Booth babes? Are we STILL talking about this?

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Turns out we are still talking about booth babes because they still exist! I’ve posted about this before – we are talking about the seemingly endless decisions by tech companies to have women in skimpy clothes manning booths at tech conferences to promote a company’s products.

Here is a recent post by a female colleague of mine working in the US for a big tech company. She argues that many men are just as appalled by booth babes as most women are. So if this is true, why does it keep happening?

Maybe it is just another marketing strategy aimed at one proportion of their market, but what if their strategy alienates another part of their market? Doesn’t sound like good business to me.

I’ve seen even the most successful (male) tech bloggers attacked online for speaking out against this…there is no doubt that people feel very strongly! Whatever your views, surely it’s not ok to continually reinforce the stereotype in tech fields that women are nothing more than airless eye candy. These companies should know better, and they should look at the lack of diversity in their workforce and know they are contributing to that through these practices. I personally would think twice about working for/with a tech company that promotes these views.

Let’s stop promoting women as purely objects for entertainment and start being a little more classy where women in tech are concerned. Doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun!





Travel adventures…a (big) bump in the road!

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

I’m writing this post offline as I’m flying from Sydney to Brisbane. After working in Sydney for 2 days last week, I thought it would be a great idea to spend the long Australia Day weekend swanning around the beautiful city of Sydney, going from seeing a superb showing of the Kubrick/Clarke classic 2001: A Space Odyssey complemented by the Philharmonic Orchestra and choir at the iconic Opera House, to a free concert of classical music in the Domain (in the botanical gardens). Lots of great food and spectacular weather…for a while anyway.Β (pic – view from my hotel)


The day I left Brisbane, the sun was blasting and those south of home were busy trying to drown out the hundreds of fires that had sparked because of the extremely dry weather we’ve had for months. There was even talk of cancelling our national day celebrations because fireworks might set of more fires. There was a dangerous cyclone off the north/east coast of Qld, but it seemed so far away, particularly with such hot weather! Then by the time my work in Sydney was done, Brisbane was bracing for floods from the weather coming south, and there was talk of a repeat of the horrendous floods that hit home this time 2 years ago. Oh dear!

So now it is Monday, and I’m on the plane, and I’m scared! I’ve been looking out the window for the past 30 minutes of flying and it is white wash. Cannot see a single thing. I’ve never experienced a flight like this, and I now fly a lot. It’s surprisingly not too bumpy, but I don’t get how the pilot can see anything either! Thank goodness for good tech equipment!! My fingernails are slowly disappearing, and I’m hoping we make it back ok. I’m also hoping our house isn’t flooded and that my kitty cat is not too wet and out of sorts as he has been outside in all the rain, wind, tornadoes and the rest of the craziness. I’m imagining he will be very grumpy (and deservedly so!).

I’m trying to distract myself by reading and listening to loud music, but I’m still worried about all my friends and family back home, I feel so disconnected being away. Thanks at least to social media keeping me in touch. There were rumours at Sydney airport that Brisbane airport was closed, but somehow I still managed to get on my flight. I’m sending him good vibes to everyone stuck because the weather is supposed to hit Sydney later today after moving down the coast 😦

Hearing stories of people being rescued and caught up in flood waters is distressing. I simply don’t understand why people go out driving to look at the rising flood waters when they are told over and over again not to leave home for unessential travel. Yet they do it, constantly. Sorry if I offend, but I think it is really selfish to put yourself at risk, and to then to put the lives of rescuers at risk if you find yourself in trouble (which can happen so easily and quickly). I can’t imagine being an emergency services worker, toughest job ever. People are told to evacuate as a precaution, but many refuse, thinking that the flood waters won’t reach them. Then a day later the lives of rescue workers are put at risk to save those same people when the water does often inevitably rise, but obviously it is now much more dangerous. I really just don’t get it….


So I’m hoping we will land in 30 minutes time, and that I can get home from the airport to the other side of the city. Whoever still questions that global warming exists needs to visit the east coast of Australia. Even as the flooding is continuing right down the Qld and NSW coasts, there are fires blazing across Victoria and many people are losing their homes. I’m just really sad, anxious and on edge, and wishing that everyone stays safe at this very scary time x

Happy Monday! What fun stuff are you up to this week?

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

This is going to be an exciting week! I’m rebranding my business so I’m busy organising my new website, post office boxes, business cards, bank accounts, lawyers, accountants…it’s such a big job! But it’s starting to come together after a lot of hard work. I’m not starting everything from scratch…I will still be doing the same research training and consulting work, I will just have a proper business and brand to operate this from. I originally started this work while I was studying my PhD, and now it has grown into a full time job for me. Even more so, I’m now hiring people to help me out! So the time has come to reflect, rethink, and restart on a new fresh footing. More details to come soon!

So how are you planning to spend your week? I’m working mostly from home organising stuff for the business, other than a meeting in the city today and teaching my regular IT undergrad class at Uni tomorrow (2 weeks till end of semester, yay!). I’m also catching up with some witty tech gals from another uni later in the week. I’m planning to go swimming with my friend and her little ones on Wednesday to break up this super hot week (she also works in IT, and works 4 days per week for the government). Love the mushroom pool – you sit under it and it rains on your head, the kids (& me) love it! It is so ridiculously hot in most parts of Australia at the moment, so try to find a way to stay cool. I had to cover my kitty in ice cubes on the weekend to keep him cool. He was impressed but not impressed if you know what I mean! πŸ™‚

The best part of working for myself is that I get to choose which days I want to work, and I really don’t want to work 5 days a week if I can help it. So I welcome the excuse to take a day off to go swimming. You probably don’t have the choice to take a day off, but make sure you add something fun to your week. Happy Monday πŸ™‚

Computing is an awesome career!

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

I’m all for encouraging people into computing / technology careers, and I love seeing tech companies go out of their way to recruit the best talent. I first saw this at Google when I spent a couple of days in their offices in Sydney as an Anita Borg Scholarship finalist in 2009. I’m sure part of the reason they run fantastic awards programs like this is so they can check out the talent at university (their possible future employees). This was a big investment for Google to fly and accommodate 16 of us, but we all loved it (best part is Google has free food! Seriously πŸ™‚ catered lunches and a after work party once a week! Not to mention free massages, guitar hero at lunch and many other benefits! It was definitely worth the time to write the application….


I attended the Brisbane Girl Geek Coffee Xmas party a few weeks ago; an initiative that has been strongly supported by Google, and this event was sponsored by ThoughtWorks, an innovative and exciting software consulting company. The reason I say this is because I know a bunch of fabulous women who work for the company, and they have some really innovative recruitment strategies for women, and all of my dealings with them have always been really positive (they sponsored the pink book! Thanks Suzi :))

Here are 2 of the recruiters from ThoughtWorks I met at the Xmas party, Sam and Alex. I loved that they had seen the pink book (awesome! :)) and turns out that they work closely with a former IT uni student of mine in London from 8 years ago! Of course I took a pic of us, posted it to Facebook, tagged my former student/friend who was instantly “OMG!” I love technology πŸ™‚


Im impressed with ThoughtWorks’ latest “make a difference” recruiting campaign, of course they want the best and brightest to work for them, just like Google. And most of us really do want to make a difference so why not check out what a career in computing / IT / technology might be like. This, for instance, sounds like an awesome job…

User Experience Architect

And it only takes a little bit of effort to…


What are YOUR dreams?

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

No time to waste, today is the day to start living your life to the fullest. No excuses. There is nothing you cannot do if you truly work hard and put your mind to it! I’d like to think that I am living proof of that!

I’m very excited that this year I will formally launch my consulting business (stay tuned – lots happening), I will work on some fun projects, and of course I am planning some travel. I’m planning a trip to Europe in June for work (Germany and the Netherlands), and if I work really hard, maybe a trip to Milan in December πŸ™‚ I’ve also got some work trips to Sydney, Melbourne and Townsville, all before the end of February!

I have a feeling it is going to be a busy year, but I’m ready for it. Are you? What are your dreams? If you don’t articulate them, how will you know what to work towards? Or know when to stop and simply enjoy your achievements? Be brave, be bold, and aim high!

I think my kitty is hinting that he wants to join me on my trips…or maybe he is planning his own adventure! πŸ™‚


Bye 2012, hello 2013!

Monday, December 31st, 2012

What a great year 2012 was! Lots of travel and adventure to stunning parts of the world, spending time with lots of beautiful people, a successful year for growing my business, a research award and a teaching award to top it all off!

Wishing you all a happy holiday season and a brilliant start to an awesome 2013! Enjoy the fabulous journey!



Traversing through the European autumn…..

Monday, October 29th, 2012

I’ve just returned from a 2 week research adventure in the beautiful European autumn, so many beautiful colours – this was my view just outside my office at the university in Muenster. So pretty!


I spent a really productive week at the European Research Centre for Information Systems welcomed by my lovely hosts Armin & Elena- enjoyed the local rituals & delicacies like curry sausage (with 7 levels do chili – dare if you will) and beer with peaches – yes whole cut peaches. It was weirdly good!


Muenster is in the north of Germany. There are 3 bicycles for every person (it is very flat!) and with a town of 300 000 people, it is very vibrant with half of the population under 35! The peace treaty of Westphalia was signed in the Rathaus (town hall) after the 30 years war, and it is a really beautiful part of the world…


I love the history and the landscape. This pic is one of my favourites ever, this really was a magical moment watching the leaves fall like snow (remember snow is a novelty for us Aussies!)


I took a whole bunch of refugee koalas with me (the cute stuffed kind) to give out to all who attended my presentation – hardly anyone realizes how close koalas are to extinction so I did my bit to raise awareness. My hosts gave me a lovely bag of gifts, one of which was this nice tea…but notice the “lost in translation” ingredient?

More travel adventure stories to come!


Young ICT Explorers event – so much fun!

Monday, October 29th, 2012

A few weeks ago I was invited to participate as a judge at an event where schoolkids developed some kind of technology. I was excited to attend, and to see the really awesome projects the teams completed. My most favourite was the group of 8 year olds who were too young to enter but they attended anyway to present their 3 pigs and the wolf robots (fluffy and all!) – the wolf was trying to blow the house down of course. They were adorable! Β and very inspiring πŸ™‚

Check out the video of the day – organised by SAP research.



A look inside google’s data centre – so cool!! :)

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Have you ever wondered how your Google page manages to load in just a nano-second? Or where your gmail is stored in the world? Well look inside here at Google’s data centre…they handle mindblowing amounts of data!

Are you a female in academia?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

If so, you may have a story to contribute to this site!


Wonder if my experience of being told in my undergraduate degree that “girls can’t program” qualifies….

Of course there are many wonderful and supportive men in academia too – let’s not tar them all with the same brush of a few exceptions…I just had an ice cream break with a bunch of great guys (and girls too) in academia – which was an interesting experience when it is 10 degrees outside (I’m in Germany in autumn).

Hope your week is as fabulous as mine!