anonymous tech woman

Yet another woman in technology blog. I'm actually a developer who uses a variety of Java and database technologies on a variety of platforms.

Monday, November 27, 2006

How To Spread FUD and Annoy A Mailing List

Mark Shuttleworth decided it was a good idea to invite SuSe developers to work on Ubuntu. He did this by posting this on the Open Suse Linux Users mailing list. You can read his post here: and you can also contact him on this address:

Just a small point it’s not a good idea to invite developers of another Linux distribution to work on the one you promote by inviting them on a Users List. It’s better to find out the Developers list and post the invite there. You should also remember that lots of the developers are actually paid employees of a company and therefore are tied to the fact they cannot help you.

The obvious point of Mr Shuttleworth's post is to annoy as many people as possible and spread FUD over the Microsoft/Novell agreement.

Technorati Tags: Linux, technology, wars

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Sore Neck

I have a sore neck. This is actually a sporting injury but it brought me back to thoughts on RSI.

RSI or repetitive strain injury can be brought on by typing away at a computer keyboard due to the computer setup, envirnoment or the posture of the person using the computer. Lots of companies don't recognise that this is a problem, and make life as difficult as possible for employees suffering from the condition. The best thing in the first place is to stop it occuring by having Display Screen Assessments for all new staff within 6 weeks of them joining. Unfortunately some companies including very large ones are too mean to do this and think it's better for them to sued than to look after the health of individuals.

Technorati Tags: RSI, technology, disability

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Average Salaries And The Data Protection Act

Average salaries are always worked out differently. At school I was taught when to use the median, the mean and the mode however it seems that some articles always use the mean.

For example The National Office of Statistics UK UK uses the median value to calculate the average wage. Unfortunately articles such as this one by the Evening Standard newspaper use the mean.

Using the mean for something like salaries means that the average wage looks higher than it actually is because extreme values are taken into account. The current average salary for a permanent Java Developer in London is approx. £45,000. This is a mean value as most adverts advertise either much below this value i.e. £25,000 - £30,000 or above this value i.e. £60,000+. The finiancial industry pays the highest salaries while other industry sectors such as telecoms pay below this.

Today I informed a recruitment consultant that he had breached the Data Protection Act 1998 in an email by sharing information about other people with me, and my information with other people. His response was to ring me up and shout at me down the phone saying I was hassling him. I have now contacted the Data Controller of the company and will see what occurs from there. My final resort is to report the company to the Information Commissioner.

Technorati Tags: average, salary, law

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Teaching People Who Are Scared Of Computers

One of my brother's is scared of the unknown. This means he is scared of using a computer to do things he hasn't been taught because he thinks it can go wrong if he presses the wrong button. This has good points and bad points.

The advantage is that I can teach him to use software such as Firefox and tell him that using stuff like IE is bad because it allows more spyware on your computer. (This isn't explicity true now.)

The disadvantages is that I can set something up for him i.e. parental controls that send him email activity of his kids surfing habits but if I forget to tell him how to read them he won't do it. He will also be afraid to ask thinking I have told him what to do. Luckily he has a wife who is not afraid to use a PC or ask questions on what she doesn't know.

His behaviour remainds me of the things that people put on mailing lists about bosses refusing to teach people how to use new software programs particularly if they are old. The fact is that some people whatever stage they are in life are open to new things in different arenas while others are not. Saying you don't want your staff trained because you think they are not capable of learning new things shows the problem lies in you because noone knows exactly how another individual thinks.

Of course you may think that if you tell people often enough they can't do something they believe you. However in the Western world of work they will a soon realise that you are a money pinching discriminatory bastard resulting in them leaving, suing you or both.

Technorati Tags: software, teaching, skills

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Open Office and Java

Yesterday week I was doing some programming at work and got stuck on an issue, so I decided to look at the forums. I typed in the URL and received an error message stating that the DNS couldn't be resolved. I then did a whois search and emailed the site admin. I got no response. Today I was still struggling with the same issue and was getting fed up but now the site is back up.

The highlights a problem with software development particularly if depends on other users being accountable rather than companies. They can have problems with support sites and not bother informing their user base that there is this problem. I should point out that open source project is sponsored by Sun and so this issue shouldn't have happened.

Java was officially open sourced this week under the GPL. What does this mean? At the moment very little because there are a lot of little Java libraries out there.

Technorati Tags: open source, forums, technology, computing,, Java

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Everyone's IT Expert

Before I worked in IT or became interested in working in it everyone who I met who had a job just introduced their title as "Something in IT". This mysterious job title was to stop people asking questions about their home PC.

However it doesn't work with family or close friends. I'm a software developer and write software that runs the backend of web applications. I have to muddle through my work using guess work and am quite competent at it. However I know very little about networks, printers etc. Yet everyone in my family thinks it's ok to ask me how to fix their printer, network etc or actually network it for them. Then they wonder why I have difficulty- it's because it's not my job.

Technorati Tags: IT Support, family, technology, computing, issues

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Insults and Sexism

A few days ago I posted something on a message board. My post was basically a summary of other people's work and told the OP to use the boards search facility. The OP decided it was appropriate to:
1. Insult me on the board
2. Insult me via PM

A forum superuser saw the board insult and replied to the OP that I knew what I was talking about and the OP should use the search facility.

What is interesting in all the posts is that both posters presumed I was male as obviously only men use the computers and open source.

Technorati Tags: sexism, politics, technology, computing, issues

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Useful USB gadgets

Every PC nowdays comes with some USB ports so you can attach such stuff as a printer, digital camera, USB pen drive, external hard disk etc. However you can also attach such wonderful things as a christmas snowman and a coffee warmer. As most computers have a limit on the number of ports i.e. mine has 8 ports of which only 2 are at the front, on attaching such useless things makes me wonder and it also makes the author of this article rant as well.

Technorati Tags: PC Gadgets, USB, technology, ports, accessories

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Denial of Service Attacks & Copying CDs

A few days ago denial of service attacks became illegal in the UK. It took a long time to get the Computer Misuse Law updated simply because MP's don't understand how important computers are to everyday businesses.

Now the BPI is pushing (about 30 years to late) to make it legal to copy pre-recorded music that you have in one media form to another for personal use. Since the days of tapes people have been copying their own music to play on a walkman and this has never been entirely legal.

Technorati Tags: Law, Computer, technology, legal

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Microsoft paying Novell $308million

Microsoft is paying Novell loads of money, apparently to stop Novell suing them over patent infringements but leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth. Maybe it is time to swap linux distributions then again maybe not.

Technorati Tags: Microsoft, Novell

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Are you worthy?

If you are in the UK or US and a computing professional you can actually get free IT business magazines. All you have to do is find a collegue who has a subscription, google the magazine name and then find the subscribe button. You have to complete a long survey in which you have to put what large goods or services you are involved in buying for your company, and then a few weeks later you will find a magazine in your mailbox. If you get rejected it is because you are not involved in the buying process of a product therefore you are not worthy of free subscription. Examples of such magazines include The Oracle Magazine (US) and Computer Weekly (UK).

I currently have a copy of IT Week infront of me. In it in two articles are the reasons why there is a skill shortage in IT.

Article number one states when I advertised for a position recently I recieved a high number of highly qualified CVs for the job therefore "...being honest,what we really mean is that there aren't enough low-cost skillled workers in the UK."

Article number two states that it is "...incumbent on employer to do more to tackle the problem.....You can't just say. "Dear University, I need 100 computer science graduates this year please deliver."

Of course IT Week was delivered to me free. I'm not paying to read in print what I know already.

Technorati Tags: Free Computer Magazines, Skills Shortages

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