Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Teacher Birthday

I showed up to surgery once with a stamp on my wrist. The surgeon was surprised. I’ve tried to avoid getting a stamp ever since. Tonight I failed. I also failed because I thought I ordered a normal sized beer. Obviously, I am a Lilliputian.

20130112-000329.jpg

20130112-000346.jpg

20130112-000357.jpg

20130112-000408.jpg

20130112-000416.jpg

I (don’t) wanna be a cowboy, baby

I ran into a post this morning that seriously caught my attention. If you’ve ever wondered what it is like to be a Woman in technology, then I recommend you read what Nicole Sullivan has to say.

She talks about the difference between The Code Cowboy and The Good Developer. I know a lot of Code Cowboys and dealing with them is tiring. Of course, I can’t even put myself into the category of The Good Developer because, as Nicole pointed out, we are our own worst enemy. We aren’t good at judging our own abilities and we need encouragement. From my post on how Geeks drive girls out of Computer Science,

Girls are much more likely to try something if someone else encourages them to do it. I once sat in a group of female heads (principals) of boarding schools. Each woman talked about how it was that she decided to go after the Head of School job. Out of 8 Heads of School, only one of them admitted that she had wanted the job and pursued it. The other seven all talked about having a friend, coworker, or administrator who encouraged them to apply for the job. And every one of them was more than qualified for the position, but was timid about seeking it without some encouragement.

What I didn’t mention there was that with a panel of eight heads of school, there were only two people in the audience: myself and another woman. So we sat in a circle and just talked. It was great, but there should have been more women there.

The only thing that Nicole says with which I don’t agree, is that we need to make video games more appealing to girls. This is everyone’s first thought, and I don’t think it is the right direction.

Video games have changed a lot over the years. Many of them are much more social, which is the biggest hurdle to becoming popular with girls, however, they are still video games. I think video games are a complete waste of time. While The Code Cowboy is playing Wii Sports, I’m outside running or making social contacts while golfing. While The Code Cowboy is playing Online Scrabble, I’m having dinner and a beer at Quiz Night. While The Code Cowboy is playing Second Life, I’m working as the treasurer of my Home Owner’s Association board. While The Code Cowboy is playing World of Warcraft, I’m attending California High Speed Rail meetings. While The Code Cowboy is playing Farmville, I’m helping to build a home with Habitat for Humanity.

I don’t want to virtualize my world. I want to use computers to make my world better. Show me how to code so that I can model a malaria outbreak in a third world country and plan to distribute supplies accordingly. Teach me how to write an app that will show me the location of the cheapest gas or the lowest price for *gasp* a cute pair of shoes. I’d argue that girls want to become programmers to solve real world problems, not to write abstract games. I don’t think I know a single girl who would choose a job writing a video game over writing an app to help solve world hunger.

I had to mention the shoes because as geek girls, we are expected to not be interested in typical girl things. So I’ve been rebelling by acquiring shoes, and skirts, painting my toenails, doing my hair and makeup. I’m tired of having to look like one of the guys just to be treated as an equal. But then this runs into the problem Nicole mentioned that “No one is going to assume that a man is on stage because he looks good in a skirt.”

Adding photos in wordpress is ridiculously difficult

I started writing another post, but I wanted to add 10 photos to it.  Inserting photos let me upload 10 photos, but then my option seems to either add a gallery, or to add each one individually.  I don’t know what a gallery is, and I want to intersperse text around my photo, so I decided to add each one.  The only way I could find to do this was to

  1. press the upload/insert button
  2. find the photo that I want
  3. click another button to show more info
  4. click a button to insert it into my page

This is when the insert photo stuff goes away(!) and I have to start all over again.

And to make things even worse, the photos that I see on my desktop as rotated, showed up with a broken image and weren’t rotated when I inserted them into my post!

If it is easier than this, then it isn’t obvious.  And it should be obvious and easy.  This is an action I want to do often.  Why is it so hard?

Mood lighting

I’m sitting under the television in Lilly Macs, waiting for quiz night and trying to catch up on blog posts. Under the tv was a poor choice in location. Why? Because the tv is behind me, and as advertisements play, the brightness changes.

And when the brightness around me changes, my laptop adapts to the change by dimming or brightening the screen and the backlight on the keys.

Constantly.

Password changing time

I am fairly certain that passwords that expire are timed to do so at the most inopportune time, such as hours before a two week vacation, just before falling asleep, or after an undisclosed amount of sake at dinner. It never fails that the next time you type in that password, you don’t recall what it is.

I hope I remember my new password in the morning.

Why women don’t get ahead

On the same topic I’ve been harping about lately, and to prove that I’m not the only one thinking it, here is an interesting Rant About Women by Clay Shirky at NYU. An excerpt,

So I get email from a good former student, applying for a job and asking for a recommendation. “Sure”, I say, “Tell me what you think I should say.” I then get a draft letter back in which the student has described their work and fitness for the job in terms so superlative it would make an Assistant Brand Manager blush.

So I write my letter, looking over the student’s self-assessment and toning it down so that it sounds like it’s coming from a person and not a PR department, and send it off. And then, as I get over my annoyance, I realize that, by overstating their abilities, the student has probably gotten the best letter out of me they could have gotten.

Now, can you guess the gender of the student involved?

Of course you can. My home, the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU, is fairly gender-balanced, and I’ve taught about as many women as men over the last decade. In theory, the gender of my former student should be a coin-toss. In practice, I might as well have given him the pseudonym Moustache McMasculine for all the mystery there was. And I’ve grown increasingly worried that most of the women in the department, past or present, simply couldn’t write a letter like that.

This worry isn’t about psychology; I’m not concerned that women don’t engage in enough building of self-confidence or self-esteem. I’m worried about something much simpler: not enough women have what it takes to behave like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks.

This is similar to what I was wrote in Geeks drive girls out of computer science when I said,

I once sat in a group of female heads (principals) of boarding schools. Each woman talked about how it was that she decided to go after the Head of School job. Out of 8 Heads of School, only one of them admitted that she had wanted the job and pursued it. The other seven all talked about having a friend, coworker, or administrator who encouraged them to apply for the job. And every one of them was more than qualified for the position, but was timid about seeking it without some encouragement.

Thanks to September for joining me for drinks, letting me rant, and pointing me to this post.

Why girls don’t become engineers, part 2

Seriously, is this how guys learned resister codes?

I refuse to repost the racist rape mneumonic here, but you can read it for yourself in the comments in this reddit post.

Thanks to @janeylicious for pointing this out.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 756 other followers