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

Un-Borked

Erm. So, WordPress had replaced the widgets in my right sidebar with my penultimate post, but only on the front page. If I clicked a post to view it on its own page, the sidebar worked correctly. But it persisted even if I deleted a post or changed my theme.

I managed to fix it, but I’m not sure how. I do know that my web host upgraded WordPress a few days ago and that I only noticed the issue yesterday. Yesterday I did notice that the html editor was adding a lot of div tags that it wasn’t using before. I went through my last few posts and replaced them with the good ol’ P (paragraph) tag. The front page works again. I’m not 100% convinced it’s because of the deleted div tags, but the sidebar in my theme is indeed differentiated with div tags, so maybe???… Read the rest

Tor basics in plain English

Here’s a cheat sheet that I wrote up for myself about two weeks ago after I’d gotten my bearings with the basics of Tor.  I actually wrote it as an informal status update to my mentor and realized that if it was helpful to me, it might be helpful to someone else.  If you see any errors, don’t be shy about setting me back on the right path!

First, though, please bask in the glory of this super awesome clickable graphic that demonstrates what network traffic is and isn’t obscured by Tor and HTTPS (encrypted HTTP).  This snippet below is just a teaser.  Click it to go to a page where you can click buttons for Tor and HTTPS and see how they work.

Tor and HTTP
Tor and HTTPS

After a visit to the OTI offices and an overview of Commotion with my project mentor Will Hawkins, I felt like the fog … Read the rest

Week three is the new Tuesday

Last week I was chatting with one of the GNOME internship program mentors who asked how the internship was going for me. I said that I felt pretty good, but that I was in a little bit of a lull. I’d learned about all I needed to know to get my feet wet with the technical end of my project, and now I needed to get better clarity on the question I am asking/problem I am solving to be able to really dig my heels in. I was floundering a little, but also having open-ended conversations with people who might be interested in the work. I didn’t know at that moment that those conversations would lead to a significant breakthrough the next day, resulting in a much clearer goal for my internship term.

It was nice to hear, then, that apparently a bunch of the interns in my cohort were … Read the rest

Deepest Condolences

Aaron Swartz at Boston Wikipedia Meetup, 2009. Photo by Sage Ross.

I’m taking a moment to offer my sympathies to the friends and family of Aaron Swartz, who died on Friday.  I didn’t know him, but he was a friend to at least one of my friends and his passing is a blow to many, many people.  He was a dynamic, passionate, and creative defender of information freedom, and he will be missed.  Here are remembrances from people around the Internet:

Cory Doctorow

Peter Eckersly of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Quinn Norton

Wikipedia

New York Times

 … Read the rest

OPW Internship: Organizing My Thoughts

As I wrote previously, I started a work-from-home internship with the Open Technology Institute last Wednesday. The project I was placed with has me working on boosting privacy and anonymity in wireless mesh networks. I spent some time orienting myself with the task and organizing my thoughts.

The stated goal of the project is to integrate Tor with Commotion. More specifically:

Tor Integration:

Commotion mesh nodes are capable of being configured to enter directly into the Tor network. We need an intern to configure, package, and document the process of making a tor-entry node. If the intern completes this task within the time frame they will have the opportunity to tackle custom configurations that will allow for Tor exit nodes on the mesh that allow small bandwidth Tor traffic from elsewhere to be run over the network to further obfuscate it.

Great! So….what does that mean? This … 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

O Hai, World

Chestnut mid-yawn

 

When I last checked in with this lonely blog I was OMG-pregnant, and I’ve left everyone in suspense.  But as expected, in late August my pregnancy resulted in a tiny person with whom I share an emotionally potent chemical co-dependency.

More simply, I HAZ A CUTE BAYBEE!

Please welcome our tiny new friend–codename Chestnut–our toothless, elfen, smiley learning machine.  This picture is from his first full day on the outside, when he still had an anti-theft device attached to his cord stump.  It’s true, they make them for babies.  Apparently, the idea is that if you try to abscond from a hospital with a kiddo, it beeps like a shoplifted dress from Ross.  But if you try to remove it or tamper with it, it’s a felony because messing with the cord stump can potentially endanger the kid’s health.

So what’s it like on the other side … Read the rest

What Pregnancy Has Taught Me About Other Body Types

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:  Pregnancy brings on remarkable physical changes.  I’ve experienced a good number of them.  I had the classic early pregnancy nausea, some select cravings, and my torso widened before my belly, indicating a higher blood volume, lung capacity, and overall expanded infrastructure that’s required to support another person.

But plenty of people have griped about swollen feet and an intensified sense of smell.  What I have found really interesting and novel is that my physical changes have helped me identify with people who have very different body types from mine.

By nature I’m a sturdy but healthy weight for my modest-to-diminutive height, I’m more sensitive to cold and more welcoming of heat than most people around me, I have a high-efficiency metabolism so I can do a lot with a little bit of food, and while I wouldn’t consider myself an athlete, I … Read the rest