Friday, January 30, 2009

She's Geeky Day 1 : Oh Ada, Wish You Could Have Been Here

No comments :
Day 1 of the She's Geeky (un)conference wrapped up with some wine to wind down the she geeks and a real treat- an Ada Lovelace biographical film which was a history lesson on Ada, who many call the "first programmer". Some of my notes/thoughts follow but overall all a great day and i am certainly looking forward to tomorrow!

On this first day, there were more then 50 sessions scheduled on a wide range of topics. I like many other, wanted to attended multiple sessions that might have been running at the same time so i tried to pick from a diverse 'track' in each time slot.

The first session i attended was titled "How to Build Credibility in a techy world when you are not techy" and a small group of us had a targeted and helpful discussion sharing our experiences. "techy' was mostly defined as hard core programming- because all of us around the table were techy to some level. Here are some notes from that session that i submitted as note taker (all session notes will be published on the she's geeky site):
---first show what your strenghts & values are- (e.g. understanding the user while they understand the code)
-----define how you will be working together
----volunteer to help them with specific aspects of their role that they might not be 'good at' or like. for example helping them with business/admin things
----share recognition with the team early on, praise

-Build Alliances and Allies
-----become an advocate outside of the the core group for them - interdepartemental/executive
----focus on your soft skills value-- what are the people issues to understanding
---give them ownership----you need them for specific things identify and give them ownership
--***Find one person on the team that can be your 'internal' contact and ally, someone you can go to to help you understand things that you might not understand and be able to ask 'offline'

--Somtimes it is 'not' personal to you but 'personal' to them as to the attitude they have towards you- try to understand what is going on- stress in their life?personal family issues? scared that they can't do something ? ask
---Help them ***Sleep Better at Night*** ;-)
--Remain the Calm Pillar when stress situations arise.

--we tend to put out there right away what we "lack"- how do you go about being honest but confident of what you can bring to the table?
---Executive sponsership- find it and cherish it- use it to your advantage

---** Make sure you understand "What is in it for Them?"
The second session, which i helped lead was on "Making Information Accessible" - the leader of that session is a technical writer and had one of the best lines i have heard about technical manuals: "manuals have no plots or surprise endings"- as we discussed some of the challenges of different types of content. We spent some time talking about the value of meta data, unstructured and structured data, chunking, journalism and publishing, citizen journalism and the production of content through social networking tools like Twitter (a question gets asked, gets answered but it is findable again? where is all this content going and how can we access ?)[I was introduced to Tweetake]

A tasty lunch of Indian cuisine allow some of us to catch up and for me to type of my session notes as a dutifiul note taker!

The third session i attended lead by IdaRose Sylvester and Susan Mernit on "Transparency & Identity Online and Offline" in a packed room- with many personal stories and questions for those who have (or have had at one point) a more transparent online indentity lead to interesting observations about transparency Offline in our Online world (yes i wrote that backwards on purpose because that is what i found to be the most interesting was the discussion on how we live our offline different because of our online "transparency" or lack of). Here are some notes i took from that session:

Session Introduction by IdaRose and Susan
-What does it Mean?
-- How much do you tell/share on line?
--What moral issues?
--What about your employers?
-- What are your privacy, safety concerns
--How much is too much to share?
--What kind of rules do you make for yourself?
--How you manage your own transparency?

Using different personalities/personas on line- discussion around 'handles' and branding- separating from real name

-- Prefessional - (word combination of personal/professional) - combined worlds of professional and personal online identity-
----who wants to know who you are when they find you? discussed that it could be your customer,your employer, coworkers, your friends/family, strangers
---long term concerns---what you say now can affect you later- how do you think about those events? e.g. sharing medical stories that might affect the way a future employee thinks of you.
---the "ugly side" of putting identity access stuff out there e.g. "spam" created by adding yourself to services, etc.

--Having your identity being out there-->>>someone talked about how since the 70s they have been using the same 'handle'- hundreds of username/password= having to change and create a new identity would lose a lot and is not manageable

---discussion around what happens when you are forced to change your identity - someone shared a story about how they went about trying to erase things associated with their real name . from contacting google to remove things (they have a form you can submit requests) from their indexes to contacting web content owners. but the bottom line? things that are out there will never never disappear!!

--Biometrics- the idea of your digtial identity life pulse
--various people talked about their experiences when they got stalked , or harassed- sometimes to the point that they had to completely remove their online identity and start again

---Discussion on how you create a synonymous identities- not using your legal name for everything you do online as well as offline
--discussed how to do that offline, eg, conferences where you might not want to be identified by your real name- but you need to pay by credit cards etc. using paypal,

--Advice to everyone- buy your name as a domain name if you haven't already!
--remember when you buy something whois directory will display your personal info- how transparent will you be?
--Someone mentioned a new service called Nombray that allows you to buy your name as a domain and automatically creating an online identity --Discussed grabbing your name when any new service is create. pros- someone else doesn't get your username/ cons- too many services to remember
--Discussion around the importance of picking secure passwords as you create multiple identities

--Make sure you put a disclaimer about what you write on your blog so it is clear to you employer, readers and anyone that might come across it- but other services (twitter,facebook etc) don't make that as easy.

--We are human so sometimes we talk trash-but today we need to be extra careful- are you saying and doing anything that you can't take the hit for online OR offline?

--Think of it in a simple way- what if everything you ever wrote ended up on the front page of the New York Times- you need to make that a standard- don't make public what you would not want appearing there.

--A certain amount of transparency is good because people are becoming more and more transparent both on and offline today it is easier/safer/better established boundaries- but think long term

--discussion around kids creating indenties online-
---how do you help your kids brand themselves online? the identity they are creating now may be with them for the rest of their lives
---teenagers are not aware of the fact that all the do online will be online basically forever and they can't hide from it.
--parents who are familiar with these issues should make an effort to educate the other parents in the neighborhood because typically not every parent is connected
The forth session i attended was titled Democratizing Data - and we learned about an upcoming book titled (perhaps?) "Democratizing Data". With the new government administration, comes an advocacy for a more transparent government, but what does that mean in the real world and can it be applied to the corporate enterprise data as well? The theory is that by democratizing data—-allowing you to access and use any (and all) data--government and enterprises can leverage lessons learned from the Web 2.0 world to build networks and communities based on trust, openness, and empowerment. Creating mashup applications out of automated structured data feeds will improve worker efficiency, transparency, and stimulate mass collaboration. The discussion focused on the theme of the book, making government data accessible and participatory and we discussed other types of data (e.g. medical records). We also briefly touched on resources for getting access to specific types of data (Infochimp, Freebase).

After i tweeted that i was in that session, kind words via a retweet from one of the co-authors of the book, David Stephenson poped up "RT @danielabarbosa: we are discussing Democratizing Data here at #ShesGeeky 1,000 blessings be upon you and your sisterhood"...

By the last session of the day i was feeling the need to geek out- a "for real" geek out and earlier in the day i had talked to Marilyn Davis after she had introduced herself in the morning as being someone that wanted to help women who wanted to learn how to program (yeah i am never going to give my dream up of learning in depth programming!). Marilyn put on the board a session on Python a programming language that i have been wanting to learn more about so i figured this would be a great opportunity. After some projector issues, we finally got to see some of the basic principles of programming in Python- a quick download on my computer and now i am setup to do the basic tutorial when i get a chance (i saw some Ruby sessions on tomorrow's agenda that i think i am going to attend as well - so then i suspect i should be able to decided which one i want to dedicate more time to goof around with).

goodnight ladies..and geek on my friends!

Photo|Flickr|Liz Henry (She's Geeky Attendee and blogging sessions as well)

No comments :