Day One

Gad, what a cool experience.  Silver, you’d LOVE it.  Tomorrow, Liz Henry, BlogHer geek extraordinaire,  is giving a walkthrough on building WordPress templates.  You can bet I’ll be there.   

Today I went and participated in the groups that talked about online identity and all things Twitter.  Very interesting, very enlightening.  I hope I can convey some of it to my peeps at work that need it.   And are afraid of it.

Everyone always started out with, “But I don’t CARE that so-and-so just had a burrito for lunch! ” which was sort of the rallying cry for the beginning twitterers.  It ended up being the common denominator, came up at least once and generally more than once at every session.  The twitternosti would start out, “After I learned how to sort past the burritos…” and go on with their tales of Twitter In Real Life.  

One interesting woman who is being deported tomorrow because she lost her job here  and is a Canadian citizen (sad but interesting) told us a story about the power of twitter.  She said her friend was stuck on a runway (AA) in Portland, not being served food or drink, couldn’t get off the plane, and they were told it would be 5 hours before they could get to the gate.  The friend couldn’t get to her luggage for medicines that she needed, and started twittering about it.  Cathy (soon to be deportee) read for an hour or so, and then decided she’d twitter the local news station.  The news station asked if they could have the friend’s cell number for a phone interview.  Cathy called and got permission, and meanwhile other news stations picked it up, and it hit the news.  Lo and behold they soon let the plane go with apologies.  The Power of Twitter!

The most interesting things that I heard today had to do with whether or not you can really be yourself online.  I heard a depressing (but instructional) story about a woman who took naked pictures, covered with a Quake (game) box for a promotion – to win a prize.  The woman who did it was telling the story.  That picture has haunted her for years now.   I’ll bet if you google naked quake box you’ll still find Stephanie somewhere, even though she has tried to get people to pull it down now that she’s a grown up with a real career and real people to answer to.   Oh yeah, I just googled it.  There it was. There she was. With her first and last name.  Gawd!  I’m glad I was never quite that unaware of the Real World.  When she went and interviewed at AOL the first thing the interviewer said was, “How about that naked Quake box picture?”  I’d be peeling up floor tile trying to disappear.  

Moral of this story is Don’t Use Your Real Name if you’re going to do dicey things.  If you can stand behind everything you do online and wouldn’t care too much if it was on the cover of the New York Times and your boss (and all your future bosses) read it, then you’re okay.  Good advice to the youngsters out there.  Made me glad I’m kind of old with hardened skin. 

When I was at the NTEN conference last year there were a lot of dewey-eyed idealistic (and naive) young women who thought it was blasphemy to use two identities, or to curb your postings.  I wondered about it then, and now I think they need a few years of experience under their belts to come to grips with reality.  Or … maybe they were just that tame. 

One last thing – I heard a great phrase about what twitter does with it’s unique viral way of spreading.  Someone said that what twitter does best is “accelerate serendipity.”  Isn’t that great?  Accelerate Serendipity.

Speaking of great, that reminds me.  I got to sit next to one of my heroes today, Lynn Langit, an evangelist from Microsoft.  I don’t love her because she’s MS, it’s because she’s so amazingly smart.  And interesting. She does a lot of different developer stuff, but a lot of what she does is centered around promoting geekiness in girls.   She gets Microsoft to fund educational programs for young women.  But she develops full time, too, and is raising a 10 year old daughter.  

Also (and completely off-topic) :  is it true that they are teaching one space after periods in school now??  I heard that twice yesterday and it freaked me out.

I’m sleepy, going to hit the hay.  I’m sure this will need editing in the morning, but thought I’d get it all down while it was fresh.

Geeking out with the girls

My sometimes sexist and alltimes horny friend had this to say about me coming to She’s Geeky:

“Oooh, will there be a pillow fight? ”

I chided him a little and had him expound on that idea just in case I was misreading it (and him), and he did, gladly and with obvious relish.  

“I can’t help it.  It just makes me happy all over thinking about a roomful of geeky-glasses-wearing women having a monster pillow fight.  It wouldn’t bother me if they’re really smart and scantily clad too… <digging deeper… oh, well.>  A man can dream…”

You know, really, this is more than I needed to know about his fantasies.  

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Now:  I am excited to be here.  Most of the people I remember from last year are here again, and quite a few more.  They are all so different, and so interesting.  I’ll probably be the oldest one there, but I don’t think it matters too much.  I can still absorb new things.  Most of the women are from the Silicon Valley area, but some are from my stomping grounds.  There’s a great woman, about my age, who works in Sac for the state doing social network developing.  She has lots of good ideas and knows how move things through the channels to make them happen. Good project manager. I’m going to try and eat dinner with her one night.  

Lots of cool people, cool topics.  I’m not going to present because I don’t know anything (although, actually, I could do some of the planned presentations – just didn’t know that anybody was interested … !) but I will participate in other ways.

Inaugural tweeting

This is hilarious and also really cool, the gigapan part, I mean (click the link):

http://bit.ly/zinaug @zappos thinks this is amazing & scary. i think it is funny, the photo shows us on bb/twittering at #inaug09.
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Maxwell Smart goes to the Nursing Home

Shoe Phone Offers Medical Device Potential
Flinders University (01/23/09)

A computer scientist at Australia’s Flinders University has developed a shoe phone. Paul Gardner-Stephen built the shoe phone as a theater prop, but he believes the device could be used to deliver health-related information to home nursing caregivers or senior-care facilities.

The bioinformatics expert says the shoe is a good place to put the electronics needed to store and relay medical data such as pulse, blood pressure, and blood oxygenation. The shoe also can take advantage of the large forces that are conducted as a person stands and walks, and energy can be harvested for charging the device during regular activity.

“A shoe-based device would not only be easy to wear, it could run significantly longer between battery charges,” Gardner-Stephen says. “The shoe-based platform makes it possible to detect shocks and orientation changes resulting from, for example, a fall.”

Hah! I knew there was a good reason to switch to an iPhone.

RIM CEO: Buggy OSes “new reality” of smartphones.

Posted: 26 Jan 2009 11:27 AM CST [from

Boing Boing Gadgets

Blackberry9000.jpgA lot went wrong for Blackberry when they rushed their touchscreen Storm handset to market. Despite selling 500,000 units in its first month of release, it shipped with an operating system that held together less like a mature operating system and more like an unstable element created in an atom smasher, existing for a mere microsecond before detonating into an atomic explosion. RIM released patches, but the damage was done, and the Storm’s sales have plummeted… it is now very definitely known amongst most consumers as an iPhone also ran.

So has RIM learned their lesson? Not a lick of it. According to RIM’s co-CEO Jim Balsillie, buggy smartphone OSes are “the new reality” because companies will rush to release the phones “by the skin of their teeth” both while the handsets are still relevant and before big sales days like “Black Friday.”

Sorry, Jim, but that dog don’t hunt. This is only the “new reality” of capitalist incompetence and greed, which is the same as the old reality. There’s a perfectly viable secondary strategy available, which both Apple and Palm have followed with success: work in secret on a phone and an operating system that are excellent in and of themselves, without being compared to the competition. Design them both together; the limbic system to the body. Then work on them while they are done, and then release when you’re damn sure you got it right. The world needs less Blackberry Storms and more Pres.

Blackberry Storm is off to a bumpy start [WSJ]

More Fallout

@zeldman We stayed in this neighborhood so our daughter could attend the best public school in NYC. She may not get in, now. Laid-off Wall Streeters, no longer able to pay for private school, are flooding the public school spots.

@zappos:  About to speak at NPS conference.  Current speaker quipped re: stock market:  “Flat is the new up.”