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January 29, 2003

Elegant Hack

"A one-person website devoted to exploring and furthering the emerging art of user experience design and information architecture on the web," this site is the creation of one Christina Wodtke, author of Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web (New Riders, 2002). She write with wit and intellegence about all things informationally architectural.

--> eleganthack.com

Women in Consulting (WIC)

"We provide and support a collaborative community in which independent consultants can discuss their business needs, network, share information and learn about starting, running, and promoting an independent consulting practice." Not limited to techies, but does focus on Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

--> www.womeninconsulting.org

January 24, 2003

Technology & Equity

Out of a partnership between the Academy for Educational Development and Cisco comes this report which looks at women's access to the Internet and IT in several countries, including Brazil and Canada (but omits the United States). "Unless women and marginalized populations participate fully in IT, they risk missing significant opportunities for economic, political, and social empowerment that IT can facilitate."

About the Academy for Educational Development: "AED is committed to helping women and marginalized populations in developing countries obtain access to IT, gain IT education and training, and apply skills to employment and problem solving in their communities. Toward this goal, AED seeks to stimulate dialogue on the gender gap in the digital divide by sharing data and research on gender and IT from the United States and the regions in which we work."

--> projects.aed.org/techequity/

January 23, 2003

BBC Stories

From the Beeb's news website, Recruiting the new IT girls and Women spurning tech jobs .

Schools are coming up with new ways of interesting girls in computing, but apparently retaining women in the profession is as much an issue as attracting them in the first place.

(Question: are women really spurning tech jobs, or are the tech jobs spurning them? There's been an awful lot of layoffs.)

Computer Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W)

Part of the Computing Research Association, CRA-W is "dedicated to increasing the number of women participating in Computer Science and Engineering(CSE) research and education at all levels." Has various programs, committees, awards, and, for potential students, this guide to picking a graduate student program.

--> www.cra.org/Activities/craw/

January 21, 2003

Q&A With Shari Steele

From the February 2003 issue of CPU Magazine comes this interesting interview with the executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

--> www.cpumag.com/cpufeb03/steele (you need to be a CPU subscriber to get the whole story; this is just an excerpt, alas)

Selected highlights:

On Digital Rights Management and new technologies:
I think that most people aren’t really paying attention to the battles that are going on right now, and they will lose their rights before they even know that anything has happened. There’s a huge discussion taking place right now on HDTV, the new digital television, that’s going to be the only thing transmitted a few years from now. I think by 2006 that’s supposed to be the only thing that gets broadcast. But there’s this big thing where you wouldn’t be able to receive the broadcast unless you have licensed players. The issue is whether or not technology companies need to really be limited by the entertainment industry’ requirements. Right now, it’s being done in standards committees rather than by Congress. But the CBDTPA would make it so that Congress is actually getting involved in making it illegal for technology companies to create innovative designs that haven’t been preapproved by the entertainment industry. And consumers have no idea that they’re not going to be able even to receive digital signals. They’re not going to be able to receive broadcast television. This whole battle is taking place right now without consumers having any concept of what’s transpiring.

On Homeland Security laws:
The antiterrorism legislation has made it so that the FBI can track your Web browsing habits, and they probably are doing it already if you’ve indicated at all that you’ve got any interest in what’s going on with the Palestinian terror groups. Or take al Qaeda, for example. If you go to al Qaeda’s Web site, just because you’re interested in knowing about al Qaeda, I think it’s pretty safe to say that your Web browsing habits will be tracked from now on.

January 20, 2003

The Shifted Librarian

Based on the idea that librarians need to "shift" in order to meet the changed needs of people and to deliver information to them, this site is a blog with a variety of technology stories.
--> www.theshiftedlibrarian.com

January 19, 2003

Financial Aid for Women in IT

An extensive list of sites for scholarships, fellowships, and grants, primarily, but not exclusively, for women studying information technology. When I visited this site, it had been updated fairly recently (December 20), so this is definitely be a good site to keep your eye on if you're looking for funding for your education. (And it's from the Center for Women & Information Technology)

--> www.umbc.edu/cwit/financial_aid.html


"LinuxChix is a community for women who like Linux, and for supporting women in computing." It offers mailing lists, articles, and online-based courses.

--> www.linuxchix.org

January 12, 2003

Where the Girls Aren't

An item on Slashdot pointed me to this article in today's Times, on the same old question: why aren't more girls interested in computer science? "One camp says that girls see computers as a communications tool, and the best way to engage them is to exploit that and offer classes that stress using programs -- say, designing Web sites or online magazines -- over creating them. The other side says that such preferences exist only because no one has tried to expand girls' technological horizons." (Side note: the author is an advocate of single-sex education for girls.)

Update: a comment on this article from the Singapore Business Times at business-times.asia1.com.sg/news/story/0,2276,69330,00.html

--> www.nytimes.com/2003/01/12/edlife/12STABINE.html

January 11, 2003

Women in Engineering Programs & Advocates Network (WEPAN)

Founded in 1990 and supported by Purdue University, the University of Michigan, and Stevens Institute of Technology, this organization aims to increase the number of women working in the engineering profession. The website offers information on grants, scholarships, and fellowships available, engineering departments at universities around the country, and an extensive bibliography. A members-only section also offers an extensive set of education and salary statistics. Keep digging around — there's a lot here and if they keep adding to it, it's worth frequently revisits.

--> www.wepan.org

Java, Women and the Culture of Computing

"Why is Java the name of a new programming language? How does the language of computing shape the field? Does the culture of computing determine who is attracted to the field? Why is the popular programming tool package called 'Code Warrior'? Might the software sell as well if it were called 'Code Quilter'?" An examination of the language and assumptions around computing and how they can discourage girls from entering the computer field. From the Proceedings of the 12th Annual Conference of the National Advisory Committee on Computing Qualifications, July 1999, Dunedin, New Zealand.

--> turbo.kean.edu/~dbernste/naccq.html