Category Archives: Other

We need role models!

Working with the Student’s Union sensitised me to the problems women face in Technology. One of them is that while there are no biological reasons for it, there are way less women working in Technology than men. There’s got to be a reason for that, right?

Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, at one point had less than 10% females majoring in computer sciences. As of 2006, an initiave was started to find out why, and how this could be changed. techcrunch.com published a video on how HMC changed their gender ratio to nearly 50:50. If you’re more into reading, there’s also an article on the changes on npr.com.

One important story told be all the young women the University approached asking for things that made them reconsider their choice of study is this: “People told me, and still tell me, that I shouldn’t try this. There are no women working in this field.” – Details may vary, it may have been questions, it may have been implications, but all in all, people tell girls, young women and also adult women that what they are trying to do is too hard for them, because no woman, or only very few women before did it.

So what I’ll be trying to do is the following: I’ll try to find female role models of all kinds of technology and science, and post something about them. One role model per week should be doable, and I’ll keep it up as long as possible, but at least until end of April 2014.

Submissions are very welcome, just post a name in the comments section below, or contact me on whichever channel that you found this post on. I’ll start writing the first post right away, posting it tomorrow: Sunday is role model day!

Addendum to “TU Wien needs feminism”

This post is related to the one I published two days ago, especially the first paragraph.

I received a lot of feedback regarding the whole post, mainly “WTF are they thinking?”. But also, especially regarding the first paragraph, I got a lot of stories that told the same thing: The question “Are you sure you want to study Informatics? There’s a lot of maths courses to be passed during those studies.” had been asked a lot of people, and seemingly male future students, too.

So I guess this is the right time to talk about communication.

The issue here is that what was said might have been meant as a piece of advice, or a possibility of filtering out people who thought Informatics was about MS Word.

But the magic of communication is in how to send a message, how to make sure that the person adressed does understand the meaning.

And that’s the problem.

Let’s say you bring me chocolate cake. I like cake, so that’s a good start. I taste it, and I think you made a good cake, though my boyfriend’s chocolate cake is even better. Yes, indeed, my boyfriend makes cake!

Now, I could tell you “Wow, that’s a great cake you made, though my boyfriend’s is better.”. Or I tell you “My boyfriend makes better cake”. Or I tell you “That’s a great cake!”

So, I’ll give TU Wien this: Putting this question into the obligatory interview that basically kicks off your time at University is pretty uncool. And not giving a fuck about how this might be interpreted by students is rather stupid.

Amazing Vienna

Although I’ve been living in Vienna for nearly 5 years now, there are still lots of places that I haven’t seen, or have only seen parts of. One of them is Kurpark Oberlaa and Wiener Internationale Gartenschau 1974 in the 10th district.

I found the place this spring when I was on one of my hikes. It included a lot of getting lost, as there are basically NO signs around that would indicate the trails I was looking for, and some standing around in awe. A couple of days ago, I decided to go visit the park, not only pass it by, and see if I could find any of the Geocaches in the area.

I actually spotted 2 of the 3 Geocaches I was looking for. The one I did see but could not log was a T4 (terrain 4 out of 5 stars), nestled into the branches of a big nice tree. Unfortunately, the lowest branch was at about 1.90 meters 🙁 The one I found was placed at a not-so-nice location (meaning that the area has obviously been used as a toilet), and the third one I couldn’t even spot – it should have been somewhere on an art installation consisting of red steel bars in the park’s center.

More pictures will follow, as I hope to go there again soon 🙂

Reconnecting …

No posts from me in more than 5 months. This can mean only one thing: I’ve started playing the Discworld MUD again. Intensively.

Apart from attaining achievements, advancing lots of skills, meeting old friends and making new friends, I still had a life offline to tend to, with lots of studying to do, old friends to meet, new friends to make and, in general, stuff to do.

Again, a resolution for the future: I want to keep writing. It’s a great way of keeping track of things. Thinking about what happened in the last months, I realize how much I probably forgot just because I didn’t write it down immediately. But hey, fortunately I have my calender! It tells me that I …

  • attended my brother’s wedding
  • created a wedding book for him (well, it’s not quiet finished yet)
  • went skiing with Mum
  • attended Yoga classes on a weekly basis for some time
  • met some awesome women at #FemCamp13 and #FemCampLinz
  • tried for some weeks to find a job for the holidays, and succeeded at a hostel in the end
  • had some really awesome couchsurfers – Joji from India, Silvia from Graz, Artu from Serbia, Friso from the Netherlands, Lidia from Spain
  • went to a medieval market with one of the women I met at #FemCamp13
  • went to Berlin with the BF for a weekend
  • had an old friend and her boyfriend visit from Barcelona
  • had my parents visit for my birthday
  • got the coolest birthday present ever: miniature anatomy model!
  • started working at a hostel
  • quit work at the hostel because it’s far too chaotic IMO
  • found a new job (which will hopefully be awesome)

Also, I read the Hunger Games trilogy, started using Twitter, and finished most of the courses that I planned to do in the first attempt. I failed 2 exams, but will re-take them in Autumn. A 3rd lecture I had postponed to Autumn right from the start.

And yeah … there’s nothing about upcycling in that list. Because I didn’t do any more 🙁

Meeting my childhood star

Tuesday, August 14th: this was by far the coolest day working at the Zoo so far!

Why?

Easy. I could watch the film crew shooting a new episode of TOM TURBO, a series I loved to watch when I was a child. I remember going home with my best friend, Isabel, after school to watch the latest episode, spellbound by the newest adventures by children our age and a high-tech talking bike that can do awesome tricks.

Somehow I seemed to be the only one of my colleagues to be this intrigued by our “VIB” – but I did see some people who had asked if they could have a picture taken of themselves and the bike who were totally freaked out to have that possibility. They were my age 🙂

As TOM TURBO’s garage is located at the Zoo (after the main entrance, turn right, pass the Terrarium/Aquarium house, it’s on the right side), there’s also a life size TOM TURBO to be found there all year round. No wonder I already have a picture of me with him, right? I even used it as my profile picture on CS for some time 😉

The Plan

I’ve given this quite some thought: What should I do in September, when I will have at least 2 weeks of holidays? No university, no work. I do want to do SOMETHING.

So I thought about going to Bretagne or Normandie.

I thought about traveling to England.

I thought about visiting Denmark.

And then, without much thinking, an interesting idea popped up in my head: What about a hike? Not just your average one day, 5 hours, hike. A hike with a real start and a real end. Two different cities. Two different regions of Austria, even. At first, I thoght about St. James’ Way. There are two variations of it in Austria: the Western Way, from Vienna via Salzburg to Innsbruck and on towards Spain, and the Southern Way, from Graz via Klagenfurt to Innsbruck and on. This of course posed the question: how would I get to Graz?

I will walk the Via Sacra, from Mödling (just outside the city of Vienna), in Lower Austria, to Mariazell, in Styria. From there, the Mariazeller Weg, on to Graz.

According to the Tourism Associations of the regions, each part will take about 5 days of “not too hard hiking”. So it will be 10 days of walking, plus one day of relaxing in Mariazell, and one or two days in Graz.

I’m SO excited about it!

Have you lost your camera?

If yes, go check out ifoundyourcamera.net. After partaking in the PostSecret project, a guy from Canada started his own thing: A website where he publishes pictures from lost cameras and memory cards. The idea is of course simple: if enough people look through these pictures, one of them might recognize someone on the picture, and thus the camera (or memory card) could be returned to its rightful owner.

If you did not lose your camera, consider yourself lucky. But go to the website, nontheless! you might be one of the people to recognize somebody or help finding out where a picture was taken. Georg and I, for example, could tell them where the three pictures of this post were taken. One of them was even taken in Innsbruck! The camera by the way already made its way back to its owners thanks to the editor of a local newspaper (first comment to the blog post).

And if you found a camera but until now did not know how you could possibly find the owner – here’s how to take part in ifoundyourcamera.net.

It’s cookie time!

In December, there were two cookie baking sessions happening at my place.

This is – approximately – what we used:

2.5 kilograms of flour
0.75 kilograms of sugar (and vanilla sugar)
0.8 kilograms of chocolate
0.5 kilograms of almonds

Doesn’t sound like much? Well, we made enough cookies for a party with 15 people, a dinner of 5 people, getting me, Georg and my room mates through Advent, and we still had enough so Georg and I could take about 0.75 kilograms home to pamper our families 🙂

And here are some pictures:

By the way: last-minute deciding on which cookies you want to make can make baking slightly difficult. For example, as we did not have star shaped coookie cutters, we had to make cinnamon moons and boots instead of cinnamon stars. And Georg, lucky him, managed to get the last 2 packages of crushed almonds at the store, as well as one of the last packages of flour …

I will see that I get more pictures from our friends, because the really good ones are not on my phone. Georg also made a cinnamon man … and there’s a picture of him eating it.

Ikea

Why do trips to Ikea always end with me asking why I always end up with more stuff than I intended to buy, but still not bringing all the stuff I intended to buy?

This time: We need some extra hanging baskets for the bathroom. We brought these, plus a new desk and chair for me, but we did not buy the laundry bag/basket for Georg.

Classic.

My new toy

The kindle arrived 2 days after I ordered it. And I’m so happy with it, it’s unbelieveable 🙂

I can put the task description for the weekly exercises on it, all the slides from our lectures and even the script they gave us for Technical Basics for IT. The only thing with Text-PDFs is that the zoom is not designed for such. It’s very good with the slides, as they usually cover one whole page, and are well readable, but the longer texts (as scripts) I have to convert to a kindle-able format, which destroys all the previous formatting. It looks a bit better when the screen is turned by 90°, though.

And of course, I can download books just like that from the kindle store, because I did not care about 50 Euros more and bought the kindle 3G. So when I finally remembered that I wanted to read “A Dance with Dragons”, I just opened the kindle store, looked it up (keyboard FTW!) and bought it. One minute later, I could start reading.

That was last Wednesday evening. I finished yesterday.

This might be one of the reasons I’ve been so lazy during the last weeks 😉