On the fringes or in our own center?

On the geekfeminism IRC channel today we were talking about the Open Source Bridge conference in Portland this summer. This conference sounded great, but I missed it and then never went back around to see what had happened there. Maria from .51 gave her mandatory unicorn talk, Faking It Til I Make It: A Woman On The Fringe Of Open Source.

As a long-time user of open source software, I’ve often considered myself an advocate but not necessarily a participant. Over the last year and a half, my own search for technical inspiration has led me full-circle to the realization that I’m an active member of a vibrant community of technical women.

Cami Kaos from StrangeLoveLive did a short interview with Maria at OSB. They only just mention Maria’s work with embedded systems and Linux, but they joke around a lot about the unicorn law. It’s extremely charming!

On her blog, .51, Maria links out to some other interviews featuring women from Open Source Bridge, in keeping with her blog’s purpose and her primary interest: “spreading the word about the pursuits and accomplishments of geeky women everywhere.” Yay Maria! (Her own geeky pursuits include ham radio and model rocketry.)

I really enjoyed her post on explaining embedded systems by busting open some cell phones.

Our talks were followed by a selection of activities. My activity was (surprise!) busting stuff open. I brought along about a dozen cell phones with the sim cards and batteries removed, told folks how they could open the cases to see the boards and components inside, then gave them the tools to do it. It was great! It was much easier to explain embedded systems to folks once they had the examples in their own hands and I could point to specific components as I explained their uses.

Now that would be a good video. I’d watch it!

Thanks to Emma Jane for the link to OSB!

I agree with Maria. We’re fringified, but we build our own centers and gravitate towards them, and that process is snowballing right now. Keep it coming. We’re unstoppable – we don’t need to be in someone else’s middle to be powerful.

On that note, if you would like to view this page with moar rainbow unicorns, the way I like to read Slashdot, install the cornify bookmark for some instant sparkle. It’s very funny, sort of like having Lisa Frank’s worst nightmares barf all over your browser.

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