Posts filed under 'Schtuff'

Tattoo discounts: Not seen before conference amenity

I’ll be in Tampa next week for a conference. The conference has arranged free streetcar rides and discounts at local vendors – much appreciated. A tattoo parlor is on the list. I’m traveling with my CTO and CEO. Hmmm… Is it less unprofessional to sneak off to get a tattoo if you convince your bosses to get them, too?

Add comment April 10th, 2014

TED in 3 minutes talk: how to tie your shoe

Avoiding tax preparation, figured I could spare 3 minutes for the next TED talk in the TED in 3 minutes playlist. The ‘How to tie your shoes’ talk is apparently the first 3 minute session TED had done – noted. I admire the bravery of a guy who opted to show an audience of luminaries and thought leaders.. how to tie their shoes. In fact, showed them how they’d been doing it wrong, and then showed them how to do it right. Gives me hope that I, too, can give a decent speech on an inane topic. But otherwise, skip it.

Add comment April 9th, 2014

OSCON, here I come!

In 2010, I went to OSCON. GREAT conference, very few women. For the GREAT, I wanted to go back. To help grow the set of women speakers, I needed to go back.

In 2011, I proposed a topic: W3C widgets and OpenAjax. (Don’t look them up..) Technical topic, in which I had great interest at the time, and which showed promise for a R&D effort. No dice.

In 2012, I proposed a topic: OWF, GOSS(?), FOSS?!.. The idea was to go to the biggest open-source conference, talking about a forthcoming open-source project out of one of the country’s less open government agencies. Not accepted.

In 2013, I decided to get a bit smarter. 3 proposals went in to better my odds. One on the now open-source OWF and how it got there (hey, who doesn’t want the in’s on what’s going on in a previously government-internal project?), one giving a tutorial on OWF itself, and one on how we were intending to extend the use of or patterns of use of OSGi to provide dynamic client modules. All good, in-depth geek topics. Not accepted. Geek in-depth just wasn’t getting me in.

By this point, I was more than a bit discouraged. However, discouragement != giving up. The end goals were still of value – I just needed to figure out how to be more viable as a presenter.

Cut to the chase: 2014, I _finally_ got the success. Decided to look at my topics from the catch-your-eye perspective. One topic compared open source communities to sharks – both need to keep moving to survive. Promised many Jaws and Nemo references. Technical topic, audience appealing-spin. One topic made folks aware of government’s efforts in the open-source world, with the intent of encouraging participation. Drier topic, but hits OSCON’s sweet spots. Last topic, and of course the ringer that got accepted, was the crazy what the heck idea – daughter’s Furby is annoying, where would annoying be useful – hey, hooking it up to a build system turns annoying bad into annoying good. Meaning, wanting to fix something quick to shut off the thing is a great use of an otherwise inane annoyance. Not only was the topic, “Arduino + Furby Broken Build Notification – Oh, You’ll Want to Fix it Quick!” accepted, it’s scheduled for the Main Stage (“There are some talks that are just too interesting to limit the audience. Join us in the Main Stage for a collection of jaw dropping talks across all topics”). That it’s scheduled as the last session of the full conference is both an honor (wow, closing out the conference) and a humbling note – folks start petering out by the last day…

Takeaway: marketing appeal matters.

Now to write a kick-tail presentation. By the way, we’ll preflight Furby + software with my company’s Women In Computing Day in June. The kids (young women from 9-14) won’t be seeing a Furby hooked up to a Jenkins server, but we’ll make use of Furby and its audio protocol to help show them robotics in action…

1 comment April 9th, 2014

TED in 3 minutes talk: try something new for 30 days

My Twitter feed includes TED talk announcements. The one that caught my eye this afternoon was ‘9 thought-provoking talks in four minutes or less‘. Whatever the topic, I appreciate someone working to express something well in a short period of time – thought it was worth a few minutes to hear a talk or two.

The first talk in my stream was Matt Cutts ‘Try something new for 30 days‘ The idea is that anyone can try something out for 30 days : it’s long enough to let you form a habit, and not so long that it’s too overwhelming to begin or make it through. It’s also long enough to actually let you achieve something.

I think I’ve read the idea in other magazines and such before, and can’t state whether Matt is its originator or just a good person at expressing it. That said, he did get me thinking – what are good 30 day goals for me?

Quick run-down of ideas:
- read the Bible every day (that oughta already have stuck, but I fall off the wagon and have to get myself back on)
- some sort of fitness activity : squats, pushups, … These aren’t new, but I could get to a new level. Beats aiming at new levels on Temple Run 2
- a software activity: code in a particular language every day for, well, 30 days.
- a more specific software goal: build a mobile game. Doesn’t have to be great – just a game. Frankly, copy an idea, so the idea itself isn’t the blocker. Since the goal isn’t to make money/copyright, just try to get a simple game working.
- unicycle… As in, I can’t now, but I want to. I have two unicycles – warm them up.
- garden. An odd thirty day goal, perhaps, but maybe week 1 is planning, week 2 is seeding/planting, and by week 3 I’m weeding/watering? [Highly optimistic timeline, but I'd love to get in a gardening habit that doesn't die out in weed-choked, low yield apathy.]

… more inspiration / ideas to come. Putting it out there here helps me catch the idea and inspiration, and then see it again later and do a ‘hey, I wanted to do this’ thing that’ll nudge me forward.

Feeling a bit inspired now, and only did 1 of the “9 thought-provoking talks.

1 comment February 27th, 2014

Things I think are important

Just saw an image of a woman giving CPR to an infant, and it reminded me of a few things I need to act upon.

Learning CPR is important – being ready for the emergency, for the opportunity to save a life – that’s important. I was trained in college, when I was a rugby coach. But I haven’t renewed in a long time. Time to find a class

Giving blood is important. My body produces blood, through no talent of mine. Even on my worst day, in terms of impact to the world, I can give blood and help tip the balance for someone’s life. Time to donate again, particularly before I get my next tattoo (tattoos mean you can’t give again for a year – the ink can be in your bloodstream, which could cause an allergic reaction in others…). Which means, time to take more iron – to not repeat the last ill-fated donation. If I’m going to get my finger pricked, I’m darn sight gonna give some blood this time.

Sharing my faith, particularly with my kids, is important. In fact, growing in my faith, so that it’s more evident as being meaningful, is even more important. My oldest daughter has been asked by our church to consider confirmation classes, and I think she’s likely to side-step this year… She can claim she’s shy (true), that it’s a lot of work (true, too)… I count that as a loss, but I’d rather have her do so when _she’s_ ready to investigate than when I wish she were ready. However, our pastor sent ahead the confirmation “to-do” list. I want to share the list with her, and then let her hold me accountable for working through the list myself… It may make an impression on her, it may not, but I certainly think that the things they ask teenagers to learn and practice are ones that would be valuable for me, as well.

Add comment February 21st, 2014

Beer geeking

Hanging out in my local pretentious bar.  It’s not what I’d call the local pub – too many ‘interesting’ beers on the menu.  But oh so interesting.  And the bartender is talking about the sorts of drinks she’d like to try – will _have_ to come back in, even though the food is overpriced.  I have this image of having a book club here, and letting this bartender suggest a drink of the night.  She’s raving over international recipes and ingredients like tamarind. My kind of adventurous place.

Add comment January 6th, 2014

Thankfulness 2013

I’m looking around my home this morning, two of my three kids in view. One’s at the computer – I’m thankful that we can provide them things that let them explore the world. The other greets me with a chipper “Hi, mom!”. I’m thankful for the great relationship we have with all three of them. The last is downstairs, I think: of the three she’s the one who most often leaves little drawings around, and I’m thankful for her creative spirit. Yesterday, she and her big sister got tasked with “make something that looks like a turkey – here’s some walnuts, pipe cleaners, and other craft supplies”. Our centerpiece of mums ended up with 3 turkey heads poking up out of it, and the explanation was that the turkeys were hiding from becoming Thanksgiving supper.

My husband walks into the kitchen, on the phone with his mom. They’re finalizing the preparations for him to fly out tomorrow to go help his brother and brother’s family move to our area. I’m thankful for my husband’s generous approach to life: his brother one of many folks he’s helped in various ways this year. I’m thankful for the opportunity upcoming to get to know my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece, as they move into the area for a few years. And I’m thankful for my mother-in-law and father-in-law: they were over yesterday for an early Thanksgiving dinner. They have always been supportive of our family, and are just great folks in general.

I think out more broadly… we’ve changed churches lately, and I’m thankful for both the church we’ve left and the one we’ve been attending. Both have and are teaching us much, and I cherish the friendships we grew at our “old” church, as well as the chance to engage with new folks at our “new” church. Both churches honor and worship God, and I am thankful to get to share in their fellowship and worship.

I think of my extended family. Those relationships are more strained this year than I’d like. I’m thankful that there’s still at least the potential to repair them, that family members still seem to have their health, and that for one family member, at least, this year wasn’t their last.

I think of our health, those of my kids and my husband and mine. My husband’s been given a clear bill of health again this year from his doctor’s, and we get to grow another year older together. My kids have been blessedly healthy and even injury free this year. I drew the short straw on injuries and managed to top out our HSA this year (thankful for great healthcare! and thankful for a reprieve from surgery!), but have recovered and gone back to the activities I love.

I’m looking around at my WordPress dashboard, and seeing an upgrade notice. That reminds me that I’m thankful for the opportunity to work in a field I love. Later today and this weekend I’ll be working on a volunteer project to provide a registration system for a charity that’s doing some great work in the community. I’m thankful that the Lord’s blessed me with skills that I can use, and pointed me towards opportunities to use them.

Yesterday we had the mom of Cora’s friends over, and the day before we were out and about with a young lady who’s an extension of the Coleman family. The day before that, we were retrieving Callie from a not-quite-successful sleepover at another friend. Very thankful for friendships, growing and grown, and hope to always remain open and inviting for more.

The Lord has blessed us this year in many ways, and I offer thankfulness to Him for another year to live, to enjoy His blessings, and to learn more how to serve Him well in every area of my life.  May your Thanksgiving be as abundant in thankfulness!

Add comment November 28th, 2013

Equal Opportunity Exploitation Silliness

Well appreciate this ad campaign for motorcycles. I’m not someone who’s likely to buy a Ducati (wrong style of bike), but REALLY love this campaign.

Full article available at Fast Company

Add comment November 23rd, 2013

Tweets, underwear, and farts

Just got a new Twitter follower. Wasn’t someone I knew, so I went out to check out who they were. CEO of a tech company who has a large number of folks who they follow. My suspicion is that this guy noticing my Twitter feed was due more to me following someone else that they follow than anything else, but might be related to OWF or to rugby or to open-source or to who knows what else. Twitter is slightly nondiscriminate.

So, this guy’s tweet feed. Typical executive feed: links to articles they find interesting, which, actually, is far more useful than to me as a Twitter follower than some of the folks who mostly use it to hold visible conversations. Seeing a ‘thanks!’ tweet or ‘I thought the same!’ isn’t enough to make me go check out the full thread to see if there was something useful there. Seeing an interesting article cross-referenced: usually more useful.

2nd tweet down the list:
These High-Tech Underwear Keep Your Farts From Smelling | Co.Exist | ideas + impact #finally

This poor guy, who I’ve never met / will likely never meet, will forever be linked in my brain as the guy who advertised to the world that he’s interested in underwear that covers up his farts… And THAT’s why you need to be careful what you link to. And now I’m sorely tempted to link to it, just to pass along that ‘hee hee’ moment to someone else.

Add comment October 26th, 2013

Summer adventure list

My kids gets this amazing summertime experience: long days, little to no schedule, and family members around to be able to do things. They have the benefit of a stay-at-home-parent, so we don’t need to send them somewhere to fit into someone else’s schedule. The rub: they’ve got no driver to do anything in particular. So, every summer I ask each kid to think about what they’d like to learn or try over the summer. Callie and I in particular have had a great time building these lists. Last year’s list had everything from ‘go to a tea party’ to ‘rollerskate’ to ‘learn to unicycle’ to ‘go camping’. We didn’t accomplish all of them, but it was a lot of fun to both think up the list, and then also to get to cross things off. I also think it’s important to point my kids to thing towards bigger ideas and goals, to not just live in an hour by hour what keeps me from being bored kind of mental model.

I have an informal summer list this year… things on it include ‘learn to juggle 4 balls’ (I can do 3, but have never solved 4), ‘unicycle’ (we didn’t solve it last year, but now have two unicycles to work with), and ‘write a mobile app’. That last one’s for a contest with a deadline. Deadlines are good things. I’ve had that same unicycle goal on a list of 100 goals since 2007… Some of the other 100 goals I’ve met: I’ve driven a motorcycle, gotten another tattoo, taken my family to Disney, and read the Bible through completely, as well as a few other goals. Of the original 100, I’ve accomplished 12 1/3 so far. The 1/3 comes from a goal that says I’ll crochet an afghan for each of my kids. 1′s done, 1′s in progress (been in progress for a while) and the last hasn’t started.

Looking over the list, none are ones that I want to strike, though a few have gotten more complicated. It was simpler to visit my grandmother once a month when she lived in Silver Spring rather than out near Cumberland: think that one will be amending to ‘visit or call’. I could see adding new goals prioritized over the original batch of 100. For example, I want to earn a most-valuable-player ring from my rugby team, as well as want to win a championship with our team. Those goals might come ahead of ‘spend at least a week touring in Australia’…

Revisiting the list helps kick me out of my own personal rut of whatever I’m dealing with day-to-day to remind me of big dreams and the idea that some things are worth planning out small steps to get to bigger dreams. That’s one of the things I want to teach my kids, as well as remind myself. Going to go sketch in some ideas for my mobile app…

Add comment July 4th, 2013

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