Thursday, June 28, 2007

Geek dress code, Silicon Valley version

Skud blogged a very funny comparison of geek vs. non-geek dress codes. I think the geek code allows for a more fine-grained analysis!

With elements of clothing listed in order of ascending formality


Tshirt your mom bought you at Kmart when you were in high school. Ill fitting; 80s colored; perhaps with abstract designs.
Tshirt for tech company, probably white, grubby, boring.
Tshirt for unboring tech company or science fictional thing.
Cool tech tshirt, black.
Cool tech tshirt, black, tucked in, with belt.
Snarky geek tshirt perhaps from threadless or Thinkgeek; tight fitting to show off boobs and/or muscles.
Snarky geek shirt with sports jacket; best multitool on belt.


Underwear worn yesterday, turned inside out.
Underwear your parents or s.o. got you for a utilitarian present.
Underwear that is actually cute and fits, that you bought for yourself.
Underwear with snarky geek saying on it. Impressive!


Baggy pants, too short, bought in high school by mom; used to be either green, grey, black, or brown; now a greyish nothing-color; holes optional.
Jeans without prominent holes.
The "nice" jeans; no holes, no stains; they fit.
Black jeans!
Pants that are not jeans but are not quite suit pants either -OR- a misguided Utilikilt.


Long flowing hippie skirt, unfashionable, no underwear, or boxers
Skirt that is more current style of some sort.
Miniskirt and combat boots ( with snarky tshirt, multitool, and jacket, this is punk geek formal).
Ball gown of amazing ridiculousness, with sneakers.
Actual fancy dress that looks fantastic, with girly shoes (to be used sparingly).


Tank top.
Tank top with shelf thing built in.
Actual bra, scungy.
Fun colored lacey bra -OR- none, with Snarky geek shirt, tight.


Mismatched white tube socks.
White socks.
Black socks.
Fun socks.
Ironic leg warmers.
Stripey knee socks.
Stripey thigh highs.
Fishnets, pristine.
Fishnets, artistically torn, with safety pins. Especially on guys. Guys, y'all are taking notes, right?

Accessories acceptable for dressing up:

Laptop backpack.
Laptop bag, fancy.
Laptop modded in any way; stickers; etching; plastic case.
A funky vest. (For hippie chicks or old unix sys admins).
Pocketwatch. (Sys admins ONLY).

We could keep going, I'm sure! I can't even begin to touch upon shoes.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Community" needs women, badly!

Sometimes you just have to laugh. Apparently this conference, "Community Next", has been missing all the years of discussion in blogging and tech communities about gender diversity. Maybe it's too technical of a conference and women tend to go for the more "soft" skills like communities and social engineering and marketing? Oh wait, that's what the conference is about. Um! Maybe there aren't any women in tech who do community work? Or who know anything about viral marketing and web 2.0? Maybe they're not famous and notable enough, or don't know how to speak? Golly. Where are the women!?

Seriously, I looked at this speaker list and conference description and started laughing really hard. So many nice guys that I like and respect, but here, they dropped the ball.


Maybe danah was rly rly busy so they just didn't know who else there was to ask!

Or maybe if they put some pink in that web site design and a link to shopping, some of the wimminz might show up. (/sarcasm)

If there aren't women talking, I get turned right off of going.

On the other hand, some of those guys are kind of hot. Maybe they will wear their best really tight witty Threadless tshirts and make it worth my while to show up. Hawt!

(/really ending sarcasm now)

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pissed off cyborg in your face

Originally uploaded by cdent
If this round of wheelchair use keeps for for much longer, then finally everyone in the known universe will have gone through their awkward reactions and I can stop having the most annoying boring conversation ever.

Here is something I wrote for WisCon. If only I could have forced all 1037 people there to read it.

A quick lesson in wheelchair manners:

1) Please ask before touching!
2) That goes for pushing the chair especially.
3) My lap is not your shelf.
4) I'll ask if I need direct help.
5) "Would you like help" is fine, good manners; "Here let me do that for you" while doing it already -- is not. I value my abilities.
6) Walking beside me is nicer than walking behind me; then I can see you.
7) Coming down to my level for conversation is extra polite, thanks! Looming over me especially from behind... not so much.
8) Think of the chair as an extension of my body or personal space, treat it as such.
9) Thanks for unblocking my path so I don't get trapped, much appreciated. Move your backpack out of the aisle.
10) Really, please don't move the chair! I wouldn't pick you up and move you, would I?
11) Please don't bump it either, it's annoying and often it hurts me.
12) Let's talk about science fiction and feminism instead of wheelchairs and disability and pain, once we get past introductory chit chat.
13) No I don't really want to listen to your process your feelings and fears about disability unless we're already friends.
14) No I don't want your medical advice unless I ask for it.
15) If I ran over your toes, my bad, I'm so sorry
16) I'm not here to satisfy the whims of your curiosity. Why do you need to know? Why do you want to know? Could you possibly put off finding out till you know me better?

Clip and save!

Because that was the polite part. Here is the rude angry in your face part:

What 's wrong with you? Why are you in the chair? Oh my god WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? Is this temporary? Is this permanent? Did you break your leg? Did you go to the doctor? Did you get an MRI? What exactly is wrong? You sure get around well, how did you learn? When will you be out of the chair? Are you sure? I'm so sorry! Are you in pain? Are you going to die? You sure look comfortable. Wow lucky you, you get to sit down while we're all standing in line. OMG are you OKAY?

(Answers: Nothing, what the hell is wrong with YOU? So that I can get around. I was born and then grew up, what happened to you? I don't know. I don't know. No, but I can tell you really really really want me to have broken my leg. What do you think, do you think I went to a doctor, but that's not what you're asking, you're asking what my prognosis is. Do you want to help diagnose me? I don't know but I have some possibilities which we could discuss exhaustively OR we could have some other more interesting conversation. I learned last time I was crippled which was around 93-98 with varying degrees of disability, oh that surprises you, check your assumptions at the door; oh by the way you seem to get around really well for someone with their head up their own ass. I don't know. I don't know. I'm sorry too, for your mama for raising someone so rude and boring, I'd rather be crippled than be a drip like you. Yes I am quite likely in a considerable amount of pain, and you know what, I also was in varying degrees of physical pain when you saw me walking around, why must you bring it up? Yes I'm going to die and so are we all and so are you, especially, about 5 seconds from now. If you want to try being as comfortable as I am I can beat you up right now and stab some daggers into your back. Uh yeah lucky me I have run out of sarcasm to even throw at this one, o falsely jocular person. Yeah, are YOU okay?

Hey you know what, world? Let's have a conversation about your painful struggle with your own hemorrhoids. Because apparently your head is up your ass. That must be really painful for you and I really admire how you deal with the challenge!

Every time I go out in public in a crowd I get totally fed up. I'm really sick of being the crippled girl. It was a relief last night to scoot over to the couch for a bit and have the pressure off me, the pressure of being looked at and stuck in that box in people's minds.

You can see their faces as they think "Wow... that could happen to me."

Pain is annoying and tiring and distracting, and I have very much valued the times it goes away (rare) and that it doesn't interfere with physical function too much. However, it is not new. It is also not the end of the world.

Limited mobility is annoying and distracting and inconvenient and sometimes isolating or frustrating but you know what... the worst part of it for me so far is the way it makes people act like dumbasses.

I'm off to write a really dumb Mary Sue-ish science fiction story where everyone slathers pity on the people who can't interface with the cyborg telepathic alien hovercraft symbionts and are doomed to dreary, unassisted, bipedal motion.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Pink and sparkly

Okay on the one hand, Geek Girl Bingo. Pink, sparkly, cute, colour choice, stereotype city. I am totally down with calling people on their constant application of these ideas to femininity.

On the other hand, I kind of want this. On the substrate of the pink and sparkly Hello Kitty laptop, I would add a million bad attitude stickers, and it would be glorious. I could mod my Hello Kitty with some green tentacles to make a Hello Cthulhu. It's kind of a problem.

Clearly my mind is not free from colonization.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Come to Wiki Wednesday

Well, I'm crossing over my day job into my personal blog here, but what the heck. I love my day job (and wikis) enough for it to merge that way! I'm turning into kind of a wiki fanatic, so much that a couple of months ago I realized I had the same sense of fannish belonging at our wiki meetup that I do at poetry readings, blogging meetups, and science fiction cons: the sense that I'm finally around other people who share some basic philosophy of reality that might not be quite mainstream. For poetry, it's, well, being poety. For blogging, it's that I don't feel like anything is real until I've written it up and posted it to the Internet and had 6 people link to it. For sf cons, it's that my brain has been steeped in the structures of alien societies since I was 5 years old, so much that I'm a Martian. In the case of wikis, that means that I want to collaborate on everything, and I want to be able to take everything back and travel backwards in time, and while I browse the non-wiki-ish Muggle web or even read a book, I get frustrated that I can't double click on the page to edit the page.

This month I look forward to bringing up my pet peeves about wikis. Talk about wiki interoperability. I flip back and forth between wikis all the time, from Socialtext to Mediawiki to PBwiki to Kwiki, and can never remember which markup is which. In one, I have to use double square brackets, in another, single square brackets, to make a link. Not to mention the problems with quotes, pipes, header markup, and everything else. Why can't they all just get along?

So here's my wiki wednesday invite:

June 6th will be Wiki Wednesday, with events in London, San Francisco, Montreal, and Vancouver. There's also a wiki meetup in Sydney, Australia, June 12th.

Anyone is welcome to give a quick presentation, demo, or talk on using wiki and social media technology. We have an interesting mix of developers, wiki entrepeneurs, wiki editors and administrators, bloggers, and consultants. I wrote up the last London and Palo Alto meetings, so you can get an idea of what happens at the event.

In San Francisco, we'll be meeting at Citizen Space at 6pm. Eugene Eric Kim is giving a talk on wiki interoperability and wiki ohana. He'll describe real-world end-user pain, concrete opportunities (especially ways Wiki developers can help the entire space by improving their own tools), and a practical strategy (WikiOhana) for achieving interoperability. This could lead into a great discussion! I'm hoping we'll hear as well about events at Recent Changes Camp Montreal (RoCoCo), which Eugene wrote up with some excitement in his blog, eek speaks. Check out his writeups of the recent Identity conference, too, he has some fantastic ideas. And just a heads up, in July, Eszter Hargittai will be our featured speaker for the SF Bay Area.

In London, Wiki Wednesday has become a large and vibrant get together. David Terrar has created a Ning page as well as a signup page on the wiki. The meeting will be at 18:15 at the Conchango offices.

In Vancouver, the event so far has a high amount of wiki software developers. Check the Wiki Wednesday page for details.

In Montreal, there will be a focus on continuing the discussions at Recent Changes Camp, but also there will be time for wiki project explanations and demos.

Please sign up if you'd like to come! You can sign in on the wiki page at:

Or on the invite:

Also, if you are interested in presenting at a future Wiki Wednesday, or would like to organize one in your city, please let me know.

Thanks a million to Wiki Wednesday organizers David Terrar, Luke Closs, and James Matheson, as well as to Tara Hunt and Chris Messina from Citizen Agency.

I leave you with this photo by George Kelly, because it made me laugh really hard:

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