Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day: Women in Technology

Okay, Ada Lovelace Day was actually March 24, so I am a couple of days late, but I believe the bad cold I am finally getting over is a good excused to be a little bit late and doesn't really diminish one of my great sources of inspiration in technology.

Two inspirations, really.  Ada Lovelace herself was one of my first inspirations to pursue computing, when I found my self taking a programming class in Ada88 at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne (IPFW, for short).  I was a completely undecided major - literally taking calculas and Ada programming for fun, while otherwise focusing on core electives - English, Philosophy, etc.  The text book came with an excerpt explaining who Ada was and why the language was named after her, and I found myself inspired. Surely if she could accomplish technical work more

I transfered to the Purdue main campus the following year, fairly sure I wanted to pursue computer science, but dismayed to find that my two Ada courses would count for nothing and I would need to start over again with Introduction to C++ (CS180).  Was it going to be worth it? That's around when I met a wonderful woman, Barbara Clark, who was an advisor for the school of science undergraduate students.  Barbara, a former mathemitician turned punch card programmer, was positively beaming with energy around the Purdue Computer Science department and was actively engaging women in computer science and the science department in general.  She taught me first hand the importance of diversity in any program, all the while seeking out funding from the School of Science head and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to move these initiatives forward.  Barb didn't do all of this alone, but she did draw people into her cause (including me) and inspire us all to stay in technology, network and strive to aim even higher. Under Barb's watchful gaze, the Women in Science program has flourished at Purdue, there are dedicated floors in dorms to women in science majors, and retention rates of women in these areas are up.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yay! Elected to the OpenSolaris Governing Board!

Well, the results are in! I was elected to the 2009-2010 OpenSolaris Governing Board, along with several other fine candidates.  There were so many fine people running, I really had no idea if I would be elected. Now that I have been, I have a lot of work ahead of me, I think!

Unfortunately, the new constitution did not pass, due to lack of voter turnout, essentially. Which is exactly one of the major things the new constitution was trying to fix.  Basically, in the existing constitution, in order to get voting rights in communities and recognized for your efforts, you need to become a core contributor. The elections depend on all core contributors turning out and voting, but it turns out that many of them are not interested in general governance, but rather just their community.  The proposed constitution separated the rolls of electorate and contributor, so only those interested in governance would be required to vote.  Alas, it did not pass.

I am looking forward to this extra challenge and I am now definitely inspired to make sure I leave a positive mark on the community!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bat Boy: The Musical!

This was quite a theater filled weekend for me, as I ventured off to see my second show of the weekend on Sunday (after a fast paced and fun bike ride) at Foothill College to see Bat Boy, The Musical!

Now, I was, I must admit, a regular follower of the Bat Boy saga, as chronicled by the Weekly World News at cash registers in supermarkets throughout the 1990s. I never actually made a purchase of that tabloid (probably why they are no longer published, as I'm sure I wasn't alone), but could not resist being drawn to the bizarre chronicals of the supposed Bat Boy. Was he good? Was he evil? Or simply misunderstood? It is a question Foothill has attempted to answer.

My friend and I enjoyed every minute of this musical experience that while never taking itself too seriously, still managed to get us to feel for Bat Boy (or Edgar, as they called him).  Robert Brewer was amazing as the Bat Boy - hanging upside down and integrating every strange character ticks that made you truly believe he was a mutant person.  His singing was beautiful and so powerful.

I've seen Tim Reynolds in many productions down in Saratoga, but never have I seen him show such depth and dynamic growth. Truly a pleasure to watch.

Many actors and actresses played several characters - switching with ease from male to female characters, delighting the audience. One of the best at this was my friend, Mike Rhone, who had us laughing uncontrollably. His portrayal of Pan was bar none!

Other standout performances were from Lisa-Marie Newton, playing the mother character Meredith, and Kateri McRae as Shelley.

The harmonies were fantastic, voices blending in such amazing ways!  The ensemble took their role very seriuosly, never broke character and really built the mood.

There's only one more weekend left - this Thursday through Saturday. Check it out!

Sheherezade: 2008 Year in Review - Fun!

Three of us went to San Francisco to catch The Playwrights' Center of San Francisco's "2008 Sheeherezade: Year in Review", a collection of very short plays - each about 8-12 minutes.  This was my first time in this cute little theater (hidden in the basement of another theater space). My friend Philip Goleman was featured in these shows, and was quite a delight.  All of the actors were very good, and they covered social issues such as Gay Marriage in California all the way to the fires that devastated Big Sur this past summer.  I did need to explain a few of them to our visitor from across the Atlantic Ocean... For example, he did not understand the motivation short play, "I Do!" about a lesbian couple contemplating getting married before the November 2008 election..."just in case", because such unions are perfectly legal in the UK.

My favorites were "How I Phelps for You", "Woman in a Box", and "Big Love: The Bigfoot Musical!"

Over all the shows were fast paced, thought provoking and/or very funny. This is their big fund raiser show, so show up, have a glass of wine and bid on some silent auctions.

Oh, and Phil was fabulous!

Friday, March 6, 2009

OpenSolaris Governing Board Candidate Positions and Bio

I am so honored to have received a nomination for the OpenSolaris Governing Board election for 2009-2010. I am currently a staff level development engineer in the Solaris Security Technologies group at Sun Microsystems, where I am a core member of the Solaris Cryptographic Framework team.  I am running with the approval and support of my  management.


I have a bachelors degree in Computer Science from Purdue University, where I was first exposed to Sun hardware and the Solaris operating system. One semester the engineering department took back the SPARCStation5's they had lent us and we found out they were going to be replaced with Intel boxes running Windows.  I joined the group of rabblerousers that wanted to continue to do our work with Solaris, and we soon found ourselves with a lab full of Intel machines running Solaris 2.5.1. :-)

That summer, I did an internship with Amoco Oil (now BP) and got a job as a systems administrator for Solaris & SunOS machines. I fell in love with the big iron, the desktop systems and the operating system and decided then and there I wanted to work at Sun.

I joined Sun early in 1997 in the Solaris test group, starting out as the gatekeeper for the Solaris Test Collection. I was the first gatekeeper to actually version the test suites by the OS they were developed for, which was a great relief going forward for the sustaining organizations - who now found that they could run the Solaris 2.6 tests successfully on 2.6 patched systems, without worrying about test changes introduced to support new features.

It's been a long time since then, and I have found myself working in sustaining on the SunScreen bridging firewall appliances (back before appliances were cool), as an architect for the network address translation component of the layered releases of SunScreen, IPsec, as a developer for the Solaris Cryptographic Framework, and actively working on simplifying access to cryptography in Solaris and in OpenSolaris.

While here, I have worn many hats, in addition to my "day job". I have been representing Solaris for defect tracking concerns for ten years, was the technical lead for the Operating Systems and Networking (ON) consolidation for Solaris 10 Update 1, worked closely with the webRTI team on their initial deployment and successive updates, worked with the OpenSolaris sponsor program, and am the Chair for the ON Change Request Team.

Additionally, I spent 3 years on Sun's Security Ambassadors Board of Directors, where I evangelized Solaris security features, assisted customer facing engineers find the tools and the contacts they needed to get their jobs done, and helped organize our annual conferences.

I am a Core Contributor in the OS/Net (ON), Security and Tools communities.

I believe in the open community. I have worked on getting many defect tracking enhancements done to improve community access, like pushing for external bug update notification emails, coming up with the concept for and assisting in how to implement the Public Comments field in bugster, working with people to open their bug tracking components to the world, and am currently involved in attempting to move us to a solution where external developers can participate on equal footing.

I am also a huge proponent of women in technology, starting with involvement with the pilot Women in Science program at Purdue and restarting the Women in Computer Science program there as well, and most recently as an official blogger for the Grace Hopper Women in Computing conferences.

If there is anything that being a woman in technology has taught me is how important community is - without it, women in technology abandon the field.  I know we have problems with the OpenSolaris community and I want to help make this better.  Communication is so key to a community (in fact, they share the same root :-), and we all need to work on this area. I don't want the community to disappear.

If I am elected to the 2009-2010 OGB, I hope to use my position on the board to help accelerate the seemingly stalled true opening of defect management for OpenSolaris, engender open communication with Sun, and build this community up to what I know it can be.

Hobbies & Personal Information

I was raised in Fort Wayne, IN and was formerly a Bubb (hence the handle, bubbva on IRC and here).

In addition to writing code and reviewing RTIs,  I love to ride my bicycle, perform in various community theater groups in the San Francisco Bay Area, read, listen to music, sing, ski, bake, take pictures, neglect my personal website due to all of these activities and spend time with my husband and my very demanding Ragdoll cat. And I can't get enough of American Idol Season 8... :-)

If you got this far, I'm impressed and I really do appreciate your vote.