Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

Summary: By day, an Expo getting serious again about refocusing on the user. By night, a bit gritty and underground.

TOPICS: Storage

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  • Products were crammed so tightly in spots it was difficult to tell where one booth ended and another began.

  • MacKeeper was keeping it classy.

  • The HyperJuice Plug.

Topic: Storage

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  • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

    I assume you're referring to the woman on the right side of the photo and not the one front and center (nice photography). How is she a "sad booth babe"? It looks like a developer manning her booth.
    • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

      @ShawnKing My previous reply disappeared! So here's a better one.

      She doesn't even have a booth! Maybe ZDNet should have called her a "kiosk kitten." I did some sleuthing, and here's what I found out.

      The woman in the white top appears to be Piroska Szurmai-Palotai, the (sole?) developer for NeoPlay Entertainment. She has three apps currently in the App Store and was a first-time exhibitor at the Mobile Apps Showcase this year.

      According to her Facebook page, she's also a big fan of chess, listing a chess player as her "favorite athlete." This, of course, is typical of the "booth babe" stereotype, as is her interest in curling (the sport, not her hair).

      I don't know too much more about her (since I don't read Hungarian), but if she's "sad" in this photo, it might be because she misses her young child. Of course, she might also merely be tired, bored, or hungry. Or, she might have seen the ZDNet photographer walking by.
      • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads you've stepped over the line into stalking.... :)
  • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

    the whole thing makes me cringe
  • Re: Stalking?

    Hey, ShawnKing, you have been on the Internet and heard of Facebook, etc? Stalking is so 20th Century, welcome to the goldfish bowl.
  • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

    maybe it is time to combine MacWorld with CES to save both.
    • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

      @daryl@... IDG had their chance at that a few years ago. iLounge has taken that space/idea and made it huge. Approx twice as big as Macworld Expo.
    • Agree

      To combine MacWorld with CES. It's a good ideal, agree.

  • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

    First, a woman at a tech conference is still by default assumed to be marketing eye candy rather than an engineer. Second, a woman at a tech conference is apparently not allowed to look tired, be she a booth babe or engineer. The photo and its caption reveal much more about the one who captured the image and the lens through which she views the world rather than the supposed subject of the image.
  • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

    If this was a video of her sitting like this for hours, then maybe you could come to that kind of conclusion, but a split second captured in a still frame? Should we also assume that touching hair guy is vain or walking girl is a shark who will die if she stops moving?

    Maybe the photographer could have approached her, taken a full frame shot and run a caption like 'Bright developer rests between QA sessions'.

    Finally, 'Booth Babe'? Given the number of women actively engaged in the tech industry, don't you think that kind of sexist caption is a bit inappropriate?
    Stephen R Smith
  • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

    Hi there,

    It's revealing to not get additional information to give context to the woman in the booth, but a blog post attack by Gruber and a series of attacks and name-calling in comments on my original article is going too far.

    A simple correction would have sufficed, and then you could have seen what I did with it.

    Now I am reacting to a Grueber-fueled pile-on and fanboy personal attacks.

    My partner and I considered walking up to this booth but the woman's demeanor put us off. My commentary as a take-away of the experience was a reflection of the scene. It's really reaching to brand me a misogynist because I put the woman in a social category based on the environment she was in. I was not the only one to do so. It was not obvious that the woman in the booth was not a booth babe: Macworld was covered with women that were only hired reps - in all manners of dress.

    I'm glad for the correction, but the way you have ganged up to attack me as the method of delivery for a correction is repulsive. And, typical.

    If you want to know how I really feel about booth babes (though I'm sure you won't because the drive-by is always better) - get some context for booth babes in my column by reading this:

    The CES Booth Babe Problem

    And you will see that Ms. Szurmai-Palotai is exactly the kind of "booth babe" I am referring to - women devs, women hackers. Not the kind some of you seem to instantly think I mean.

    One commenter on Twitter suggested I dressed her down for being "not slutty enough." This is absolutely untrue. And is very revealing about the person that said it.

    No, I was dismayed because the woman representing the company at Macworld was unapproachable - not because she was female or dressed in a certain way.
    Violet Blue
    • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

      @Violet Blue I am said commenter on Twitter (the tweet in question:!/JohnTheBastard/status/164451824676503552 ), and here is what I think is revealing:

      You saw a female developer in a booth and assumed she was hired to use her sexuality to sell her product, judged her deficient for the task, took unflattering photography from a distance, posted it to the web, and publicly chastised her for her appearance without even the most basic fact-checking. Your error was pointed out to you almost immediately, but after two days, you have yet to issue anything resembling an apology. You have, however, taken a defensive and condescending tone towards those who, rightly, find your behavior reprehensible.
    • Next time, go up and talk to Ms. Szurmai-Palotai

      @Violet Blue I&apos;m disappointed that you did not go up and talk with Ms. Szurmai-Palotai to ask for her point of view. I have followed you online for several years, and to be honest, I would have expected more from you.<br><br>I suspect that if you had had the courage to speak with Ms. Szurmai-Palotai, she would have been glad to talk with an interested tech blogger (who also happened to be a woman). Then we might actually have learned something about her background as a developer, the apps she has developed, new apps she is working on, her opinion of this year&apos;s MacWorld, or her perspectives on what its like to be a woman in technology. You could even have taken the opportunity to offer her some friendly advice on being more approachable. I&apos;m sure she would have appreciated the subsequent increase in sales.<br><br>You missed your chance though, and satisfied yourself making voyeuristic comments from the sidelines. You, Ms. Szurmai-Palotai, and ZDNet&apos;s readers are poorer for it.
    • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

      @Violet Blue You're just... not very good, are you?
    • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

      @Violet Blue

      Violet, first of all, I'm sorry that you feel "piled on". But having said that...

      "It's revealing to not get additional information to give context to the woman in the booth..."

      I'm sorry, but as a tech reporter isn't it your job to go out and *find* that information, rather than rely on others to just *give* it to you?

      "I was dismayed because the woman representing the company at Macworld was unapproachable"

      I don't understand what you're saying here. Is she any more "unapproachable" than the man on the left? Of course not.

      I've covered so many trade shows - including a lot of Macworlds - that I've lost count. And I spent a lot of my time going round those smaller booths, digging out the stories. I didn't find anyone unapproachable, and that includes many women representing their companies (including some where they *were* the company).

      So really, I don't understand what point you were trying to make. Perhaps explaining it better in the first place might be beneficial next time?
      • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

        @Ian.Betteridge Merlin Mann and his tiny town interviews from years back are more what I would have liked to see.
    • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

      *sigh*. Double post.
    • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

      *sigh* Triple post. Thanks ZDNet commenting system!
    • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

      @Violet Blue Hey there. Wow, just lost all respect for you after reading your columns for years. You owe that woman an apology for judging her by a double standard. <br><br>The guy standing in the booth next to her looks approximately as bored and yet you made no comment about his tits. He even is folding his hands in exactly the same sad manner. Yet your critical aesthetic comments are reserved for the female. <br><br>Your supposedly pro-woman essay that you cite in your defense is an elaborate exercise in mental gymnastics. You say it is perfectly fine to expect women representatives to "dress sexy", and your only complaint is that they ought to have nerdier brains... because that would be sexier. You fein that you would be perfectly egalitarianly happy to objectify men in the same manner... But this is a blatant lie as revealed by your lack of comment on this poor woman's equally dispirited looking male neighbor. No comment on the fit of his khakhis in his crochetal area, general posture or level of cuteness. Only the girl gets that critique. Your faux egalitarian fantasy is mere posturing.<br><br>By loudly and passionately proclaiming how women should be sexier, you reinforce the mentality that the most important thing for a woman is to be sexy. You have not been "corrected", you have been called out. You owe this hard working woman an apology for judging her on her looks. Plain and simple.
    • RE: Macworld 2012: Conference at a crossroads

      @Violet Blue Can you not have the good grace to say: "Oops! Yep, I of all people should haven't jumped to the conclusion that she was only there because she was a woman, rather than a developer".

      Actually, if she'd been a "booth babe" she'd probably have had someone with her - someone who actually knew a little about the product, you know? Or she'd have been handing something out. Or collecting contact details from attendees (or at least trying).

      Look, everyone makes mistakes, I get that. Just admit that you were wrong to jump to this conclusion, if you want to make amends, why not write an article about her role in creating the product (whatever it is) and the challenges faced by developers who risk being mistaken for "booth babes"?

      I'm sure (pretty sure) she'd be quite happy to talk about her product.

      Anyone who's promoted a product on one of these booths will know, it isn't a barrel of laughs all the time, and you do get bored, hungry, and generally left feeling a bit flat. Just because she's a woman, doesn't mean she has to look "deliriously happy" 100% of the time (I've been there, promoting a product that's taken real effort, watching people walk by, it's pretty hard to not get a little dispirited).

      So, why not get her point of view, find out a little about her role, and product. I'd be interested in reading about THAT.

      Seem fair?