FFUntriaged number games

As some of you may know we have over 900,000 thousand bug reports in bugzilla.mozilla.org these days. Around 120K of those are open bugs.

I keep an eye on the incoming bugs, which are still around 350-550 for any 24 hour period and peck away at those. Many people in QA and various engineering teams also keep watch over the incoming bugs so that problems are caught quickly, escalated appropriately, and stuff gets fixed and released as soon as possible.

But the incoming are just one thing among many. Lately I’ve been working on a fairly arbitrary goal. That is to bring down a specific number, the bugs filed for Firefox that are in the “Untriaged” component, where the last comment was by the person who reported the bug. I have it on my todo list as “FFUntriaged”, so I think of it that way. FFUN! (I’m sure that is unconvincing…)

Bugs on a laptop

When I started putting half an hour to an hour a day into this, the count was well over 500 bugs. Now it is closer to 400. I answer some from the front of the queue and some from the tail end, which right now goes back to February 2012. The older, 2012 bugs are mostly obsolete at this point, but I have caught a few that are still valid, and that are now categorized in a product and component that brought them to the notice of the developers who may already be working on similar issues.

Of the bugs that I end up closing, a bunch of them probably should have been support questions in the first place. I resolve them INVALID if they are reallky support questions because they aren’t and weren’t bugs in Firefox. If I can’t tell what was going on, and the reporter doesn’t answer my “needinfo” query, I can resolve the bug INCOMPLETE since there was never enough information to tell if it was really a bug or not.

A few of these long-untriaged Firefox bugs ended up in the RESOLVED WORKSFORME status, which I think of as: when the bug was reported, no one was able to reproduce it, I can’t reproduce it now, and maybe also the original reporter can’t reproduce it. Maybe it got fixed along the way. It doesn’t seem important enough to anyone to pin down exactly what fixed it. It just works now. Resolving it seems ok to me, since that doesn’t erase any history: the bug report is still findable if it comes up again.

The FFUNtriaged bugs project has been fairly satisfying just to watch the number come down over time. Pretty soon we will have it down to something reasonable, like under 30, and actually recent bugs instead of cruft from a year ago. Then I’ll pick a new little project!

And now a digression about duplicate bugs.

A few bugs from FFUNtriaged end up being marked as duplicates. I catch a few, but more often someone more experienced notices the duplicates after I do something else with them, which sends bugmail or puts a report into a new product or component. Some reports just sound like they must have been reported before. DUPing them is a good way to establish connections and direct the original bug reporter to where the action or discussion is. There is good advice in Screening duplicate bugs article on MDN.

There is not only a Most Frequently Reported Bugs list, there is also now a whole dashboard which can show most duped bugs by product. The one I have been looking at a lot recently is the most duped list for Core::Layout bugs. The product dashboard doesn’t let you limit by time though. So I still think the main Most Frequently Reported Bugs page is more useful; you can change its query to limit it by product, or view it as a regular (sortable) bug list.

In theory the better we get (collectively) at duping bugs, the more useful the lists of most-duped bugs will be. It may be a self perpetuating cycle though, to where we learn the most-duped ones, then dup more bugs to them. I have thought before it might be fruitful to hunt after (or ask someone for a lead to) closely related bugs and sort through them to see if any are obvious dupes.

Things I know about automatically as dupes are: anything involving shortcut keys. Layout complains about tables and images. Anything to do with bookmarks. All those are worth a search and a quick scan of a list of bugs with similar words in the summary and then a bit of digging!

Sometimes people are a bit upset that “their” report gets
duped to an already existing bug. I don’t have enough experience (after 8 months triaging) to really have a sense in the patterns of what gets fixed and why. But when a bug is duped to an older one, the people who get bugmail on that older bug are going to get a poke of some kind, so at least that brings the issue to possible attention. And over time, it may affect how teams or engineers set priorities or figure out what to fix or escalate. So I think it it likely useful.

Related posts:

FFUntriage number games

As some of you may know we have over 900,000 thousand bug reports in bugzilla.mozilla.org these days. Around 120K of those are open bugs.

I keep an eye on the incoming bugs, which are still around 350-550 for any 24 hour period and peck away at those. Many people in QA and various engineering teams also keep watch over the incoming bugs so that problems are caught quickly, escalated appropriately, and stuff gets fixed and released as soon as possible.

But the incoming are just one thing among many. Lately I’ve been working on a fairly arbitrary goal. That is to bring down a specific number, the bugs filed for Firefox that are in the “Untriaged” component, where the last comment was by the person who reported the bug. I have it on my todo list as “FFUntriaged”, so I think of it that way. FFUN!

Bugs on a laptop

When I started putting half an hour to an hour a day into this, the count was well over 500 bugs. Now it is closer to 400. I answer some from the front of the queue and some from the tail end, which right now goes back to February 2012. The older, 2012 bugs are mostly obsolete at this point, but I have caught a few that are still valid, and that are now categorized in a product and component that brought them to the notice of the developers who may already be working on similar issues.

Of the bugs that I end up closing, a bunch of them probably should have been support questions in the first place. I resolve them INVALID if they are reallky support questions because they aren’t and weren’t bugs in Firefox. If I can’t tell what was going on, and the reporter doesn’t answer my “needinfo” query, I can resolve the bug INCOMPLETE since there was never enough information to tell if it was really a bug or not.

A few of these long-untriaged Firefox bugs ended up in the RESOLVED WORKSFORME status, which I think of as: when the bug was reported, no one was able to reproduce it, I can’t reproduce it now, and maybe also the original reporter can’t reproduce it. Maybe it got fixed along the way. It doesn’t seem important enough to anyone to pin down exactly what fixed it. It just works now. Resolving it seems ok to me, since that doesn’t erase any history: the bug report is still findable if it comes up again.

The FFUNtriaged bugs project has been fairly satisfying just to watch the number come down over time. Pretty soon we will have it down to something reasonable, like under 30, and actually recent bugs instead of cruft from a year ago. Then I’ll pick a new little project!

And now a digression about duplicate bugs.

A few bugs from FFUNtriaged end up being marked as duplicates. I catch a few, but more often someone more experienced notices the duplicates after I do something else with them, which sends bugmail or puts a report into a new product or component. Some reports just sound like they must have been reported before. DUPing them is a good way to establish connections and direct the original bug reporter to where the action or discussion is. There is good advice in Screening duplicate bugs article on MDN.

There is not only a Most Frequently Reported Bugs list, there is also now a whole dashboard which can show most duped bugs by product. The one I have been looking at a lot recently is the most duped list for Core::Layout bugs. The product dashboard doesn’t let you limit by time though. So I still think the main Most Frequently Reported Bugs page is more useful; you can change its query to limit it by product, or view it as a regular (sortable) bug list.

In theory the better we get (collectively) at duping bugs, the more useful the lists of most-duped bugs will be. It may be a self perpetuating cycle though, to where we learn the most-duped ones, then dup more bugs to them. I have thought before it might be fruitful to hunt after (or ask someone for a lead to) closely related bugs and sort through them to see if any are obvious dupes.

Things I know about automatically as dupes are: anything involving shortcut keys. Layout complains about tables and images. Anything to do with bookmarks. All those are worth a search and a quick scan of a list of bugs with similar words in the summary and then a bit of digging!

Sometimes people are a bit upset that “their” report gets
duped to an already existing bug. I don’t have enough experience (after 8 months triaging) to really have a sense in the patterns of what gets fixed and why. But when a bug is duped to an older one, the people who get bugmail on that older bug are going to get a poke of some kind, so at least that brings the issue to possible attention. And over time, it may affect how teams or engineers set priorities or figure out what to fix or escalate. So I think it it likely useful.

Related posts:

Steady contribution to Firefox support forums

Every once in a while I go over to the Mozilla support forums to this query for questions asked in the last 24 hours that haven’t been answered. I like how it’s phrased. Right now it’s “6 questions in the last 24 hours have no reply. Help solve them!”. That’s out of 86 questions asked in the last day.

Looking up the answers is interesting. To answer the question, I poke around on the support forums, do a general google search, and usually find something relevant or can at least link to advice. Hopefully, the person asking the question feels happy to get a reply even if the answer isn’t easy! And, sometimes, other people who are support forum regulars come in afterwards and give a better answer or correct my answer. So I am not afraid to answer wrong; other people are on it, and if their answers are more useful they will get voted up higher on the answers page. Either way, there is plenty to learn by trying to answer well, giving a link or a source for the information, and just plain being nice to people.

Then I take a look at my SUMO user profile to see my stats build up. I only answer a question now and then, and have edited and translated a few articles. Actually I’m a sucker for anything that shows a steady buildup of activity and any kind of stats. While my mere 38 questions answered isn’t a lot compared to some of the incredibly dedicated contributors on the support leaderboard. It is like a little dragon hoard of evidence that I did something and that is satisfying even when it’s a very small hoard!

Sumo user profile 913

I only realized recently there are canned responses for replying in the support forums. There is an icon like a top hat, or a magician’s hat, which I didn’t notice for months. Perhaps from being a person who is way more into text than images.

Sumo magichat

It never occurred to me to click on that hat. Then someone mentioned it on IRC. Wow! I may file a bug to suggest adding a label next to it, that appears even when you don’t mouse over the hat. (Or is it a can… or a bucket?)

The selection of common responses is extremely useful. Basically there is a lot of infrastructure built to support, not just the people coming to look for answers, but the community contributors answering the questions.

Sumo canned

Bugzilla now has user profiles which I’ll be working to improve and make useful. You can see a person’s last activity in bugzilla.mozilla.org, the number of bugs they’ve filed, commented on, and various other stats that may be relevant to bug reporters, bug triagers, and developers. I’ll post more about this soon!

By the way, my avatar on SUMO, though it kind of looks like me with its purple hair, is from a game called Glitch that closed in late 2012. Glitch was a descendent of Game Neverending. GNE had an image management and social network build into it that became Flickr. I still miss Glitch – it was a great game and a beautiful community!

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Thrills, chills, filters, and bugmail

Any bugmail at all is probably way too much bugmail. That means you will need to set up some structures to filter it!

This explanation may be useful for anyone interested in contributing to Mozilla — especially bugmasters, triagers, and developers. Even if you don’t use the same email setup, there’s some good tips.

Byron (aka glob) explained how I could set up my Bugzilla email, or bugmail. Within Bugzilla, in the Email preferences tab, there are a complicated set of checkboxes to control what conditions in Bugzilla trigger your bugmail. Right now, my email notifications are set to fire off email to me whenever anything happens to a bug I may be interested in.

Bugzilla email prefs

I then set up some users to watch, at the bottom of the Email preferences screen. Whenever Matti, Tyler, or Benjamin do anything with a bug, Bugzilla emails me about it. I can also see that Josh is watching my Bugzilla activity. People often refer to this as “stalking” in Bugzilla, without any creepy connotation intended. It is basically TMI about someone else’s bugs (or what bugs they poke at.)

Bugzilla user watching

“If you watch a user, it is as if you are standing in their shoes for the purposes of getting email. Email is sent or not according to your preferences for their relationship to the bug (e.g. Assignee).” The meaning of that takes a while to work out, much like Bilbo Baggins’ famous statement at his eleventy-first birthday party… “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

I have picked two components to watch. Bugs in BMO (bugzilla.mozilla.org) are organized first by Product, such as Firefox, Firefox for Android, Thunderbird, and so on; then by Component, which seems to be a division by who is working on a particular area or project. You can’t pick a Component, or even see it, till you figure out what Product your bug belongs to. Here is a helpful guide from the Mozilla Developer Network with a list of Mozilla Products and their Components, handily all on one page, so it is easily searchable. I have also been using the list of Modules and their owners from the Mozilla.org wiki.

Bugzilla component watching

We don’t even have any bugmail yet, and see how much we have learned about the structure of a giant complicated FLOSS ecosystem! Hurray!!!! *waves pom poms*

Cheerleader cat

At this point, I made some folders in Zimbra inside a general Bugmail folder. While I’m still not sure how I’ll settle on bugmail organization, right now I have separate folders for my watched components and people. Then, in Zimbra preferences,there is a sidebar option for “Filters”.

Bugzilla filters

Create a new filter, then for users you’re watching, filter on header, and set the header name to X-Bugzilla-Watch-Reason. (For other filters, check the full headers and see what X-Bugzilla header info will work best.)

Bugzilla x headers

Since the X-Bugzilla-Watch-Reason filter contains the person’s email, if they change their own bugzilla email address, my filter will break.

Bugzilla user watching

Onward to Thunderbird, which I have set up with IMAP to check my Zimbra account.

Right-click (or command-click for a mac) on your account name in the Thunderbird sidebar, and choose “Subscribe”. This shows you the folders on your IMAP-connected account. Expand the folders and check the tickybox next to the new folders you just created in Zimbra (or whatever else you use). This will create a copy of that folder in Thunderbird.

Bugzilla thunderbird subscribe

One more step. In the Thunderbird sidebar, right-click one of the new folders that was just copied over from your IMAP account. Choose “Properties”. Then check the tickybox labelled “When getting new messages for this account, always check this folder.”

Now your bugmail will nicely filter itself — in both email clients.

That was non-obvious enough that I really wanted to document all the steps. Maybe some other new hire at Mozilla will be helped!

If anyone has bugmail tips for me, I would appreciate that!

Bonus points to anyone reading this who notices my PretendOffice filter and has a good laugh.

Related posts:

First day at Mozilla!

I spent yesterday in the San Francisco Mozilla office, meeting people, setting up my laptop, and getting a general orientation. It’s in the Hills Brothers Coffee building across the plaza from Google, so I went past a hilarious statue (too late from the bus to study it in any detail) into a marble-floored entry hall and into one of those dark woodpaneled elevators with a mirror that are successfully posh, but need cheering up or art on the wall or something to look at other than the reflection of elevator-awkwardness. In elevators I have the choice of lining up my wheelchair or scooter foolishly backwards to back in, then emerge with dignity; barrelling in over-fast to jump the gap and scaring anyone already in the elevator, then waiting facing the “wrong” way; or, jumping the gap forwards and then executing a clumsy or neat 7 or 5 or 3 point turn which definitely scares everyone else’s feet. Sometimes I forget to slow the scooter speed and crash into the elevator wall.

Enough about that! The 7th floor is more cheerful, light, full of colored couches and enormous refrigerators and baskets of candy and snacks enough to feed armies of squirrels. An extremely nice person named Peter gave me a laptop and pointed me at a videoconference set up on a tablet in a sort of tablet holster with headphones so that I could be in the HR orientation, which was fairly painless and lasted about an hour. I am one of the first batch of new hires to go through their new “onboarding” system, which has been bombarding me for a week with exhortations to Join the Glorious Mozillian Cause, Comrade, join every mailing list/newsgroup/irc channel in the world, and fill out my forms. It seems a good system. “Firehose” is too weak of a term.

mozilla lizard logo

I kept notes on all the tiny errors in the process, throughout last week, to report them in batches. I felt that I was already working there, without being paid, which, well, why not when they are so awesome and it is free/open source and a huge worldwide volunteer community! Onwards!! I spent some time last week, and then, much more fiercely yesterday, coming up with ways to organize these huge tributaries of information and systems for myself to skim off the bits necessary to move something forward, respond or act. I feel like a little space station way out somewhere, beginning to turn on its ansible and light up, coming online in a giant network of ships and stars.

Right, where was I. I was introduced as a new hire at an amazingly competent video conferenced short Mozilla weekly meeting. I had already looked at past meetings while studying up on what was going on at the company, to interview. Then was on irc, on the #qa and #ateam channel, then meeting the Bugzilla team who are in town for the week and who were very amiable. I wonder if they would like to come to Noisebridge? It is amusing to work at a grownup job where people are introduced to you with names like “glob” and “potch” and it is normal for me to be named “lizzard” since it has been my irc name for forever. I listened to the Bugzilla folks for a while. They super nicely offered to take me with them tomorrow on a datacenter tour, where I will arrive as a sort of wheely cyborg surprise to whoever is squiring us around. Then had lunch (free, catered, very nice lunch on Mondays) with Lukas Blakk, ran into Tantek, met Boris and Dave and the guy with the purple mohawk, and Heather who showed me around the building. My cube is in a somewhat depressing cube farm on the 3rd floor, but everyone was super nice and I decided to work in the community room on the 7th floor where there is a beautiful view of the Bay Bridge and the water. There are couches on the roof, and tables to work at. Lukas and I hung out (we know each other from geekfeminism.org already) and I got to see a lot of great and promising stuff built on top of Bugzilla’s API, just the sort of thing I was hoping to (someday) build to visualize Mozilla’s bug data.

This is more about first impressions and my enjoyment of them than an organization of facts and information and my systems to keep them neat. Those systems, right now, live in my private TiddlyWiki instance, a new lizzardZilla wiki separate for work where I brain dump, then organize everything. I will try to convey actual information later today! But, in short, I am the Bugmaster, and on “The Ateam” and cannot wait to order business cards that say “Bugmaster” on them. Maybe with this picture on the back, shopped with some extra -zillatude to it:

All shall triage bugs with me and despair make awesomeness possible!

Related posts:

Disability Blog Carnival #59: Disability and Work

The theme for the Disability Blog Carnival #59 is Work and Disability. It’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Thank you to Penny from the Disability Studies Blog for co-ordinating the Disability Blog Carnival through 60 issues!

Thank you all for your contributions! All through October, they buoyed me up and gave me food for thought. I felt intense pride to be part of this very loosely knit online community of thinkers and writers.

The next Disability Blog Carnival will be hosted by the fantastic group blog FWD/Forward: Feminists With Disabilities.

  • Wheelchair Dancer contributed two posts. In Becoming Disabled On the Job she writes about how even in a supportive workplace there were many obstacles to overcome as her physical capabilities changed over several years.

    Ultimately, I was successful at my job; I wrote my heart out, presented, won awards, grants, and funding; I got myself published. Technically, however, I didn’t get my work done on schedule; in fact, it took me approximately two extra years to approximate a body of work like the ones that my peers had on their resumes. I felt like that broken and imposter racehorse, uselessly gimping around behind its pure blood, beautiful, swift sisters.

    Her other post, Disability at Work, focuses on her current job as a dancer, where she is not the only person with a disability! “You know that disability is an important factor in your work environment when . . . ” Ha! I love it! I’m printing out her 10 reasons why list and putting it up at my office!

  • Sophia from ‘sprokenword has an otherwise excellent post which does contain some hatred expressed towards people riding airport motor transport carts who are fat. If you can read around that or bracket it, read on because the post explores some other important issues. In Disability Employment Awareness Month, Sophia describes her job working for a non-profit open source software company while dealing with gait problems, chronic pain, trouble standing, and difficulty walking. Her situation requires quite a lot of travel. I enjoyed this post and have a lot of respect for the difficulties of travel and Sophia’s determination to do it. Sophia’s post and Wheelchair Dancer’s first post spoke to many of the issues that people with disabilities and chronic pain face in professional careers.
  • Alison Bergblom Johnson, from the blog Writing Mental Illness, posted about poetry as work. Anne Sexton: Patient or Poet. Anne Sexton was a brilliant and hard working poet. She won many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. But in the psychiatric professions she is a patient and her work is considered as pathology – as evidence of her illness.
  • Deborah Kaplan wants to recognize the ways that her job is awesome in working while disabled: it’s really just fine. “I could do most of those infamous “activities of daily living” without help if I had too (since I don’t think that Congress defines “open-source coding and checking my feeds” as an activity of daily living). But without adaptive technology, I would not have been able to hold a job for the last 10 years, full stop.” Her co-workers and employers are supportive. She has some complicated stuff to say about the tradeoff between working through pain and difficulty vs. taking time off and trying to heal and avoid stress. In all that complexity, though, her day to day experience of work is “pretty damn good”.
  • Tlönista’s post Work/Ability writees about some of the negative aspects of her experiences working and being a mentally ill person. She wonders how much longer she can go on. “Don’t think about the long term, don’t think about the future, treat your life like a sub-prime loan. For now I am a “good” mentally ill person. Not a menace, not a burden. I am functional. I’m so tired.”
  • Sashafeather’s post, “Disability and Work: What I do” centers on Ursula K. Le Guin’s science fiction book about an anarchist planet, The Dispossessed, where the word for work is the same as the word for play. Sashafeather describes work/play as “what occupies a person’s time, and what one does with the people in one’s community”. She does emotional work, self care and pain management, volunteer work for the WisCon feminist science fiction convention, and disability/anti-oppression activism. She moderates several online communities and does creative work in media fandom.

    Her post made me think about self-care and pain management as an important part of community work. It’s something I have to remind myself of: If I don’t deal with my physical pain levels, I will be less useful to the people around me and my community. You might think the motivation of “not being in so much pain” would be enough. Often it’s not.

    And she moves into very interesting territory in writing about work, disability, and feminism:

    I have personally benefitted from the feminist idea of work being a socially constructed idea, and “women’s work” such as housework, childcare, and care of the elderly and ill being often unpaid or underpaid and devalued by society. The reason women are paid less than men is because women’s work is undervalued. Women often provide emotional support for others, they build friendships, they build communities, they build homes. All of this takes time and effort.

    The categories of women and disabled people intersect hugely. The work of disabled people is also devalued, and disabled people face huge barriers such as pain, exhaustion, mobility and cognitive impairments, communication differences, discrimination in the work place and the wider world, and a lack of basic access to buildings, services, and transportation.

  • Eva from The Deal with Disability wrote and posted a video of herself at her dogwalking job. Sometimes accessibility is more than meets the eye. She posts flyers for her business at veterinarians’ offices and was showing how though she found out she couldn’t get into the office there, the staff’s attitude was polite and helpful. Eva goes on to point out factors other than steps or ramps that affect accessibility.
  • The spaces in my résumé by codeman38 talks about some of the practical difficulties in getting a job by traditional means. Interviews, transport, and phone calls are not completely impossible for him as an autistic person but they are definitely obstacles. He finds jobs through friends and family.
  • Tera from Sweet Perdition writes about her job at a local game store: I am Lord Voldemort. She works for store credit at a job that her college professors would consider below her capacity – but she loves her work and their appreciation of her.

    Sometimes you think about getting a proper job, one that pays you money or, at the very least, requires you to leave the house, but you don’t want one. You realize that you don’t really want a lot of things that you’ve grown up hearing independent adults must have . . . But all this guilt is just society’s poison coursing through your brain; it isn’t you. The things you want–really want, not just think you should want in order to be a real person–are not the things your culture wants for you. Popular culture doesn’t have many models for the kind of person you are.

  • Cheryl from Uppity Crip has two posts to contribute. Heads up that her blog has music on auto-play. 51% of Workplace Accomodations Cost Nothing and Mental Illness is Still a Big Stigma.
  • I posted on BlogHer.com on Working Women With Disabilities. I was feeling exhausted and disheartened, and wanted to see other people’s thoughts on working and being disabled. My own thoughts on the subject are going to take me a while to put together. When I post about my personal experiences with losing jobs, struggling to get SSI, working part time, passing as able, going back to school, and access issues on the job now that I’m working again. I’ll link to it from the comments on this post.
  • Wheelie Catholic posted many times in October with Disability Awareness Month in mind. Her posts are great!

    * The Top Ten Ways For Managers to Screw Up under the ADA
    * Sears case largest disability related employment discrimination settlement
    * National Disability Employment Awareness Month: What Can We Do?
    * PBS to Air Film on Disability Advocates
    * The Campaign for Disability Employment: whatcanyoudocampaign.org
    * Disability Awareness FAIL – this one is hilarious and awful!

    Late additions:

    * Video Post from Bev from Asperger Square 8.

[ETA: warning on fat hatred on a link.]
[ETA again: I phrased that badly and i think misinterpreted sophia’s words to be about scooter users. By carts she meant people who are riding the electric carts that airport employees drive around to pick people up. See comments on this post for my thoughts. – Liz 10/28/09]

Thank you all again for clueing me in to your amazing writing. And thanks for reading!

Please stay tuned to FWD/Forward for the next Disability Blog Carnival call for contributions for Carnival #60!

Related posts:

Disability Blog Carnival #59: Disability and Work

I read the other day on Disability Studies blog that they were thinking of ending the Disability Blog Carnival. I’d like to see it keep going! So I offered to host this month’s edition, on Work, in honor of October being Disability Employment Awareness Month in the United States. And, as I went looking for what people with disabilities had to say about work, to write a long post on Working Women With Disabilities, I wished for more blogging on the subject.

Here’s the announcement – please repost and email to pass it on!

For this blog carnival, please write about anything you please on or tangential to Disability and Work.

Here are some suggested starting points: What work do you do? How’s that going? Do you get paid for it, or is it volunteer work or something you do because you just love it? What blocks you from employment? If you’re employed, what could be better? Do you want a paying job, or do you feel you contribute to society just fine without one? What unpaid work do you do that you value or that others value, for example, emotional support in relationships? If you’re a family member, friend or ally of a person with a disability, what thoughts do you have on work and employment? What’s the employment situation like for PWD in your country or region ?

Email your post URL, title, and the name you go by, to me, Liz, at
lizhenry@gmail.com.

I’ll post the final Carnival on Composite: Tech & Poetics and
Hack Ability: DIY for PWD on October 25.

Thank you! I look forward to reading some fantastic posts!

Related posts:

The Planet of Swears

I’m writing some RSS feed scraper programs and while playing around with that, set up an install of Planet feed reader. It was very funny to see on the one hand, lots of people blogging or writing things like “Oh, this doesn’t even need setup, just unzip it and you’re basically done” — and the Planet documentation itself saying that the config file’s comments explained everything — vs. actual step by step instructions of what to do, like burningbird‘s post, which I found very helpful. That’s a lot of “nothing to do” to explain and it still didn’t get far enough for what I’d like to figure out: how to set up one installation of Planet but also set up multiple feeds in different directories, each with their own template.

Meanwhile I’m very amused that for another project I get to write a spider with a curse word filter. I haven’t had that hilarious of results since writing porn filters for Excite’s web spider. My output files and screen output when swear-spider.py runs are very funny. “Asshole Detected!”

A quick search on lists of dirty words gets some very amusing Supreme Court hearing transcripts. Like so!

FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726 (1978), Decided July 3, 1978. The dissenting opinions are especially great!

“A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used.”

I’ll try quoting that to my kid next time he frown at my liberal use of what he carefully calls “the f word”.

Related posts:

Kiva lending and people with disabilities

Kiva has opened up to lending to entrepeneurs within the U.S. and I think this is something disability activists and independent living centers need to jump on immediately. This won’t help everyone, but it could help quite a few people with disabilities to start their own businesses.

For example, look at these Pass Plan examples.

# PASS Plan Abstract: Joseph’s goal is to become a full-time office clerk for the state. He has the disability label of Muscular Distrophy, Cognitive, and Vision Impairments, and uses a wheel chair. Joseph’s PASS will pay for OJT training experiences, a van, insurance, registration, gas maintenance, and a driver. This PASS will be used to purchase of a van, install lift modifications, and hire a personal attendant. The yearly cost is $1884.00. This PASS is for six years and a total amount of $11,304. This PASS comes from the Chicago Regional SSA Office.

How different would that proposal look if it were a request for capital and a Kiva-style loan (OR… a donation.) I’ve been saying for a while that what is insurmountable to a PWD, like simply needing a ramp built and a decent wheelchair, say a $5000 cost, would be easily obtainable through profiles and requests for donations or loans. Make the problem and the solution visible, and people will help, because to someone that $5000 is like pocket change and to a much greater pool of people on the Internet, a lot of small donations could make it up in no time. This would eliminate some of the structure of “professionals” who, frankly, siphon off 2/3 of the resources allocated to empower people with disabilities. Think of the people who have comfortable lives as professional experts who administer charity but who keep the objects of their charity in crazy poverty. It’s not their fault, it’s a systemic fault, but there’s something deeply wrong there.

How might a Kiva-like structure combine with Ticket to Work to make it easier for people with disabilities not just to find jobs but to go into business for themselves. Look at the collectives and cooperatives on Kiva and how a group of women will band together. That’s the kind of organization we might need to develop. If you get benefits and depend on them for, say, your health care, your personal care attendent, your ventilator; then you can’t have any resources and are trapped in an endless poverty, you can’t accumulate resources, you are kept in dependency. I have some problems with “being middle class” as a goal and yet faced with things like institutional living and the loss of control of our lives I think it’s not a bad goal to work towards.

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Photoessay of the 805 Veterans disabled parking problem

Here is a visual explanation of part of the problem with disabled parking at this building.

1:48 pm Tuesday March 31st. I drove into the front parking lot. I could see the front 2 spots were full. I drove to the back. (I didn’t take a photo.)

1:50 pm Tuesday March 31st. All three spots in the back are full.

All 3 spots in back full, 1:50pm Tuesday

As I paused to take this photo, a grey haired man in a suit and a dark SUV pulled into the reserved red zone, the spot next to the curb cut, where I was intending to park. I drove around to the front lot again to check the spaces there and to avoid having to interact with the man who was surely someone who works with the property manager.

A reserved spot

A couple of minutes later in the front lot, the two spaces there were still full. They are both inadequately marked as disabled spots. Frequently, people without placards park in the badly marked spot on the right-hand side.

the front 2 spots full, 1:50pm Tuesday

As I paused to take the picture above, the man in the suit who had been driving the SUV came out of the front doors and yelled something at me. I drove away, because I did not want to have any kind of confrontation with him.

1:55pm Tuesday. I drove to the back of the building again. The three spots were full, this time with the van gone and a different car in the space closest to the curb.

The back three spots are full, with a different car in the van spot. 1:55pm Tuesday

In retrospect, I think the man in the suit might have been yelling at me that there was a disabled spot open. I am led to think that he noticed me in the back lot, and knew specifically who I was.

It is a sign of the high demand for disabled parking spots at this building that by the time I drove to the back from the front, an open blue-placard spot had filled up. As I parked in the red zone in a “reserved” spot next to the man in the suit’s SUV, I noted another person with a blue placard driving past me and the full spots that were marked for disabled parking. I did not get their photo however. My camera was in my pocket and I was pulling my wheelchair parts out of the front passenger seat over the steering wheel and assembling the chair on the ground next to my car.

I parked in a red "reserved" spot.

As I came into work from the parking lot I snapped this photo to illustrate that the “van accessible” spot is not properly marked or configured. The landscaping and the concrete bollard both potentially interfere with a van lift or ramp. The space is not wide enough and not properly striped.

The "van accessible" spot, which isn't.

The elevator doors in the building opened for me and I backed up to let out an elderly lady in a chair and her companion who was pushing her chair. We smiled at each other and I wished we could stop and have a good conversation. I admired the brilliant whiteness of her hair and she looked at my sparkly wheels; I wondered what she thought of them. Frankly, I enjoy getting to see the high number of other wheelchair users who come to this building to go to the PAMF clinic. We always have a friendly smile of acknowledgement or a nice word for each other.

That entire sequence (minus the guy in the van) happens nearly every day at this building no matter what time I arrive at work. By the time I leave late in the day, most of the spots are empty.

I hope that explains things a little bit better for the “able-bodied”. The good thing about this experience today is that it wasn’t raining.

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