The Parable of the Prodigal Meetup Organizer and the Clued-In Community Manager

This is a parable about a local organizer failing to recover from an instance of bad judgment, and an excellent Community Manager coming to his rescue at the request of a Meetup attendee. Let it be a lesson in how to start with a fail and end with a win.

Not long ago in a dimension directly adjacent to ours, there was a popular tool for molding fresh computers into the right for your needs. The Good Tool had enthusiastic users across many lands, and it was common to gather and trade tips for wielding it. These were jolly events, with food, ale, and video projectors. One day, into a gathering strode a rustic stranger from the West. She wore a large yellow rucksack and appreciated the tales of the locals.

Suddenly, a speaker uttered a trope so common it felt like reading from the Book of Ages. He claimed … Read the rest

Trans Technology Symposium at Rutgers next Tuesday, 3/5

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My friend Christina Dunbar-Hester and her colleague Bryce Renninger are guest curators of a pretty eclectic and awesome exhibit of gender-subversive art and artifacts which runs through June 3, 2013 at Rutgers University Institute for Women and Art in the Douglass Library.  In their words, “Trans Technology focuses on technological art and artifacts that engage in trans, queer and feminist projects that help to trans (to use the word as a verb: spanning; interrogating; crossing; fusing) conceptions of the heterosexual matrix in technology.” A bunch of the featured creators will be at a symposium this Tuesday, March 5, 2013.

I was asked to contribute a jokey tee shirt with a series of (fallopian) tubes (Senator Stevens, don’t tie our tubes!) that I made back in 2006.  Click here for the back story.  My friend and frequent collaborator, Georgia Guthrie, is showing a piece that she knit from network … Read the rest

Adacamp was my dream un-conference, and so can you!

TLDR: Click here to indicate your interest in AdaCamp 2013 in San Francisco this June.  You’re interested because the last one was awesome.

Wall of compliments at AdaCamp DC (c) Máirín Duffy CC-BY-SA
Wall of compliments at AdaCamp DC (c) Máirín Duffy CC-BY-SA

Ladies and lady-positive people, you know that tech gathering that you dream about, the one where you’re surrounded by people who are smart and strong but modest and appreciative of all the factors that helped them get where they are?  The one where privacy and maintaining a safe space is conspicuously valued even more highly than the conference’s own publicity?  Where the women’s room sees some traffic and the men’s room is declared an all-gender space? Where the food is sensitive to a range of dietary needs and tastes AMAZING?  And the one where you wish you could be friends with everyone there?

I was there, and let me tell you, it was awesome. In July, 2012 … Read the rest

Hacking The Gender Gap this Thursday

Hacking the Gender Gap” is a hands-on workshop for understanding and defeating the gender gap in tech.  I helped develop it last March for the Women In Tech Summit with my good friend and Hacktory powerhouse, Georgia Guthrie.  Amy Guthrie (no relation, another awesome Hacktory organizer) and I will be facilitating it this Thursday evening at our new space at 3711 Market St. for Girl Geek Dinners.  We’ve done it at Adacamp, HOPE9, and HacDC, and if you’ve heard of it, it might have been as “that timeline thing.”  In a nutshell, participants share their experiences with technology–both positive and negative–on a physical timeline; identify patterns in the assembled experiences; and discuss ways to make tech communities more inclusive, and ways that awesome people already have.  (Many thanks to Katie Bechtold who, I think, wrote that description for HacDC.)

Check out the Meetup Read the rest

Doing It Right: The GNOME Foundation Outreach Program for Women

opw-poster-USLetter-2013-littleYesterday I got news that I was accepted into a super cool internship program. For the first quarter of 2013, I’ll be working with the Open Technology Institute to help them integrate Tor with their mesh networking platform called Commotion.

The internship is part of the GNOME Foundation‘s Outreach Program for WomenGNOME is an open source desktop environment, and my preferred desktop on Linux.  In 2006 they ran an internship program whose goal was to get more women contributing to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).  People loved it and in 2010 they revived the effort and started running it twice a year.

For this iteration, they’ve partnered with a slew of FOSS projects to offer some pretty diverse opportunities in cloud computing, security, and tools for privacy and fighting censorship.  The internships are set up as full-time work from home, making them accessible for … Read the rest

Hacking the Gender Gap at the Women In Tech Summit

TechGirlzTomorrow, The Hacktory is excited to present a workshop at the Women In Tech Summit called Hacking the Gender Gap: A Hands-On Workshop for Boosting Gender Diversity in Tech. Georgia, Sarah, and Steph will facilitate activities to pull from people’s positive and negative experiences in tech as well as some of the research on the gender gap in STEM. We’ll work through strategies for combating sexist behavior and building a more diverse tech community. We hope to use this workshop as a first step in gathering data and stories that women, girls, and their allies can use in their organizations.

Check back here for a resource list and some of the outcomes from the session. And if you haven’t signed up for the summit they may still be taking some last minute registrations!

Happy Tech Week, everyone!… Read the rest

11 To-Do’s for Women In Tech

Cross-posted at The Hacktory.

I’m at the venerable LISA (Large Installation System Administration) Conference in Boston this week. I just left a panel on Women in Tech. This rap session/problem-solving brainstorm was a great way to wrap up an exhilarating and encouraging year for women in IT. I was reminded of two of my favorite works on why the gender gap persists, not to mention lots of other diversity gaps: a 2006 study by the Free/Libre/Open Source Software Policy Support project and Skud’s amazing 13 minute breakdown of everything you need to know from OSCon 2009.

The discussion ranged from … Read the rest

Inclusion Is More Critical Than Uptime: Warming up the Occupy Philly Tech Tent

I support the Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Together movement.  The wealth gap is a whole ‘nother macro thing, but this post is focused on my (admittedly limited) efforts to help the Occupy Philly tech crew boost their inclusiveness.  Last night I did a little canvassing then talked to the tech crew on-site at City Hall.  Before I left, I formed and discussed the recommendations below with the people I caught up with, and they liked the ideas.  The folks I talked to at the tent were very busy but took time out of fighting fires and the General Assembly to talk about the issues.  They were interested and receptive and I thank them for taking the time to reflect on their work process with me.  The first suggestion came directly from the media working group, so I can’t take credit.  Here’s an email I sent to the tech organizing list this … Read the rest

Gender, Technology, and the Desk Job

I’m inspired by the speakers at Textile Messages earlier tonight, an event about e-textiles organized by Yasmin Kafai at UPenn.  One of the speakers, Leah Buechley, developer of the Lilypad Arduino, is also speaking tomorrow at a UArts/Hive76 event that I wish I could make it to.  The Lilypad took the Arduino idea and put it in a sewable form that gave e-textiles a big kick in the pants.  E-textiles or soft circuits are exciting for a lot a reasons that deserve their own exploration, but suffice it to say that what gets me gesticulating excitedly is the idea of mashing up different audiences with fluency in different technologies.  Putting electronics in crafts/clothing/sewing gives it a new accessibility, and gives it access to new creative thinkers.  By clearing a path for crafters and sewers to start thinking about conductivity and sensors, soft circuits make space for electronics (especially … Read the rest

Gender, Technology and UN Pants

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 Read the rest