Friday 30 November 2007

Obstacle in Martin Place

There is a very pretty obstacle in Martin Place at the moment. Many people were stopping and gazing at it when we stopped to stare. It's worth a look if you are in the city on the George St end of Martin Place.


There is a guy at the Brook who organises some good eating + drinking events. The latest was Novemberfest at the Heritage Belgian Beer Cafe in The Rocks. Since I promote the responsible consumption of alcohol, I decided to have just one beer. The food was surprisingly good and is best described as Belgian pub food or pubified French food.

My one beer for the night

My beer next to a 20c coin for size comparison

Maybe a $10 can demonstrate some scale

Does this show how big this beer was?

My beer and it's little brother beer

G had bunny which was yummo

I had a good enough steak with some fabulous chips with mayo

The duck pate made on the premises is absolutely fabulous

G + I found space to share the devine Belgian chocolate mousse with cream

The Victorias

I've decided to approach this Women in IT series from a different angle. The last thing I want to do is alienate the majority of the people I work with by appearing to blame any majority out there. Instead, I would like address what women in IT can do for themselves and for other women in order to sustain and encourage each other in the IT profession.

We are social animals and no matter how socially dysfunctional geeks are accused of being, we are like anyone else when it comes to wanting to belong. We spend 1/3 of our waking hours at work with our colleagues. Unless you were lucky enough to be interviewed by (and interview back) every member of the company before you started working there, then you didn't get to choose these people and you are going to have to find a way to jell. Wanting that to happen is a natural thing.

The first error I see geek girls make when they enter the IT arena as grads or juniors is to try to fit in and be like one of the boys. That happens in one of two ways...


She starts to dress like the boys or throws away her femininity so that she isn't so painfully different. The makeup disappears. The skirts get longer or are simply replaced by black pants. The hair gets shorter. The consumption of beer and sports increases.

Victoria Beckham

She attempts to seduce and manipulate men by throwing herself at them and deferring to their every word. You also see this with female users who use a baby voice to SUBTLY ask for what they want from the boys.

Either or both of these behaviours will not gain you any respect and you won't fit in. You will actually stand out even more because you aren't behaving like a female that most people expect and will accept by default. They instead see you as someone who is different to normal girls and that can cause confusion since you are not a man either. No matter how much you remove the tell-tale signs that you are a woman - your workmates will still know it. No matter how short your skirt is or how high your voice is - your workmates won't respect your abilities because of it.

My tip is to be yourself. Geeks are not "normal" people. We gave up on that idea a long time ago. A lot of us actually despise the idea. They usually respect diversity since they belong to a minority also. Remember when computers and gadgets weren't cool? Geeks are very accepting people. Standing out is not a bad thing. You'll be remembered because you aren't like the other 95% of the industry.

You are not like the boys.

Be girly if that is who you are.

Be yourself.

Celebrate what makes you an individual.

Saturday 24 November 2007

2007 TorchWood Christmas Party

Saturday night was the a night of big celebrating for several huge reasons. Firstly, it was the Thoughtworks Sydney + Brisbane 2007 Christmas party which was held on boat called the Vagabond Princess on the harbour. The second reason is that Australia tossed out that bloody tyrant gnome John Howard in such a final way that he will not be showing his nasty little face around here forever more. Yay!

Sitting down for dinner

The Christmas party was 5 hours on a harbour cruise with Brazilian dancers, laser shooting and lots of drunk ThoughtWorkers :) It was fun! The food was good. The shooting was fun even though I didn't hit a thing and the people were lovely.

Boys shootin' stuff

The obligatory conga line

I'm Queen of the world! Thanks to Giles for helping me break in to this area of the boat

Giles with the city in the background

Wednesday 21 November 2007

Am I allowed to continue to express my opinions?

I've been hammered for writing this post which I think is due to the lag between this and my follow ups. I'd still like to post my observations and opinions as just that - my opinions. I think that as a female, I have a unique perspective and am qualified to speak on the subject.

What I do not want to do is make the guys that read this think that "it's their fault" because that's not it at all. I think there are social rules and social biases at play. Women are just as responsible as men to open up our profession to more women, or at least encourage women to stay. That's why I'm writing this. I want other geek girls to know that they are not alone. I know how you feel but I've found techniques that will help you stay as a developer in a male dominated business.

Oddly enough, this just isn't about men.

Monday 19 November 2007

Where have all the flowers gone?

Lately and many times in the past, I have often been asked why there are very few female software developers working in IT. It seems like a hard question to answer but I am not convinced that it is as difficult to explain as it is a hard thing to say.

How can you answer this question if asked by a man and not sound like you are placing blame? If asked by a woman (who is not a dev) then it's hard to say that you think there are many reasons but they sound like male-bashing. The thing is that it is not about men but they are a major factor - actively or not.

One thing I am very sad to see happening over and over again is female software developers leaving their career as a developer to either go somewhere else in IT like project management or becoming a business analyst; or in the worst case leaving IT all together. It is not because they are not good devs. There are more women leaving development work than joining it, from my point of view and I think it is time the reasons for these moves are discussed. I will not mention names this time but I hope other women speak up.

There are several areas I would like to explore of the next few posts that address this serious loss in my profession.

Sunday 18 November 2007

Thursday 8 November 2007

Happy Diwali

During the last three nights of my stay in Bangalore, I lost a good part of my hearing temporarily due to the professional pyrotechnic fireworks that the locals were setting off for the Diwali festival. It was fun, noisy and dangerous but that's India :)

The firecracker guys outside my window

The crazy guys outside my room setting off small and huge firecrackers

The lights on the building put up for Diwali

Wednesday 7 November 2007

Crossing Airport Road and Surviving

Here is the road that I've had to cross to get from the Diamond District to everywhere else you could possible want to go. It's called Airport Road and it is very scary. My trick is to cross with the locals.

Sunday 4 November 2007

Blog Format

It looks like Google has screwed up my blog template. I'll wait a few days to see if this gets fixed and if not, I will try find a new format. They are so doing evil these days!

I removed and readded the post about Mysore and that seemed to sort it out. I think this was caused by posting from Picasa.

Friday 2 November 2007


On our Saturday off, the immersion group were up at 7am and off to a trek somewhere. I say somewhere because I didn't take note of the place and there isn't anyone around to ask today :) It was about 2 hours out of Bangalore near some bush and lots of giant monolithic rocks. The area was gorgeous. There was a 7km hike to a lake and then back.

Everyone kept asking if I was ok to try "rappalling" and I said "sure", not knowing but thinking it was another Indian experience I was yet to try. The best advice I can give anyone is that if you don't know what you're being offered, then ASK! You'll see me "rappalling" further down in the pics...

Bright + early before the bus ride

On the bus about to leave

One of the temples we visited where we were blessed and gave a donation

An elephant statue outside the temple

Sitting on a rock having a rest while they tie the ropes. "What ropes?" I wonder

Sumeet is telling us about how we are like a story with five husbands + one wife and I'm about to push him off the cliff

I found out that "rappalling" is repelling about five mins before this pic was taken

Further down and surprisingly enough, I'm not screaming

I survived!

Schumacher was our adopted dog guide

Thursday 1 November 2007

Indian Snack Food

You all know what I'm like when I'm bored, I shop! This time it was a hunt for the true Indian snack. This is my haul from the shop around the corner in the Diamond District, where we are bunking down on this trip. The grand total was around 300 Rs, which is under A$10. The Indian guys later teased me a lot about buying Evian water because I could have bought 9 bottles of normal bottled water for the same price. It was named "princess water" and I gave it up so they'd stop teasing me :) Most of this food was shared on the bus ride to the trek we did and with random other people at immersion.

The whole lot

These are normal wafer biscuits

The banana chips are savoury and very salty and not like the sweet dried banana we have in Oz

It's hard to describe this - think of a marshmallow sandwiched in cake and coated in chocolate