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Diversity Tweetstorm

Posted on Fri May 20 12:00:00 CDT 2016

On April 20th, I was on a panel talking to UT students about diversity in the tech community. There were five of us on the panel and we only had an hour, so not a lot of time or format to really just drop a bunch of information.

The next day, I put together a huge tweetstorm of all my ideas. Since my twitter is now private, here are all of the tweets put together into a single website.

Thank you to my community, who influences me regularly. Especially @lynncyrin and @ShellyBacksass

Practical things you can do right now to be an ally against racism and sexism

  • Stop telling racist and sexist jokes. Stop tolerating racist and sexist jokes.
  • Listen to minorities when they tell you that something is racist/sexist/ableist.
  • Use people's stated names and pronouns. They know what they're talking about.
  • Don't build gender forms, or make textboxes: http://43epnd.axshare.com/gender.html
  • Your idea of what a man or woman should look like is irrelevant.
  • Cultivate friendships with people who don't look like you. Be legit. Don't tokenize.

How do you spot problems during the interview process as a candidate?

  • Watch for keywords in the posting. "ninja", "rockstar", "10x" all point to a toxic culture.
    • These people tend to be pretty full of themselves and not good co-workers.
  • Look at the C-Suite. All white men and more than a few people? Racism and sexism already enshrined.
  • Get an office walkthrough and look at the demographics. Watch for bro-culture signs. See the number of not-white-men in engineering.

How to spot problems when interviewing a candidate?

  • Define your culture. "Culture fit" could be bro culture, or it could be on positive social ethics.
  • Make your ethics about diversity.
  • Put diverse interviewers into your panel. See if the candidate downplays one of the minority people on the panel.

Why diversity?

  • Diversity is critical for non-toxic environments, which they need for both retention and access to talent pools.
  • Companies don't need the best candidates. They need good candidates who can grow. Startups especially do not understand that.
  • Companies also need engineers for the long haul. Every lost employee is lost engineering knowledge.

Counterproductive behaviors?

  • Telling our stories, instead of amplifying our voices.
  • Making inclusivity about your virtue instead of about the humanity of the people you want to include.
  • Explaining gender to us, or standing on outdated terms, or insisting on a gender binary.
  • Telling us our lived experiences, or our feelings, are wrong.
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Driftwood

Posted on Wed Dec 2 08:00:00 CST 2015

I spent a year in Driftwood. I lived alone out there in a small cabin in the woods. I called the space home.

During that year, I rebuilt my soul. I learned for sure that I am no good living as a hermit, but that I can hermit for periods of time and be happy during those periods. I had a lot of quiet time. Lots of time to just think. I worked on projects, finally mastered Haskell to the point that I was willing to teach it, and started to regain the confidence that I needed to take on the world on my own terms.

I have many more pictures, all undeveloped, from my time out there. Over time, I will develop and post more. Whenever I feel the need to revisit that time of quiet.

I hope it is not the last one my life affords me.

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Perspectives

Posted on Wed Oct 21 08:00:00 CDT 2015 by Savanni D'Gerinel

The same shot, five different framings. All a play of perspective.

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Faerie Fountain

Posted on Wed Oct 14 12:00:00 CDT 2015 by Savanni D'Gerinel

It is officially called the Liz Carpenter Fountain. We who experience magic call it the Faerie Fountain. It is almost always broken or turned off, so these pictures are from years ago.

Perhaps one day it will be turned on and we can run through the magic and lights again.

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Selfies

Posted on Fri Sep 25 16:00:00 CDT 2015 by Savanni D'Gerinel

Selfies are good for the soul. They help people to start seeing he beauty in themselves. In the LGBTQ In Tech slack group, we have an entire channel dedicated towards them.

Every now and then, I have the energy to put my good camera on a tripod and deal with aiming, sitting down to check aim, re-aiming, focusing, etc. I generally love the results.

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Portland Pictures

Posted on Wed Aug 19 09:00:00 CDT 2015 by Savanni D'Gerinel

About a year ago I posted most of the pictures from my trip to Portland, Oregon in 2011. It turns out, though, that I missed a few. These last two I actually got in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

That said, I still have undeveloped pictures from that trip, so I may continue posting additional pictures for years yet. The beauty of pictures is that I can easily go back to revisit them years later, and remember so much in the process.

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Language Quality

Posted on Fri Jul 31 08:00:00 CDT 2015 by Savanni D'Gerinel

  • Perl
  • Python
  • C
  • Go
  • Ocaml
  • Haskell
  • Javascript
  • Clojure
  • Java

I have written thousands of lines of code in each and every one of those languages. I have written hundreds of thousands of lines in C and Python.

I am fully aware that some people find their ways into computer science via Python, PHP, Javascript, Ruby, and what have you. I am also fully aware that some people (such as myself) are required to keep using them in order to make ends meet. Given my breadth and depth of experience, though, I can call out these programming languages on their quality, if only by how much fully automatable work they do not do for the developer.

So go ahead. Keep tell me I'm full of shit for writing code in Haskell.

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Fade, 2012-01

Posted on Wed Jul 22 08:00:00 CDT 2015 by Savanni D'Gerinel

Fade, 2012-01

Fade, Austin, Texas. 2012-01-24, f/2.8, ISO 400, 1/10s:1/6s:1/3s:1s:2s:3s:6s:11s:23s, 50mm

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Silicon Labs, 2011-12

Posted on Wed Jul 15 08:00:00 CDT 2015 by Savanni D'Gerinel

Silicon Labs, 2011-12

Silicon Labs, Austin, Texas. 2011-12-26, f/5.6, ISO 100, HDR 1/1500s:1/750s:1/350s:1/3000s:1/180s, 29mm

The Silicon Labs building is everpresent on town lake here in Austin. This photo is from my earliest days of photography. The day after Christmas I did a photowalk with one of my friends. While I rarely think of that day, I do recall the striking clouds that characterized the sky that day. I still have many undeveloped photos, and looking at them I find I can remember, with great detail, the moment when I found the shot.

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Giving up on email

Posted on Sun Jul 12 10:00:00 CDT 2015

As of today, I am completely giving up on email.

I made hints of this a year ago, but now I am just done. Email has been little more than a burden for the last few years. Maintaining my own email server is actually very difficult. Spam filtering is always falling behind spam sending. My choices in accounts are an account that I pay for that has very little (if any) support, a server that I maintain myself using the atrociously awful things we call email servers, and one of the free accounts that gives major companies and the NSA just a trivial time reading everything.

And then there are the clients. Email readers are awful. Atrociously so. This is likely a result of having been stuck trying to support thousands of different use cases. Whatever the case, though, core use cases for me are not common in any email client, and I just cannot cope any more.

I am going to switch to gmail. And then I am not going to give out my gmail address. We cannot survive in the online world without an email address, so I know I have to maintain something. But I do not want any more to put any work into it.


What I always loved about email was that there was a common medium that most people could use to contact me. That was true twenty years ago, but the advent of Facebook/G+/Twitter/LinkedIn, and that email has degraded over time, has left me maintaining half a dozen accounts and never entirely remembering how to contact anyone.

I dream, one day, of opening up a single application on my computer, and seeing all of my messages in threaded form with HTML formatting (but not Javascript). And being able to just reply to messages from that application without worring about whether I am using the right communications medium.

Keep dreaming.


Anyway, do not email me any more. I have not decided the proper way to contact me, so I am just going to be difficult for a time.

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