Diversity Weblogging

And the proof is

I am so angry right now. I am so mad at the supposed male-dominated tech community with it’s obvious implications of brotherhood.

I expected one, one of the community to push back at Dave Winer and his outrageous statement about the critics being primarily women bitching about the shutdown, and how it must be because we hate men for some reason. I expected them to be outraged on my behalf because they know me, and know that regardless of my reasons, it would not be because of that.

After all, I have been involved with many discussions on RSS and RDF and Atom and other technologies–they must surely think that I have, at least, some root of technical ability to know that what Winer was saying made no sense from a tech perspective.

I thought of the times when they’ve been wrongly accused of things, usually by Winer, and I’ve spoken out. I’ve been proud of that – perhaps too proud. Perhaps what I should have done is just be silent.

Maybe it’s that I’ve been critical of too many things. Does this make me seem superior? And therefore should I be “taken down” a peg or two for “speaking out”? That’s what a certain anonymous commenter from Amsterdam (who seems to have forgotten how easily it is for a tech person to discover someone’s identity from a specific IP address) said – that I was too superior.

Is that it? Uppity woman not only intruding her butt in tech circles, but also daring to disagree with the alpha males? Women in tech are okay, as long as we write about sex and how much we admire the guys?

I never expected anyone to agree with me when I was critical of Winer and his shut down of I thought each of us must fight this battle on their own. But when he reduced what some of us have said – what I said – to being nothing more than a woman being cranky at men, what he did was to discredit what I, a fellow technologist, said based on my sex.

Winer was critical of men in comments, and I watched other guys rally around those men–but not the women. Not us women.

I could chalk this up to Dave Winer being Dave Winer but not one of you men disagreed!

And you wonder why women aren’t heard; why more women don’t speak out, or get involved.

My brothers in technology. Ha! Right.

Not one of you said a thing.

Not one.

Diversity Weblogging

What was interesting

Recovered from the Wayback Machine

…about the aftermath of the incident last week, is that for the most part, male bloggers rallied around Dave Winer or the male bloggers that he bashed in comments here and there. I figure either these other folks agree with Winer’s take on us uppity women; or they feel we’re strong enough to provide our own support, and prefer to reserve theirs for the weaker sex.

Either way, welcome to the fraternity that is weblogging.

(Now, why was it again there are no women involved with the RSS or Atom discussions?)



In my last post, Scott mentioned being able to change the stylesheet based on the mood of the writing–derived from the occurrence of trigger words such as ‘anger’, or perhaps mention of certain names.

The problem with a keyword-based solution is that without knowing the context, you really can’t determine how a word is being used. For instance, I could have a funny post that uses anger a lot, and it could be blazing red by the time I’m done, but there’s no real anger involved.

In addition, we’ve learned from Google how keywords can work, sometimes, and not, other times.

I believe no better tool exists for setting the context of a writing than the human brain. Of course we’ve found that many other factors can come into play even when the context is defined. This is the reason that smileys–those spawn of the devil– are so popular: to add hints so that a person can tell if something is supposed to be a joke or not. As we get to know each other, we’re better able to differentiate the mood of our writing based on past experience, known triggers, or word use. Even with this exposure, we still fall into little traps of misunderstandings.

In preparation for other work I’m doing, such as Poetry Finder, I’ve started working with WordPress’ key-value meta tags with each post, in this case to set a ‘tone’ of the individual writing. I’ve begun with a small set of tones and appropriate stylesheets; a set which I’ll add to over time. I’ve managed to get five tones so far, but only annotated ten postings.

If you use Emotive from the front page, category, or archive, you’ll get my favorite of the emotive sub-stylesheets. However, if you access an individual page, you can see the stylesheet based on the tone I set in the writing. If a tone isn’t set for the posting, again you’ll see the default.

Why do something like this? Well, it’s fun. More than that, though, I want to see how far I can ‘blur’ the lines between traditional front end technologies, such as (X)HTML, CSS, and JavaScript; and traditional backend tech such as PHP and MySQL.

The latency you see with the stylesheet being applied with each page is due to the fact that there is some overhead on the server when serving up the stylesheet. In addition, changing from page to page doesn’t allow caching. That’s the downside of this type of server-based processing in stylesheets – if the stylesheet changes from page to page. A better approach could be to use Javascript on the client to make the changes, triggered by a value set by the PHP application.

But it’s an interesting exercise.

(I’ll cover the technology used a little later in another writing.)

Photography Places

Shut out

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

The weather Saturday was lovely with cooler temperatures, and a lot less humidity. I’d been cooped up all week working on this and that and was in a mood for a long drive. As I hadn’t been to the Johnson Shut-Ins since early Spring, I wanted to see how they looked in the Summer and headed in that direction.

I can see why the Shut-Ins are so popular – they are extraordinary in all seasons. However, it’s in the summer that their true beauty reaches its peak, with the dark green of the trees, and the rust and pale blue of the surrounding rocks, offsetting the turquoise/aqua of the water. There are little pools in and among the rocks you can wade in, or go further downstream if you prefer sandier conditions. Though my camera has been problematical lately, I still managed to grab some fairly decent photos.

Lots of people at the park, but it’s large enough so you never feel crowded. You can swim at the Shut-Ins, but walking around isn’t easy – the rocks are very uneven and slippery.

There’s a boardwalk that surrounds the Shut-Ins and then steps that take you to the rocks themselves. Last time out I managed to walk around the rocks; however, this time I had to refrain because my ankle is still swollen and bruised from the last major fall, and further irritated by some injudicious hiking. Recently, I’ve had to use a hiking stick even on flatter grounds.

But I was wistful, as I stood at the bottom of the steps and looked out at all the people having fun and exploring. I wanted nothing more than to be in cut-offs and swimsuit and to jump into the water and feel the aeration of the falls around me. It must be like swimming in champagne.

A young man, probably in his early 20’s, saw me at the bottom of the steps leaning on my walking stick, looking longingly at the others playing. He started past and then stopped and turned around, and asked if I needed help to get around the rocks. I was both pleased by such generosity and chagrined that he would offer to help. After all, I’m only…

..well, only close to 50, walking with a limp, and in obvious need of my walking stick. Or helping arm.

I did thank him with the warmest smile I could pull up, as I declined his help, telling him that the rocks and my ankle would not be a good mix. I refrained from telling him that what he sees isn’t what I am.

What I feel, what I am, is that young girl sitting on the rocks by herself, looking at the water flowing past, playing with her hair and just dreaming of whatever. As long as no mirrors or helpful young men are about, that’s what I am.