Tag Archives: Google

No power in the ‘verse can stop this linkspam

If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, or if you’re a delicious user, tag them “geekfeminism” to bring them to our attention. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.

Linkspam a go go (8th July, 2010)

If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, or if you’re a delicious user, tag them “geekfeminism†to bring them to our attention. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.

You’re not gonna reach my linkspam (31st March, 2010)

If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, or if you’re a delicious user, tag them “geekfeminism†to bring them to our attention. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.

Showing your awesomeness for Google Summer of Code

Some of you may have heard the story: When the GNOME folk looked through their summer of code applicants back in 2006, they had 181 applicants… and not a single woman. They decided to do something about this, and started The GNOME Women’s Outreach project. They soon had 100 talented female applicants. You can read the whole story here. One of the lessons to take away from this is that there may be really talented women out there who just aren’t applying:

Women would contact us saying “oh I don’t know if I’m qualified enough but working with a mentor sounds good etc etc etc and then have REALLY impressive CVs — clearly they’d’ve been accepted to GSoC if they’d applied, but they were clearly not confident enough to do so.

We at geek feminism hate losing talented folk to Impostor Syndrome, which causes totally awesome people to believe that they aren’t good enough. So for those of you who are considering applying this year, I’m hoping we can boost your confidence by reminding you that projects want you, providing some tips on making an application that will get noticed (so you can’t say “oh, I’ll never get it”), and giving you another place to ask questions if you’re too shy to ask them elsewhere. We can also help with applications and maybe even introduce you to people if you’re just too shy to get your foot in the door — just ask!

Lots of readers of and writers for Geek Feminism have been involved in GSoC. I’m one of the mentors for Systers, which might be especially interesting to GF readers since we’re an organization that promotes and supports women in technology (the name “Systers” is a play on women in “systems”). You can read my blurb advertising the incredible awesomeness of my project here and there’s lots of other cool summer of code projects advertising on GF.

The most common question I’m getting from prospective students right now is, “What do you look for in a GSoC applicant, and how can I make my application stand out?.”

There’s lots of things we look for in a GSoC applicant, but we most of all we want someone who’ll get stuff done, and with whom we’ll enjoy working.

Here’s some tips for demonstrating your inner awesomeness:

  1. Get involved with the community early. Join the mailing list(s), hang out on IRC, or wherever the community is. That lets both you and us know if we’ll work well together, and lets you learn more so you can put together an awesome application that we’ll all be excited about. If you participate in discussions, we’re much more likely to remember you when your application comes in! (Hint: if you’re using a nickname, remember to put that name in your application too so we can associate!) The earlier the better when it comes to community involvement — you don’t need to wait ’till the applications open.
  2. Spend some time doing research on your proposed project: Find out if anyone’s tried it, what other approaches are possible and how your idea compares to them. If you’ve done this research in advance, we know you’ll be ready to go when summer hits!
  3. Ask smart questions. If there’s something about the project you don’t understand or you’re trying to do a bit of hacking and run into a snag, the mentors will often be able to help. One of the things I’m looking for in applicants is an ability to communicate, and asking articulate questions that show you’ve done research is one way to impress me. I’m also looking for applicants who can work independently and figure out stuff on your own, so if you do get stuck, remember to explain what you’ve tried, and where you’ve already looked for information so I know you made the effort to solve the problem yourself.
  4. Contribute to the project in advance. One of my prospective students has started writing patches to fix our simple bugs, and it tells me so much about her: that she’s already getting comfortable with our code base, that she’s dedicated enough to find solutions to problems, that she’s really serious about contributing to our project. Another way to contribute would be through helping others such as answering questions on the mailing lists or IRC or contributing to the project wiki. Show off your skills!
  5. Don’t be afraid to apply! Even if you don’t get in, the GSoC application period is a great time to scope out a project because there are mentors who you know are willing to answer questions. You don’t need GSoC: you can always choose to join the project on your own. But don’t forget that lots of really talented folk misjudge their own awesomeness, so don’t pre-reject yourself. You might be exactly what that project needs!

So now I open up the floor to everyone else: If you’re a mentor, what impresses you? If you’re a former student, what tips do you have? If you’re a prospective student, what else would you like to know? Feel free to ask for help with your applications or ask if we can introduce you to someone in your project too!

GF classifieds: Google Summer of Code edition

Student applications for Google Summer of Code are opening March 29.

Google Summer of Code — yes, bad name for anyone in the southern hemisphere, but you are allowed to apply! — is a project sponsoring Open Source development by students (largely university students, students who won’t be 18 by April 26 can’t apply) over the northern summer period. Google pays a stipend for students to work on a contribution to a project over summer. Open Source projects are selected as mentoring organisations, students apply by submitting a project proposal to a project, and some of those proposals are accepted. Applications close April 9.

So I thought I’d do a post in the spirit of Skud’s GF classifieds. If you are a mentor or part of a mentoring organisation for Google SoC and you’d like to bring your project to the attention of readers here, please post a description in comments at any time before April 9. The more you can say the better:

  • Do you have link to a list of ideas for projects?
  • Can applicants make contact with you or your mentors in order to discuss their application before submitting?
  • Are previous years’ students available to discuss their experiences?
  • What kind of skills are you looking for?

Of course, if your project has made a commitment to diversity in some way, then feel free to tell us about that.

Students who are interested in applying: this is a big process, don’t wait for the official opening to get to work on researching and talking to mentoring organisations, as there are only two weeks between the open and close of applications. Here’s some starting points:

Note: obviously Google SoC projects accept applications from people of any gender. The reason for this post is to level the playing field at the awareness level. By posting here, what you’re doing is hopefully increasing the visibility of your project among interested women, rather than excluding anyone else from applying.

Who you speak to and where you are: why it matters

Warning: this post discusses intimate partner violence and rape. Please place a trigger warning on links to this post.

If you are currently at risk of violence, here are some links for viewing when you’re on a safer computer: National Network to End Domestic Violence: Internet and Computer Safety [USA], Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Internet Safety [USA] and Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria: Tip Sheet: Technology Safety Planning [Australia].

Cross-posted to Hoyden About Town.

Abusive relationship and spousal rape survivor and blogger “Harriet Jacobs” at Fugitivus is angry and scared today:

I use my private Gmail account to email my boyfriend and my mother.

There’s a BIG drop-off between them and my other “most frequent†contacts.

You know who my third most frequent contact is?

My abusive ex-husband.

Which is why it’s SO EXCITING, Google, that you AUTOMATICALLY allowed all my most frequent contacts access to my Reader, including all the comments I’ve made on Reader items, usually shared with my boyfriend, who I had NO REASON to hide my current location or workplace from, and never did.

My other most frequent contacts? Other friends of [my ex-husband]’s.

Oh, also, people who email my ANONYMOUS blog account, which gets forwarded to my personal account. They are frequent contacts as well. Most of them, they are nice people. Some of them are probably nice but a little unbalanced and scary. A minority of them — but the minority that emails me the most, thus becoming FREQUENT — are psychotic men who think I deserve to be raped because I keep a blog about how I do not deserve to be raped, and this apparently causes the Hulk rage.

There’s lots of other comment today on Google’s Buzz automatically assuming that your frequent email contacts should be your Buzz contacts, and making the connection with them public:

There will quite possibly be more by the time I’ve finished writing this post, let alone by the time you read it. But having to fight this battle on a site-by-site, service-by-service basis is disgusting. For a number of groups of people, including people who are the targets of a violent obsession among others, information about who they are in contact with, where they live and what they’re interested in has life-threatening implications. For a larger number of people it has non-life-threatening but potentially serious implications for their job, for example, or their continuing loving relationship with their family. Sometimes people are in frequent contact with people who have power over them, and/or who hate them. Why aren’t privacy policies centring that possibility, and working out the implications for the rest of us later?

Note: as I hope you anticipate, attempts to victim-blame along the lines of “people who are very vulnerable shouldn’t use technology unless they 100% understand the current and all possible future privacy implications” not welcome.

Update 13th February: Fugitivus has had a response from Google making it clear that protected items in Reader were not shared despite appearances, and stating some changes that are being made in Reader and Buzz in relation to issues she raised.