ai ai ai: more porn at a conference, this time hardcore


BusinessEventsNewsThoughts

Posting this NOT because I want to stir the pot, fan the flames, etc, but because it’s happening and it affects us. The quick version: guy gives presentation with hardcore porn images in Minneapolis. Guy is taken to task for it. Guy gives poor me, you prudes can’t handle sex, some of my best friends are women apology. Guy is taken to task for it. Discussion is very, very long. Some awesome things are said, like this, which I’d say pretty much sums it all up:

“We are in a comparatively irreverent industry. I remember seeing a couple of people swear onstage at the Webbies back in 2005, for example. We tend, as a whole, to lean toward more radical politics, more speaking your mind, and more irreverent humor — across all genders — as compared to other industries. The relative permissiveness in our industry partially accounts for why you might see something that pushes “the line” on stage at a web technologies conference than say, at a professional conference of another type. This needs to be kept in mind when the term “professionalism” is used rhetorically in these conversations.

So one thing that I think is true, is that we will continually be dancing toward “the line”, and not just on issues of gender, but also politics and other areas. And because of this, we do need to continually revisit what the boundaries of “offense” are or might be. Hopefully this will result not in fear-based non-expressive atmospheres, but in a civilized atmosphere where we are sensitive to our audiences, and they are sensitive to us as we express ourselves with whatever level of irreverence or forthrightness we choose. As a part of the inclusive atmosphere, it is critical that that inclusiveness works in all directions, and that all stakeholders keep a good faith attitude of questioning the content and context of their actions, and also the character and motives of their “offense”, or whatever reactions might be invoked.

The uber-goal, with this reflective consideration of expressers and reactors, is that we are able to openly discuss all factors at any time. That we have a safe environment for people to express and feedback. That includes allowing room for people to offend, allowing room for people to express their discomfort, and allowing room for people to apologize, be heard, and agree or disagree. Everything will work out for the best if that is the atmosphere of discourse that we support. We wont always agree, but we must put as much effort as possible into seeing the world from each other’s viewpoint.”

–Carlos Abler

Here’s a link to letters by conference organizer and offensive speaker in response, and discussion.

Women Who Tech TeleSummit


BusinessEventsPresentationReviewsThoughts

The Women Who Tech TeleSummit was like a gift that just keeps giving, and giving and giving. I attended three and a half panels and the after-party and discovered about twenty progressive, interesting businesses, news organizations, non-profits and email lists. Quick disclaimer, I love this stuff more than I love technology. I could eat ten progressive new developments in social justice for breakfast, every day. So my cup of tea may not be your cup of tea, but the fact that all of this is made possible by the agile new web technologies that devchix and women like us are building has got to be common tea. Eh?

Let’s start with the Launching Your Own Startup panel. The quote I can’t stop remembering is “Entrepreneurship is like jumping off a cliff and building a plane on the way down.” Also, that failure has lots of virtues: it makes you smarter, more attractive to funders, can make you fearless and more willing to jump that cliff. They all heartily encouraged anyone interested in starting a business to go for it. On a practical level, they all made sure their ideas had legs before quitting day jobs or abandoning previous businesses. They recommended an iterative business model with some focus on revenue from day one; recommended bootstrapping then going for advisors and then angel funding before going for VC money. They stressed researching VCs very, very thoroughly to make sure they understood your product and market or community, then selecting one you have a viable, personal connection with. They also recommended having business partners, for the value of differing strengths, but also because it makes you more attractive to funders, helps with your power balance with them. They all recommended Steve Blank’s book Four Steps to the Epiphany.

The next panel I attended was called The Feminine Mystique. (See this for the historical context of that title.) Essentially, this one was about the level of satisfaction women are finding in the life of technology work. Issues of work/life balance, of qualities of nurturing being undervalued in the workplace were explored. —There was a nuanced discussion at this point, by the way. We recognized that not all women are nurturing, etc. The value of mentoring was explained thoroughly, however, both in the men-tee experiences of the eminently successful panelists and as an undervalued management tool used to grow workers. We discussed promoting tools for shared parenting and increased time off for fathering, that had been introduced twenty years ago and were succeeding but lost favor in the rabid conservatism of the past decade – job-sharing, for example. We discussed the need to consider ourselves experts with less qualification than studies show we currently do, to create more parity with the way men determine themselves experts, and then act on that accordingly. (Men will see a list of requirements for a job they’re interested in, know they have only two out of twelve, for example, and confidently apply; women won’t unless they have ten, for example.) I feel however, that a little of both is in order on this issue: it’s important to re-define “expert” so that men who may be undeservedly claiming the right to that title are discouraged, just as it’s important for women who aren’t doing so to be encouraged. This translates into behaviors like speaking in meetings, etc.

The Video Activism panel. The panelists were from Youtube’s non-profit program, Witness.org and Free Range Studios. Basically they discussed different methods of persuading people to act, but their relationships to video were very different. I thought the most interesting aspect of the discussion was the striking contrast between Witness’ and Free Range’s work specifically. Witness is a global human rights organization, while Free Range is a San Francisco-based design shop that provides creative services for nonprofits and socially responsible companies. Witness often works with user-uploaded video, it’s often brutal and they don’t necessarily have control over issues of style or sound or pacing, whereas Free Range is in the business of crafting and producing video as part of larger, sophisticated campaigns. Both are very effective organizations, both discussed tactics for targeting people in concentric circles from most passionate and likely to act to least aware and engaged, but with widely differing parameters. Witness gave an example of a very graphic video in which Egyptian police beating a man was produced and released by the police themselves in order to intimidate others, but it reached the notice of human rights bloggers and so has been widely used as a resistance tool. It’s this combination of raw footage used by bloggers that creates the successful activism in Witness’s case. (Witness licenses footage on a sliding scale from their archive of about 3,000 hours of video; it’s frequently used by documentary filmmakers, journalists, grad students, etc.) Whereas the Free Range spokeperson gave an example of using stop-motion video, which is time-consuming and a little expensive to produce, in a campaign called save the bay. It was also very successful: they achieved their targeted number of email signups and their funding goals for an environmental impact study. But they were able to control every aspect of the video and the microsite on which it’s viewed.

I listened to a bit of the Social Media ROI panel, which hit topics like how you measure success depends upon how you frame your criteria, slightly tautological but the example given illustrates the power of the point. Presidential candidate Ron Paul used social media to try to win the Republican party’s nomination but didn’t (obviously). What they proposed, I believe based on interviews with Mr. Paul, is that he didn’t believe or intend to win, though of course he would’ve welcomed that outcome. What he wanted was to make sure certain issues were part of the debate and by using social media, he achieved exactly that. And hence, success. I only listened to a bit, though, because I was getting ready to travel to the after-party, which I attended and thoroughly enjoyed. The bar was laid back, they provided meat, vegan & veggie pizzas, it was a comfortable number of people, the discussions were friendly, and I met a journalist who works for the Huffington Post. On top of meeting five or six women programmers and Deanna Zandt, a prominent feminist organizer and technology consultant in New York who turned out to be one of those really nice, fun, shots-for-all-buyers. Good times, chix. Maybe we should try to get involved with next year’s summit, as an entity.

Links:

Women Who Tech Podcasts

Witness

That’s Not Cool

Knight News Challenge

RAD Campaign

Now Public

Deanna Zandt

RiseUp

The Story of Stuff

Free Range Studios

Berrett-Koehler Publishing

Who do you turn to if your domain registrar is unscrupulous?


BusinessThoughts

I’ve been in the business of doing websites since 1998. Little did I know that no one would protect a Registrant if your domain registrar is a fraud or if they decide to take your domain hostage. Whoa?! Such huge allegations you say? We will get to that. You’d want to hear this story.

The big question – -

If you are reading this blog post, I’m 100% sure you own a domain or two yourselves or know of someone who does. Can you trust your registrar? I found out the hard way that you couldn’t. I am one of those victimized by RegisterFly. Charles Ferri’s video shows it all. The Malaysia Sun has a full story on the scandal. Bob Parson, CEO of GoDaddy, has a blog post about this RegistryFly Scandal too.

Based on my experience from this, there’s no clear lawful process to immediately “siege” back a domain you own when your Registrar has your domain in its clutches and NO ONE seems to know how to exactly fix this kind of problem other than ICANN’s sending breach of contract memos and then maybe finally canceling the registrar’s accreditation.

What about the stolen domains? What about the time sites becoming inoperable because of this scandal and it’s disruption to business? How is that addressed/resolved? Rumors have it that ICANN will migrate those customers to another registrar soon. I’ve emailed ICANN and InterNic, and yet, I have not heard nor receive any email from them to address my problem. I am but one of the thousands banging their head on the wall and feeling just helpless. People are already losing business over this and now they even have to pay to transfer out? Plainly, ridiculous.

I have learned some things from this misfortune and I’d like to share them with you. Please read below:

Steps you can do to protect your domain – -

  1. Obviously, watch out for red flags: renewals not going through but billed for it, support tickets being deleted or left unanswered for days, domain names magically disappearing from your domain management panel, calling customer support and placed on hold for 45 mins only to be forwarded to a 411 directory operator. Yes, seriously that bad! The moment you start seeing that transfer out!
  2. Regularly check the WhoIs information of your domain.
  3. I cannot emphasize more that it’s very important to have your Administrative Contact Email current! In the event you transfer your domain, an email will be sent out to the administrative contact email to confirm and authorize the process. Don’t worry, it’ll be less tedious to update the contact info using bulk edit if you own more than one domain.
  4. Keep a copy of your Authorization Code. This information can be found in your domain management panel under your whois info. The authorization code is your key out if you decide to transfer your domain to a different registrar.
  5. Regularly check the Registrar Status of your domain. The status info can also be seen on WhoIs.
  6. In situations like the RegisterFly fiasco, it’s better not to dispute the charges on your credit card for payments for domain renewals. Keep them as your proof.

To this date, I still have 12 pending transfers, some renewed domains that still expired and moved out of my control panel so I have no access to the authorization codes. Those domains are now sitting under RegisterFly’s parking pages. Is there hope?

About Carmelyne Thompson

With 14 years experience in web development consistently learning new technologies; Loves: user interface design, programming & being an entrepreneur

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