Friday, 29 March 2013

More on Donglegate

From Wired Magazine,  this article:

Why the Tech Community Hates Feminists

That may be the case, but this title makes all sorts of implications. Adria may be a feminist, I wouldn't know, and the tech industry perhaps does hate all feminists, again I don't have any hard facts on that.

But what it also implies is that the tech industry is fine with women, just dislikes self-proclaimed "feminists" (as far as I know there is no other kind). I think what Adria was reacting to was a comment about - and thus a mark of disrespect to - all women. As far as I know the jokes were not about "feminists' dongles" specifically. And this means an uncomfortable at best (hostile at worst) working environment for a specific type of person.

I am not a feminist. And I will self-proclaim myself not to be a feminist. I don't think believing in equal opportunity makes you a feminist, I just think it makes you normal. For the record. Agree or disagree with Adria's actions, feminism doesn't come in to it, as far as I'm concerned. It's just behaviour and decency.

By the way the article also states that "masculinity places just as many limitations on men as femininity on women". In large part I agree with this statement. Try being a male nurse. Or a stay at home dad. A stay at home mother is lauded as having put her child's needs ahead of her own (although nobody ever says this about the working father in these situations, which also seems sexist); a stay at home dad is assumed not to have found a job.

Not everyone thinks this way of course. And not all men in tech behave like 12 year olds in a nudist colony. It does however happen enough that it is worth talking about.

Disability, not al illness

This fascinating podcast from This American Life.

A town where there are no jobs that involve sitting down, and a doctor who deems his patients disable not for physical issues, but because he does not believe the realistically could find gainful employment.

"Being poorly educated... that in itself has become a disability".

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Rising from the dead, Freedom, Easter

This, from Reason, just to get you thinking:

On the first Good Friday, the government executed Him for claiming to be the Son of God. He had the freedom to reject this horrific event, but He exercised His freedom so that we might know the truth. The truth He manifested is that His acceptance of the destruction of His body would demonstrate to us that we can liberate our souls from the slavery of sin and our free wills from the oppression of the government. Three days later, on Easter, that manifestation was complete when He triumphed over death by rising from the dead.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Adria Richards

If I am in a conference and I say something funny to the person next to me, and somebody else hears it and tweets it with my photo, well then I am flattered. I made people laugh. If Adria Richards had called out a comment for being funny, rather than sexist, would she have been fired? And how can you define that difference?

All employers over-reacted equally.

And next time a woman at a conference - or a man at a conference - hears a comment he or she thinks falls outside what is acceptable within the given environment (and written conference standards), he or she will be too scared of the consequences to rectify the situation.

Let's hear it for lose-lose situations.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Not sad, just able-sighted

Of course it takes a few tries to get my contacts in (and by "a few" I mean 30 or so), and by the time I am done my eyes are quite red. So then it just looks like I have been crying for the last hour or so. No video calls for me.

This gets even better when I sit at my desk, put on my glasses and worry about why I can't see anything. Good times.

Je miss la Suisse

Yes, mon French c'est tres bon.

Two is megl che one.

Anyway, I made my way to Alliance Française this past weekend, for their annual film festival. On a well-chosen night when they were screening a Swiss film: La vrai vie est ailleurs.

The film was quite good, I enjoyed how it was filmed and how the story was told. I also enjoyed the choice of music in many of the scenes. It wasn't orchestral but nor was it pop music. Actually the sounds in general. In the Düsseldorf sequence, the music chosen sounded almost industrial, matching the setting of a huge train station late at night. In the Naples train vignette the continuous train sounds creating their own soundtrack to the various scenes.

The film started as a short, called Genève-Marseille, and three years later was turned in to a feature-length.

As a side note: I did not catch his name but there is a great bartender at Tap, right near Colony Square. Ask him to recommend a beer.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Dancing with vision

I tried a new ballet class today. Yes, new school, but I also could see for the first time. In class.

What could I possibly mean?

Well let me tell you: I haz contacts! I have been contacted! I contacted myself. And my eyes.

I went to the oculist and spent an hour putting one lens into one eye. Success! Eventually. Hurrah!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Apartment living

So after a great night out with CIA (don't ask, it's a thing. A social thing) I come home to eat the last of the bourbon apple pie and find the G watching Platoon. He had never seen it. But I think we can all agree one must be in a certain mood to watch Platoon, which I was not. So I went to bed with my book.

However there is a lot of shooting in Platoon and that is all I could hear through the wall. It was slightly startling, I just kept hoping it was n fact the movie. Quite a way to fall asleep.

Speaking of reading, I have been dabbling through Nancy Roberts' Ghosts of Georgia, purchased last year at the Decatur Book Festival. Ghosts are fun.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

My Office is back

After a leak was found, several holes were drilled in to my walls.

It took a few weeks but it has finally been patched up and repainted and cleaned and I am back in my proper work space. *phew*. Breakfast-table working was no longer working for me.

Now to find a single-space or travel-portable standing desk, the office will be complete.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

About Balance again

I just re-read my last few blog posts. Disappointing. I should stop multi-tasking.

So to get the brain going again, I attended a luncheon at the ATL chamber of commerce yesterday with an open forum featuring local entrepreneur David Cummings. I had heard him speak before, at B2BCamp back in January or so. I enjoyed the previous talk but was further impressed by how he handled this format. Not only having a strong and coherent answer to everything, but the way in wich all his answers related to one another, and seemed to fit into a larger work/life philosophy (because as we know, the two are no longer separate).

Some of my favourite take aways (perhaps re-enforcing ideas I already hold): the business plan is dead. As is the marketing plan and many plans. Plan your next step. Then do it. That's enough (also known as: a little less conversation, a little more action).

Sell before you build. Yes yes and yes. More on that below.

Entrepreneurship is a consequence, not a goal. You found/invent/start something because you have a problem nobody else will solve to your satisfaction. So: you have a problem? And a solution you like? Find 4-5 other people who would buy your solution. Then build it. And voila': entrepreneur. Some people do this with one, over-riding problem; others are doing this every day with problems expressed by others as well (right Ocean?)

Along the same subject, today I came across this, which is a little more doomsday-ing than I think necessary but overall not wrong. In the words of Gary Vaynerchuk: Get off the bitch train people.

One more take-away from said luncheon: Atlanta as a hot spot to start or expand your tech business. But more on that another day.

In other news: I made a bourbon apple pie. Which I guess is the southern take on my childhood favourite Apple Strudel. Because I am in America generally and the south specifically and should cook everything with Bourbon.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Ballet bruises

I finally went to a dance class yesterday. It had been over a year. And it was good fun, and I shall return.

However we started out with mat exercises, for which I was unprepared. My lower back is quite blue and not a little bit sore. Bring a mat, woman, bring a mat next time.
I'm better with the plie''s tendues.

Weekend indulgence

Don't blame me: the city chose to schedule Buckhead Restaurant week and St. Paddy's all on the same weekend.

Discovered two new places, returned to some old, and spent too much time at Fado's. Again

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Fruitful day

It's not yet 10 AM and I have already cooked breakfast, consumed breakfast, and written in limerick. I predict a good day.

And for the record:

Some find release reading comics, 
Or in Visual art or harmonics.
Try the DumbAgent way
To smile all day:
Find happiness in economics. 

( our upcoming book: Bring Happiness Back to Economics, at

Friday, 15 March 2013

The moon, the stars and Jupiter

I saw all yesterday.

The GA Tech observatory has a monthly open night, allowing the public to go by and stargaze with their mega telescopes.

We also saw a comet, apparently the closest it has ever come to earth. But that was anti-climactic, compared with the rest.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Just Balance

When people talk about "Work-Life-Balance" they tend to talk about working less.

Anyway, I don't believe in work-life-balance. It's just balance. And it's all play.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Paper, paper everywhere

An intense week in New York for a client roll out and a user group event. All this for my principle day job at Linex Systems.

And what struck me the most? Paper! Everybody had paper. Ok, not everybody, but too many people. People are bringing printed out emails to meetings. When was the last time you printed an email? It's an email. I can access it on my tablet or phone or laptop. A paper copy is just excessive. And notes. On paper?
I can accept the latter if you have a preference for hand writing (although there are, of course, apps for that). But to type notes and print them out is just a little odd.

Anyway, in other news I got to spend the night at LaGuardia airport. To give you a bullet-point version of my return flight:

  • Get to airport early
  • On stand by for earlier flight, don't make it
  • My flight is delayed
  • My flight is cancelled, I phone airline to get put on next day flight
  • Stand in line for boarding pass and hotel coupon
  • Wait for hotel shuttle
  • Announcement hotel rooms are not available
  • Phone every hotel at LaGuardia, all booked
  • Airline announces Port Authority will set up cots

An hour goes by (at this point we are over 4 hours passed my original flight time). And I'm tired. So I ask about the cots. Twice. Finally:

  • Airline personnel has to go home, tell me and 1 other left-over passenger to go to check-in counter
  • Nobody at check-in counter except people cleaning, they give us phone number for Port Authority (and I mean a 1-800 number)
  • Port Authority tell us to return to gate
  • TSA Security will not let us through, tell us to find customer support
  • Customer support person laughs (Laughs!) and says nobody has instructed him to set up cots

**I start to lose patience and am telling him to put me on the phone to his boss, so I can instruct him to instruct him to set up cots**

  • Other support guy finds us, tells us cots are almost ready and to wait by "red car"
  • We ask 3 separate people around red car, nobody knows. Last guy directs us to airport admin offices
  • Guys at admin office want to go to bed, have never heard of red car and finally say the cots are at the end of the white hallway
  • Amazingly: we find the cots. 
At 1AM, I lay down in my cot. My flight was supposed to leave 6 hours earlier at 7PM. 

I slept here. And yes: that light was on all night. Along with security announcements over the loud-speaker. 

Paper Sheets. Not complaining.

Sunday, 3 March 2013


This weekend we saw our first potluck dinner. Apparently this is a situation in which the invite you over to dinner and asks you to bring part of the meal. Which I guess means you can only bring things that do not need to be cooked. Anyway, that's what we did, seemed to work. Actually all the food was wonderful, the evening was very entertaining. And now we got the  T-shirt.