Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

A university grows in Brooklyn

I was expecting a 9 am phone screening from an engineer at Hitachi in Santa Clara. At 9 the phone rang, but it had an area code I didn't recognize, and the phone said it was New York. The woman said something with an Indian accent, I didn't hear "Hitachi" so I told her I was expecting a call and no, this would not be a good time to talk, and hung up.

Five minutes later, same phone number, this time I asked if she was calling from Hitachi, and she apologized and said yes, she should have said that last time. When I told her the phone number was New York, she was surprised. I took that to mean that multinationals sometimes use phone systems based where the US HQ is. Amazon's Sunnyvale office uses 206 area codes (Seattle), for instance.

I didn't catch her name, but she's an automation engineer, she told me she works for a tiny team which is being organized by Hitachi to be spun off as its own company eventually, and is currently operating like a start-up. I've been through that twice before, Adaptec --> Roxio and SGI --> Kasenna. And I was one of the first employees of VXtreme, which was sold to Microsoft, and killed. Turns out this unit also has an office down the road from Microsoft in Bellevue, WA.

We had a productive chat. They are looking for a manual tester, but also a JOATMON, which is kinda what I am. Jack Of All Trades, Master Of None. She asked me about managing, but I explained that I had tried that, did not like it, and was not very good at it. I would rather play with (and break) the toys. She got that.

The product is mostly a data crunching system, my Dad once applied for a job as a systems analyst which sounded like what these folks do. Nowadays that title is a computer scientist, but back then it was a mathematician who reduced a physical system to numbers, manipulated the numbers to be more efficient/logical, and translated those new numbers back into a physical model. He was pitching himself to the county bus system, which sorely needed to fix its routes to serve customers instead of politicians. Hitachi is using their vast data gathering resources to do exactly the same thing.

I'm not sure I can help them much, because they don't need a video expert. They use whatever cameras and video streaming the customers already have. In the future they might build bundles with Hitachi's excellent video camera systems, but not in the near future. They may need people to monitor the video, but a high school dropout (aka TSA employee) could do that.

We talked for 45 minutes, and after the call I looked up her phone number online, got several hits which said her name is Shreya, and she recently graduated from Columbia University, which is in the area code of that phone number. Mystery solved. LinkedIn says she also went to Simon Fraser, after some college and a private high school in Bangalore.

We were done before 10 am, so I was able to finish all my other job search and RSS reading and then looked at driving to HMB. But the main highway there was closed due to a commute time accident, and there is no good alternative route from here. So Plan C: looked up movie times for Star Trek in 3D. The closest was over in Newark, a mall which I thought was next to the hotel Consonance was in a few years ago. Plugged the address in to the GPS and headed over there.

Turns out to be brand new. And quite empty at 1 pm on a Thursday, summer break notwithstanding. Actually I think school may have already started.

The first thing that surprised me is their Senior price is the same as my local's regular price. Next surprise is seats are reserved. And more surprises - popcorn and small soda are each $1 more.

The theater is big. All the seats are livingroom recliners. The good news is you can raise the footrest. The bad news is when you do the back tilts backward, making it hard to see the screen.

Huge screen, built for 75mm movies. So-so sound, allegedly Dolby but you could have fooled me. It sounded more like normal stereo across 20 speakers. That improved when the movie started.

Half an hour of 2D trailers, including the new Ben-Hur, with (WTF) Morgan Freeman in (WTF) dreadlocks. I do not care what backstory they give him, nobody in Rome in that time period wore dreads.

There were no 3D trailers except the AMC animation telling us to turn off our cell phones. So I was not too surprised that it was several minutes into the film before they turned off the house lights.

There were only 5 others in the theater. Three when the feature started and a woman and her child discovered they were in the wrong plex, and ran out.

I had seen the movie a few weeks ago at Century 12, in an experiment with panoramic display. What drew me to that was they said the projection gear was by a company famous for the highest quality industrial displays and time code clocks. But it was a massive FAIL because they had not aligned the side screens with the center screen, and only random bits were in panorama. And it was a trio of 35mm prints, so not very high resolution.

This time it was a gorgeous display, very comfortable seats and the only thing missing was enough of an audience to laugh at the jokes with me. It was well worth seeing again, I missed a lot trying to follow the panorama the last time.

No Easter Egg. :-(

Checked my email after, the Hitachi HR person said they wanted to bring me in next week for an in-person interview. Yay! I suggested Mon or Tue. They are located where I thought, about 2 miles closer to home, in the same neighborhood as my last job. Across the street from my first HP job, and across the other street from the new Whole Foods.

After almost 6 months, it's nice to finally have two in-person interviews. I hope at least one results in an income, because my unemployment insurance runs out after the next dole in 2 weeks, and I can't claim guilt-free Social Security until November.

I had planned on walking around the mall, but it's still under construction and only Macy's is open.

The movie let out just as rush hour was clogging the roads, so I found the nearest Starbucks and did stuff on the laptop. After responding to Hitachi HR's email, and Facebooking, and writing the previous note on LJ, Dell said it needed to update the machine. And then Windows 10 had a major release which kept me there for more than half an hour! But that was okay because about that time the day manager changed into civvies, and came out in very tight jeans, which showed off her amazing figure. Very exotic Asian face, too. And there were also a few gorgeous customers.

Thought about going to the park near the Thai temple, but while it was only 6 miles away, Google maps said it would take more than half an hour to get there, due to traffic. So I drove home, taking advantage on 237 of my commuter lane tags.

In other news, my #6 neighbor's house did get finished yesterday. And #8 said my front garden wins. Which is a huge compliment because his wife has the greenest thumb on the block, and the front of their house looks like a tropical rain forest.

Dinner was Marie C's chicken fried pork chop and apple chunks. Yummy. And mint chocolate chip ice cream. I need to cut down on that stuff, my overnight Hgl has been going too high.

Watched PTI. Checked the Tivo, and glad I did because what it claimed was the Seahawks game was the Raiders, and I had to flip to NFL network to get the Seattle game, but only caught it from halftime. But that's okay for a preseason.

Am amused by the Olympics coverage of the swimmer's alleged robbery at gunpoint, which is looking more and more like drunken vandalism caught by a bribable security guard.

There have been a lot more human interest stories this Olympics than ever before. Some of it I chalk up to more coverage of more events. Some of it is a trade-off of soft reporting vs. coverage by experts.

Spook is using my chair and jeans as a claw exerciser, so it must be time to take drugs and go to sleep. She already has her soft food & treats for the night.

Plans for tomorrow:
Try HMB again.
Plan B: Don Edwards park on the Bay

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