BlogHer Community Keynote – Geeky!

Here’s my post for the BlogHer ’10 Community Keynote. I’m still backstage listening to the other great readings! What a rush to read for over 2000 amazing, writerly, geeky women! I’m all like OMG Double Rainbow It’s So Intense!

What Is Geek?

Today I was washing the flowered handkerchiefs my sister made me . When the hankies got wet in the sink I could feel all kinds of slimy mucus on there. I thought, what makes mucus do that? What’s going on, chemically? Is there a scale of measurement to describe snot’s ability to dry up and re-slime? Must look up viscosity!

Later that day I spent hours reading about soil science. That led me to giant government web sites, maps, explanations of whether the soil in my area was firm enough for tanks to cross, or soft enough for mass burials in pits. I absorbed the beautiful jargon of the taxonomy of soil.

Then I had this weird flash, like time travel, where I was mentally telling all this to this girl Susan I knew in middle school. I could see her very kind but skeptical smile. This imaginary Middle School Susan sighed and said I was SUCH a geek. She said I was “like a boy”.

Another moment popped into my head. At BlogHer 05, when Mena Trott from SixApart stood up and started babbling about knitting blogs. I kind of freaked out.

I was like, OMG, CNN is here! I thought you were going to represent, and be my computer programming coder rock star and instead….you’re talking about knitting! How embarrassing! We were finally getting noticed as women doing stuff on the web not just as blog writers but as deeply technical women and now… knitting?!!!

I tried to suspend my judgement, persuading myself, “Well, women DO knitting and, women talking to each other on the Internet is inherently good, so, I guess it’s good they find each other there and talk about what they like, which is this trivial, stereotypical, embarrassing, girly thing, it might as well be talking about Barbies and painting our nails.”

I could see Mena knew she was being misunderstood and that the media was going to mangle her message. As I thought about this over the years, I understood the dynamic of what was happening. I’m so sorry for my ignorance and my misogyny. I was SO WRONG.

Now I know that knitting a sock is this AMAZING thing — like building a suspension bridge, a feat of engineering, and is like code in that it is … code…. but made out of physical stuff…. Textile geeks have patterns that are code that convey technical information. They reverse engineer and re-invent marvellous things, knitting coral reefs and digestive systems and enormous protein molecules along with socks and sweaters. Now I’m a knitting groupie. I signed up on Ravelry just to swoon over the textile rock stars.

As I washed my snotty handkerchiefs I thought about boys in middle school. While my being a geek made me “like a boy”, being a geek, for boys, meant they were called girly or gay. Being weird meant that gender norms could be used against us. For geeks who were boys and then men, I think this influenced and still influences a defiant need to define geek as male. Geek macho insists on hetronormativity, defines girls as a thing apart, claiming geekiness for manhood.

I’m not a knitter. But I do have SOME skill with string. I can play cat’s cradle and make string figures. Like hand-clapping games and jumprope rhymes, string figures are passed from girl to girl over the years.

It strikes me we could learn something crucial, as geeky feminists, from the pattern of how young girls pass on this knowledge, and how that is presented as gendered knowledge – as something “girls know how to do”.

Single crochet is just making a loop with your fingers and thumb, tying the same sliding knot over and over. It teaches the skill of maintaining tension on a strand. It’s a useful skill to make a weak cord into a stronger, thicker one.

It’s what you pay attention to.
It’s a stance towards knowledge and doing.
It’s about communicating knowledge and process.

I learned everything I knew about string from other little girls. Though I didn’t realize it, that was my introduction into geek sisterhood. Teach your geekiness, and pass it on. It’s what girls know how to do.

(posted originally on Dreamwidth – this is the edited version to fit it in under 4 minutes)

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My tiny adorable flowered computer!

I got an HP Mini Vivienne Tam edition to review a few days ago, and I’ve used it so far for blogging, surfing, email, IM-ing, and writing up my thoughts in Notepad. Here’s my preliminary review based on four days of casual but heavy use.

This is a good computer for a blogger or a student who doesn’t need a huge screen or massive computing power. Also it’s incredibly cute.

Here’s some praise!

I’m a demanding blogger. I type 100 words a minute and I like to have about 50 tabs open. This HP Mini was incredibly easy for me to slip into using. I blogged from it without noticing the slightly smaller keyboard; I could type just as fast as I usually do. The size, key placement, action, and feel of the keys are all just great. If you’ve tried a mini before, but had trouble getting used to the keyboard, you may be pleased with a Mini.

The screen is big and very readable! It’s tiny and very light.

I like the way the case opens and shuts. The shell is hard plastic – not fabric or gelskin covered.

It has two USB ports, which seems quite nice.

I’m happy with a 60GB hard drive in such a tiny, light computer.

The wireless mouse works well.

Everything I wanted out of my Asus EeePC, but sadly never quite got, has come true in this adorable netbook!

Here’s my wishlist.

I fervently wish for holes in the case where I could attach straps. Two holes near the hinge would be ideal, so that I could put a shoulder strap on this beastie. At She’s Geeky conference this weekend, how many women did I just watch, walking around the room holding a computer, a paper notepad, a pen, a purse, and a latte? Around the house, it would be all that plus a book and a baby and 6 things you’ve picked up from the living room to move to the office. Computers need handles. But beyond the OLPC or old clamshell iMac handles that require a hand. Shoulder strap power!

Backlit keys would make me *very* happy. I’m often typing in bed or in a darkened room, in work meetings or conferences. It’s lovely if I can see the keys, but keep the screen relatively dim.

Neutral thoughts

* Mostly, I use MacOS X or Linux. So this is the first time I’ve used Windows. While I’m not especially impressed with Windows XP, I’m also not especially annoyed. So for a week or two, I’m going to stick with XP to give it a fair shake.

* I haven’t tried doing any development on this machine yet, but I think that will go quite well.

* I haven’t tested battery life. So far, it hasn’t been a problem, but I haven’t approached it systematically.

* I haven’t tried the webcam yet. It has a built in camera! I will take it through some video chat paces.

* I haven’t tried installing any games or a Second Life client on it. I’ll let you all know how that goes. I figure, I don’t play a ton of games, but if Second Life behaves well, then I can stand by my recommendation the computer for the writer and student who’s also a casual gamer.

My criticisms of the HP Mini are minor.

* The computer goes to sleep a bit too quickly when I half-close the lid. I’m often blogging or emailing or IM-ing in social or work situations, or doing actual work with private information in a cafe, and if someone comes up to talk with me, I need to half-close the computer so they can’t shoulder-surf. While the Mini wakes up very quickly, I wish it didn’t go to sleep until I *actually shut the lid*.

* The bumps on the f and j keys are too subtle for me to feel them easily. I could type with more confidence with better subliminal feedback about the “home” keys.

* The hinge on the case could open a little more widely. It goes past 90 degrees, but not quite far enough. I type in my lap, not on a desk. This is partly habit I’m sure, but I wonder if it’s at all a gender related habit, as chairs, desks, and tables often don’t match up for me, because I’m shorter than the default person (male) they’re designed for? Because the computer’s in my lap, and the resulting viewing angle, I sometimes need to tilt the screen further back than 100 degrees. Now, this is also true when I have my HP Mini in bed. Which I often do.

AND NOW FOR THE ADORABLENESS

This computer is cute. It’s pretty. But it doesn’t make me hurl with the pinkitude. Really!

It’s a really nice color of deep red, with black around the screen. There’s nothing ugly and clunky about this computer. It’s totally elegant. I take it out of my bag, and everyone admires it, and whatever one might think about HP’s targeting of women or the cut of the marketing, women everywhere I go are exclaiming with delight at how cute this computer is. It is very much OMG I WANT THAT. Then, because I’m this sort of person, I hand them the computer and invite them to type something and take it through its internet browser paces. In fact, it’s been really fun to have people come up and talk to me and be so friendly, because they’re curious about my computer.

For quite some time I’ve been asking the world for an adorable computer that is small and light, yet still a useful computer. (Oh, how I miss my 12 inch MacBook, but how I wished it were *even smaller*.) While I have issues as a feminist with everything being pink especially like, pink tools and pink computers, (see girl geek bingo), I also have mixed feelings and like things that are pretty and cute. It’s better if they’re pretty, cute, and punk rock, and actually work.

This is my usual style (me and my sister, with 13-inch MacBooks covered in stickers)

And here I am with the Vivienne Tam,

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This gets across how tiny and handy it is. See how it likes to sit on top of my MacBook?! It’s like a cute little ladybug!

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The Internet is srs bzns and so am I, in black boys’ guayabera, SF State tshirt, cotton handkerchief with red stitching, and matching computer,

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The Vivienne Tam and its matching mouse want to wear my Fluevog boots:

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If it had a hat, it would have a beret. If it were a color of nail polish, it would be “I’m Not Really a Waitress” red. Yes. I have middle class brand awareness. I cannot help it. When I wasn’t playing video games, I grew up in a mall. It seeps into your blood.

Even the packaging was nice! It was like buying a computer at Sephora. Or Bloomingdale’s or something. I know it’s shallow, and obviously I care WAY more about the specs and usability of a computer than the box it comes in, but I noticed the box anyway. Check this out:

exciting box

tiny pink computer!

At the She’s Geeky / Women 2.0 Dinner, I ended up passing the computer around almost as much as I got to use it myself. And when I whipped it out of my backpack to show to my friend Beth aka Techmama, she yelped and pulled out her own! We were like, “Oh no, same dress at the prom!” We managed to share the cuteness!

I can heartily recommend this computer if you’re a blogger, writer, or you just want your own laptop instead of using a shared family computer. The 60 GB hard drive is big and fast enough to deal with the *ton* of photos, Flip videos, and music that I tend to accumulate as a blogger. The wireless also works very well so the machine lives up to its promise of portability.

ALSO, IT IS REALLY CUTE. Did I mention that!?

I have three matching wireless mice to give away. Red mice with lavender flowers and silver sides. Who wants them?

* Buy it from HP: HP Mini Vivienne Tam (“Buy it” link gives all the specs)
* Buy it from Amazon:HP Mini 1140NR 10.2-Inch Netbook – Vivienne Tam Edition (1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 Processor, 1 GB RAM, 60 GB Hard Drive, XP Home, 3 Cell Battery)

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A winner for the HP Magic Giveaway!

Hello world! I’ve had a busy week at work with php and Drupal, and then had a very nice time at the EFF at an informal Drupal class where Tim Jones walked us all through the process of installing Drupal and writing “Hello World” modules. I did a lot of editing on a book for Aqueduct Press about this year’s feminist science fiction convention The WisCon Chronicles volume 3, which is coming together nicely. My son had 3 choir performances got to play for the first time in snow, a pit of artificial snow provided by our little town in California. I made up strange background stories about an alternate Lord of the Rings story where Galadriel accepts the One Ring when Frodo offers it to her. And I helped Oblomovka move house, obsessively measuring everything and drawing the room on graph paper and cutting out to-scale furniture also on graph paper, which I love doing! A busy life. Somewhere in between all those things, I read all of your comments and blog posts for the HP Magic Giveaway.

Onward to the contest! This is a long post; be warned!

Over 100 people entered the contest, which is really not very many for such a good prize. However, I was impressed with the high quality of the entries, with all of the interesting comments, whether they were analytical responses or personal stories that related to my experiences. Many people gave details of how they’d like to share the contest prizes with others in their family, with neighbors, with organizations they work with, or with schools. Every story had its merits.

I hope that everyone who didn’t win a free computer will think of ways they can get what they’d like for themselves, and for others. For example, they could hold a fundraiser on their own blog, to buy a computer like the ones in the contest and donate it to the cause of their choice.

I truly appreciate all the comments and entries! While I can’t mention everyone by name, but of the entries, I was especially impressed with :

* Mr. Brammer, who commented on wearable usb drives and on useful mobility gadgets. He teaches school in Indonesia and could really use some computers to spread throughout the villages where he works. “What’s great is that I am already in position to make a direct impact using those computers, without having to search for an outside charity: my students are the charity!” He doesn’t have a current blog that I could find but his wife does, and I liked seeing the lovely photo of them as a family. Yeah, so I stalk my commenters. What else is new!

* Loving Heart Mommy, who posted about disabilty and travel, and who would like to use some of the computers for home schooling and to start her own business

* Kostas, who is a human rights activist in Greece and whose mother works for a school. He commented on disability and travel, mentioning his commitment to fighting for equal rights for people of all sexualities, immigrant status, and abilities.

* S. Bear Bergman, whose work I am somewhat familiar with and who had (as always) fantastic ideas around trans and gender issues, commenting on diversity training and sparking conversation Twitter .

* Bridget commented on “being of a time” and the history of science and medicine.

* Ben, who commented on Growing a Language and whose blog entry over on bentangle did make me think. Though halfway in that laughing my ass off way as I pondered his approach to feminism, which is to ask his male friends to imagine going through life without a penis. “While this is obviously a simplistic and crude explanation, it seems to be effective for men because, frankly, a lot of how we spend our time is influenced by the fact that we have one.” Seriously? I had no idea! LOL! (Imagine, ladies, going throughout life without a vulva. A) Apparently that would make you a man? B) What? C) LOL again. ) But, anyway, Ben is a thoughtful and interesting blogger!

* Twincere aka Tanya, who had a lot to say about disability, people’s attitudes, and autism. Her family of 7 shares one rickety old desktop, she is in Nursing school, and she recommends The Endependence Center, which helps families with transitional services, ie independent living, as a worthy recipient of computer equipment. I very much agree with her! The indepedent living movement is great!

* Cindy Opong of Creative Assistants commented with a story about people’s assumptions and expectations based on race (and racism) when they see her (white) with her husband (black, from Ghana) or how people look at her funny when she’s in the local African grocery. She would like to give computers in support of a local (Colorado) school that promotes diversity in education.

* Heather of ibabble.net left a long, interesting comment relating my travel and disability stories to her college roommate’s experiences living with visual impairment. Like many people who entered, she personally knows many others in her group of family and friends whose lives, school, or small businesses would be improved by owning a new computer!

* Christine commented on my entry about the Bitch Manifesto, and she would like to “share the magic” with the Salvation Army of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who lost everything in the floods this June but which has continued to do great work in the community all year long. Florencia from Listen Up Mofos also had some things to say about bitches!

Steph from gamers with lives weighed in on my critique of the sexist descriptions of Google VP Marissa Mayer. She does outreach in K12 schools with girls and students with disabilities, with hands-on activities like Lego Mindstorm robots. That is a GREAT project! Go, Steph aka retrogamer! And, I liked your comments on being a female educator in computing and what it’s like for geeky girls. I’ve totally been there.

* Michele from Creative Writing 101 commented and posted about the poems by Emilia Bernal and my translations. Her story made me laugh and she would like to donate computers to the organization where she works, a center for disadvantaged teens. Well, imagine wanting to donate to your employer. That speaks well of the organization, doesn’t it, that it’s not just a job for its workers, it’s something they believe in deeply and want to give more resources than the labor they already give?

* Jonathan wrote at length about the gender gap in computer science, discussion which I’m always happy to see. I would recommend to him that he read “She’s Such a Geek” anthology for some stories from women in male-dominated science and tech fields for a slightly less dry, and more personal, approach to the issues!

* Sandy of momforeverandever, who wrote about her feelings when her husband, an army veteran who is disabled, meets with idiotic treatment from others! She would give a computer to her child who’s in college and others to families of disabled veterans.

* Overmind, who seems like he must be a teenager or in his early 20s, and who is reading Twilight in order to find out how to behave towards women in a relationship. I hope he pays attention to the bits about listening to your girlfriend’s thoughts and opinions, and ignores the creepy stalker bits of the book where Edward is insane, possessive, and spies on his girlfriend at all times. I really enjoyed the thought of a young guy reading this series to get insight into what women of his generation are thinking, and feeling, and in order to analyze gender roles. His guy friends should learn from him and not be so scared to read a “girly” book!

* Heather, or goddess of knitting (that’s her shop on etsy) had a lot to say about teaching poetry in science courses, and cross-curriculum education in public schools. Go, Heather! Mix it up! Her biology class in southern Georgia (the U.S. state) will start on Jan. 7th and she would love to have computers for her classroom. I love her enthusiasm and her stories of all the preparation she’s doing for her first time teaching. “I plan to have a project where each student has to read a science fiction book and do a report that must compare the science in the book with the real science. I also have warm-ups planned everyday and on Wednesdays this will be a science poem. Some of the authors are Federico Garcia Lorca, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, John Haines and George Bradley. I feel very so strongly that the lack of crossover in the subjects makes us more compartmentalized as a culture.”

* Meg from Life in the Village commented on being a bitch, positive and negative aspects! Her small town has a new middle school that could use some computers!

* Amanda’s long comment on disability, I’ve already mentioned but it still makes me burn with sympathy and anger for her brother.

* I hate to say it but Amber’s comment gave me the biggest laugh of all but not really in a good way. OMG! I mean, I respect her work with the Childhood Cancer Network, and Scarlet Letter seems like an interesting site, but she kissed ass on me so awfully. Who could possibly be flattered by this enough to go “Oh well then I’ll just give you a giant wad of computers!” : “Thank you Liz Henry, you have the name of a poet or a great author. It flows nicely such as Jane Austen or Anais Nin. Its a name that would look great on paper.” AHAHAHAHAHAHA, what?!!!! I will be dining out over the ridiculousness of this comment for years to come. Everyone who I’ve showed it to has burst into horrified laughter and made fun of me all day. Now, on the other hand making me laugh is worth something; maybe she meant it as irony; plus, she has a great email name herself, “shevilkenevil1”. LMAO over here.

* Beverly’s Yarn Crazy!, a blog whose name is so awesome I have to just give her props. Thank you Beverly’s Yarn Crazy!, you have the name of a poet or a great knitter. It flows nicely such as Yarn Harlot or Yarnivore. It’s a name that would look great crocheted onto a potholder or an afghan. 😎 Hi Beverly!

* deepikaur from Redefinability made some thoughtful comments on social networks and Twittering. Her blog looks interesting!

* Vundavalli from Cricket Crazy would really like some computers for his village and for Sphoorti, a grassroots organization that helps with the education of underprivileged children in Hyderabad.

* Roguepuppet told a great story about being a young Girl Scout in Maryland in the U.S., volunteering at nursing homes. Under Maryland law, nursing homes were temporary residences, so none of the people living there could vote! She and her fellow Girl Scouts campaigned to change the law, and succeeded. Wow!

Several people commented on Highly Trained Girl-Monkey Sys Admin Bait including Rikki from Linux Pro, Jamie, another Syster with a long story about sexism in her department and her data structures class.

* Sara Moreira from Portugal (and East Timor ) posts about a project she works with in East Timor that helps women who are going into Engineering. She works in IT and E-Learning, and has been a professor of Engineering at East Timor National University, uses computers and social media for women’s empowerment, and, along with another Syster from Portugal, is planning to start a mini-incubator for a web dev company run by Timorese women that will focus on arts and local culture. Wow! Ten thumbs up from me on that project! Wait, I don’t have ten thumbs but I do have a whole bunch of computers to give away. I am very happy to declare Sarita Moreira the winner of the contest and I’ll be contacting her for details and to arrange the shipping. Congratulations Sarita, and I admire your project very much. Also, from what I can understand of Portuguese, I love your writing – so beautiful! 😎

What do you think of my choice of a winner? If you’ve followed along this week with the entries and comments: who would you have chosen?

Thank you again to everyone for participating! I LOVE YOUR BLOGS!

There are still more HP Magic Giveaway contests! So, you still have a chance to win these computers. Go for it!

Related posts:

HP Magic Giveaway entries so far

Here’s a sampling of the entries I’ve gotten, two days into the HP Magic Giveaway contest:

A bunch of folks commented on a review of the G1 Android phone. I am still wondering why there isn’t a pedometer app! But there are lots of other ones I asked for, like a simple compass and a geocaching app.

On that post, briguy992 wants me to be happy that the Android system’s background is fabulous. Most of the time yes, I agree. But when I’ve tried to kill a process I can’t! Despite how cool the G1 is, it’s not some kind of miracle device that manages its memory perfectly, or never crashes. In fact I have to restart it fairly often.
So I don’t agree with briguy992 that what I should do is “ignore that feeling it’s not ‘closed’ “. Actually, I think that’s very condescending advice! It is not like I’m just having a superstitious “feeling” like someone who can’t deal with having multiple tabs open. It’s that I’d like to be able to control my computer. Wouldn’t you rather have root on your G1 so you could screw it up thoroughly? 😉 Or go looking for some kind of kill program or task manager?

While I was looking for something like this, I did find out that holding down the home key for 5 seconds shows the 6 most recent open apps. I have a terminal window, I can type ps -x, therefore, I should be able to type kill -9 and have it work! But no. I’d also like the apps written with the option to close them! So, briguy992’s comment made me think, but also totally annoyed me, so in the spirit of this blog, I have to give him hell. That’s just how I roll!

A bunch of people commented on my long complaint about how mad I get in airports while travelling with a wheelchair. Disabled or not, lots of folks notice the dehumanizing treatment that goes along with air travel. Of course it is not just air travel or airports; it’s any big institution whose power goes unchecked by the people it (in theory) serves.

* S. Bear Bergman started a whole different conversation from thinking about diversity training issues. He asked his readers to undergo the cruel discipline of Twitter (or, to enter 140 character thoughts into a form on LJ) some short, crucial concepts on being trans. A bunch of people, including Kate Bornstein, responded! Now, that’s a cool sparky cascading result to this contest!

* Amanda’s comment about her brother being treated like a pre-schooler in a social group for people with disabilities was touching and made me boiling mad. That is the treatment most older people get in nursing homes and assisted living and it’s what a lot of people with disabilities get too. Hello to Amanda’s brother, and I wonder what he would say to what I wrote?

There is a very long interesting comment with good links, by Digital, over on “Highly trained girl-monkey sys admin bait“. She points out that it takes strong communities to make a climate where our stories win out over the acceptance of sexist ones, and links to the Anita Borg Institute. Well, I have to agree. I’ve been part of the Systers email list for years and am very happy to work for BlogHer, which was just honored with the Anita Borg Social Impact Award!

I look forward to more amazing comments! To everyone I haven’t yet mentioned… I’m reading your comments and blog posts, too! Thanks for your comments and thanks for reading.

Related posts:

HP Magic Giveaway – Guidelines!

This week, I’ll be running a promotion and giveaway for $6000 worth of HP computers and other software and hardware. I’ll give away the entire package to one person who enters my contest.

I love, love, love the idea of being a Magic Internet Fairy, pouring out an amazing abundance of computers, more than anyone could ever need! It’s a gift that, by being too big, inspires generosity.

I want YOU…. my creative, intelligent, beautiful reader… to have a shiny new computer or laptop of your own, for the holidays!

And I want YOU to overflow with computers, like a geektastic goddess, making other people happy, people who also dream of having the Internet at their fingertips!

Keep one of these sleek, fast, powerful beasts for yourself… and then share the magic. Give the rest away!

I thought about “magic” and what my computer means to me. It lets me express all the million layers of my ideas and creativity, and helps me put that into the world directly. Because I do that, I can connect directly with other people and their ideas. The magic for me in this contest is in spreading that empowerment and connection. Who could I make the happiest? Who would put something unique and interesting into the world, given the right tools?

50 sites, listed here on http://hp.com/go/winhpmagic, are EACH offering a chance to win a complete package consisting of three HP computers plus a mini notebook, an HP MediaSmart Media Center extender, a Photosmart printer (and a huge pack of photo paper) plus a ton of software, and a BluRay DVD. There will be some U.S. IRS tax offset compensation, where applicable.

The winner of each site’s contest gets it all. Each site will have their own contest with different rules and you CAN enter all of them.

To enter the HP Magic Giveaway on my blog, Composite: Thoughts on Poetics and Tech, please do these three things:

1) Comment intelligently on any post on this blog!

A) Respond to a post. Pick something that interests you: feminism? disability rights? programming? Gadgets? Maybe a specific poet, one of the poems from my Anthology?

Tell me what you think of what I wrote.

I’m impressed if you are smart, engaged, un-boring, and being real! Make me laugh! Make me think!

B) Tell me briefly, in 3 sentences or less, how you would “Share the Magic” – what would you do with the prize? Who will you give the extra computers to? Please use links if applicable.

C) In your comment, include a link back to your own blog, or some other place on the net.

2) Post a link to that post and your comment, somewhere public on the Internet; on your blog, your MySpace or Facebook, your Twitter account, a bulletin board; anywhere you hang out.

3) Email me at compositehpmagic@gmail.com. Tell me:
* the link to your comment in #1
* the link to your post in #2

I won’t include anyone as a finalist who I know in real life, and obviously, not my co-workers or family members.

I will be the sole judge and my decision is final.

By entering, the winner agrees to provide me, within two weeks of receipt of the prize, at least a 500 word postable story on what happened when they gifted the extra computers. Pictures optional, but would be great to have along with permission to post. I won’t post names or any other information without your permission.

For me, the “Magic” in this contest will be the list of finalists; the people who I think are especially interesting and creative! Someone will get a bunch of computers — and maybe I’ll get a new blogroll!

one laptop per octopus

Premio de la Magia Hewlett-Packard (HP Magic Giveaway)

Esta semana, empezaré una promoción y premiaré computadoras HP y otro software y equipo con un valor de US$ 6000. Daré el paquete entero a una persona que participe en mi concurso.

Amo, amo y amo más la idea de ser una Hada Mágica de la Internet donando una abundancia increible de computadoras, mas que nadie pudiera necesitar! Es un regalo, que por ser tan grande, inspira generosidad.

Quiero que USTED….mi creadora, inteligente y bella lectora…. tenga una flamante computadora de oficina o una portátil para la Navidad.

Y quiero que USTED tenga una abundancia de computadoras y, como una diosa cheverissma de la computación, haga feliz a otros, personas que tambien suenan con tener la internet disponible al punto de los dedos. Quédese usted mismo con uno de estos lustrosos, rapidos y poderosos aparatos…..y luego comparta la magia. Regale lo restante!

Mientras escribía las reglas para este concurso, pensaba en “magia” y lo que me significa mi computadora. Me da una herramienta para creativa productividad, lo que valgo muchíssimo. Mi computadora me permita expresar un million de niveles de mis ideas y creatividad, y me ayuda transmitir todo esto directamente al mundo. Haciendo eso, puedo conectarme directamente con otros y sus ideas. Para mi, la magia de este concurso es en esparcir ese apoderarmiento, productividad y capacidad de conexión. Quien pudiera hacer lo mas feliz? Quien daría algo unico y interesante al mundo si tuviera las herramientas adecuadas?

Cincuenta sitios, dados aqui en http://hp.com/go/winhpmagic, ofrecen la oportunidad de ganar un paquete completo que consiste en tres computadoras HP, una mini-portatil, una extensora HP MediaSmart Media Center, una impresora Photosmart (y un paquete grande de papel fotográfico) y un montón de software de Microsoft y otros, y un BlueRay DVD. En caso de haber un impuesto sobre la renta en los Estados Unidos, habrâ un ajuste compensatorio. La ganadora del concurso en cada sitio lo gana todo. Cada sitio tendra su propio concurso con distintas reglas y si se PUEDE entrar en todos.

Para entrar en el HP Magic Giveaway en mi blog, Composite: Thoughts and Poetics and Tech, favor hacer las tres cosas siquientes:

1) Comente inteligentemente sobre cualquier mensaje en este blog!

A) Responde a un mensaje. Escoja algo que le interesa: feminismo?, derechos de los personas con disabilidades?, programación,? aparatos nuevos? Tal vez una poeta especifica o uno de los poemas de mi antología? Dígame lo que piensa de lo que escribí. Me impresionaré si usted es inteligente, sintonizada, interesante y genuina. Hagame reir! Haga me pensar!

B) Digame brevemente, en tres frases o menos, como “Compartiría la Magia”-que haría con el premio? A quien regalaría las computadoras sobrantes? Por favor, utilice links donde sea aplicable.

C) En su comentario, incluya un link a su propio blog u otro sitio en la red.
2) Coloque un link a su post y su comentario en un sitio público de la Internet como su blog, Myspace o Facebook, su cuenta Twitter, un boletín,: cualquier lugar en la red que frecuente.

3) Envieme por email a…….
Digame:
*el link a su comentario en #1
*el link a su post en #2

No incluiré como finalista ninguna persona que conozco personalmente ni, obviamente, compañeros de trabajo o miembros de mi familia.

Seré el juez unico y mi decisión es final.

Por entrar en el concurso, la ganadora promete enviarme, dentro de dos semanas de la fecha de recibir el premio, un ensayo colocable en la red de al menos 500 palabras sobre lo que que ocurrió cuando regalaron las computadoras restantes. Fotgrafias son opcionales, pero seria tremendo tenerlas con permiso para colocarlas en la red. No pondré en la red nombres ni otra información sin su autorización.

Ofreceré a la ganadora una lista de concursantes que casi ganaron, para que pueda compartir el premio con ellas, si asi desea. Siempre es al unico juicio de la ganadora como se comparte el premio.

A mi, la “Magia” del concurso será la lista de los finalistas; la gente que creo que son especialmente interesantes y creativas. Alguien obtendrá unas computadoras… y quisas obtendré una nueva bloglista.

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HP Magic Giveaway: Welcome y ¡Bienvenidos!

Very soon, I’m going to be giving away a bunch of fantastic computer equipment from HP, as part of the HP Magic Giveaway, co-sponsored by Microsoft Windows Live.

I’ll be running a contest here on this blog. You can enter it AND you can enter the 49 other contests listed on the HP Magic Giveaway page!


If you’re here for the first time from the HP pages, welcome. I’m a feminist, activist, poet, and literary translator; I’m a computer programmer and a geeky, gadget-loving mom; I love games and science fiction, blogging, photos, and creativity! If you like to talk about any of those subjects, you’ve come to the right place. Especially if you like to mix up those subjects. Take a look at the tag cloud in the sidebar, and see where you might intersect with me and this blog’s readers. It’s very nice to meet you!

¡Y, Bienvenidos a todos que hablan español!

Stay tuned for my contest guidelines. Meanwhile, drool on some photos of these gorgeous computers that you have a great chance to win!

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Gadget love – Messing with my G1

Look, my G1 made friends with my Chumby!

gadgets!
So far I’m very happy with the G1. It has a great feel, it’s easy to type on, its phone and net coverage is great so far in the SF Bay Area, and every day people are posting new new apps for it. If you are a sanfransocial chronic fidgeter like me you’ll be snicking this thing open & shut all day, because of its pleasant slide-y feeling. And because you will be all like OMG I HAVE THE MOTHERF*CKING INTERNET IN THIS BORING ELEVATOR.

The first thing I did was to try out everything on the phone. My contact list, which is a giant mess, is in there from my old Razor’s sim card. Seriously, it’s a huge mess. The few people that I call all the time, I starred to move them over to the “Favorites” tab in the Dialer. The phone dialer is nice; I like dialing on the touch screen rather than with the numbers. The other thing about Contacts/Dialer that I like is the long, detailed call log. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to add new numbers from the call log to my contacts list: click and hold on a log entry, which pulls up a new menu including one to save to contacts.

I find it a little perturbing that I can’t tell if I’m closing an app, or just backgrounding it. Is that stuff all still running in the background?!

In the browser, I logged into my gmail account. Suddenly a wealth of data is there for me, since I’m a heavy Google user. The top bar slides down window-shade style to show new email, messages, calls, or other notifications.

Maps – Fabulous. Try street view, then the compass.
Market – Works great for me so far. Fun to browse. I like the comments/reviews on each app, especially how they are often frivolous and rude.
Amazon MP3 – addictive, good browsing, works beautifully. Buy mp3s, move them over to your computer or server with no problem at all. I already love Amazon MP3 for its lack of DRM and its great selection especially in Latin music.
Browser – Okay, but I have a little trouble zooming, clicking, entering data into tiny boxes. I think it takes practice with the tiny trackball.
Calendar – Scary good if you use Google Calendar already. I have 4 calendars going at once. So far I find week view the most useful – there’s no text on it but you can tap a colored block for a quick popup that gives details.
Gmail – okay, but I wish I could delete
Camera – still playing around with it. Works very well in low light! Seems a bit slow, but autofocus works well.
Music – Slick!
Pictures – Works just fine
Youtube- haven’t tried it yet
Voice Dialer – Works! neat! Will I actually use it? No.

I stuck some photos on it and changed my desktop to a photo from my Flickr account. Therer’s a Flickr group with 640 x 480 photos to use for wallpaper, and you can find more wallpaper on the various community forums. Moving from the left and rights sides of the desktop to the middle & back is strangely addictive and beautiful. I tried for a while to move apps by flinging them, or holding them and scrolling, but couldn’t get that to work. INstead, if I want to move something from the center screen to the left or right, I click and hold, drag it to the trash; then go to the side screen, click and hold on the background, and add the alias to that app or shortcut.

g1, so cute!

After a while I looked at App reviews and “tips and tricks” on some of the forums: Android Forums, Tmobile G1 forum, androidcommunity.com.

When you plug in the G1 to a Mac with a USB cable, you will see just 3 folders: albumthumbs, dcim, and Music. Poke around in there and see what you can see. Drag some music over to the G1’s Music folder and it shows up in your Music app.

When you are browsing, click and hold on a photo to download it. Not sure if this works with pdfs, movies, or sound files – I haven’t tried yet. When you download something from the browser, a new folder is created that you can see when you poke around with a USB connection. Same for amazonmp3 and BlueBrush – they create folders you can access through a USB and your computer’s filesystem.

At some point I downloaded some apps and messed around with them. when I first got this beast early this week, there was barely anything except like 500 different tip calculators. Hello dorkwads, take the tax, double it and add a dollar or two, you don’t need to whip out your $300 phone to calculate the tip … OR DO YOU…

Amazed – a simple marble-in-a-maze game.
AnyCut – looks useful to make shortcuts.
Barcode Scanner – Interesting! But has way more potential
Bluebrush – I have not really explored it but it looks like a collaborative whiteboard drawing app. I would not call its menus or icons intuitive… Flailed a while then left.
Cab4me light – Great potential! I need this! Needs more cab companies, data, a button to turn the GPS on and off.
ConnectBot – YAY I can ssh from my phone! This makes me happy. If I could ssh into my phone as well, maybe use scp, wouldn’t that be nice?
Es Musica – Tried this for fun. Hey, bikini boxing!
iSkoot – Skype for the G1!
Langtolang dictionary. Simple translation dictionary for several languages.
Shazam – This is good. It listens & samples a few seconds of whatever music you’re listening to and identifies it. I tried it with a range of music. It had great accuracy.
Strobe Light – this is really great if you’re a total asshole. Of course I downloaded it.
WikiMobile – How handy. Will never have another restaurant argument again. Am already a know it all trivia-hole, and now I can prove it on the spot. I haven’t tried the other Wikipedia app yet. How do the different versions compare?

Here’s what I’d like to have on my G1:

* password/keychain manager. What a pain in the ass entering all this stuff.

* a plain old compass app, unrelated to Street View.

* Ecto, or some equivalent, so I can post quickly to any of my 24812469 blogs, which are not all on Google/Blogger/Blogspot.

* Photo uploaders. Better extensions to send photos out very quickly to Flickr, my various blogs, Twitpic, or whatever. Hot buttons, so that I can snap the photo, and hit a single on-screen button to go “send to X” rather than pull up a menu, connect with gmail, start typing, and send to my Flickr email. It should be seamless, so I can take another photo or act like a human being instead of a little gnome fiddling with my magic box all day long.

* G1-Thing, to hook up one of the barcode scanners with LibraryThing.

* Inventory functions. More “barcode scanning a list of objects” functions. When I scan a bar code I don’t necessarily want to look it up on google or amazon or ShopWhatever. I might want to just add it to a list of Junk in my Trunk. I could see people scanning their CDs or books or DVDs here. Or hooking in the list of stuff in their pantry to somewhere like FoodProof, to figure out what they could cook without having to shop.

AAAAAA! Did I just mention computers and recipes in the same breath? Maybe I should go back in time and buy a Honeywell Kitchen Computer!

Honeywell Kitchen Computer

Honeywell Kitchen Computer

* GPS. I would really, really love some cool GPS functions. I love the satellite tracker/detector screen on my old (borrowed) Garmin eTrex. I would just turn that thing on and stare at it for 10 minutes to see how many satellites would pop up. I’d like to know what satellites so I can look them up online. Better yet pop me up some info and tell me all about it. Holy crap! SATELLITES are flying around over us in SPACE. That never ceases to be cool.

Some geocaching apps that hook in to geocaching.com would rock.

* Tide tables. I have no reason to care, except that when I’m driving up to the city, if it happens to be low tide or a super low neap tide I might swing by the beach to poke some anemones and harass a hermit crab or two. If I were still surfing, a surf report app might be nice.

* Nethack. The real kind not the graphic version please!

* Auto rotate. Last but not least. I wish that the screen view would rotate when I turn the phone, not just when I open the keyboard! Or is that a setting already, and I’ve missed it?

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Hard drive down!

The ominous clicking noise from my hard drive should have given me a clue. Backup was on my to-do list, but never a priority. That’s why I’m talking to you from August 8th, when I last copied my entire hard drive with Carbon Copy Cloner over to my glossy & beautiful Western Digital Passport 120GB USB drive. I’ve got amnesia in my exoskeleton. It’s horrible!

The sudden crash, inability for my laptop or a bootup CD or booting from another laptop in target mode probably means my data is intact on the drive, but the drive’s controllers are messed up. I got a quote over the phone from Drive Savers up in Novato; something like “600 to $3900”, with the low estimate being if they could only get a little bit of garbled data off and if they didn’t have to disassemble the drive. IntelliRecovery is in Hunters Point and cheaper – $400 to $1600. Can I justify spending $1000 for the last 2 months of my scripts, work data, email, book editing project, and music? It’s a close call, because that’s probably how much my time is worth to reconstruct everything and re-do all the work I’ve lost.

The evening of the crash, I took my MacBook to the Apple Store. They said it would be around $300 and 5-7 business days to send my laptop out and put a new drive in it.

The PowerBook Guy office just around the corner from the San Francisco Apple Store replaced my hard drive and gave it back to me in 2 hours. So I’m up and running again.

I think my future backup plans will be to do a full backup to my pocket hard drive every week as part of my work routine. And every night I will back up the work and book-editing files.

It was interesting to see what bits of the computer are crucial for me to feel comfortable. Firefox profile is way more key than I realized. Thunderbird profile is also very useful. Adium contacts. The keychain. My various .rc files. Ecto. My greasemonkey scripts and other python and Perl stuff for work. But with just the Firefox profile and a term window I can be up and running at a basic level from my own shell accounts (on pair and dreamhost). So now I’m trying to come up with some super basic set of “junk that I need” which I could carry around on my tiny flash drive.

Go and back up your data right now, by the way!

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Who are we women bloggers?

We know where we are. But who are we? What are we as a group? Are we a thing? Are we a group?

This might sound weird from a feminist anarchist geek. But I had an epiphany at work during a marketing meeting.

Gina, our head of sales, was trying to describe to the rest of us what it’s like to explain blogging to Fortune 500 company ad executives. They’re used to putting people in demographics, and defining types of people who they recognize as categories. There are understandable archetypes like “soccer mom”. There are “communities”. The companies know that things can be viral and that online advertising is the way to go and that blogs are cool. But how to explain what we are? Who we are? Why we’re powerful? Why we’re not a fad?

Digression: At the first couple of BlogHer conferences I was not convinced that the conference sponsorships were a good idea. They didn’t sway me. I felt marketed-to in a way that wasn’t quite comfortable, or that felt slightly off. I wondered why it wasn’t like other tech conferences, other blogging conferences. Why because we were women, didn’t more big tech advertisers or companies come to us and sponsor us? Where were Apple and Microsoft trying to sell us laptops or giving us cool schwag – after all, we were hard core bloggers and geeks enough to go to a blogging conference.

And yet, the conference was fabulous, and I felt that even the companies who didn’t get it, I had some respect for them just for showing up and putting up some cash. Maybe we were an experiment. They were trying to get in on this rumored wave of online stuff even if they didn’t know how. This year, things were different. There were insane levels of corporate sponsorship, but the way it was done mostly didn’t feel odd or wrong or presumptive that all women were a certain way. It felt like they were *getting it*. I didn’t feel alienated. I was charmed. While it was strange to be having a KY sponsored party in Macy’s lingerie department while drinking chocolate vodka and eating cookies, there was no way not to be charmed by the strangeness and by the free 1GB flash drives. Rather than showering us with glossy, expensive brochures we would just throw away, they put their product ads on flash drives that we’d find useful. That gave me a warmer feeling than the cayenne in the hot chocolate vodka. (Despite the perturbing heteronormativity of the lube’s his and her packaging, which gossip I will repeat that hippietastically we had asked them to offset with equal amounts of her and her packaging but the ball got dropped somewhere.) It was smart marketing to women who love their computers – whose computers are important parts of their lives. Same with the clever presence of PBS Kids. They gave out stuff that you’d actually want to give to your kid – again with the flash drives, this time as bracelets. Mood rings. Stickers. Comic books. And even if you didn’t have a kid, you were a kid once, and might like to see Grover and Grover’s puppeteer in person in the studio that PBS set up inside our conference. iRobot had demos and a raffle for Roombas, and also sponsored a latte cart. How civilized is that — don’t just market to me: make me *like you*. Free lattes at a place that I was fairly desperate for nicer-than-hotel-coffee was smart.

That’s very different from the old wave of internet advertising and marketing, the clumsy approaches that feel like this: We guess who you are, without listening. Then we tell you why you’re interested in this thing. Then we beg you to blog about it. Then we measure our success by click-throughs.

Think of radio advertisements. A sponsor takes a ball game, something that people want to have. And says, “Hey. We’re cool like this. We love baseball. We make Blahdeblah Product. We’re helping it be so that you get to hear this baseball game on the radio.” Internet ads need to be more like that. Radio advertisers didn’t have little implants in our brains that gave them precise metrics of whether we *that second* turned our eyeballs to look at a Blahdeblah Product. Instead, they banked on our experential happiness, our participation and investment in the ball game. We’d have a good feeling about the game and our enjoyment, and associate them with it, like a friend. Instead, bad net marketing grabs your head, forces it into a vise clamp and makes you look away from the game and at them while you fill out their survey. It’s intrusive and untrusting, essentially unfriendly.

What I realized during our meeting: we aren’t a consumer demographic. We aren’t the metrics. We aren’t defined by what we consume in the mental model of 20th century markets. We’re cultural producers. Through our blogs, we have open, mass access to the means of production. We’re unmediated and unfiltered, if we want to be. We’re also banding together to control how we’re mediating and filtering. A big medical company might try to hire writers to tell their “true stories” of being moms with cancer. But they would never hit the grass roots authenticity of Motherswithcancer.wordpress.com. I can read that site and completely trust that it’s not the zombie brainchild of Big Pharma. I read BlogHer and trust that, while it’s got ads on it and (now) big corporate sponsors, it’s not a department store mannequin’s version of “what women want”. It’s what women actually got together and said they wanted to do. It’s not a marketing category.

We are something new, a category not quite defined but still coalescing, something like Bluestockings or the French revolutionary feminists who ran their own newspapers in the 1830s. But unlike those tightly knit salons of intellectuals, we are a mass movement, a populist movement, with plenty of muscle and — collectively — economic power. We are not quite like what some people are trying to define us as:

* “the Association of University Women, who also shop”
* “the white 30-something soccer moms who write cutesily about only diapers”
* “men with boobs and social skills, who influence their network of friends”
* “sort of like journalists, but with no self esteem and you don’t have to pay them”
* “computer geeks lite, who want a pink iPhone” (okay, maybe that one)

Or whateverall they seemed to think we were.

What we are: a mass social movement of women who are moving into the public sphere. We are not depending on authority to tell us what or who we are. If we don’t fit into a demographic or a marketing category, that doesn’t mean we don’t get a public voice. We are redefining “what women are” in our society and the shifting marketing and ad markets are evidence that our redefinition is being heard. Publishers can say “Your story is too harsh. It’ll alienate readers. Change it. Your main character can’t be a black woman. Write about something else. That story about your special needs child is too depressing. ” Sure, they can say it – and they do. We tell those stories anyway and find they are deeply wanted and needed by other women.

We’re more like the women of the 1800s who started to be able to make a living from their writing. (Though men generated an enormous backlash against them and trivialized their work as being from a pack of scribbling women… babblers and amateurs who appeal to the crude taste of the masses and are not Literary Enough (for… what exactly?).) Have we hit critical mass, finally, with blogging? Can we end run capitalist patriarchy? Are we successfully changing it as it co-opts us?

Older feminists are standing back in a mildly skeptical way. Oh yes, we’ve heard this before, now is really the moment when we can all tell our stories, across class and race and gender and all barriers, and our histories won’t be lost. Right. We’ve never heard *that* one before. I really believe it’s true this time. We have to fight to keep it true, and to keep control and power in the hands of regular people, accessible to everyone. Keep that access to the means of production, cultural production, out there, and keep spreading it.

And by that I mean things as simple as: fight your local library not to block MySpace from their public access computers.

I also felt this deeply at the Global Voices Summit in Budapest. The technology is to the point where mobile phone are ubiquitous in developing countries. A protest happens a country’s mainstream media can’t cover it because of censorship or a threatening political environment, and yet videos go up on YouTube. Fighting for universal access to a decentralized Internet is crucial to our future, and all areas of this fight need to tie together and be allies.

So who are we and what are we? Women who are speaking, who are consumers who talk, sort of like journalists, sort of like authors; we are conscious, individually and, more and more, collectively, of our power to speak and be seen in the world of public discourse. We have jobs and we’re in public, we’re out of the domestic sphere, but our thoughts, the way we’re framed in public conversations, in the media, isn’t yet all the way out of the domestic sphere. My point is that we are no longer containable by old style media. We aren’t an elite of “influencers” to be courted and co-opted. We’re journalists who write about who we are, not what we’re told to write, like a million mommy-blogging Hunter S. Thompsons writing The Curse of Lono instead of their assigned sports article.

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Installing Eeebuntu on an Asus Eeepc 900

Last night I installed eeebuntu on my Eeepc 900. You see how I love this little beast!

The instructions and forums on eeebuntu.org were helpful. I realized while I was doing the install that there’s Ubuntu Eee as well and that eeebuntu is basically just this one guy, Steve or “bezdomny”. Since he is super responsive on the forums and people report good experiences with the install, I figured it is a good bet as an OS. Ubuntu Eee also looks good!

I didn’t take good notes but here is my memory of what I had to do. I first tried to create a bootable USB stick from my Mac, but was missing syslinux so I used Oblomovka’s MacBook running Ubuntu to reformat it with parted (set 1 boot on). Then put the eeebuntu iso file on the USB stick with bezdomny’s isostick.sh script.

Then my eeepc booted from the USB stick. I hit “escape” during bootup and got a screen with 4 choices; the 4GB and 16GB drives on the eee, and two partitions on the USB stick. I chose a USB partition at random (wrong one) and then the other, which worked beautifully! It took a few minutes to boot. Wireless didn’t work, but when I plugged an ethernet cable into my Eee, I was on the net within about 15 seconds without having to configure anything.

So, I tried to follow this advice to get wireless working,

http://eeebuntu.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=175&highlight=wireless

But then got a little bit confused because I wasn’t sure where I should install madwifi and if it would work if I rebooted from the USB. At that point I decided I’d just take a chance and install over the totally working, but annoying and ugly and Windows-like, Xandros linux install that came with my eee. (Seriously, look at this, even their web site gives me hives.) It occurred to me that I might keep Xandros on the 4GB drive and install eeebuntu on the 16GB drive, and be able to boot either one. Which, if I couldn’t get wireless working on eeebuntu, would spare me scrambling around trying to re-install Xandros. I went on IRC at irc.freenode.net and asked on #ubuntu-eeepc if anyone knew if that would work. No one answered. I got on #ubuntu-women just to feel braver but didn’t ask anything. After some more poking around forums I decided to hell with it, blow away Xandros and if I have to reinstall it, comprendo bastante este video guía para instalearlo.

So I installed on the 4GB drive. It went completely smoothly, quickly, I rebooted, hey presto magic huzzah, I had working ubuntu on my eeepc. Plugging into ethernet worked smoothly again. I got the madwifi fix with wget and installed it. It didn’t work… I re-read the thread on the forums for the millionth time. They kept saying “turn on the wireless” and finally Oblomovka and I got it that we had to turn on wireless in the BIOS. So, reboot, hit F2, looked at “Advanced” and “Devices” or something like that, it was pretty intuitive, and got a list of stuff enabled and disabled. I enabled wireless and the webcam. Rebooted, and wireless worked SO beautifully. (Not like Xandros which was incredibly clunky and failed to get me onto my own home network half the time.)

More wireless links: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/EeePC/Fixes

Next problem to fix. The mousing was crazy. Or, really, the touchpad. I don’t have a mouse, but I still think of it as “mousing”. There was a system preferences panel for mouse and display, but nothing for the touchpad. A bit more reading and I was lost… but then a bit MORE reading and google-fu and I found that going to Applications, then Add/Remove, then searching All Available applications for “touchpad” or “synaptic” would get me the control panel that I needed. That worked but during install I got a warning to change a setting in xorg.conf which I will tell you is in /etc/X11. It’s helpful to look at some examples of xorg.conf options. Then, while in vi putting in the setting, I realized my keyboard is messed up and thinks that the ” key is actually an @ sign. So I’ll have to go figure that out and fix it — I know I chose US keyboard layout — what could it be?

What I need to be able to work off this machine on my trip:

Firefox, Greasemonkey
A good chat client
vim, perl (python would be nice)
the touchpad not to be freaking crazy. Tap-to-click OFF. Who uses that! Omg! Sucks!
Not sure if I will just suck it up with email and go back to Pine, or install Thunderbird and migrate my mailboxes, or use webmail of some stripe (ugh) Currently am favoring Pine because I’m lazy; Thunderbird only if I have time to install it.

Oh also, I’m resolving to document this more formally and contribute docs-writing to eeebuntu.

** further updates later today **

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