Bellagio fountain view from my window. Nice way to end my first day of #CES2014.
In 1984, 38% of computer science degrees were awarded to women; today, women represent less than 12% of computer science majors. Across the United States, 0.3% of high school girls express interest in studying computer science.
Girls Who Code, a program founded in 2012 by Reshma Saujani, stands to close the STEM gender gap. By pairing intensive instruction in computer science with mentorship and exposure from the industry’s leading entrepreneurs and engineers, Girls Who Code provides the motivation and training to young women who aspire to break into the technology and engineering fields.
This June marked the launch of the 2013 Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Programs, in which 160 young women in New York City, Detroit, San Jose, Davis, and San Francisco, were selected to participate through a competitive application and review process. In each of its 8-week Summer Immersion Programs, Girls Who Code will embed 20 young women inside eight partner companies—Twitter, Intel, eBay, Goldman Sachs, AT&T, GE, Cornell Tech, and IAC—from 9am to 5pm each day, where each girl will receive hands-on experience in programming fundamentals, web development and design, robotics, and mobile development, tour the halls of Google, Microsoft and Twitter, and meet with the likes of Sheryl Sandberg and Jack Dorsey.
Learn more about Girls Who Code here.
Almost exactly two years ago, Google announced its purchase of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. It was the company’s biggest deal ever, far exceeding previous big buys like YouTube for $1.7 billion and DoubleClick for $3.1 billion. Both of those acquisitions were hugely successful, but the Motorola purchase seemed baffling. Mainly, it seemed to provide Google with valuable intellectual property that would allow the company to defend itself against a tidal wave of patent lawsuits. Motorola—the inventor of the very first cell phone—had a great patent portfolio indeed. But the estimated worth of those patents was less than half Google’s purchase price. The other portion brought Google a money-bleeding Chicago-area-based hardware business. The purchase would almost double Google’s head count with employees who brought little to the bottom line. Employees who were not Googly, in a business that seemingly didn’t scale. What was Google thinking?
Finally, we have the answer. The Moto X, announced today, marks the arrival, finally, of the Google Phone.
Do you hate Android skins? Then you’re probably a guy.
The other day I had a Twitter exchange with Dan Seifert of the Verge about my dislike of stock Android. The divergence of opinion on the matter of toggles and notification areas reminded me of a conversation I had a few weeks ago at a Sony event. The electronics arm of the company invited women bloggers to have a conversation about marketing to women. At one point Helena Stone of ChipChick and I hit on what it is about Android that so many people we know find annoying about it: lack of efficiency. The number of taps it takes to do something simple is just silly. And hunting for apps in the Google Play store, who has time for that? I’ve known this is a problem for a while, what I didn’t realize is that whether or not you do seems to depend on whether you’re a man or a woman.
Many of the tech bloggers and reviewers I know have this (to me ridiculous) loathing of Android skins. The user interface modifications employed by HTC, Samsung, Sony, and almost every other manufacturer are a great scourge upon the land, according to certain technorati. How dare they mess with the purity of Android? Another thing many of these writers have in common is that they are male.
Like Seifert, many would rather add these features on their own by downloading a widget or app from the Google Play store. I agree that this freedom of customization is one of the awesome things about Android, and if you have the desire and patience to engage in this, then have fun. Not everyone does. As I said on Twitter, finding apps in Google Play is time consuming and frustrating. You can’t trust reviews, it’s not always apparent whether the app will do that thing you want even with a detailed description, and that is assuming the search results throw up the right apps instead of the hodgepodge of nonsense that sometimes happens if you don’t use the exact right keywords.
I don’t have time for that. A lot of women don’t, apparently.
If nothing else, good skins eliminate the need for all that up front effort and make it so users can be speedy and efficient every time they go to use their phone. Yes, there are a few other there are are overstuffed. Samsung’s TouchWiz is edging closer to that. The answer is more customization – let owners turn whole sections of the notification screen off if they don’t want to use them. I don’t need that section of suggested apps every time I plug in my headphones, for instance. But do not take away my toggles!
Outside of the world of tech writing, I’m interested in finding out if this hypothesis holds. So let’s do an informal survey in the comments. Do you love or hate Android skins? Why? And, if you’re comfortable sharing, what is your gender identification?
via My Blog: http://bit.ly/15jJkID