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
Proper email is a balance between politeness and succinctness. Less than five sentences is often abrupt and rude, more than five sentences wastes time.
Gadget Geekery: iWalk Amphibian Pen/Tablet Stylus
Now is the time on my blog where I out myself as a bit of a pen nerd. I know it might sound strange coming from a person who values digital over analog in many venues (I’ll take eBooks forever, please). When it comes to keeping a journal or writing notes, I prefer the feel of pen on paper. And I’m quite specific about my pens. I prefer gel ink, 0.7mm, in a medium-sized barrel. I only recently tried fountain pens again and found that I enjoy using them as well. Fountain and gel pens glide across paper with a smoothness that doesn’t hinder a fast writer, so all I need to do is to concentrate on the words and pen strokes. I will travel a long way to find (or replace) the right pen.
For those times I need to use a tablet that doesn’t come with its own pen, I often turn to a capacitive stylus. The experience is different, obviously, and I used to settle for whatever random one I had lying around. Then I discovered that all styli are not made the same. Some can glide across the screen almost as well as a fountain pen glides across paper. Who knew? And that brings me to my latest gadget worth geeking out over: the iWalk Amphibian.
The combo pen/stylus isn’t a new thing, and when I first saw this I nearly strolled on by without giving it a second glance. Then the manufacturer told me that the barrel fits Parker gel refills and so I had to try it. The man did not lie, they do fit perfectly. And lo my pen moved smoothly across the page and all was well. Imagine my happy surprise when I turned the pen over to use the rubber tip and discovered that it offered a great writing experience there, too. I tested it on the iPad and the Galaxy Tab 3 and in both cases the tip offered no resistance and allowed me to hold it at any angle I wanted. A squishy tip like this might not work as well for artists as for writers since my strokes don’t need flourish, they just need consistency. I also like that the cap fits on either end.
Since I received this from iWalk for review it has not left my side and now has a permanent place in my pen case. It’s by far my current favorite pen.
The Amphibian’s awesomeness came as a bit of a surprise since my last pen/stylus combo was partially disappointing. The Monteverde Invincia Stylus fountain pen is full of gorgeousness. The all-black brushed metal is hefty enough to feel substantial without being too heavy to use. It balances well in my hand with the cap on the opposite end or without it. The cap is where the rubber tip for tablets lives and it could not be more different from the Amphibian’s. It’s wide instead of long, firm, and drags just enough on the screen that it’s hard to write. Since the tip’s rise is so shallow you have to hold it at specific angles for the stylus to work. My fountain pen nib is medium yet doesn’t flow as well as other medium nibs I’ve used. It’s better now that I’ve used it more, but I am going to try switching it for a broad tip in the future.
The iWalk Amphibian costs around $30, the Invincia Stylus costs around $90. Awkward.
via My Blog: http://bit.ly/17HYLYI
If technology is designed mostly by white males, who make up roughly half our population, we’re missing out on the innovation, solutions, and creativity that a broader pool of talent can bring to the table.