Monday, January 27, 2014

CodeChix @ShesGeeky & Home-Built Telescope Auction !

My first ShesGeeky unconference was in 2009 and I met some great engineers there and it was one of my inspirations for starting CodeChix.  Initially, a few contacts from attending that unconference attended the first few monthly CodeChix get-togethers at my house in 2009.

This year, Kelley Nielsen (@salticidsoft) pinged me about having CodeChix as a community sponsor for ShesGeeky.

So, I was happy to be able to contribute back to ShesGeeky this year and suggested that we have a CodeChix Speaker Track on Saturday.   I pinged a bunch of CodeChix and some of them were available and happy to sign up.

So, we had Akkana Peck, Melody Bliss, Kelley Nielsen, myself and Kimberly Spillman on the roster.  Topics ranged from 3d Printing using OpenSCAD, Building your own Reflector/Refractor Telescope, A brief overview of Software Security, The Gnome Outreach for Women and How to code Google Glass.

Each and every talk was well-attended and incited great discussions and Q&A.

And at the end of the day, Akkana donated two of her telescopes to CodeChix and we auctioned them off !!

Below is the Reflector on a Dobson mount that Akkana built from scratch.  I'm holding the Refractor which goes on the Equatorial mount (the tripod).   Both are awesome scopes !

 And a huge thanks to Kas Neteler for being our awesome auctioneer - we raised $200 towards funds to use for buying hardware as well as travel expenses to attend PyCon in April in Montreal.  Our proposal for a tutorial on PiDoorbell got accepted and six CodeChix members will be flying there to teach and be TA's for our tutorial !!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Just booted up - running Android 4.0.

It's surprisingly zippy - Ubslate 7c+ (as shown in the specs) - 512 MB of RAM,  expandable to 32G via micro-SD.

The UbiEmail app says it's not supported on this product - probably some sort of glitch.  It seems to be set to India time.  Manufactured in Amritsar, so makes sense.

YouTube videos aren't the best video quality and the audio is very dependent on whether your hand is blocking the speaker on the back.  But, perfectly adequate - I don't expect Dolby quality.

Right, I'm half asleep.  Off to bed so I can face another day at work tomorrow.  Hopefully, I'll get some more time to play with my new gadget in the next couple of days and write more about it.

Brain buzz....

Just got back from a talk by Vivek Wadhwa on a glimpse into the future of technology and innovation. The rapid pace of innovations in hardware, software, mechanical, bio-medical that could potentially transform society and the world as we know it, is a bit difficult to truly grasp (ye ole noggin...).

But, I could see that some of the things he mentioned, such as the PWSS (Plasma Water Sanitation System), Genomic medicine and the potential of the next generation of solar to reach parity with the existing grid wrt cost and reliability, could revolutionize the way we live and interact.

When the basics change, drastic change ensues to the layers that depend on the basics.

On another note, thanks to Vivek, I am now the proud owner of my first Android tablet which costs $60 and has a phone.

It's currently charging, but, once it's up, I'll put it through it's paces.  The basic version, w/o the phone costs $38 and can be ordered from Datawind.   Compared to $75 for the Intel Galileo, this is manna from heaven.

I think I'll show this at ShesGeeky this weekend and I'm sure that more women developers and engineers will be able to afford a smart-tablet-phone at this price point.

And, hey, maybe in my copious free time when I'm not tied up with 2.5 full-time jobs, I'll write an Android app !

Saturday, January 04, 2014

CodeChix is awarded the Anita Borg Institute's Pass-It-On Awards

New Year's announcement from earlier this week -

I plan to use this money to help CodeChix members attend technical conferences this year.  It's a few hundred dollars, but, I am hoping that it will be incentivize women engineers to go forth and speak about technical topics at conferences.