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(3) : When Am I Ever Going To Have To Use This?: Yesterday, while negotiating with potential clients, I used:

All that school comes in handy sometimes!

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(1) : Is Our Sumanas Learning?: Yesterday + today:

Project Hamster screenshot Project Hamster is a nice timetracking app, better for my purposes than is gTimelog.

The magic code to add to an HTML page to make RSS autodiscovery work: <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS Feed" href="/rss.xml">

What domain name to use, and thus how to construct an email address for email-to-SMS on my phone.

Where the downloadable gzipped archives link is on mailman archive pages (example). On the right, right under my nose; no need to cast about and start constructing a wget command.

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: The Offspring (Of Our Friends): This weekend I visited two friend-couples who have new babies, then came home to read Mary Anne Mohanraj's related post:

In the end, I decided that I wanted to be with him more than I wanted children. I was shaken, but relieved, because finally the decision was made. And then it turned out that it was not done at all.

From this weekend:

"Yeah, it seems like everyone we know is having babies."
"It's a fad; it'll never catch on."


(1) : Recruiting: As you might have seen from my microblogging, I seem to know a lot of firms that are hiring. In short: I know people who are looking for project managers, UX designers, backend developers, undergrads who code, playtesters, kernel & mobile hackers, so if you know me at all, feel free to contact me to ask for an introduction.

Wikimedia, the foundation that supports Wikipedia ("No, Mom, not Wikileaks, that's different"), is looking for lots of engineers (deadline in 2 days) and fundraisers/researchers/analysts/more. The Volunteer Development Coordinator role also has a 11 February application deadline: attention, open source community managers!

Get paid to hack Linux mobile and save vendors & developers from constantly reinventing the wheel at Linaro. They especially need kernel and Android hackers and technical project and product managers.

OpenPlans, the New York City nonprofit that uses technology to make cities better, has decadent offices and benefits. Oh, and they're looking for a web designer, two engineers, and a fundraising manager.

Socialbomb, the Brooklyn startup that creates stylish experiences connecting Blu-Ray and mobile devices to Facebook & Twitter, is looking to fill several roles, including development.

I'll be administering some Google Summer of Code work this year, so I'd like to recruit bright university students to consider applying. It's never too early to start thinking about summer internships! And don't worry too hard about qualifications: "Do you have some programming experience at the university level? Then, yes, you are good enough! No, you don't need to be a Computer Science or IT major."

And I know at least one more project that's looking for a part-time playtester and a part-time project manager, so let me know if you're interested.

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: After-Action Report: Erin, thank you for your company tonight at Too Much Light, and for introducing me to Curly's Vegetarian Lunch. All fun!

An incomplete list of stuff I mentioned:

See you again sometime!


: Sweet!: Years ago, on Jeopardy!, a contestant incorrectly rang into a food science clue with the response, "What is aspartame?" Nope. Then, for the next clue -- something about NutraSweet -- no one rang in. Beep-beep-beep, the timer said. And then host Alex Trebek pronounced, all stentorian, "Now's the time for aspartame."

I take fake sugar with my coffee and tea these days, and every time I reach for it -- even if it's sucralose or saccharin -- I think of Alex Trebek.

(Obligatory musical link to Leonard's excellent song "Sweet & Lowbrow".)

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(1) : Consulting: Soooo much easier to work with people who laugh at my jokes.

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(1) : QuahogCon 2010, & 2011?: chandelier near Providence waterfront

According to its main website, the QuahogCon security/DIY convention has not yet opened registration for this year, which makes me slightly nervous. There does exist an Eventbee ticket-sales page but I don't trust it yet, since the main site doesn't link to it. So here's hoping reg starts soon.

I'm planning on going. I enjoyed last year thoroughly.

I arrived in Providence via train of hilarity and proceeded on foot through the picturesque and confusing downtown to the hotel. They checked me in early without any fuss, and were generally helpful. Bedbug check: clear! Some shopping (pint glass: bought) and a great sandwich later, I sat by the water reading when Leonard's friend Jake Berendes called. He and his gal pal Sukiko took me to White Electric, where we discussed James Bond, whether I am as "con crazy" as Leonard alleges, and the Providence art and music scene. Evidently show flyers in Providence are hella cryptic, to keep fratboys and the cops away. Security through obscurity can really cut down on attackers, however you perceive attacks.

chandelier near Providence waterfront

Then the con began and my note-taking time completely disappeared.

Convention registration at the hotel: I got the flashiest badge ever, a programmable circuit board with flashing LEDs. (Of course the badges at an infosecurity conference don't have names on them.)

The introductory session: let me just say that I hope this year's geeky standup comedy is geekier, funnier, and less sexist. (I've volunteered to perform, and am waiting to hear back from the con organizers.) But at the con as a whole, if I recall correctly, I was almost never the only woman in the room, and I don't remember being scorned or harrassed due to my gender (other than general misogyny by some of the stand-up comedians). Woohoo!

chandelier near Providence waterfront

Dan Kaminsky's keynote was gripping and prefigured his Interpolique work. Other edifying talks (slides available!): Dan Crowley on Windows file pseudonyms, Joe McCray on SQL injection, Larry Pesce on SIM card forensics, and Matthew Borgatti's "Art to Part" keynote. I'd been looking forward to Joan Pepin's Gender Hacking talk, but it turned into Trans 101 because attendees in the room seemed to need it.

I enjoyed the dealer's row, the lockpicking instruction table and the kits for sale, and the constant conversations in the lobby and the bar. My team won its first round of Hacker Jeopardy, and losing to Dan Kaminsky's team in the final round was still fun. Also, it's fun to hang out with Dan. I met some fun people, ate yummy food at several area restaurants, and hung out with Jake and Sukiko (you know it's a good barbecue when you go kayaking for the first time and lose your eyeglasses in a reservoir).

chandelier near Providence waterfront

When I go this year, I hope to bring Leonard along, to visit the Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson & Wales University, and to see the Roger Williams memorial.


: Thumbs Up, Sarah Glidden: Just finished Sarah Glidden's touching, heady, funny memoir How To Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less. She went on a Birthright Israel trip, determined that they wouldn't brainwash her, and had her views confirmed and challenged. Recommended.

For a taste of Glidden's style, check out her graphical travelogue, available to read at her site. She's Kickstarted funding for a new book documenting being embedded among traveling reporters, which is already conceptually neat. Looking forward to reading it.

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(1) : More Jokes About Culture And Food: Brunch ideas:

The "tempted by the fruit of another" song as fanfic about that William Carlos Williams icebox-plums poem

Trix rabbit as Prometheus, punished for giving humanity the gift of sweet breakfast cereal

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: Apple Jacks: Today I learned that TV advertisements for Apple Jacks cereal used to emphasize the apple taste, then (coinciding with my watchership) proudly renounced any claim to tasting appley, and now have a talking apple mascot who goes on about how apple-infused the whole production is.

My childhood overlapped with a historically aberrant period. Mass media was a business model that worked. Cheap and abundant fossil fuels made long-distance travel easy. And Apple Jacks was honest about the faintness of its apple connection. Peak Copyright, Peak Oil, Apple Valley.

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(2) : Not About Socialism, Sadly: "As diversity is a highlighted feature, many things are held in common amongst the students."

--Robin Y.'s unfortunate lead to the "this year's fashions" story in a Tokay High School yearbook. "Stylin': Teens pay price of fashion" was the nearly-as-useless headline (the body of the piece did not address price in any way). Keywords: Hilfiger, stripes, Tamagotchi.

Of course I have the other usual reactions to looking at my old high school yearbook, chagrin and who's-that and squinting at inscriptions and querying LinkedIn, but also, oh wow some of this writing sucks.


(1) : The Return of MC Masala: From April 2005 to August 2007, I wrote a weekly column, "MC Masala," for several Bay Area newspapers in the Alameda/ANG Newspaper Group. Circulation: maybe 200,000?

Between now & then, I've made various uninspired attempts to get copies of the articles -- I had my drafts, of course, but I didn't have images of many of them as they'd been published on the page. for a while I entertained a vague idea of assembling such things for a clippings file. You know, so I could brandish it at big media gatekeepers and get another heighty soapbox.

But it's just too much bother to track down microfilm and whatnot from the other side of the continent. I eventually decided that I'd be satisfied with the texts of the published articles, which include corrections and improvements from my editors. If I want to court Big Media someday I have other ways to do it.

So I got advice from Ask MetaFilter, and then yesterday I sat in front of a New York Public Library computer with a USB drive for a little bit and went download-happy.

MC Masala Reposts. Not in chronological order, not guaranteed to be comprehensive, haven't decided on a posting rhythm yet, written by a woman substantially less mature than I am now. First up: that one about raisins, from 6 May 2007.

(P.S. Thanks especially to Brendan, Leonard, and James for pushing me on this!)

(P.P.S. I'm reposting the column under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike. Share it, remix it, translate it, podcast it, go on ahead.)

(P.P.P.S. Yes, I'm thinking about a print-on-demand paperback someday.)


(2) : Notes Notes: Karaoke lesson: I do not actually know the lyrics or melodies of pop songs. At least, not the ones I pick. As it turns out, "I'll Be There" by Mariah Carey has many words and notes with which I was previously unfamiliar, which shows the difference between hearing a song a million times and listening to that song even once. But "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash, "Sunday Morning" by No Doubt, "Part Of Your World" from The Little Mermaid, the songs others my age have chosen, those I can sing. Funny how developing a karaoke repertoire is partially a matter of discovering what songs you already know, a preexisting natural resource.

If I were a committed filker, I would attend karaoke nights and sing my own compositions to the tunes of pop tunes. Karaoke-friendly instrumental tracks are audio exploitables, after all. I am also envisioning a karaoke/Dance Dance Revolution hybrid game.


(1) : Careering: Since I last mentioned my career, I have turned into a consultant. I have a few gigs; let me tell you about two of my clients.

QuestionCopyright.org is a nonprofit that aims "to educate the public about the history of copyright, and to promote methods of distribution that do not depend on restricting people from making copies." I'm QCO's Fundraising Coordinator, meaning that I write and coordinate grant proposals. I also write a tiny bit for the QCO website. Case in point: "Three glimpses: Transformative work, public domain music, and ethics".

The GNOME Foundation, the nonprofit that supports the GNOME desktop, has hired me as one of two contractors to manage marketing for the launch of GNOME 3.0. Allan Day and I will be (to oversimplify) ensuring that Linux users know what's new in this release and why it's awesome.

More on those and my other work when I can!

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: Miscellaneous: Winter in New York City; learning to love the gurgle of the radiator.

Project management is sometimes a matter of asking an obvious question, then standing there with an expectant look while your team member gets around to promising they'll do what they know they ought to do.

At karaoke, some songs had music videos -- not the original music videos, of course, but karaoke music videos, much cheaper in cost and effect, one step above B-roll. Motorcycle riders, abandoned warehouses, beaches, you know. The video for Radiohead's "Creep" featured a hunchbacked dude yearning for a woman who rejected him. I told my fellow singers, "I'm waiting for the bit where he invents Facebook."

The BBC Radio 4 Friday Night Comedy Podcast has been the News Quiz for several weeks; I'm looking forward to the next installment, a The Now Show. The News Quiz has introduced me to socialist/nihilist comedian Jeremy Hardy, perhaps to make up for all the reactionary snark. Let me quote from the 8 January show:

Sandi Toksvig: Miles, whose Gallic grump is of global proportions?

Miles Jupp: .... It turns out that the French -- they are the most depressed people in the world. Which is a surprise. Well, I suppose what it teaches you -- that if you live in a country where people are either rioting, shrugging, or refusing to work, it will eventually grind you down.

Sandi: We only came fifth. Fifth!

Miles: In the grumpy?

Sandi: In the grumpiness! They must have only polled people who don't watch EastEnders. Fifth!

Jeremy Hardy: It was developing countries where people are more cheery, wasn't it?

Sandi: The Nigerians are, apparently, very cheerful.

Jeremy: Well, because when people are materially disadvantaged, maybe they're more optimistic, because they know that their destiny's not entirely in their own hands. And so they just have to hope for the best. Whereas in the developed world, where materially we've got plenty of stuff, and lots of opportunities, we know that the only thing stopping us from being happy is ourselves, which of course is a kind of downward spiral into disillusionment and hopelessness, isn't it, really? Because you can't -- you're never gonna get rid of yourself, so if you're basically unhappy, you're always gonna be unhappy, and in the remaining time that you've got left, you're either gonna be in despair about the fact that you've wasted your life, or maybe a bit cheerful about the fact that it's nearly over.

Miles: How depressed must the French be!

Sandi: And a very happy New Year to us all.

You're not going to hear that on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.

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