Tag Archives: Technology

Closing the Gender and Diversity Gap in Tech: A Conversation with Shireen Mitchell #BlackSTEMLikeMe

I had the pleasure of sitting down with my Geek Diva, tech superwoman, sista friend, Shireen Mitchell to talk about gender equality and diversity in STEM. If you don’t know Shireen, here is your chance to get to know her. If you do know her, here is your chance to get to know her a little better. She is a pioneer in the advancement the STEM for girls, women, PoC and WoC and she always, “keeps it real.”

An American entrepreneur, author, technology analyst and diversity strategist, Shireen Mitchell is the founder of Digital Sisters/Sistas, Inc and Stop Online Violence Against Women. Below she shares our chat about the tech gender gap and digital racial divide.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN STEM? Good question. I don’t know that I chose STEM. I was gifted with my abilities and a curiosity at a time when people were saying to me “What are you doing?” They were questioning how I knew what I knew and why things came so easy to me. I was a sick kid, so I wanted to become a doctor. Being terrorized by a medical professional, I wanted to make sure other doctors wouldn’t terrorize young kids like myself. The natural state for me was very analytical and technological. So, I started out with video games. Then I started hacking.

WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A GIRL IN TECH? The concept of a girl in tech was far and few between in the 80s. But it was the highest point when women started entering the tech field. Research shows that women made up 36% of the tech fields during that time. Now, in 2017, we are down to 22 – 30% women. That’s not even counting black women and girls.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE WORKING IN TECH? The biggest challenge is in hiring practices and policies. That is where the pipeline breaks. It’s the “I don’t see gender” and “I don’t see color” mentality that is the break in the pipeline. For women of color, both those things are consistent. We are having these conversations about Hidden Figures. What we did during that time was remove those women from the timeline, and we started to believe what was presented to us instead of the data and what the leaders in tech were saying. It was a false narrative, and it still is. It’s an illusion that women and women of color, in particular, don’t have the ability to be leaders in tech. A white 20-something dropout being considered an ideal leader in the tech industry is a completely false narrative. When we talk about Hidden Figures, we know who had the intelligence. We also know who has been removed from the storyline to allow the false narrative to populate.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER BLACKS WHO WANT TO GET INVOLVED IN STEM? They need to know they have the capacity. Learning STEM is the easy part. The part that we haven’t handled is the social part and the bias it perpetuates. I would also tell them not to let anyone tell you that you don’t know what you know. Don’t let anyone deter you from building your base in tech. Create a space for yourself. Use a model that only you have, and you can change the industry by who you are.

What challenges have you overcome in your STEM Career?

This post originally appeared in the NSBE #BlackSTEMLikeMe website

Photo Credit link here.

Cutting The Strings: The Push To Go Wireless – My MacBook Review

Mac 

CNET reports that Apple is once again shaking things up and changing the computer game.  

“Ready or not, Apple’s new MacBook is cutting the computing industry’s cables.

The slim laptop has just a single USB port, the new tiny Type-C variety that’s slowly popping up in devices this year. It’s a multipurpose port that connects to external devices like hard drives, runs video to TVs and external monitors, and supplies the laptop with power when it’s charging time.

The new USB port is remarkably flexible, but it’s still just one port. For those who need to attach printers, Ethernet cables, external hard drives, cameras, monitors, keyboards, mice, TVs, game controllers and tablets, that might seem confining”

UPDATE: So, I got the sexy, gold MacBook. Here’s my review:

When I moved into my new workspace I bought the new iMac. Love, love, love it.  But to not be tied to my desk, I needed a light weight laptop. Now, my MacBook pro is a BEAST, but it’s heavy and not the best portable option. After a lot of research and comments from friends, I decided on a brand new MacBook. I landed on the gold one because I like to be different and it matches my iPhone.

So here’s the thing. The MacBook is small, portable, light laptop. That alone gets five stars from me. Sometimes I need a break from my office to chill on the rooftop of the office building or if I’m at home, I often like to work in my backyard. I also will work just about any place that has free WiFi. Having something lightweight is a must. Portability aside, the speed, memory and battery life on the MacBook is superb and the retina screen anti-glare is everything. But this is a portable laptop. It should not, in my opinion, be your one and only computer. If you are only going to buy one, get the MacBook Pro. I know it’s heavy, but it’s a BEAST and you cannot… simply can not… beat the speed and functionality for the price. Mine is three years old and it is still going strong. Now, it’s an old 17-inch (funny how three years is old in the lifetime of a computer) so it’s heavy as crap. That’s why I got the sexy, light, MacBook.

In regards to not having a dedicated USB port, I have to admit, I’m not in love with that concept yet. I find myself transferring files back and forth via the Mac AirDrop even though I know the intention is to get us to use the cloud services more. I’ll get there. Baby steps.

FullSizeRenderUPDATE TO MY UPDATE: I’ve had my sexy MacBook a month now. I. Love. It. The battery life is killer. It’s lightweight enough to take everywhere and while my iMac and MacBook Pro remain my work horse computers, I’m all in with this MacBook.

It’s a Smart World After All

The “Internet of Things” is exploding.  It’s made up of billions of “smart” devices — from minuscule chips to mammoth machines — that use wireless technology to talk to each other.  Our IoT world is growing at a breathtaking pace–from 2 billion objects in 2006 to a projected 200 billion by 202.  SOURCES: IDC, Intel, United nations:

VIDEO: The Smart Work in 2020

In his post, When Things Matter More than People, author and marketer, Geoff Livingston shared that:

The Internet of Things is beginning to drive the tech industry and soon the marketing and media sector. You need look no further than this year’s CES to see the trend unfold. At the same time, social media is losing luster in the eyes of traditional technologists and marketers.

The Internet of Things incorporates Internet capable sensors into many objects in day-to-day life, including current electronics but also new unthought of ones (like refrigerator magnets).

iStrategy LabsPeter Corbett recently noted that Internet of Things trend was becoming a powerhouse in marketing: “If you’re a communicator and you’re not at least conversant in what’s going on in that space you’re at a dramatic disadvantage. With this technology, you can build anything from a James Bond style bookshelf opener to a Spongebob Skill Crane that you can play with over the Internet.”

Silicon Valley investors like Marc Andressen are focusing on start-ups that leverage sensors. And with good reason. The market opportunity for this new layer of smart things is huge.

From a marketing perspective, the Internet of Things allows incredible new possibilities for precision. Connected ads allow brands to serve content based on someone’s demographics as determined by their physical body or the data they willingly surrender via social media, mobile phones, and web cookies. Unique applications can be created (like pizza delivery by pressing the aforementioned refrigerator magnet) or apps like Nike’s sensor-driven Fuelband.

He goes on to share: It’s not that businesses won’t continue spending on social or that PR people/community managers will be out of work. Far from it. Social isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s a primary driver of data needed for contextual media and word of mouth trust. Social remains a valuable asset for companies.

It’s not that businesses won’t continue spending on social or that PR people/community managers will be out of work. Far from it. Social isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s a primary driver of data needed for contextual media and word-of-mouth trust. Social remains a valuable asset for companies.

It’s just that, well, social media marketing is not new anymore. You could argue that companies are in the learning phase, but last I checked they were still determining how to build a decent website, too.

Although I agree with Livingston that social isn’t going anywhere, I do wonder how companies can keep up with the trends and yet still stay true to our Brand Promise. How are we able to continue to make those personal connections; to remain change agents.  I asked Livingston, “what can you share with current social media marketing experts who may have no clue how to wrap their brains around the concepts you shared in your blog?  You say “social” isn’t going away but surely strategist will need to think about how they continue to market.  What should they be doing now to stay relevant and on top of things for their clients?”  Livingston replied:

I think social media marketers need to focus on how and where their interactions impact the customer acquisition life-cycle. We know now that social is not just top of the funnel, but an actual medium that touches various points. Where do you fit in, and how do you make sales increase?

I think social media marketers need to focus on how and where their interactions impact the customer acquisition life-cycle. We know now that social is not just top of the funnel, but really a medium that touches various points. Where do you fit in, and how do you make sales increase?

 

This post originally appeared in AllThingsE.  Read the full story here.

Happy Birthday Google!

Let’s see now… three Google Gmail accounts, two websites parked on Google, two Blogger blogs, an active Google+ account and iOS 6 Google apps on my iPhone and iPad.  If you include that with a minimum of a dozen Google searches per day and I can honestly say, I don’t know where I would be without Google.

Happy 14th Birthday, Google.  My we live to grow old together!

Bridging the Tech Divide… it all starts with an idea.

I had a great day geeking out with the Baltimore New Economy Tech Initiative Collaboration team.  We came together to discover, dream, and rediscover programs that will ultimately drive the citizens of Baltimore on a holistic tech entrepreneurship path. 

The challenge: create a program for 18 – 30-year-olds in the Baltimore, Maryland area that will teach financial literacy and tech entrepreneurship.  The things to consider: the digital divide is not about people who don’t’ have access to technology.  Rather, many in underserved communities do not know how to use the technology they have to create real change. 

The conversation is just getting started, but it was a wonderful day of great ideas, passion and innovation.  Special thanks to the Baltimore Mayor’s Office on Information Technology for pulling us all together.  

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Tupac Lives Again via a Hologram at Coachella Festival

Tupac lives again thanks to a hologram made possible by AV Concepts in partnership with Dr. Dre’s production company and the award-winning visual production house, Digital Domain.  Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg closed the first weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California doing a performance with the 3-D image of Tupac. Pac’s likeness is a little eerie but amazing all the same.  According to the AV Concepts website, the hologram has been in the works for months.  

After months of design, engineering, and creative consultation,  AV Concepts delivered a perceived 3-dimensional, life-sized holographic projection of Tupac to perform on stage with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg during the renowned desert festival.

AV Concepts provided consultative support to award-winning visual production house Digital Domain who delivered the life-like imagery that was critical to the success and impact of the performance. The performance amazed thousands of Coachella festival-goers as well as online fans.

The Tupac image is surprisingly life-like, and more than a little creepy.  This is especially so for a rap superstar who many in the Hip Hop community will not accept as even being dead.

As I watched with my mouth open, I had to wonder how this new hologram will open up the doors for the estates of other iconic figures.  Will we begin to see performances by Elvis, Frank Sinatra or Michael Jackson?  Could Whitney Houston come back to do a guest role in Sparkle 2?  The sky is the limit and technology is now leading the way.

Watch for yourself.

Love, Lust, and Technology: Analog Dating in a Digital World

Thirst

From the edge of the net to the technology behind love and lust, thirstDC is bringing the nerd and I’m going to make it sexy THIS Thursday, October 13 at the NEXT thirstDC event.  My talk is on “Dating and Technology” and the question we will be exploring is whether tech is changing the dating game or are our brains just living up to their hardwired lusty potential?  We’ll explore how social networking, our gadgets, and our time spent online is changing our relationships with our mates and with each other.

Come on, you know you have a story to tell about that guy you met on Twitter.  Or maybe it’s about the girl who will text you ten times a day or that old college love you reconnected with on Facebook.  You may not know that there is a science behind all the texting, sexting and social networking or how tech can actually change your brain, your behavior and your thought patterns.  That’s what I’ll be talking about and I hope you can join me.  So, just what is thirstDC?

In a city where happy hours are just part of the job, thirst DC is a new recurring social concept that twists the typical bar experience and turns it into a “sexy nerd house party”, where world-renown experts speak to inspire the attendees to create innovative connections, learn, flirt, drink, and dance while the DJ spins until 2 am. thirst DC’s talks are short and thought-provoking, to spark fresh and interesting conversations among its attendees.

thirst DC is an unique opportunity for D.C.’s brightest minds to get together to share ideas. Founded by an intrepid group of nerds, thirst DCcreates the perfect environment for DC’s nerdiest and sexiest that thirst for knowledge, a stiff drink, and some attractive company. Whether you work in politics or science, but really are passionate about fashion or food, all we ask is that our guests expect the topics to be a bit risqué, and in return we ask that they be utterly fascinating.

  • thirst for technology? 
  • thirst for science? 
  • thirst for art and culture? 

We hope you’ll bring your thirst and join us THIS Thursday!

What: Thirst DC networking event
When: October 13, 2011 | 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Where: The Bier Baron Tavern  | 1523 22nd St NW, Washington DC
Who: Anyone in the DMV with a thirst for fun, a good happy hour and nerdy talk

Purchase your ticket now at Ticket Leap and hit me up of you want a discount code… just because I like you!

 

 

Email Turns 30 Years Old Today

The next time you hit “send” in your email account, think of 16-year old V. A. Shiva who copyrighted “EMAIL” along with “To: From: Cc: Bcc: Subject: Reply, Reply All, Forward” and Email body and attachment just 29 years ago today.  In celebration of electronic mail and the impact it has had on our every day lives, V. A. Shiva developed the below infographic depicting the history and growth of email and email accouts. 

Vashiva_infographic_final2

Happy Birthday Email!

Electronic mail turns 30 years old today. Where would we be without email? Can you remember the very first person you emailed? I know I can’t. Heck, I can’t even remember the last person I emailed. What I do know is I would be lost without it. I will admit I’m no longer a fan of big email campaigns and I now share more things via social networking than I do through email but I still couldn’t start or end my day with out email communication. Here’s a look at how electronic mail got its start.

Amplify’d from thenextweb.com
shutterstock_69369832

On August 30th, 1982, 29 years ago, 16-year old V. A. Shiva copyrighted “EMAIL” along with the GUI we still use today with the fields “To: From: Cc: Bcc: Subject: Reply, Reply All, Forward” and Email body and attachment.

“When I first heard the word ‘electronic mail,’ I literally felt it was sending electricity through paper. Those two words juxtaposed together in 1978 were absolutely new,” says Shiva. While many claim to have “invented email” the issue isn’t just one of semantics. With electronic messaging systems in place, Shiva is responsible for having transformed what was known as office mail into the very first email system. “That is what I developed, starting in 1978, as a 14-year old, for which in 1981 I was awarded recognition by the Westinghouse Science Awards for innovation, and in 1982 the First US Copyright for EMAIL,” he writes.

“The guys before me we’re involved in text messaging. Messages sent from one computer to another computer. Before that Tom Van Vleck was the first to send a message within the same computer to another user in the mainframe. Leonard Kleinrock sent a message across two computers on the asme network. Ray Tomlinson sent a message across multiple users across multiple computers. But my concept of email was patently related to office mail. That’s what I built: a database, a networking infrastructure and software programming language for email,” said Shiva to me over a Skype call.

Nearly 30 years later and V. A. Shiva is now teaching a class at MIT called “Systems Visualization,” which is currently oversubscribed. It’s a cross discipline class that enables engineers to connect multiple subsystems.  built to educate MIT engineers on how to do that. The class aims to artistically answer, in drawing form, the design of services and concept. How do you build a health care system? Or how do we visualize human health in today’s advertising driven society? How do you innovate? How is innovation affected by cultural mores?

When asked about the future of email, Shiva thinks it’s here to stay, regardless of the rise of social media and text messaging. “I think email has a very particular purpose and I think it’s going to grow in that…Web mail might decline but devices will still access people’s email communications. Facebook may do some integrated email but fundamentally it will be email.

Ironically, even as Zuckerburg declares as some trade journals said, “EMAIL IS DEAD”, he is launching @Facebook as a direct challenge to GMail. He says it will have EMAIL in it, along with other types of “messaging.” Facebook produces billions of EMAIL messages everyday.”

Read more at thenextweb.com

Sony Hacked… AGAIN!

Hackers may have stolen the personal information of 24.6 million Sony Online Entertainment users, the company said on Monday.

Amplify’d from www.wired.com

Sony Online Entertainment games like DC Universe Online were taken down Monday, after a security breach that exposed 24.6 million Sony users’ accounts and some credit card numbers.
Image courtesy Sony Online Entertainment

It’s bad news piled on top of bad news for Sony.

Hackers may have stolen the personal information of 24.6 million Sony Online Entertainment users, the company said on Monday. More than 20,000 credit card and bank account numbers were also put at risk. This is in addition to the recent leak of over 70 million accounts from Sony’s PlayStation Network and Qriocity services.

“We are today advising you that the personal information you provided us in connection with your SOE account may have been stolen in a cyberattack,” Sony wrote in a statement on its website on Monday.

Sony Online Entertainment is a division of the company that publishes online multiplayer games like the recently released DC Universe Online. Sony turned off all SOE game services Monday after it learned of the intrusion.

Sony said that the compromised personal information includes customers’ names, addresses, e-mail addresses, birth dates, gender, phone numbers, logins and hashed passwords.

Also at risk are the credit card numbers and expiration dates of 12,700 non-U.S. customers, plus 10,700 direct debit records from customers in Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Spain, containing bank-account numbers, customers’ names and addresses. This information was stored in what Sony said was an “outdated database from 2007.”

Hackers may have had this information for more than two weeks now. The intrusion occurred April 16 and 17, Sony said.

Customers first noticed that Sony’s PlayStation Network service was down April 20. After a week of downtime, the company said that hackers had attacked its services and that the personal and credit card information associated with more than 70 million accounts were at risk.

At the time, Sony said that the Online Entertainment division had not been affected by the hack and would remain in operation, telling customers that their data was safe to the best of its knowledge.

Though both Visa and American Express told Wired.com last week that they had no reason to believe their credit cards had been compromised, several dozen Ars Technica readers reported what they believed to be PSN-connected fraud.

The PlayStation Network is still offline, but Sony says it will restore some services later this week, including online multiplayer gaming for PlayStation 3 and PSP. As a goodwill gesture, Sony says it will offer all customers a selection of downloadable content and 30 free days of its premium PlayStation Plus service.

As compensation for the Sony Online Entertainment leak, Sony said that it will give all of its customers 30 days of additional subscription time, plus an extra day for each day the servers remain down.

Sony did not say when its SOE services would be back online.

Read more at www.wired.com

 

Apple Sends Ripples Through Tech World

According to Wired.com, Apples earnings are “staggering”. They reported “Apple posted March-quarter revenue of $24.67 billion — meaning the company is well on its way toward exceeding $100 billion in sales for the full-year. In the last three months, Apple earned a whopping $5.99 billion. Both the revenue and earnings figures were new records for Apple.”

“With quarterly revenue growth of 83 percent and profit growth of 95 percent, we’re firing on all cylinders,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in a statement. “We will continue to innovate on all fronts throughout the remainder of the year.”

Apple is clearly the one to beat and just in case you are keeping score, below is a look at how some of the other companies are doing in comparison.

Amplify’d from m.apnews.com

NEW YORK (AP) – Consumer technology companies reporting financial results this week are looking like rowboats bobbing in the wake of Apple Inc.’s supertanker.

Close to oblivion in 1997, Apple is now the world’s second-most valuable company, after Exxon Mobil Corp. On April 20, it reported net income of $5.99 billion for the January-to-March period, nearly double that of a year ago. It shipped a record 18.65 million iPhones during the quarter. Its iPad tablet computers are so popular, the company couldn’t make enough.

Apple’s ascendancy has produced many losers and a few winners, as underscored over the past two weeks:

– Microsoft Corp.: loser.

Apple dethroned Microsoft as the world’s most valuable technology company a year ago. In its mid-fall report, it surpassed Microsoft in quarterly revenue. In the January-March period this year, it surpassed Microsoft in net income, too.

On Thursday, Microsoft reported that revenue from the Windows operating system declined for the second straight quarter because people are buying fewer Windows computers.

Some prospective buyers are going to Macs instead – Apple reported that it sold 28 percent more units. Others are going to iPads. Goldman Sachs now believes that more than 30 percent of iPads sold may be replacing PC sales. In the 90s, the trend was the opposite, as Windows PCs were crowding out Macs.

– Nokia Corp.: loser.

Nokia said this week that it will slash 7,000 jobs through layoffs and outsourcing. It still sells more phones than anyone else, but it’s losing share to Apple, especially when it comes to smartphones.

Research firm Strategy Analytics also said revenue from Apple’s iPhone sales surpassed that of Nokia’s phones in the January-to-March period, as iPhones are much more expensive than the average Nokia phone. That makes Apple the world’s largest phone maker by revenue.

To better compete with the iPhone, Nokia is ditching its old Symbian software and adopting Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7. But the transition will take time; the first Windows-powered Nokia phones aren’t expected until late 2011 or early 2012.

– Research In Motion Ltd.: loser.

The maker of the BlackBerry is in a predicament that’s similar to Nokia’s. RIM warned Thursday that net income, revenue and unit sales for the quarter ending in May will come in below its previous forecast.

The company’s high-end phones are looking old compared with the iPhone and ones running Google Inc.’s Android software. They aren’t selling as well as the company expected.

RIM promised investors that new phones with revamped software will bring sales roaring back in the latter half of the year, but investors are skeptical, sending RIM’s stock down Friday.

– HTC Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.: winners, indirectly.

Although all three companies compete with Apple’s iPhone, they are doing well. Unlike Nokia and RIM, the three are betting on Google’s Android system, which comes the closest to mimicking the look, feel and functions of the iPhone.

Motorola Mobility is a shadow of the old Motorola, once the world’s second-largest maker of phones. But its focus on Android-powered smartphones is showing signs of success. It reported on Thursday a near-doubling of smartphone sales in the first quarter.

HTC of Taiwan has been making smartphones for a decade, and sales are really taking off with the help of Android. On Friday, it reported selling 9.7 million in the first quarter.

For South Korea’s Samsung, smartphone sales were a bright spot in the first quarter as overall phone sales declined and other electronics were weak. The company is embroiled in patent litigation with Apple.

– Verizon Wireless: winner.

The No. 1 U.S. cellphone carrier posted a jump in new contract-signing customers – the more profitable kind – after it introduced its version of the iPhone on Feb. 10, which ended AT&T Inc.’s exclusive grip on the device in the U.S.

(Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. of New York and Vodafone Group PLC of Britain.)

– AT&T and Sprint Nextel Corp: mixed.

Verizon’s new subscribers came at the expense of AT&T and Sprint Nextel Corp. But neither carrier saw signs of current customers moving to Verizon for the sake of the iPhone. Rather, it seems customers weighing between carriers were more likely to go to Verizon because of the iPhone.

AT&T appeared to be splitting new iPhone customers evenly with Verizon Wireless.

Read more at m.apnews.com