Firefox release, diner interlude, gingerbread

After some especially intense weeks at work (leading up to this week’s Firefox 66 release) we then had to respond to the Pwn2own exploits. It went pretty much like last year when we also released in under a day; everyone worked hard and some people worked long hours to make it happen. I’m so proud to be part of Mozilla and get to work with such smart and dedicated people.

Between the release on Tuesday and the security-driven release on Thurs/Fri I spent a bunch of time going over and summarizing the various problems & uncertainties. It is very interesting to try and judge importance, impact, and “risk” in a software release. On the one hand you are offering a lot of improvements and fixes but you will inevitably also break something else for some other population of users. Is it an overall improvement for most users? Is some particular population (that may not be a majority) impacted by a new problem? All users of a particular site will crash with the new version, but with the old version, everyone editing a document with a Korean keyboard can’t use their backspace key. The different issues don’t cancel each other out, but still have to be compared and weighed. You start out reading bug and crash reports, and end up pondering epistemology and trying to steer a course in decision making through rocky waters — the geography of operating systems, hardware, web sites, and standards where nothing ever stands still. In the end the pattern seems to remain the same: cautiously release, pause and fix the worst new problems as best we can, then go full throttle. It will never be rock solid, like how you’d have to be releasing software for NASA, though, amazingly, that seems to be what people expect.

By the way, my boots came out great! I stripped off the glaze and brown dye with acetone, dyed them with Angelus red and wine-red and a bit of black, mink-oiled them, put on a Resolene sealant coat, then a coat of neutral polish. Now, I can look down at my boots and think YAY! RED! rather than seeing a sort of yucky ochre.

red boots

Ended my work day early (after pulling long hours for a while) and headed out to my sister’s house for the afternoon. BART continues to entertain me. I had a nice look at Oakland 19th street station and its beautiful deep varigated blue tiling. At first I thought they were bricks, but they’re actually thick tiles laid over a wire mesh. I may make this station the “Water” artifact puzzle for the game in honor of the lovely tiles. (Originally that was going to be Lake Merritt, but it needs to be a station on the Red line.)

Realized on the way that I hadn’t had lunch and barely had breakfast – I stopped at Mama’s Royal Cafe & had a biscuit sandwich and endless cups of decaf. The waiter spotted me playing Ingress and turned out to be a long time player on my same team (the Resistance or blue team)! I tried to work on my game a bit, but didn’t get far, too fried to really think things through. This is a great cafe — relaxing, gorgeous, cozy, good food.

At Laura’s I helped my nephew make gingerbread for his school bake sale (5 cakes’ worth so we mixed it all up in a huge pot.) I then ate like half a pan of gingerbread (for dinner I guess). Laura and I worked on our wordpress sites – I needed to change the theme of mine and she was just setting up a new one. Also, a couple of years ago I migrated in some way that broke all my images from past posts. That is now fixed! Huzzah! I also ended up minorly hacking this new theme to force it not to do post excerpts, which I fucking hate. Just let me scroll forever and read other people’s long posts! But no… the fashion is so heavily for showing excerpts and making people click a zillion times and load new pages. Bah. I don’t CARE if you’re on your phone – you can scroll! It’s been a long time since I even looked at php but, reassuringly, it all came back to me.

gingerbread mixing

It was my son’s 19th birthday on Friday as well and he had a final and then was heading off to a weekend camping LARP with his dad. I’ll see him next week! But, I have to admit I went and looked at pics of him from babyhood on in a sentimental way. He’s so grown up and wonderful, and I’m so so proud of him.

milo-hashtag-sweater

Playing catch-up and tweaking small habits

Coming back to work after 6 weeks leave – Here is my plan.

* Bugzilla needinfo: A few people were still trying to talk to me while I was out so, doing that first.
* Deal with email: inbox ~2000, anything older than a week, I will archive it in large batches by filtering and then read whatever is leftover and seems important.
* Study the calendar and absorb where we are in the current release cycle
* Read meeting notes: my team meetings, product cross-functional, recent channel meetings
* Read the post-mortem notes for the 62 release, and the subsequent dot releases, though that may depress me (I got sick in the last stages of this (“my”) release)
* Figure out what I should be doing next, probably that means prep for Firefox 65 if I’ll be the release owner for that, and I believe for ESR 60.4.0 (that goes along with the 64 release)
* I can always peck away at some new regression triage

That’s plenty for the next day or so.

Meanwhile during my recovery from surgery I have been trying to change or add small daily habits. Another list!

* I have integrated doing 3-5 minutes of gentle tai chi a few times a day (first thing in the morning, mid-morning, and before lunch are the most important).
* Writing and drawing around 15 minutes each, even if not particularly inspired, I have to stop whatever else I’m doing and give it a try. Sometimes I end up going further or having good ideas!
* Making sure to go outside and lie in the sun, while we still have sunny patches on the front porch and on our back patio. Sun hour is currently around 9:45 to 11 in the front. By late October we won’t have any more direct sun, not until March. So I had better take advantage while it’s still here (And also, it structures my day nicely — important, as Coleridge says, to organize the hours and give them a soul.)
* Posting more here, in my more private journal, or writing in my notebook rather than just on Facebook, which has become an ingrained bad habit.
* I moved Twitter off the front page of my phone and replaced it with Duolingo and Feedly, so now when I have the impulse to zone out reading Twitter (and rage-tweeting about politics) I instead either read some actual blogs that I like, or do some poking away at Duolingo. (Spanish and French). I also still look over Hacker News which usually has something worth reading, if only so that I can laugh at n-gate afterwards
* Sending snail mail. When I realized I’d be in bed for weeks, I asked for postcards from people, and got around 100 cards! It was very cheering. I’m still answering that batch of cards.

Here’s a little sharpie marker illustration of a black cat from one of my drawing sessions!
drawing of a black cat

Getting back on the horse

Not heroin but blogging more rather than leaning on Facebook and Slack for all my casual writing, diary, and conversation online. Never mind maneuvers, blog straight at em. The other thing stopping me is a totally mundane task to twiddle the theme of this blog and restore all the images which were lost in a previous theme change early in 2017. Somehow, there is never time!

I started off the holiday break at the end of 2017 working over my vacation. Then spent a few days speed-publishing part of my book backlog to ebook formats, starting with very tiny poetry books from 2000 to about 2005, firing up my most recent press/imprint, Burn This Press. There are more coming – both more tiny books and bigger books and anthologies that didn’t have a wide distribution and never made it to a digital format.

Many other ambitions like traveling for a vacation, or visiting every museum in the San Francisco Bay Area, were shelved for when I feel more mobile and have less pressure at work. I still did some fun things in December though!

Among them, 2 christmases: Fakemas which we hold before the actual holiday, since both kids tend to go on trips to or with other family for Dec. 25. And then actual Christmas with my sister’s family.

Here’s a cute picture of Milo home from university and putting ornaments on our tiny, tiny tree — against a background of bookshelves! It’s on a small end table that’s a solid, heavy tree stump carved and painted to look like a pile of giant books.

putting ornaments on the tree

What we'll do

One thing that was starting to dawn on me: we would see a wave of women speaking up, more than ever, which would change things in ways we couldn’t predict. The heartfelt stories suddenly popping up on “Pantsuit Nation” felt like early blogging days over again but expanded further out to a new group. Stories of past abuse or injustice, large or small incidents as women thought about their lives, their mothers and grandmothers and daughters. Despite the ways the political status quo supports already privileged white women I started to feel that a little bit more of a cultural shift was about to happen in this country with Clinton’s election. I really love diaries and the history of women’s writing. In this context for me it is touching and sad to see how difficult it is for women even now to participate in public intellectual life. So often the pattern is that women of color blaze the trail and fall hard under attack while a lot of white women professionalize up and get a dribble of token jobs.

My hope is that we will fight harder against that process and women will keep on writing and being outspoken – not in the way it might have unfolded, but as a point of resistance and awakening under whatever is about to happen (which I dread.)

Even the most privileged women don’t manage to tell their stories or truth in public (or mobilize and organize, which is what comes next) maybe in some cases because they have a fair amount to lose and are invested in the status quo. Beyond that personal investment and co-optatation we should also be aware that culture and politics can change quickly. We can’t know what aspects of our life will condemn us in the future (for example, being a landlord in some political climates has meant heavy political oppression for generations.) Early blogging or any frank public writing leaves us even more vulnerable on a political level than we might fear in our personal lives or from being trolled online.

Also I thought that Samantha Bee thing about Clinton’s life clamping down on herself and trying to mold herself into what was required by The Patriarchy was the most depressing thing ever and I felt glad I have at least some remnant of punk rock in my soul. Man that was awful. Nope nope nope. She took a pragmatic road but what a road to hell. Glad I am not a politician right now.

This is just to say that this can be a point of resistance. Maybe that is comforting – kind of like, well, So what. Keep on being out there if that’s a way you want to risk yourself. It can be small and personal but it has a real world effect. Maybe the women who began to open up in that “private” Facebook group will find ways to keep on doing something like that. I respect the ways that people find to keep themselves and their families safe. But it’s also important that we keep speaking up as much as possible. For myself I’m thinking that I stand by my own years of public writing and always will. Everyone please blog harder and poet harder, if that’s what you do.

Shorter posts with more worklogs and book reviews

While I love to go on at length and be thorough sometimes it’s been stopping me from recording interesting stuff lately. I’ll be at a conference and take great notes, which years ago I would have posted unedited. Now I tend to procrastinate posting about something “until I can do justice to it” which often results in “never”. Have I posted about Kiwicon? NO! Argh. Fuck that, I need to just post.

So I’m resolving to write more frequently about smaller topics. They may not turn into comprehensive book reviews but at least there will be something here.

mozilla roof

At work I am organizing a Bugzilla bug day and preparing to go to Toronto next week for a community building work week.

Not-at-work, lots of people are rumbling about wanting another feminist hackers meeting and a hackability wheelchair/access device hack day. I have Noisebridge stuff going on and AdaCamp is coming up in June. I forgot to actually sign up for WisCon panels but in theory am going to WisCon. There is a lot of “event to-do list” stuff here!

Notable books I read in the last few days: The Bront√ęs Went to Woolworth’s by Rachel Ferguson, which was fantastic; The Diary of Elizabeth Pepys by Dale Spender, which I adored but which was very depressing as you can imagine if you have read Pepys; and Japanese Inn (my boring-book for bedtime) by Oliver Statler, which functioned perfectly as a boring-book and which was good but very colonialish and patronizing in the way you might expect from a book from 1960 and which if you are not trying to fall asleep at night would just make you wonder why you are bothering and realize it would be better to read some actual work of Japanese history or a primary source by one of the people referred to. Though I did enjoy reading Isabella Bird’s travels.

I am feeling more energy lately and less pain, which I attribute to my 2 months of Enbrel injections and perhaps also Tramadol, which is great as an occasional painkiller.

Here is a photo of the fabulous glistening Minecraft block cake I made for Milo’s 13th birthday party (which was at the musee mecanique again)

Minecraft cake

There really need to be square cupcake pans (well, cubical) Maybe there already are! Then it would be easy to make little Minecraft block cakes and frost them all different colors and build a hilarious structure which could be easily (if stickily) disassembled.

What would you like to hear from me at BlogHer?

At every annual BlogHer conference I’ve given one (or several) talks and workshops. I’ve always gotten a lot of great feedback from my workshop sessions on coding and debugging, blog security and privacy, and other technical how-tos, as well as talking about politics, women’s history, feminism and identity, and how our writing online ties into the letters and diaries and activism from women in the past. Last year I spoke about what it’s like to be a small blogger who suddenly is on the crest of the wave of breaking news and talking with mainstream media. I also try to approach tech support for our bloggers and community as part of my personal feminist activism: tech support as empowerment!

Since I work for BlogHer full time, I’m on call as a speaker to fill in anywhere the organizers need me to, so I could end up anywhere. Still, I like to propose my own panels! I’m considering “A Server of Her Own” or “Feminist Hackers” . . .

If you’re thinking of coming to BlogHer ’12 in NYC next , what would you like me to speak about or teach? Any particular subjects or panels you’ve seen me run before, that you’d like to see happen again? Or, if you’re thinking of coming to speak, what kind of panel or workshop would you like to run *with* me?

me, skye, and tempest

Not that it’s all about me!

If you’re thinking about coming to BlogHer or putting in an idea or a talk proposal… read on!

BlogHer is an extremely friendly and open conference. 80% of our speakers each year are new speakers at the conference! It started with 300 women in San Jose years ago, and now I think our numbers at the annual conference are closer to 4000. Yes! Four thousand blogging women! (And sundry.) The parties are great — the people are the best thing though. Some people are nerdy, some are more writerly, some personal, some blogging on particular subjects, some very commercially oriented and many not at all. As with all the best conferences the sessions are good but the hallway and lobby conversations that happen informally are even better.

Read through Polly’s (very helpful) Call for Ideas, and Jes’s How to Become a Speaker at BlogHer! And if you have any questions for me personally about the conference, feel free to ask in comments or email me at liz@blogher.com.

On my way to BlogHer '11

I’m leaving this morning for the BlogHer conference in San Diego! I think this year’s BlogHer conference is going to be about 3000 people, our biggest ever. On our site I wrote up a quick round-up of mobile apps you might want at a conference as well as a brief explanation of securing your wireless connections with a VPN service — a “geeky conference prep” post. BlogHer also has a useful mobile app for the conference itself with maps of the convention center, the speakers and sessions, and the capability for people to build a schedule for themselves.

At this conference I’m moderating a panel on what happens when your blog goes viral, with Ashleigh Burroughs of The Burrow, a blogger who was shot by Jared Loughner in Arizona; and Nerdy Apple Bottom who suddenly was the subject of intense media coverage for her post on her son’s Halloween costume when he dressed up as Daphne from Scooby Doo. Both bloggers’ real names were revealed as a result of their sudden fame and they got thousands and thousands of comments and emails; months later they’re still fielding the effects.

I’m also running a Geek Bar session on “Internet Sleuthing” and another, with Skye Kilaen, on recovery from “Blog Disasters” — what to do if your blog goes down or is hacked, how to prepare to recover your data and rebuild your site. For the Sleuthing session I’ll talk about how to track people down and why you might need or want to do that as a blogger. The Geek Bar sessions are 15 minute workshops in small groups, repeated over a 1.5 hour time slot and I expect to give a mini-talk and then open it to hands on work and group discussion. It should be an interesting format and I think will also result in good social contact for the 5 people in each mini-workshop session, who will get to know each other in the process!

This year’s “disaster recovery” Geek Bar talk will be a good continuation of my longer talk last year, Fight Spam and Hackers! which was basically computer security 101 for BlogHer’s community of women who are very heavy users of social media and blogs and who are running their own sites but who may not have had the cultural background in geekery to have ever thought about how to crack a password. I brought up issues of privacy and anonymity, a subject that we talk about quite a lot as bloggers and as women, and tried to frame them in the context of our gender.

At BlogHer DC and Boston in 2008 I was on a panel called Blogging Basics: 6 steps to personalize, polish, and promote your blog which was a concrete list of ways to improve your blog. I still have people come up to me and tell me that they use the tips we gave in this talk! Especially the suggestion to print out your php code and css, and mark it up with a highlighter and notes in order to figure out what it’s doing and demystify it. In DC and Boston we also had a sort of Geek Lounge area set up for people to do hands-on work with their blogs in an informal setting; Sarah Dopp and I ran around the room talking people through tech support issues and usually everyone at a table would start to help each other out and collectively would know much more than they realized they did.

At these “geek” tracks it ends up being a mix of the more programmer or web dev types of BlogHer attendees and people who want to learn that stuff. The track is kind of a mini-She’s Geeky and leads to fabulous “hallway conversations” every year. The conference itself is amazingly lively and vibrant, with around 60-80% of attendees *and speakers* new to the conference and a very high percentage at their first tech conference ever. The conference tickets are cheap because we are highly and I mean *highly* sponsored by companies, with a huge expo hall of sponsor booths and all sorts of weird swag and contests and parties and sometimes individual people wandering around handing out bags of stuff. I think it was the year we were in Chicago that I came back with a pink Swarovski crystal covered Bluetooth headset, a vibrator, and a waffle iron in addition to Free Samples of about 5 kinds of detergent, snack food, retractable usb cables, flash drives, and I don’t even know what else. Everyone is kind of overwhelmed by the rush of women who are pair-bonded with their laptops and the joy of meeting people who you’ve read online for years especially when you find they are even more interesting in person. For myself I also really enjoy seeing the range of expertise people have and what kickass speakers they are — and wonder, are other conferences looking at our speaker list and using us as a resource to diversify their own talks and panels? I’m sure that happens to some extent but it should happen more.

I meant to write up a retrospective of my experiences at each of the BlogHer conferences but that will have to wait for another post! Meanwhile, enjoy this cute photo of me and my sister at BlogHer in 2006. That year we were inspired by the many online discussions of What To Wear to BlogHer especially to the big central party. In a sort of protest against worrying so much about what to wear anywhere, we wore ball gowns to the party and pretended to have a drama filled argument at the edge of the pool and then pushed each other in.

liz

Anyway, I look forward to another fantastic conference and am going to drive down to San Diego the long way, down Highway 1 and 101!

Civic fictions at conferences

Because of the Amina and Paula Brooks controversies and my part in unraveling them, I spent the last few weeks talking with media and giving talks about online hoaxes, identity, sockpuppets, and astroturfing.

I did an impromptu lightning talk at Noisebridge‘s 5 Minutes of Fame, making my slides right there on the spot. That was a lot of fun — because of the informality of that crowd I was very frank and could have a (bitter) sense of humor about the whole thing.

At O’Reilly’s FooCamp, I gave the talk I had planned on How to Suppress Women’s Coding. But as the Amina story unfolded over the weekend of Foo Camp, I was talking with more and more people about what was going on and at some point actually had a bit of a nervous breakdown on Molly Holzschag and Willow Brugh because of the constant stress and uncertainty about how to proceed and what I was choosing to do. I added in a discussion session “Lesbian Sockpuppet Detective Story” to talk about online identities and think that it went fairly well. People had very good stories about how they detected and fought astroturfers and sockpuppets. Anyway, I could write a giant post for every conversation I had at FooCamp! And might do that — I have pages of notes.

P1140280

Three things really stood out for me as themes of Foo Camp: Big (open) Data and Visualization; our collective imaginary picture of Oof Camp (the “bad guys” doing the opposite of Foo Camp, working to do things we would disapprove of or find deeply unethical) alongside an examination of what we do believe is right and “our” geek culture; and women in tech talking with each other in public about sexist patterns and strategies to deal with them, which isn’t new, but which seemed to me to be scaled up and comfortable beyond what I normally see at mixed-gender tech conferences. On the women in tech front I think Foo Camp and O’Reilly might be progressing, a sense I’ve had building slowly over the last few years. It seems glacial to me but still positive. In short, I didn’t feel tokenized, I felt respected and valuable, I made tons of great connections with women and men, there were lots and lots of women there kicking ass, I didn’t know all of them, and as an extra bonus, nothing creepy happened at all, at least to me. Huzzah!

Media Lab

After FooCamp, John Bracken gave me a last minute invite to the Knight Foundation/MIT Future of Civic Media conference. This was an absolutely fantastic conference. I loved the MIT Media Labs spaces and all the projects I heard about. Ethan Zuckerman led a panel called Civic Fictions, with Dan Sinker, me, and Andy Carvin. The audience questions and discussion went off in some fairly deep and interesting directions. Here’s a video of the panel with a link to a bare-bones summary. I’ll try to transcribe the entire thing soon.

Civic Fiction: MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.

Dan Sinker talked about writing the @MayorEmanuel Twitter story: 40,000 words of satire in 2000 tweets. I later read the entire MayorEmanual saga which was hilarious & compelling. His analysis of identity and online media and history at the end of his talk blew me away which is part of why I want to transcribe the entire panel. Also, Dan absolutely rocks. We had a fun conversation about being unable to describe ourselves neatly or give any sort of elevator pitch to explain why we were interesting to the suits and … well you know.. the actually legitimate people. Dan has a long history of zine making as the founder of Punk Planet and has done countless fabulous things.

Ethan introduced the panel and told his own story of heading up Global Voices & having to determine whether people were “real” or not, including his doubts from years ago about the blogger Sleepless in Sudan and his relief at finally meeting her. I remember him bringing up Sleepless as an example of deep uncertainty in the discussion at my talk on online fictional personas at SXSWi in 2006.

I told some of the Amina/Paula story, my part in it, how I worked with other investigators, bloggers, and journalists to figure out and expose what was going on. In the discussion afterwards I was most happy with my answer to (I think) Waldo Jacquith‘s question about history and truth. I mentioned Songs of Bilitis partly because it’s the first thing that popped into my head. But it’s a good example of a historical literary hoax that was then actually used by lesbians as a name for the first lesbian rights organization in the U.S., the Daughters of Bilitis.

Andy Carvin then talked about his involvement with the Arab Spring and the Amina hoax in that context. When Amina was “kidnapped” by security police and her identity began to be questioned, all his Syrian contacts went silent for over a week. Andy’s thoughts were great to hear and I really enjoyed talking with him and respect his particular skills in Firehose Immersion.

At these sorts of talks we keep discussing ethics. Many people appear to *want* to do such projects, to tell compelling stories for a political purpose to mobilize particular audiences to have empathy & take action for marginalized people. Some people want to try it, or perhaps have already done it and want to hear that they didn’t do something wrong — or maybe just want to believe that something good came of the attention to bloggers in Syria that the Amina hoax brought. There is also a strong thread of “but… what about creativity and post modern identity?” running through the attempt to save something good out of all this.

It was a great conference and there was only one mildly ew-tastic drunk guy who I had to work to escape from (Larry, you gotta hold your liquor better, dude, and not talk about your junk like that to strange feminist ladies well-known for blogging everything.)

I came out of all these talks thinking that many more hoaxes and large-scale astroturfing situations are coming. Elections and political movements are going to be even more confusing. I think there is a field emerging for analysis of online identity, personas, authenticity, and so on — in fact perhaps an academic discipline which might best be part of journalism/new media schools. “Internet Sleuth” will become a profession that needs much better tools than we have now. As better “persona management” tools are built, we need better and easier to use tools to detect those personas — open source tools in the hands of everyone not just government and huge corporations.

I did think of a few great and inevitable ways that civic fictions could exist without being immediately offensive and appropriative. Here are two.

We could have fictional universe reporters intertwined with our own. Basically, crossover fanfic reporting in first person, crossing some media nexus of fiction, preferably a politically complicated one, with breaking news. Harry Potter, for example. If you had freaking Harry Potter, on location, or better yet several Potterverse characters reporting on breaking news, you would attract entirely new audiences to the news. It would provide ways in for young people to talk about politics and to think about politics in a context of stories they’ve thought a lot about. I mention Potterverse because it’s popular, but also because its story *is* politically complex as a story of child soldiers and armed resistance to dictatorship. Well, anyway, that could be horrible and disrespectful if done clumsily, but I think it *will happen* probably with TV show franchises.

We could have civic fictions that consciously and collaboratively explore a real situation. I thought of one for the town I live in, Redwood City. Redwood City has very strong ties with a specific town in southern Mexico, Aguililla. I’m not sure of the real numbers but I’ve read that 40% of the population of Aguillia has at some point lived in Redwood City in a migration, remittance, and return pattern that has lasted for at least 40 years. People could have *many* reasons for not wanting to tell their personal or family stories of migration and return. How interesting it would be to write a collaborative soap opera or epic stretching over time, twittering and blogging it in a network of friends and family (all fictionalized) perhaps bilingually in Spanish and English (or trilingually since not everyone in Michoacan has Spanish as their first language) to show some of the issues and drama in people’s lives — and perhaps to show the relations, friendships, and tensions between Aguillia emigrants and the other residents of Redwood City and Menlo Park. Good idea isn’t it? Maybe someone will take it and run — or do a similar project in their own home town. Keeping in mind firmly the principle of “Nothing about us without us“.

After I got back from Boston I said I’d do an Ignite talk for IgniteSF but then flaked at the last minute out of exhaustion.

Many people have asked me if I’m still investigating hoaxes and if I found more Fake Internet Lesbians. I did find a few including Becky Chandler the sassy libertarian post-modern feminist in short-shorts who wrote a book on how it’s great to spank your children, but other people have already debunked her and exposed her as a creepy porny p*d*phile spanking-fetishist dude, and looking at that whole case made me throw up my hands in complete disgust. Plus, I really had to get back to my real work projects.

I have to mention my employer’s awesomeness in all of this: As soon as the Amina thing started eating my life, I let my boss and co-workers know about it and BlogHer basically gave me permission to do all the media stuff, radio interviews, talk with reporters, go to the MIT conference, and continue the bloggy sleuthing I was doing and delay my Drupal development projects for a couple of weeks. They were very supportive! But now I am back in the saddle and mucking around with code again, which is VERY SOOTHING.

Coming up in August in San Diego at the BlogHer ’11 conference, which is basically 3000+ women who blog and are heavy social media users hanging out with their laptops, I’m going to be speaking on a panel called “Viral Explosion”, giving a Geek Bar workshop talk with Skye Kilaen on what to do if your blog is hacked or if you lose your data — basically on security and disaster recovery — and then one more talk on Internet Sleuthing on You Know What and You Know Who and the tools I used to track all of it (like Maltego, which I recommend you try), a private wiki, and good old index cards. I’ll post again about BlogHer ’11 and these talks and all the kick ass geekiness that happens at BlogHer conferences!

Bill Graber and Paula Brooks: open questions

I’ll publish a post with more details tomorrow morning at BlogHer.com, but for now, here are a few questions about Paula Brooks and Bill Graber. [ETA: the post is up: Lesbian Blogger Hoax: Warnings & Questions about Paula Brooks

white dude supposedly bill graber

1. Does Graber really have a wife, and if so what is her name? Is she Paula Brooks? Why hasn’t the “real” Paula come forward — or anyone who knows her? There is a real Paula from Fairborn, Ohio, at the same address as Graber, who appeared in court as a witness against him in a domestic violence case.

paula brooks or just some chick in a bar in Fairborn, Ohio?

2. Is the female, real-person Paula Brooks okay?

3. Is Graber potentially violent or dangerous right now? Is he harassing any of his former colleagues? Since research by Mel and Robin and others in comments here pointed to the Fairborn, Ohio court records, we can see that Graber has been convicted of stalking, domestic violence, assault, DUI, and other more minor offenses. I checked the Ohio state correctional system and didn’t see Graber or Brooks recorded there.

4. It may be worth looking into North Carolina (Outer Banks area) court records in case they did live there. Did anyone in the Outer Banks blogging community have strange correspondence with Paula Brooks? Did they know Graber in real life?

5. Who are these twin children Paula Brooks claimed were her babies? Did Graber steal some other blogger’s baby photos? Are they stock photos?

twin babies supposedly paula brooks' children

6. Are the other lezgetreal staffers, LInda S. Carbonell aka Linda LaVictoire, her daughter Brigitte LaVictoire, and others, sincere? (Adam from the Bilerico Project appears to think so, and he’s pretty awesome.)

7. Are Carbonell and La Victoire still working with Graber? What about the things they’ve said and done in the past — for example, Carbonell claiming to have close relatives in the government?

8. Who were those other people who spoke for Brooks at Bill Graber’s number, who said they were NBC staff – the younger man and older women?

9. Did Brooks or Graber actually have any contact with NBC, or the Olbermann or Maddow shows?

10. Was Graber in the military, as he claims?

11. How did Brooks know about inside political information before it broke — about various military/political figures? (http://juliephineas.com/?p=2599)

12. What is Graber’s real background and resume? Can we find other traces of his involvement with Middle Eastern politics? (Because it seems a little odd, especially given the contents of some private chats and emails people have showed me.)

13. What LGBT activists or writers has Graber/Brooks attacked in the past, and is there any pattern in those actions?

[ETA: Adam Polaski has just published part 4 in his series on this mess on The Bilerico Project: The Unreliable World of Bill Graber, which makes some good points about Graber’s inconsistent claims.]