A Sanguine Neurastheniac

Entries from March 2011

Chronicle of a Lab Coat Foretold

March 29, 2011 · 1 Comment

I’ve really enjoyed other Hiver76s’ stories of how they became makers, but I’m a little shy to share like that. Instead, I’m starting a new meme: How I use my lab coat.


Using polishing compound to shine up a piece of titanium that I'd machined on a watchmaker's lathe. Note the fetching eyewear. Damn right I rock the safety gear...usually.


Several of us Hive76 fashionistas have special relationships with our lab coats, from dignified appreciation to reckless abandon. I’m one of those people who shows my lab coat undying affection by using the crap out of it. Every grease stain, every paint smear, every nicked buttonhole is an homage to a project that wouldn’t have been the same without proper mad-scientific attire.

By all rights, my lab coat should have a Cult of the Dead Cow logo on it. It was 2006 and I was at HOPE Six, my first Hackers On Planet Earth conference. My friends and I thought it would be real funny, see, if we poked fun of Sen. Ted Stevens by (more…)

Categories: Making stuff
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Future music and full duplex love with Tek Lado

March 18, 2011 · Leave a Comment

A couple months ago I thought I saw a broadsheet in a newspaper box with a cover story called “Who is the Hispanic Geek? / Quien es el Geek hispano?”.  But I figured it was a figment of my optimistic imagination.  A few weeks later a friend asked if I’d seen this new bilingual tech and pop culture magazine (PRINT!) called Tek Lado.  It took another couple looks to get the pun (get it? Teclado?) because every time I picked up the zine my head was flooded with happy chemicals and I couldn’t think straight.

But Tek Lado actually exists in the world outside my head, and although they’ve moved from print to online only, they appear to be even cooler than I thought.  I met with editors Mel Gomez and Liz Spikol (formerly of Philly Weekly) last week and it was one of those perfect meetings where you gab about everything but somehow still get through your agenda items.

I gave them some love by mentioning a few music projects I thought were cool, and they made that love full-duplex, or multi-cast I guess, by sharing it with their readers.  I talked about DJ /rupture, the Beta Bodega crew out of Miami and San Juan, PR, and the unduplicatable DJ Kiva.

Keep an eye on Tek Lado for rich content and fun events like their Cosplay competition during Philly Tech Week in late April.

Categories: Uncategorized
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Sex Toy Hacking at The Hacktory this Sunday

March 17, 2011 · 2 Comments

DIY flogger, courtesy of QuixoticGoat

DIY flogger, courtesy of QuixoticGoat


Ever wanted to make a pair of undies that light up when the wearer hits a certain body temperature? How about a flogger made of old bike tubes? Ever wondered about reprogamming the vibration pattern in your favorite silicone friend for lots of fun and zero profit? On Sunday, Hacktory friend and instructor Maggie is leading a free-form workshop on hacking sex toys at The Hacktory and you’re invited! Registrations are filling up for this fun, respectful and creative workshop that requires no tech expertise, so head over and register for the workshop. You can also forward it around on teh schmacebook.

For some wildly creative ideas linking sex, electronics, galvanic skin response sensors, gender politics, and art, check out Elle Mehrmand and Micha Cardenas’ Bang Lab at UCSD. They do amazing things like monitor their heart rate and temperature and sending the info to audio and Second Life, so that during performances you can “hear” their body temperatures change and see their Second Life characters imitating what they do in real life on a big projection screen behind them.

Update:  Warmest welcome to commenter Micha Cardenas, and let’s include another link to her site at TransReal.org!

Categories: Geekery
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Gender, Technology and UN Pants

March 1, 2011 · 1 Comment

Photo courtesy of FatBusinessMan

It took a minute, but I found decent pants to wear to the UN. Yeah, that UN. This Thursday, March 3, 2011, I’m part of a panel about “Women in Technology: The Past, Present, and Strategies for the Future”, which will happen alongside the United Nations 55th Committee on the Status of Women Annual Conference. The topic of the big conference is access and participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work. This event is organized by the Foundation for the Support of the United Nations (FSUN) and co-sponsored by United Nations Association, New York (UNA-NY); World Diversity Leadership Summit (WDLS) and Hitachi Data Systems. More info from the UN Association and the Foundation for the Support of the UN. It’s open to the public, so stop by if you like! Registration is requested but not required, and you can do so by emailing jcs.fsun [@] gmail.com. It happens at 2pm at the Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission, 221 East 52nd St., New York, NY, and is followed by another interesting panel on “Diversity and Inclusion: Strengthening Partnerships Between the Business Sector and NGOs”.

I’m going to give a little lightening talk about my experiences as an IT professional, a volunteer teaching basic tech, and an elected leader of a hackerspace addressing its diversity gaps. I’ll touch on how I feel I’ve been received in those situations, and what it’s like to increase women’s engagement with technology, and what’s going on in the background of those very different contexts.

The panel is really interesting. One of them is Christina Dunbar-Hester, about whom I effervesced in a previous post. There’s Tracey Welson-Rossman, founder of TechGirlz, a young Philly org that aims to get 6th to 8th grade girls excited about technology because that seems to be the age when their interest, and therefore aptitude, falls off. The wonderful LeAnn Erickson will be talking about her feature-length documentary about the Top Secret Rosies of WWII, and the women who programmed ENIAC. Leslie Chapman will bring her perspective as a software developer with a background in AI, and Lisa Dearborn joins us from Hitachi where she works as a Vice President of Diversity, College Programs, and Communications. There might be one more last minute addition that’s a secret, but here’s a hint: media critique and puppets.

Categories: Gender tech and
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