What Are Veronica Belmont and Molly Dilworth Doing?

Since dotFiveOne’s launch in 2008, I’ve posted quite a few (more than a lot, less than hundreds) tidbits about geeky women and their doings. The following women were featured at some point and they’re still working like mad, so here are a couple of “what are they doing now” updates.

Veronica Belmont

When last I spoke of Belmont on dotFiveOne, I introduced you to the exceptional geekiness that is the Sword and Laser. S&L continues to enchant and entertain – be sure to check out the latest episode of the podcast at http://www.swordandlaser.com/. If you’re a big PlayStation gamer, you’ve no doubt already heard of Qore, but for those like me happily twitching about in Wii-Land, it’s still news. Belmont hosts Qore and continues to co-helm Tekzilla on Revision3. Seems to me that if there’s a geek angle to be had on anything, Belmont knows what and where it is. (And over 1.6 million folks on Twitter want to know what she knows.) Be sure to check her sites for updates.

Molly Dilworth

Molly Dilworth - Shop Art We Love

The mighty Molly Dilworth was featured recently on dotFiveOne because of her beyond-cool-and-viewable-from-satellite rooftop paintings in New York City. Since then, her design for several blocks – 50,000 square feet – of Times Square adjacent walkway was accepted and painted. I made the trip to Times Square to see it in person, and the painting completely changes the vibe of that space; what was once both nostalgic and seedy is almost avant garde when combined with the overwhelming technical assault of six storey digital displays.

Visit Dilworth’s site for more news of past and future works, and if moved enough to purchase a piece, check out these amazing prints.

Women of WordCamp 2010: Prologue

WordCampPortland 2010WordCamp Portland kicks off this Saturday morning in Portland, Oregon. The two-day conference is for users and developers of WordPress, the  open-source website/blog software platform that powers millions of sites on the web, including dotFiveOne.

Scheduled speakers include:

  • Domanique Alicia, WordPress & Accessibility
  • MIchelle Anderson, Using the Apture Plugin to Tell Interactive Stories
  • Amanda Blum, WP Clients: Plugging Clients into their WP Site
  • Sheri Bigelow, How to Support WordPress
  • Melissa Lion & Julie Yamamoto, From Personal Blogger to Professional Marketer
  • Jessica Neuman Beck, Business Blogging for Non-Writers
  • Chelsea Otakan, WordPress: The Designer’s CMS
  • Jane Wells, How WordPress Decisions Get Made

Visit the WordCampPDX website for more information about the rest of the schedule. One item of note: Matt Mullenweg, founding developer of WordPress, will host a town hall on the second day of the conference. Lastly, typical of Portland geek conferences, a couple of rooms will be made available for “unconferences” – sessions created on the spot for whatever subject matter folks would like to congregate and discuss.

WordCampPDX 2010 will be streamed live on their website.  Follow the real time results on Twitter. And for those lucky enough to be in possession of tickets, see you there!

WEPAN Shares Its Knowledge Center With You

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Women In Engineering organization hosted a webinar last week featuring the Women in Engineering ProActive Network. The two organizations are similar in scope – both want to increase the number of women in technical fields – but IEEE WIE is clearly focused on engineers while WEPAN and its Knowledge Center have a broader reach touching many STEM-related disciplines in addition to engineering.

WEPAN started in 1990 and is a national (U.S.) not-for-profit organization with over  600 members across various industries and academia. Its stated goal is to “help members develop a more prepared and diverse engineering workforce,” which more clearly worded means that they’re working to facilitate the development of programs and activities that promote the entry and retention of women in engineering programs.

During the webinar, Diane Matt (WEPAN’s Executive Director) and Jenna Carpenter (IEEE Senior Member, Associate Dean at Louisiana Tech University and WEPAN’s Director of Professional Development) walked attendees through a tour of the WEPAN site and its associated Knowledge Center. Nearly forty percent of the webinar’s participants were academics.

The WEPAN Knowledge Center is an online resource for “research, best practices and professional communities dedicated to advancing all women in engineering.” It began with five hundred resources in June of 2009, and has since doubled its listings. Want statistics on the number of American college graduates with STEM-degrees who happen to be women? Curious about gender gaps and bias in various fields? Looking for organizations or institutions with diversity, outreach and research programs? All of that – and much, much more – can be found in the WEPAN Knowledge Center, and the information is completely open to the public; membership is not required for viewing, a deliberate action to make this information accessible to anyone. (Email registration is required if you want to add resource or access online community content.)

WEPAN also has a large professional community for members, which features a global calendar of events, as well as a the usual selection of social networking options – discussion groups, people and skills search, blogs, in-group email, etc. as well as the ability to track specific groups of professional interest. If you’re interested in mentoring or professional development, this community seems a great place to build your resources. Be sure to visit their main website as well as the Knowledge Center, and check out the FAQ.

Note that membership in the professional community and membership in WEPAN are different animals: only email registration is required to participate in the professional community, but individual membership in the organization is $100 (reduced rates available for student, etc.). WEPAN membership appears to be specifically aimed at academics of various levels, though it’s open to “anyone interested in promoting and achieving improved representation of women in engineering.” WEPAN also has an online store that boasts its own conference proceedings and presentation guides.

The WEPAN Annual Conference, aimed at addressing “recurring and emerging issues”, will be heald in June 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (This year’s conference included tracks on Diversity, Policy, How to Get Funding, Cultivating Tomorrow’s Talent and Effective Messaging.)

Look for announcements of future IEEE and IEEE WIE webinars on their website, or here on dotFiveOne.

Women of OSCON 2010

The world’s premier open source convention, OSCON, returned to Portland, Oregon just a few weeks ago. Since 1999, O’Reilly Media, publishing home of the best geek books ever, has presented OSCON as an exploration of all things open source to the entire industry.

Program chair Allison Randal, along with Edd Dumbill, welcomed attendees back to “the City of Roses, beer and bacon doughnuts”. (True story.) Randal is the architect of Parrot, chairman of the Parrot Foundation, on the board of directors of the Python Software Foundation and the Perl Foundation, and founder and president of Onyx Neon Press.
Keynote speakers at OSCON 2010 included:
- Stormy Peters, Is Your Data Free?
Additionally, Deborah Bryant and Leslie Hawthorn won O’Reilly Open Source Awards this year for making significant contributions to the overall open source community. Hawthorn was recognized for her tireless work with Google’s Summer of Code, “a global program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source software projects”. Bryant is the Open Source Communities Manager at Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab, where “she advocates and creates collaboration between public, private and academic concerns in pursuit of the successful adoption of open source technology and models.”
Be sure to check out the ton of presentation and interview videos taken at the event.

Leah Busque Does Your Task For You

Here’s today’s silly question: ever had a task that you didn’t have time to do and wished someone else would do it for you? Of course you have! The solution? Pay someone else to do it.

Leah Busque is the founder and CEO of TaskRabbit.com (formerly RunMyErrand.com). The idea is simple and timeless – pay someone else a nominal fee to do whatever task you need done – but instead of hiring an assistant or nagging your friends, all you have to do is post your requested task on the website and potential “runners” will bid on the sweet privilege of being your lackey.

This kind of service – one-to-one outsourcing – has been covered substantially in recent years thanks to folks like Tim Ferriss (“The 4-Hour Work Week”), but TaskRabbit is the only one (that I know of) with a geeky woman at the helm. TaskRabbit is easy to use (no, I’m not getting kickbacks to say that) and I was pretty impressed with their customer service as well. For many of us, the work that runners can do is limited to the web since they’re only operational in a couple of cities, but the model is a good one. Here’s the geek factor: all of this magic – task assignment, acceptance and payment – happens through the website.

Check out this very cool video interview of Leah about TaskRabbit and its San Francisco expansion.

For more information about Leah Busque, check out the TaskRabbit press page, Leah’s Vimeo Page, her LinkedIn business blog, as well as a Beantown Chowda Chat and an interview in the Boston Globe. You can also follow her on Twitter or check out her LinkedIn profile.

[And if you haven't checked out Tim Ferriss' book which covers outsourcing in mind-blowing detail, visit the Amazon link below.]

Join The Nerd Girls

Over two years ago, dotFiveOne launched itself onto the web, hoping to shed light on some of the geeky things women are doing all over the wide world of tech. One of the first stories posted was about the Nerd Girls, a group of university students working on tech projects under the supervision of Dr. Karen Panetta.

Fast forward to present day:

The Nerd Girls are now casting for the NEW TV SERIES produced by MPH Entertainment, best known for their Emmy-nominated hit show “Dog Whisperer with Cesar Milan.”  Dr. Karen Panetta, founder of Nerd Girls, has been encouraging young women to change their world through science, technology, engineering and math, all while embracing their feminine power, and she wants you to join her team!

The main goals of the Nerd Girls are to offer positive role models to girls considering the engineering field and to provide geeky university students with the opportunity to work on very cool projects. If those ideas appeal to you, answer the casting call!