Monday, December 29, 2008

Help out Richmond Jane Doe rape survivor

Does anyone have an extra working laptop or one that might be cheaply fixable? The woman in Richmond who got gang raped for having a rainbow gay pride bumper sticker is, well, is in dire difficulty. She needs help with housing, since the rapists have her home address, and she and her partner and their 8 year old daughter haven't been back there. She needs a car (she was raped a lot in the old one and can't bring herself to get into it). And she and her partner could really use a computer they could use to help them out in general .

I donated money via Paypal here:

But I thought I could also ask around to see if anyone could help out with a computer.

Here is a news link

And here are some other bits of info if you want to use snail mail, contact the police, or verify the story with the local Rape Crisis Center.

If you would like to send a card, please mail it to:

Richmond Police Department
Attn: Sgt. Brian Dickerson
1701 Regatta Blvd.
Richmond, CA 94804

If you can send a financial contribution (even a few dollars) to help her pay her medical bills and other costs associated with her recovery, please mail a check payable to Community Violence Solutions to:

Community Violence Solutions
2101 Van Ness Ave.,
San Pablo, CA 94806
Attn: Mrs. Joanne Douglas

In the memo section of the check please write: Richmond Jane Doe

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Silly geek tshirt

Here's a silly tshirt for people who write in vim or vi. Do you prefer the good attitude? Or bad?

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Monday, December 22, 2008

SCALE conference: Women in Open Source

I heard about this conference, the Southern California Linux Expo, only because they have a Women in Open Source track. It showed up on my Google Alerts and on several of my mailing lists. Here's their call for proposals to give talks.

Since I've never been to the conference I wondered what kind of talks they've had in the past. How can I know what to propose, otherwise? Or if what I might talk about would be useful (or hard core enough) to their participants?

I went looking to see what the past Women in Open Source tracks were like. Here's the schedule for SCALE 2008, with links to the talks and participants. I would have gone to the Education panel, the long spam-fighting talk, community manager talk, open source mentoring talk, Building Websites with Drupal, and the women in open source panel discussion. The 2008 BOF schedule was posted too. I might have liked the EC2 and the MySQL groups! In 2007, there was a Women in Open Source mini-conference or track.

It is not so much that the topics are different in the years before there was a Women in Open sorce focus, but the fact they have bothered to take steps to show women's participation makes me feel much more certain the conference will be interesting and I won't feel out of place.

It's nice to see someone doing it right.

If you miss OSCON because you'll be at BlogHer in July, this looks like a good conference to go to!

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Neobaroque user interface

What do you think. Brilliant steampunk parody? Or simply the funniest, most godawful, user interface design in the history of the planet?

I can't stop laughing! I keep expecting the Onceler to pop out and put a thneed on it!

It's just like the early 90s software I remember when people had to make a GUI for everything, no matter if it was suited for it or not.

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

A winner for the HP Magic Giveaway!

Hello world! I’ve had a busy week at work with php and Drupal, and then had a very nice time at the EFF at an informal Drupal class where Tim Jones walked us all through the process of installing Drupal and writing “Hello World” modules. I did a lot of editing on a book for Aqueduct Press about this year’s feminist science fiction convention The WisCon Chronicles volume 3, which is coming together nicely. My son had 3 choir performances got to play for the first time in snow, a pit of artificial snow provided by our little town in California. I made up strange background stories about an alternate Lord of the Rings story where Galadriel accepts the One Ring when Frodo offers it to her. And I helped Oblomovka move house, obsessively measuring everything and drawing the room on graph paper and cutting out to-scale furniture also on graph paper, which I love doing! A busy life. Somewhere in between all those things, I read all of your comments and blog posts for the HP Magic Giveaway.

Onward to the contest! This is a long post; be warned!

Over 100 people entered the contest, which is really not very many for such a good prize. However, I was impressed with the high quality of the entries, with all of the interesting comments, whether they were analytical responses or personal stories that related to my experiences. Many people gave details of how they’d like to share the contest prizes with others in their family, with neighbors, with organizations they work with, or with schools. Every story had its merits.

I hope that everyone who didn’t win a free computer will think of ways they can get what they’d like for themselves, and for others. For example, they could hold a fundraiser on their own blog, to buy a computer like the ones in the contest and donate it to the cause of their choice.

I truly appreciate all the comments and entries! While I can’t mention everyone by name, but of the entries, I was especially impressed with :

* Mr. Brammer, who commented on wearable usb drives and on useful mobility gadgets. He teaches school in Indonesia and could really use some computers to spread throughout the villages where he works. “What's great is that I am already in position to make a direct impact using those computers, without having to search for an outside charity: my students are the charity!” He doesn’t have a current blog that I could find but his wife does, and I liked seeing the lovely photo of them as a family. Yeah, so I stalk my commenters. What else is new!

* Loving Heart Mommy, who posted about disabilty and travel, and who would like to use some of the computers for home schooling and to start her own business

* Kostas, who is a human rights activist in Greece and whose mother works for a school. He commented on disability and travel, mentioning his commitment to fighting for equal rights for people of all sexualities, immigrant status, and abilities.

* S. Bear Bergman, whose work I am somewhat familiar with and who had (as always) fantastic ideas around trans and gender issues, commenting on diversity training and sparking conversation Twitter .

* Bridget commented on “being of a time” and the history of science and medicine.

* Ben, who commented on Growing a Language and whose blog entry over on bentangle did make me think. Though halfway in that laughing my ass off way as I pondered his approach to feminism, which is to ask his male friends to imagine going through life without a penis. “While this is obviously a simplistic and crude explanation, it seems to be effective for men because, frankly, a lot of how we spend our time is influenced by the fact that we have one.” Seriously? I had no idea! LOL! (Imagine, ladies, going throughout life without a vulva. A) Apparently that would make you a man? B) What? C) LOL again. ) But, anyway, Ben is a thoughtful and interesting blogger!

* Twincere aka Tanya, who had a lot to say about disability, people’s attitudes, and autism. Her family of 7 shares one rickety old desktop, she is in Nursing school, and she recommends The Endependence Center, which helps families with transitional services, ie independent living, as a worthy recipient of computer equipment. I very much agree with her! The indepedent living movement is great!

* Cindy Opong of Creative Assistants commented with a story about people’s assumptions and expectations based on race (and racism) when they see her (white) with her husband (black, from Ghana) or how people look at her funny when she’s in the local African grocery. She would like to give computers in support of a local (Colorado) school that promotes diversity in education.

* Heather of left a long, interesting comment relating my travel and disability stories to her college roommate’s experiences living with visual impairment. Like many people who entered, she personally knows many others in her group of family and friends whose lives, school, or small businesses would be improved by owning a new computer!

* Christine commented on my entry about the Bitch Manifesto, and she would like to “share the magic” with the Salvation Army of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who lost everything in the floods this June but which has continued to do great work in the community all year long. Florencia from Listen Up Mofos also had some things to say about bitches!

Steph from gamers with lives weighed in on my critique of the sexist descriptions of Google VP Marissa Mayer. She does outreach in K12 schools with girls and students with disabilities, with hands-on activities like Lego Mindstorm robots. That is a GREAT project! Go, Steph aka retrogamer! And, I liked your comments on being a female educator in computing and what it’s like for geeky girls. I’ve totally been there.

* Michele from Creative Writing 101 commented and posted about the poems by Emilia Bernal and my translations. Her story made me laugh and she would like to donate computers to the organization where she works, a center for disadvantaged teens. Well, imagine wanting to donate to your employer. That speaks well of the organization, doesn’t it, that it’s not just a job for its workers, it’s something they believe in deeply and want to give more resources than the labor they already give?

* Jonathan wrote at length about the gender gap in computer science, discussion which I’m always happy to see. I would recommend to him that he read “She’s Such a Geek” anthology for some stories from women in male-dominated science and tech fields for a slightly less dry, and more personal, approach to the issues!

* Sandy of momforeverandever, who wrote about her feelings when her husband, an army veteran who is disabled, meets with idiotic treatment from others! She would give a computer to her child who’s in college and others to families of disabled veterans.

* Overmind, who seems like he must be a teenager or in his early 20s, and who is reading Twilight in order to find out how to behave towards women in a relationship. I hope he pays attention to the bits about listening to your girlfriend’s thoughts and opinions, and ignores the creepy stalker bits of the book where Edward is insane, possessive, and spies on his girlfriend at all times. I really enjoyed the thought of a young guy reading this series to get insight into what women of his generation are thinking, and feeling, and in order to analyze gender roles. His guy friends should learn from him and not be so scared to read a “girly” book!

* Heather, or goddess of knitting (that’s her shop on etsy) had a lot to say about teaching poetry in science courses, and cross-curriculum education in public schools. Go, Heather! Mix it up! Her biology class in southern Georgia (the U.S. state) will start on Jan. 7th and she would love to have computers for her classroom. I love her enthusiasm and her stories of all the preparation she’s doing for her first time teaching. “I plan to have a project where each student has to read a science fiction book and do a report that must compare the science in the book with the real science. I also have warm-ups planned everyday and on Wednesdays this will be a science poem. Some of the authors are Federico Garcia Lorca, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, John Haines and George Bradley. I feel very so strongly that the lack of crossover in the subjects makes us more compartmentalized as a culture.”

* Meg from Life in the Village commented on being a bitch, positive and negative aspects! Her small town has a new middle school that could use some computers!

* Amanda’s long comment on disability, I’ve already mentioned but it still makes me burn with sympathy and anger for her brother.

* I hate to say it but Amber’s comment gave me the biggest laugh of all but not really in a good way. OMG! I mean, I respect her work with the Childhood Cancer Network, and Scarlet Letter seems like an interesting site, but she kissed ass on me so awfully. Who could possibly be flattered by this enough to go “Oh well then I’ll just give you a giant wad of computers!” : “Thank you Liz Henry, you have the name of a poet or a great author. It flows nicely such as Jane Austen or Anais Nin. Its a name that would look great on paper.” AHAHAHAHAHAHA, what?!!!! I will be dining out over the ridiculousness of this comment for years to come. Everyone who I’ve showed it to has burst into horrified laughter and made fun of me all day. Now, on the other hand making me laugh is worth something; maybe she meant it as irony; plus, she has a great email name herself, “shevilkenevil1”. LMAO over here.

* Beverly’s Yarn Crazy!, a blog whose name is so awesome I have to just give her props. Thank you Beverly’s Yarn Crazy!, you have the name of a poet or a great knitter. It flows nicely such as Yarn Harlot or Yarnivore. It’s a name that would look great crocheted onto a potholder or an afghan. 8-) Hi Beverly!

* deepikaur from Redefinability made some thoughtful comments on social networks and Twittering. Her blog looks interesting!

* Vundavalli from Cricket Crazy would really like some computers for his village and for Sphoorti, a grassroots organization that helps with the education of underprivileged children in Hyderabad.

* Roguepuppet told a great story about being a young Girl Scout in Maryland in the U.S., volunteering at nursing homes. Under Maryland law, nursing homes were temporary residences, so none of the people living there could vote! She and her fellow Girl Scouts campaigned to change the law, and succeeded. Wow!

Several people commented on Highly Trained Girl-Monkey Sys Admin Bait including Rikki from Linux Pro, Jamie, another Syster with a long story about sexism in her department and her data structures class.

* Sara Moreira from Portugal (and East Timor ) posts about a project she works with in East Timor that helps women who are going into Engineering. She works in IT and E-Learning, and has been a professor of Engineering at East Timor National University, uses computers and social media for women’s empowerment, and, along with another Syster from Portugal, is planning to start a mini-incubator for a web dev company run by Timorese women that will focus on arts and local culture. Wow! Ten thumbs up from me on that project! Wait, I don’t have ten thumbs but I do have a whole bunch of computers to give away. I am very happy to declare Sarita Moreira the winner of the contest and I’ll be contacting her for details and to arrange the shipping. Congratulations Sarita, and I admire your project very much. Also, from what I can understand of Portuguese, I love your writing - so beautiful! 8-)

What do you think of my choice of a winner? If you’ve followed along this week with the entries and comments: who would you have chosen?

Thank you again to everyone for participating! I LOVE YOUR BLOGS!

There are still more HP Magic Giveaway contests! So, you still have a chance to win these computers. Go for it!

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Monday, December 01, 2008

HP Magic Giveaway entries so far

Here's a sampling of the entries I've gotten, two days into the HP Magic Giveaway contest:

A bunch of folks commented on a review of the G1 Android phone. I am still wondering why there isn't a pedometer app! But there are lots of other ones I asked for, like a simple compass and a geocaching app.

On that post, briguy992 wants me to be happy that the Android system's background is fabulous. Most of the time yes, I agree. But when I've tried to kill a process I can't! Despite how cool the G1 is, it's not some kind of miracle device that manages its memory perfectly, or never crashes. In fact I have to restart it fairly often.
So I don't agree with briguy992 that what I should do is "ignore that feeling it's not 'closed' ". Actually, I think that's very condescending advice! It is not like I'm just having a superstitious "feeling" like someone who can't deal with having multiple tabs open. It's that I'd like to be able to control my computer. Wouldn't you rather have root on your G1 so you could screw it up thoroughly? ;-) Or go looking for some kind of kill program or task manager?

While I was looking for something like this, I did find out that holding down the home key for 5 seconds shows the 6 most recent open apps. I have a terminal window, I can type ps -x, therefore, I should be able to type kill -9 and have it work! But no. I'd also like the apps written with the option to close them! So, briguy992's comment made me think, but also totally annoyed me, so in the spirit of this blog, I have to give him hell. That's just how I roll!

A bunch of people commented on my long complaint about how mad I get in airports while travelling with a wheelchair. Disabled or not, lots of folks notice the dehumanizing treatment that goes along with air travel. Of course it is not just air travel or airports; it's any big institution whose power goes unchecked by the people it (in theory) serves.

* S. Bear Bergman started a whole different conversation from thinking about diversity training issues. He asked his readers to undergo the cruel discipline of Twitter (or, to enter 140 character thoughts into a form on LJ) some short, crucial concepts on being trans. A bunch of people, including Kate Bornstein, responded! Now, that's a cool sparky cascading result to this contest!

* Amanda's comment about her brother being treated like a pre-schooler in a social group for people with disabilities was touching and made me boiling mad. That is the treatment most older people get in nursing homes and assisted living and it's what a lot of people with disabilities get too. Hello to Amanda's brother, and I wonder what he would say to what I wrote?

There is a very long interesting comment with good links, by Digital, over on "Highly trained girl-monkey sys admin bait". She points out that it takes strong communities to make a climate where our stories win out over the acceptance of sexist ones, and links to the Anita Borg Institute. Well, I have to agree. I've been part of the Systers email list for years and am very happy to work for BlogHer, which was just honored with the Anita Borg Social Impact Award!

I look forward to more amazing comments! To everyone I haven't yet mentioned... I'm reading your comments and blog posts, too! Thanks for your comments and thanks for reading.

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