My thoughts on Women in Tech

Let me be honest: Some of my best ideas were either started by or honed through conversations with my fiancé. I find that I have to keep a notebook handy just to make sure I don’t lose gems she doesn’t even know she’s dropped. And she’s no where near a coder; in fact, some people probably wouldn’t consider her a techie at all.

[SIDEBAR: Those who have known me long enough know that my love affair with the Visual Studio IDE was started by a woman named Sara Ford.]

This morning I saw this article: This Is What Tech’s Ugly Gender Problem Really Looks Like (from WIRED via Nuzzel). It outlines a small sliver of the issues concerning women in tech. Said bluntly, there is a fount of mental and literal wealth tied up in the women we regularly interact with. In keeping with points raised during the keynote at Tampa Code Camp 2014, we owe it the community (and ourselves) to encourage them.

We need to encourage our female acquaintances, coworkers, friends and family who are in tech — both implementers and facilitators — to be as vocal and visible as possible in their respective bailiwicks. Doing so doesn’t cost us anything more than a passing mention when we see them… maybe 5 total minutes per person? And even that would be spread out over time. Think months or years.

The harvest that could come out of something so inexpensive, however, is priceless.

Just my 2¢.

Lumia Cyan Update Available for the 1520!

NOTE: Special Thanks to Paul Thurrott for being the willing guinea pig.

If you haven’t heard already you’ll have to go though a few steps to get it. It turns out that *ALL* 1520s have Bitlocker already turned on and there is no way to turn it off. Which means that you’ll have to downgrade your phone back to Windows Phone 8.0 using the Nokia Software Recovery Tool. That *WILL* replace the firmware and wipe out all your data. Hopefully you’ve previously had Backup turned on and your stuff is in the cloud.

During the process I hit a snag when the Recovery tool wasn’t able to reconnect to my phone after successfully downgrading it… so I wasn’t immediately able to reconnect properly to any of my backups.  TO BE CLEAR: If I had been able to reconnect my phone to my Wi-Fi and log into my Microsoft account BEFORE the timer on the Recovery Tool had ended I would have been able to restore my phone. So the “problem” above was entirely due to user fumbling… and it would’ve been nice if Nokia had given me a bit more time on the timer. ;/

I decided to try a hard reset (since I didn’t have anything to lose anyway) and *duh-duh-duh-dah!* there were my available backups. It took about 20 minutes to do the restore but it worked… with the exception that I had to re-enter nearly all my email account passwords (and I have a LOT with extra-strong passwords).

It appears that many of my personalized settings (lockscreen, theme, glance, etc.) weren’t restored but I don’t really consider that to be a problem.

Long story short — (so far) I’m happy with the result despite the bumps and bruises.  ;)

Here are the instructions for how to successfully downgrade from the Develop Preview then upgrade your phone to Lumia Cyan:

If you need to hard reset your 1520, here’s how to do that:

Have fun!

American Journalism, oh how far you’ve fallen

It’s amazing (and very sad) to watch the downfall of American “journalism”. #smh.

I’m calling it “journalism” because that’s what they insist on calling it. I mentioned “American” because I don’t regularly visit other countries so I can’t speak on the quality of their news. What I do know is that the major purveyors of news in this country have apparently sold their journalistic integrity in order to ATTEMPT to stay relevant to NEW readers.

You know, “generation ‘N'” and the like. The same kids who aren’t reading the news anyway.

For a while now I’ve been becoming more and more jaded with the landscape and priority of retorted news. If it isn’t death, murder, destruction, sports, politics or the weather then it probably won’t be reported. The prattling that the New York Times peddles as “journalism” gives me hives and makes me itch to the point where I want to pour bleach into my brain and scratch my eyeballs out. We won’t even talk about CNN.

This is getting long-in-the-tooth, so let me finish up by saying that I really hope the people who SELL NEWS will go back to the glory days of true investigation, caring about the intellectual impact of their product and making a difference in our lives… Rather than focusing on how many retweets they can get on Twitter.

The scariest thing I’ve heard in a long time…

… Especially since it is an article about how Target Stores figures out how to market to you.

“Habits aren’t destiny — they can be ignored, changed or replaced. But it’s also true that once the loop is established and a habit emerges, your brain stops fully participating in decision-making. So unless you deliberately fight a habit — unless you find new cues and rewards — the old pattern will unfold automatically.

“We’ve done experiments where we trained rats to run down a maze until it was a habit, and then we extinguished the habit by changing the placement of the reward,” Graybiel told me. “Then one day, we’ll put the reward in the old place and put in the rat and, by golly, the old habit will re-emerge right away. Habits never really disappear.”

The rest of the article is here.

Dang; another Zero-day IE vulnerability


I’m not going to join the bandwagon and jump all over Microsoft or Internet Explorer like I know a bunch of other people will. It bugs me even further that some of those people will first find out about the vulnerability because of reading this post.

Oh well. :(

The more important thing is that you DO NOT TO USE ANY VERSION OF INTERNET EXPLORER, REGARDLESS OF YOUR OS until they get this gaping hole patched.

Right now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “So? Why is this so dire? I only go to ‘safe’ websites anyway!” Well, because of a little thing that most sites out there use called Ad Networks. Unfortunately, most ad networks don’t really vet the ads that go into the screen real estate they sell… rather, they simply collect checks and count clicks. The problem is that those ads can contain anything… as I have unfortunately found out on several occasions while using each of the major browsers on various flavors of Windows. When a vulnerability like this exists it is usually exploited pretty ruthlessly.

Again, DO NOT TO USE ANY VERSION OF INTERNET EXPLORER, REGARDLESS OF YOUR OS until they get this gaping hole patched.

That is all.

Love the Internet? Then get involved, FAST

I just stumbled upon this eye-opening piece regarding the discrepancies of a lot of things… most noticeably the games that politicians play and who their real constituents are.

You can read it in all its glory here: How the FCC Plans to Save the Internet By Destroying It: An Explainer (via Medium)

Please do take the 5 or so minutes necessary to quickly skim the article. Once you’ve done that, get involved. Trust me when I say that the quick skim will likely be enough for you to want to get involved. I’m going to try to figure out a relatively easy way to do this for as many people as possible but you really shouldn’t wait on me.

Just why is our participation in this one so important? Because everything you (think you) know, understand, expect and love about the Internet (with its easy, fast and relatively affordable access to everything) is about to drastically change. And all because elected officials pander more to the companies that lobby and pamper them than the people who put them in office. Please note that the people who need “the courage” (as pointed out in the article) are appointed by those we elected, *not* elected themselves. What’s more, they are charged with keeping things fair — and I think they are on their way to a failure of truly epic proportions.

It’s important to point out that I’m not making any party delineations here. ALL parties are guilty on this one.

Please do get involved; stir up the pot by pestering your political representatives to take the action WE VOTERS, nay, REGULAR PEOPLE want — and not the vote that big businesses are trying to buy. Once I figure out how to do this expediently I’m going to put those ideas in another post. Again, DON’T WAIT ON ME; this it’s one effort we don’t want to come up short on.