Code review for the new PyLadies in your life

This goes out to all the geeky spouses, partners and friends of brand new programmers:

Code review is a cultural practice.

When you sit down to read the work of another, you bring with you all the experience you’ve had up to that point, the code reviews you’ve received, the mistakes you see yourself making and the bits of hard-won knowledge embedded in your coding personality.

Basically, you bring your coding baggage into your review.

When a brand new programmer shares their code with you, they are fundamentally vulnerable. They’re sharing something creative, and like any new creative endeavor, the product is a newborn taking it’s first few, shaky steps.

They are asking for your help and very likely, they’re asking for an indication that they’ve accomplished something. That all the time they just invested in learning something new — paid off.

And, in the case of PyLadies, women are all stepping out on a limb. Some are taking a Coursera class or maybe a workshop, but mostly working alone. We have each other to learn with and we’re all learning something new. Many people are spending 2 nights a week with a group, and another 15-20 hours a week struggling through the very first programs they’ve ever written.

Here’s the very best thing you can say when a PyLady shares her code with you:

“Thanks for sharing this!”

And then, after you’ve had a look:

“I’ve had a look and you’re doing a great job. Tell me about what you’ve written.”

Seriously. That’s about it.

If the PyLady asks specific questions, give your answers. Keep it short and sweet, and encouraging.

I’m laying this out because lots of the women who are trying this stuff out for the first time have loving, geeky spouses and friends who are very excited that the women in their lives are learning to speak their languages. And some of that enthusiasm comes in the form of detailed critique of style, formatting and design.

I’m here to let you off the hook. Just be encouraging, and ask a few open ended questions. That is all you need to do.

Because the reality is: the PyLady is her own worst critic. And, when she comes to a meetup, she can get the detailed help she needs from the other women who are struggling right along with her.

The people in the group have earned the right to share and receive feedback by strugging together. That’s the value of a cohort and one reason why PyLadies, and groups like them, are so important.

If you’re lucky, you’ll get your chance to share some code back, and maybe even write something together. But you build that coding relationship one encouraging step at a time.

If you’re interested in joining PyLadies-PDX, we’re meeting weekly through December, and then starting Monthly meetings on January.

And, if you want to read more about code review in general, here are some additional blog posts I found useful:

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon in Portland, April 21, 11-3pm, P-I-E

We’re hosting an Edit-a-thon in Portland this Saturday. Join us!

Selena and Pete invite you to a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon! Join us and the Portland wiki community as we dive into editing the biggest, most fascinating, and most collaborative encyclopedia in human history. This informal event will help you get your bearings, create an account, and start hacking in this decade-old project.

Never edited a web page? Never fear! We will give you a background/overview of how things work, and suggest some easy first-timer edits. Or, if you’re an old hand, please join us and share your valuable knowledge!
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I am a feminist hacker: Reflections on the first AdaCamp

I had a wonderful time at the first AdaCamp, held in Melbourne, Australia on January 14, 2012.

I didn’t take notes during most of the sessions, and spent a lot of time listening and thinking.

The two important things I took away from the first AdaCamp were about context – my context, and the camp itself.
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Postgres Open: next year (!), resources, video

Postgres Open is over!

I wanted to share a few resources, and remind attendees to fill out our survey. I really appreciate the detailed comments I’ve been getting! Keep them coming.

I wanted to specially thank our program committee:

Robert Haas
Josh Berkus
Gavin Roy
Greg Smith

They were the people who put together and edited the website, found sponsors, recruited speakers, voted on talks, gave talks and tutorials and executed the many tasks needed to make the conference a success. We plan to make key members of the Postgres community part of the operation of the conference going forward. We’re really just emulating the way that PgCon is run.

I have some more thoughts about what makes a conference “community-operated”, and once my budget numbers are settled, I’m going to share with you what running the conference costs in terms of my time, and in terms of dollars to operate. It’s important to both understand the costs involved, how much of my time is required and what that means for you as either a sponsor, speaker, attendee or volunteer supporting what we are doing.

NEXT YEAR: September 17-19, 2012

I’m pleased to announce that next year’s conference for September 17-19, 2012 at the Westin-Michigan Ave. So mark your calendars now!

The conference will continue to be operated as a non-profit, with proceeds going toward operation of the following year’s event, and a very small percentage going to Technocation, Inc – our fiscal sponsor and a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to developing educational opportunities and resources for software professionals.

We had fantastic support from our sponsors this year, and hope to expand that next year.

In particular: 2ndQuadrant, EnterpriseDB, Heroku and VMWare’s support were instrumental in pulling this event together. We really only started planning in May. It feels good to now have a whole year ahead of us!

With greater sponsor support, we can help fund some of the things that attendees asked for like: soda (which costs $8/soda – I feel as though we should get some kind of gold plating for this), conference tshirts, and a closing party.

Please get in touch if you or a company you know is interested in sponsorship for 2012!

Slides:

Speakers are uploading or linking their slides to the PostgreSQL wiki. If the slides you’re looking for aren’t there, please ping the speaker or me.

Streaming Video:

Streaming content will be available for about 30 days.

I will be getting all the video on flash drives this week. My plan is to upload it to either vimeo or youtube. I don’t really have the resources to provide individual copies of the videos, but if we find a location for raw data upload, I’ll pass that along to you all.

OSCON: We’re at the end…

I’m finally getting to blog, and here are a few highlights:

* “Mistakes were made” was a great time. Thank you everyone who shared stories. And those of you who attended, please connect with me – email or whatever, and let’s continue our discussions about failure.
* I have a little bit of editing to do left on the harder, better, faster, stronger slides. Talk ratings have been very high (thank you audience! :) Should have that up tomorrow!
* Not having a booth at OSCON was a real bummer for Postgres. We need to figure out a way to make this happen for us every year.
* Great having the time to connect with old friends in the hallways this week.
* Thanks O’Reilly for supporting our open source community.
* Thanks Google Open Source Programs office for bringing together open source leaders yet again this year for some important conversations.

Thank you everyone from the Postgres community who contributed to the Postgres day just before OSCON. All the speakers and their talks are listed here.

We need to keep having adjunct events like this! I think LCA has it right scheduling Mini-BoFs to provide networking opportunities for the distinct groups. I think OSCON should formalize this next year, and figure out a way of facilitating those groups in a more structured way.

I have another blog post brewing about difficult conversations.. but that’s going to have to wait until after I enjoy the brewers fest!

Getting ready for OSCON, code of conduct and cultural change

UPDATE: See bottom of post.

I totally should be working on my talks right now, but instead I’ve been talking with people about the lack of a code of conduct for OSCON.

I’ve written before about cultural resistance, and how I think it fits in with changes that must happen in technical communities when we invite more women in.

One of those changes is making it clear that women (and other minorities) are not just tolerated in public spaces, but that they are explicitly wanted there.

I think OSCON has made great strides in that direction by changing their marketing materials to include the faces of women. Sarah Novotny, co-chair of OSCON, travelled extensively to invite women face-to-face to submit talks. There are many women speaking at OSCON this year.

OSCON put the time and energy into creating a sense that women were already attending (which they are), and that they wanted more.

So, why all the fuss about having a code of conduct? Well, this community is changing.

What people think of as “summer camp for geeks” is this year a gathering that by definition includes people who haven’t previously been part of the OSCON community. When a community (which OSCON definitely is) sets out to change the gender percentages, it needs to be clear that the women are being invited to join and shape the culture, not just show up to be tourists of the existing culture.

The leadership of the conference needs to establish with existing attendees that the cultural change is wanted. The fact is, OSCON is a for-profit enterprise, with a business driving the event. Grassroots activism is helpful in encouraging change, but ultimately, the owners of the brand need to make a statement in addition to the marketing.

I applaud Jono Bacon for his creation of an anti-harassment policy for the Community Leadership Summit. I also am heartened at O’Reilly’s recent tweet that they are following this conversation.

I don’t think that codes of conduct are the perfect solution. But how else do we communicate to everyone participating that the change is happening, and that they need to accommodate new members *who are very different from them* during a period of cultural adjustment? That’s not a rhetorical question — I am genuinely interested in answers to this question.

I’ve updated my profile to state that I am pro-code-of-conduct, and included a link to anti-harassment resources, which I think should be part of an overall code of conduct. Donna put up a wikipage with easy to cut-n-paste additions for OSCON speaker profiles. If you agree that a code of conduct is a positive direction, please join us!

UPDATE: Tim O’Reilly has blogged about his expectations in a post titled “Sexual Harassment at Technical Conferences: A Big No-No” regarding a code of conduct for conferences under the O’Reilly umbrella going forward.

This year is so nuts for having conferences in Portland, OR

UPDATED! Just added Open Gov West! Rearranged, and just listing these all in order now. And added #140Conf in Vancouver, WA. It’s close enough. :) And just added Digital Journalism Portland.

For real.

This summer belongs to the nerds, geeks and hackers. I can’t believe that Portland’s tech scene got no love from Portlandia this year. Thank heavens they got a second season!

I did some research, and found TWENTY distinct conferences happening from now through November in the Portland area.

Anyway, there’s a sweet new service that you might not have heard of called Lanyrd, and a quick search over there revealed 20 conferences.

And over the next few days, several people suggested a few more:

  1. Agile Open Northwest 2011, 8-9 February 2011
  2. SearchFest 2011, 23rd February 2011
  3. Python Software Foundation Sprint, Feb 26th
  4. PDX11 Civic Hacking Unconference, April 1-2, 2011 (Plans are coming together now.. so pencil it in!)
  5. Innotech, April 21, 2011
  6. TEDxPortland, April 30, 2011
  7. JSConf US 2011, 2nd–3rd May 2011 (Rumors of crazy fun abound for this, also a party open to the public. Epic!)
  8. NodeConf 2011, 5th May 2011
  9. Open Gov West, 13-14 May 2011
  10. Digital Journalism Portland, 14th May 2011
  11. #140Conf Northwest, 19th May 2011
  12. WebVisions 2011, 25th–27th May 2011
  13. World Domination Summit, 4th–5th June 2011
  14. HotStorage ’11, 14th June 2011 (Third workshop on hot topics in storage!)
  15. USENIX ATC ’11, 15th–17th June 2011 (USENIX’s annual technical conference)
  16. WebApps ’11, 15th–16th June 2011 (Second annual conference from USENIX on webapps!)
  17. Open Source Bridge 2011, 21st–24th June 2011 (Third year! CFP still open!)
  18. IndieWebCamp, 25th–26th June 2011
  19. OSCON 2011, 25th–29th July 2011 (Back in Portland, Again! And @gorthx is on the committee!)
  20. Community Leadership Summit 2011, 23rd–24th July 2011
  21. Vida Vegan Blog Conference, 26th–28th August 2011 (Blogger conference for vegans! Crazy!)
  22. DjangoCon US 2011, 6th–8th September 2011 (Organizer recently relocated to Portland!)
  23. Pacific NW Drupal Summit, October 14-16, 2011
  24. SPLASH 2011, 22nd–27th October 2011
  25. Onward! 2011, 22nd–27th October 2011 (@al3x is on the committee for this!)
  26. Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2011, 9th–12th November 2011

Sources: Lanyrd, Plancast, Calagator and the comments.

What other geekery did I miss? Let me know in the comments.

UPDATE:

Here are the conferences without dates:

Event organizers: spaces to have tech events or conferences in Portland

I’ve been asked more than a couple times about places to have events in Portland.

When you google for ‘event spaces portland, or’ you don’t get anything that I’d call useful.

So here’s the list that I’ve compiled:

East Side:

West Side: