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Women In Technology

July 28, 2010

I’m going to offer up a quick note about this and then I’ll simply point you to a great post that was written about women in technology.

While I do know of a handful of women that I’ve worked with since starting my tech job, a quick look around the office of any tech worker will undoubtedly tell of a male dominated profession.  I don’t think it’s changing a whole lot right now either, although I hope that we’re able to start down the path to change.  Sure there may be women who work in your tech office but, how many of them are actually coding?  That’s what I thought. I can count on one hand the number of women who were in any of my classes when I went to college for software development.  Actually I don’t think I’d even need to use my hand to count them, because quite frankly I don’t remember there being any.

There is no reason why the split shouldn’t be more even.  I’m fairly certain that given the right circumstances there would be just as many women who would love to code for a living as there are men.  But there are barriers, obvious barriers as well as subtle barriers.

As part of Google‘s ongoing commitment to encouraging women to excel in computing and technology,we are pleased to announce the Google JSConf.eu 2010 Conference Grant to encourage more female computer scientists to participate in the JSConf 2010 Conference, 25-26 September 2010, Berlin, Germany.

Good for Google!  I’m glad somebody is willing to do something, even if they are going to take some uncalled for heat about it from some.

Having worked in the field for a few years now, even I feel uncomfortable sometimes.  I’m not the stand up and proclaim how great I am kind of person, which is what a lot of coders seem to be.  I still don’t feel comfortable saying that I know what I’m doing, partly because I don’t grasp everything that I do completely, but, also partly because the way some people talk such a big game scares me into thinking that they must know so much more than I do.  Which when I sit down and really think about it, I seriously doubt that they do.  I’m just a little more humble, a little less self promoting and a little more cautious than most of the alpha-male types that seem to fill a large chunk of the software development field.  I have no interest in changing to be more like them either, this is who I am for better or worse.  I like it that way.

Anyway, this post by Nicole Sullivan says it all much better than I could.  Here you go.

Happy Blogiversary To Me!

June 30, 2010

It was 1 year ago today that I started The View From Out Here!

It has been a pretty quick year, full of ups and downs in real life as well as with trying to stay committed to blogging.  Overall it’s been a pretty good year though.  I figured I’d try to go through some of the highlights from my blog from the first year.

Here we go:

  • Total views: 44,000 +
  • Total comments: 92
    • 383 if we’re counting Spam
    • Surprisingly, very few of these comments are from me…….the real ones, not the spam ones…….although those aren’t from me either!
  • Total posts: 85 (I’m impressed that it made it that high with all the lulls in my posting frequency)
  • At least 1,500 views every month!
  • At least 100 views every day for the past 2 months!
  • Busiest day: July 27th with 3,300 + views!
  • Top viewed post with over 30,000 views : Buy a truck, get a free AK47
    • Go figure, it’s also the top commented post as well
  • My favourite post: Mass Flooding in Hamilton, ON
    • This is the closest I’ve ever come to breaking a news story.  I was driving on the Red Hill Expressway when it flooded and I had the whole scoop, complete with photos.  Which I posted as soon as I got off the road.  It was so cool to get like 3000 views in like 9 hours when the most I’d had in a day before that was about 10 since it was in my first month of blogging.
  • More than 1 person subscribed, so a hearty thank you to you all!
  • Number of people I helped with web development (that I’m aware of): 4
  • Most of my top search terms are either to do with AK47 or Flooding but, I have a surprising number of searches for “cat deer”, “bird and fox”, as well as xkcd
  • The number one thing clicked on in this blog is………the Hamilton SPCA link (the one with the cat & dog in the sidebar).  Apparently people like it, which I’m glad for.  I wish I knew if anyone ever adopted an animal after coming from here…
  • Number of themes I’ve used………..1!  Shocking I know.

Okay, so year 1 went well.  I hope that the second year comes just as easily as the first did, I’ve enjoyed it all.  Thanks to everyone who reads, please, feel free to comment as well!!  Have a wonderful and uplifting day everyone!

Colours

June 29, 2010

I came across an interesting question the other day.  What it basically boiled down to was this.  What if we don’t all see in the same colors?

Allow me to elaborate.  What if some people see green as red, or red as green?  What if they didn’t know because they were taught from a young age that this is red.  As far as they knew it would be normal, nothing would seem strange to them.  Seeing it any other way would be strange.  What if you are the one who sees colours backwards…..or me?  How would we ever know.  I mean, have you ever tried to describe a colour?  Short of saying it’s the colour of something?

Apparently there is a theory or argument based off of this called Inverted Spectrum, which dates back to John Locke.  It’s an interesting proposition to say the least.

This led me to another interesting read.  Which is a study of colour from the folks at xkcd, which is absolutely hilarious comic strip if you’ve never read it.  This was a mind-boggling study on colour and how people perceive colours.

[On a side note.  Can we get a Canadian version of the WordPress spell check so I don’t keep second guessing my spelling on things like colour?  Is that so much to ask?]

Back to my point.

I’ll throw in a quick quote followed by a pic from their post and let you decide whether you want to read more of it here.  I warn you, it’s a little long but, the first half of it can be pretty hilarious.

First, a few basic discoveries:

  • If you ask people to name colors long enough, they go totally crazy.
  • “Puke” and “vomit” are totally real colors.
  • Colorblind people are more likely than non-colorblind people to type “fuck this” (or some variant) and quit in frustration.
  • Indigo was totally just added to the rainbow so it would have 7 colors and make that “ROY G. BIV” acronym work, just like you always suspected. It should really be ROY GBP, with maybe a C or T thrown in there between G and B depending on how the spectrum was converted to RGB.
  • A couple dozen people embedded SQL ‘drop table’ statements in the color names. Nice try, kids.
  • Nobody can spell “fuchsia”.

Here are some of the funnier answers, these are people trying to give the names of various colours.  Needless to say after answering a few hundred out of the 954 questions it might start to drive you a little batty…

Sorry for spazzing earlier, I think I had a seizure. Ummm dark red.

It’s Never Too Late To Nitpick!

June 29, 2010

Ummmmmmmmmmm, I suppose it’s possible that maybe the map looked different back then???

Google + Pac-Man = Fun!

May 21, 2010

I’ll admit that I’m easily amused, but Google always seems to have something going on and I was loving it when I went to search for something today and saw their home page.  Old School!

Today is apparently the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man so Google is celebrating.  I couldn’t resist playing a little game of Pac-Man while I was there, now that took me back.  I even got my girlfriend to play a game with me since if you click “Insert Coin” twice you get to play with both Pac-Man and Miss Pac-Man.  That’s all I’ve got for this lazy Friday, just me being amused by nothing much, haha.  Oh, and happy anniversary to Pac-Man!

I Think You’ve Had Enough Sir!

April 27, 2010
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What if you wanted to do something nice…..maybe buy a few iPads for friends who live in places where they aren’t on sale yet?  What if when you went to buy these marvels of technology, I’m trying to say that with a straight face and since you can’t see my face you’ll have to take my word that it’s not working very well.  What if you went to buy them and you were told NO?  Doesn’t this sound a little……I don’t know……totalitarian?

After two Apple Employees – identified in the tale as Guy #1 and Guy #2 – check his identity via credit card, Guy #2 informs him: “There is a limit to the number of iPads that customers can buy.” Our protagonist ask what that limit might be, and Guy #2 answers: “Only 2 per customer.”

At that point, Guy #1 returns, and the conversation takes on a Kafkaesque quality:

  • Guy #1: I’m sorry sir, but you have reached your lifetime limit of iPad purchases and will not be allowed to buy any more.
  • Me: Is the iPad limit per person? Per credit card? Per household?
  • Guy #1: All I can say is that you have reached your lifetime limit.
  • Me: What does that mean? Can I use a different credit card to buy it? I’m buying this for a friend.
  • Guy #1: You are not allowed to buy this iPad.
  • Me: Uhh… is it okay if I have a family member or friend come to buy it for me? My reservation doesn’t expire until 6:00pm.
  • Guy #1: All I can say is that you have reached your lifetime limit.
  • Me: Wait, what? Lifetime? What does that mean?
  • Guy #1: All I can say is that you have reached your lifetime limit of iPads and will not be allowed to buy any more.
  • Me: I’m banned from buying iPads? I know there’s a shortage right now, but I can’t buy any more once there’s plenty of stock?
  • Guy #1: All I can say is that you have reached your lifetime limit.
  • Me: Okay buddy, I’m not going to make a scene so I’m leaving. How many iPads is the limit by the way?
  • Guy #1: That information is not available.
  • Me (looking at Guy #2, who has been silent this whole time): He tells me that the limit is two.
  • Guy #1: I wish I could say but I do not have that information.
  • Me: I’ve already purchased more than two iPads. Why didn’t anybody else stop me in the past?
  • Guy #1: I wish I could say but I do not have that information.
  • Me: Alright, I’ve had enough. Have a good day.

Apple has apparently placed not one, but two limits on buying iPads.  First off, you’re only allowed to buy 2 per day.  Beyond that, you’re only allowed to buy 10 in your lifetime.  I mean, really, a lifetime limit?  I can understand a one day limit.  If the store only has 50 iPads and some jack ass comes in and buys all 50 that would probably piss quite a few customers off.  So I get the 2/day limit.  But why in the world is there a lifetime limit of 10???

This story comes from The Register, which in turn got it from Protocol Snow.  Once again Apple policies baffle me…

Video Of Collateral Murder Has Me Speechless

April 8, 2010

I will start this off by saying this is shocking video.  It depicts war events, although I’m not entirely sure “War” is the right word since only one side seems to actually have guns but, I’m not sure what else to call it.  Whatever you want to call it, it is disturbing to say the least.

This video was just released by WikiLeaks a few days ago, the military have been trying to keep it out of the reach of the public for obvious (once you watch) reasons.  The video depicts the slaying of about a dozen, seemingly unarmed, people in Iraq.  This dozen people includes 2 Reuters employees.  Reuters has been trying to get their hands on this video since the incident took place in July 2007, trying to use the Freedom Of Information Act unsuccessfully.  The video is shot from an Apache helicopter and shows the slayings of seemingly innocent people below, including those who were trying to rescue the wounded.

To think that this is how the US Military operates over there is shocking.  Imagine walking down the street carrying a camera, minding your own business, walking with your kids perhaps.  When unseen overhead there is an enormous war helicopter watching your every move.  The pilots or spotters on this chopper see something in your hands, mistaking your camera for an AK47 or even more ridiculous, thinking it’s an RPG, of all things.  That’s it.  That’s all it takes apparently.  Somebody miles overhead seeing people standing around in the streets with something, anything in their hands.  So they shoot you with their 30mm cannon.  Shoot you and your kids, then proceed to shoot anyone that comes along trying to help you as you crawl along the sidewalk….

Shocking doesn’t begin to describe it.  Tragic.  Brutal.  Cold blooded.  Unthinkable.  Deplorable.  Sick.  Unimaginable.  Cruel.  Unnecessary.  Appalling.  Atrocious.  Disgusting.  Shameful.  These are all words that can be used to describe what happens in this video.  The government trying to cover it up and say that the soldiers did nothing wrong is pathetic…..not entirely unexpected but pathetic none the less.  To the people involved with this horrendous murder I say shame on you.

I’m not sure anyone really needs to see the longer version but, there is a longer video of nearly 40 minutes at Collateral Murder.

I am speechless after watching this.  Angry and speechless…