suffer, calls get dropped, and Apple starts to take bars away from their 5-bar display,” Gibson writes.

So those Youtube videos that show the bars disappearing from the iPhone 4 when you hold it…?

Gibson speculates that in those videos, the phone’s signal strength is actually very, very low to begin with. So when you cover the antennas with your hand, or when your skin “bridges” the cellular and Wi-Fi antennas, it’s enough to cause the signal to drop still lower, and that’s when Apple’s “five bars” becomes “three bars” or two or none.

So what’s actually happening?

First, keep in mind that with iPhone 4, Apple integrated several antennas into the exterior stainless steel band around the phone’s edge, which is “cut” in three places by a dark slot of insulation. During the phone’s public unveiling, Apple claimed that moving the antennas to the outside of phone would actually improve reception.

Did it?

It seems so, though other factors are involved, including the use of a glass back for iPhone 4 instead of the plastic in the 3GS model, and AT&T’s ongoing cellular upgrade to High Speed Packet Access (HSPA). One blogger, an antenna design specialist named Spencer Webb, says the design change “probably improves” the uniformity of the antenna’s radiation pattern “but only when the phone is suspended magically in air.”

I’ve spent the better part of this weekend explaining pretty much what John Cox of NWW gets to in this article to everyone who saw my iPhone 4. I’m obviously in the wireless industry and while I’m in marketing, my background is Electrical Engineering and in particular electromagnetics and quasi-statics. The crap bloggers have been spewing have been so off-base and, in many cases, not even physically possible its actually annoying.

Finally, John Cox, someone who’s been in and around networking a long while, puts this FAQ together with help from a real RF engineer that makes speculations that actually make sense and then basically says “but can’t say any of that is true or do a good controlled test until I actually have a phone”!!  Thanks you!

If you’re interested, have a read and you’ll understand the issue and why the “bumper” will help.