February 21, 2008
The NY Times on Girl Geeks: They are Fashion, Not Technology
NYTimes Stephanie Rosenblum has an article in today's *Fashion* section on Girls in Tech. Wo. Not in the *Technology* section. In Fashion.
Sorry, Boys, This Is Our Domain talks about how girls are coding up more content online: webpages, web art, blogs and podcasts.
And then they decorate it with an image of a girl at her laptop with a devilish tail. But instead of asking one of the girls they interviewed to make the artwork, they ask Adam Strange to do the art for the article:
So when they interview people like Doc Searls, Loic Le Meur or David Weinberger, all of whom are very smart about tech, those articles are in the tech section or business, but when they talk to girls, who for the record, are far more technical in this article than these three tech experts, girls are put in Fashion. I've never seen coverage with Doc or David or Loic in fashion. Maybe they should be there depending, but they aren't put there by the editors that I know of....
This is not about David or Loic or Doc (all extremely supportive of women in tech, btw), and certainly they don't choose the section the paper puts them in, but rather the way the editors and writers at the NYTimes see them, verses the girl geeks in this article.
My point is that the NYTimes puts men who talk tech and trends or social impact in tech/biz, and women who code web art / pages in fashion.
Can you tell I'm pissed? WTF?
However, the number of women in tech isn't great (Which is why we need more articles in the Tech section about this people!)
The article says that less "...than 15 percent of students who took the AP computer science exam in 2006, and there was a 70 percent decline in the number of incoming undergraduate women choosing to major in computer science from 2000 to 2005, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology."
February 18, 2008
Chaos, In Pakistan and Silicon Valley
Today are the Pakistani elections. Why do I say chaos? And why also in Silicon Valley? And how are they at all connected?
As Amra Tareen, who is in Pakistan covering the event, says in her report about the elections:
As the day progressed more people started to show [to the polling stations], people were staying back home enjoying their morning off and due to concerns of violence. In the last 24 hours gunmen in Lahore and surrounding areas have killed 8 people and injured 40.
Check out this ballot from Pakistan, which Amra explains:
For example PML-Q (Musharraf's party) has the symbol cycle, PML-N (Nawaz's party) is represented by the symbol Tiger or a Lion and PPP (Benazir's party) is represented by the arrow. People caste their vote by placing a fingerprint and a seal over the symbol.
I've been helping Amra, a friend in the Silicon Valley for 4 years, with her company All Voices. Amra is from Pakistan, though she spent some of her educational years in Australia, including getting an engineering degree, and then went to Harvard for an MBA. She was also a VC in Silicon Valley for 6 years. Now she has founded All Voices with Erik Sundelof and the help of a great team of engineers and other folks.
I'm still working on Dabble, but I just find what is happening at All Voices so compelling, that I wanted to help her do this. She's raised VC money for a news and a conversation site that is meant to foster discussion from people around news events.
And how many Silicon Valley founders go to Pakistan to cover the elections, to kick off their companies?!?!
That's incredibly unusual, and to me, shows tremendous passion and guts about both the company, and her desire to see Americans and Middle Easterners talk about what goes on in their world. Anyone can talk, but she specifically wants to see these two groups getting to know each other on a more personal level, as opposed to say, an AP report.
So what is the chaos in Silicon Valley? Well, it's not on par with the Pakistani Elections, but the alpha All Voices is out, and people are commenting, talking about the election (finding a few bugs too!), making events, posting videos and photos, and it's the first big exposure the team has dealt with.
The site is pretty simple, really. The idea is that events happen in the world, and an event within AllVoices can then be assembled by pulling in news stories, photos and videos by news sources or blogs and say, creative common's licensed Flickr photos.
But you can also make an event, which is really more factual in nature, than opinion, about whatever has happened in their world. Then you might blog or add photos or videos to your own event, or you could add those elements to events made by others or the system. For example, Amra has put video here and here and here of the people in Pakistan talking about the election, onto the event she made noting election coverage. After you make your event, the system will match blog posts, articles, images and video to it, and more folks can come along and share eyewitness stories, comment, ask questions, etc.
All this gets put onto the map and front page which lists recent and active events.
So when others come to the site, they can find your stuff based on where it happens as well as by searching or by finding your list of activities via your profile. Amra's election reporting is, of course, located in Pakistan on the map.
The sites definitely is an alpha, where there are bugs and things. Her engineers have been working on this for about 6 months, and it's really great to see what they've done.
As I said, I've helped with a little consulting on the side. Normally, I wouldn't blog about things I offer consulting for, and normally I'm too busy with Dabble, but I think this site and Amra's work has the potential for so much social good, I'm breaking my own rule.
So take what I say with a grain of salt due to my work and bias. Go visit the site yourself and decide if you think it's worthwhile. But more than anything, I encourage you to get involved in supporting Pakistan as it hold its election. Pay attention, comment, blog, make a stink, but support democracy and the people of Pakistan as they stake a claim for their future!
February 07, 2008
Rickrolling.. not quite but worse, from Slide's Funwall
Getting rickrolled is when you get tricked into watching a video, thinking you are going to watch something else. (A Rick Astley video was the one that rickrolling was named after.)
I've been thinking Facebook and Slide had jumped the shark a long time ago, though I use Facebook daily to get in touch with distant contacts I don't have email for, and then we typically jump off Facebook. Sometimes Facebook is fun, but most of my "feed" reflecting my contacts activities is just from the few self-promoters trying to tell me how great the latest thing they just did is. Not really fun for me.
But Slide apps on Facebook have lately been Spam and Bacon filled crap, where even when I say to them after filling out some silly thing or posting something to an app *not *to contact all my contacts, they do it anyway. It's not just slide though, other apps do this as well. May be a bug but they all seem to do it, and since the value of that bug is so high to them, I tend to think it's really a *feature* of the worst spammy bacon-filled kind.
Well the last 24 hour takes the cake. This porn image (posted here: View image by clicking, but it's NSFW, for sure) has been forwarded to me by no less than ten people, including 2 VCs, 3 high level east coast media execs, 2 PR people, plus 3 others. All of whom must be embarrassed as all get out that they've forwarded me and all their other contacts this porno spam by mistake because Slide says "Forward" to find out what happens next in the picture. Except the Forward button takes them to nothing, except a big thanks for letting Slide spam your friends
Evil. It was only a matter of time before apps like Slide and others did something like this to up their use numbers. Even if someone is hacking Slide, Slide built the tools that allow this to happen. And whoever did this is preying on people's curiosity about what they would see next, since the image says "click Forward to see what happen next (sic)." In fact, the app is really spamming everyone in the person's contact list with porn, and that's what happens next.
What bothers me so much about this is that the features are built to disregard the user's relationships, their personal and professional connections, for the sake of the app maker's desire to get more users and make money. It's wrong.
I'm deleting all my Slide and other spammy Facebook apps today. This is really bad. So does this mean we need a new term, like getting Sliderolled, as in, you got tricked into spamming your friends with porn?