Sunday, March 11, 2018

What-What?! Week of March 11th

One thing I forgot to mention about the Women Techmakers event last week was the silhouette artist, who was cutting silhouettes while you waited.  Her name is Cindi Rose, and she started cutting silhouettes when she was 16, because there was another silhouette artist at the theme park she worked at, and she thought she could do better than him.

Here's mine:

I am still massively wiped out from the last week, so that's it for now.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

What-What?! Week of March 4th

This weekend was pretty busy; I attended Google's Women Techmakers International Women's Day Summit 2018, and had a really good time.

One of the main themes of the summit was mentorship; there was a lot of discussion on becoming a mentor, mentoring others, how to find a mentor, and so on.

The keynote speaker was really interesting; Ewa Dominowska is the director of machine intelligence at Google, and talked about her experiences growing up in Poland, misadventures in England, and her family (her dad was a rally driver; how cool is that?!).

There was also a panel with a pretty diverse group of women; Dr. Linda Boyle Ng (professor), Sharon Chiarella (Amazon VP), Rebecca Lovell (Acting Director of Economic Development for the city of Seattle), Trish Millines-Dziko (founder and Executive Director, Technology Access Foundation), and Susie Vowinkel (Director of Global Partnerships, Google).  One of my biggest problems when discussing women's issues in the tech industry is that there tends to be very little nuance; in my opinion this only serves to alienate people, devaluing their own experiences and dismissing their own struggles... Ultimately, making the chasms bigger.  Happily, there was a surprising amount of nuance in the discussion.  I thought Trish Millines-Dziko had the most realistic attitude of the world as it is now.  She was the only one that discussed the consequences that "making it" in the corporate world has on the rest of your life, and "opting out" of it all; making the choice to do something else with your life other than rise up in the corporate world.

What I had been looking forward to the most at this event was the workshops; I signed up for the Android Things workshop.  We used a kit and tutorial to build out a little internet-connected device, then implemented some code using TensorFlow Lite (machine learning library) so you can take pictures of objects, and it will identify that object for you.  Here's my little device:

It has a Wi-Fi antenna, camera, touchscreen, Ethernet port, display thingy, three buttons with corresponding LEDs, piezo buzzer, and temperature and pressure sensor (for use as a weather station or similar).  Oh, and a USB-C port used to power it.

One of the things that TensorFlow has been trained to do is determine dog breed by photo.  So here is a picture I dug up on Wikipedia of an Irish Wolfhound, identified correctly by TF (sorry, lighting sucks):

The event itself was held at the Google complex in Seattle... the main building we met in seemed to have a variety of space movie-themed areas.  As I was walking to the restrooms, I noticed they had these individual "study rooms" and one of them is Galaxy Quest themed:

Which is pretty brilliant.  Unfortunately, I don't have any other pictures; I was concentrating on doing more than anything else.  Overall, I had a very good time, and would go again next year.