“Null Pointer Exceptions off the Starboard Bow, Cap’n!”

She’s the geekiest ship on the seas — the Sea++, which docks in Ventura, California:

Sailboat with the name “Sea++”
Photo courtesy of Miss Fipi Lele.


“Hi, I’m a Mac…”

…and here are my fellow platforms and operating systems. The sample below shows just a few; click the image below to see the full set, which concludes with Windows Vista. Possibly not safe for work — male bottomlessness and female toplessness lurk within!

Preview image of the “Hi, I’m a Mac” set
Click the picture to see the full version at full size.


The Ultimate Expression of “It’s Not a Bug, It’s a Feature!”

I’d be willing to bet big money that the owner of this car is a developer or some other high-tech type:

Old VW Beetle with the licence plate that reads “FEATURE”.


Follow-up on Qsol’s “Our Servers Won’t Go Down” Ad

The “Our Servers Won’t Go Down” Ad

Old tasteless Qsol “Our servers won’t go down” ad(You might want to read the previous post for some background first.)

The ad pictured to the right is the original “Don’t feel bad. Our servers won’t go down on you either” ad that got Qsol into trouble in back in 2000. The ad has received some much-deserved derision with a DisGraceful Award from GraceNet (a group that promotes the contributions of women in technology) and a place in the In Search of Stupidity Museum (the companion site for Rick Chapman’s book bearing the same title).

The ad ran in Linux Journal in late 2000, and after a number of complaints, Qsol responded in the “Letters to the Editor” section saying:

We sincerely apologize to all those who have expressed concern about our advertisement recently featured in Linux Journal (November 2000). It was certainly not our intention to be offensive and we wish to again express our regret to anyone who was displeased by the ad. We understand that this has angered some readers and have therefore reacted immediately by pulling this artwork from all future issues of the magazine. Again, we extend our sincerest apologies.

Something must’ve changed their minds, because they ran an updated version of the ad in the August 2007 Linux Journal (and presumably other tech magazines from their publisher).

The Reaction So Far

The ad got a link in Reddit titled Who says Linux geeks don’t have a sense of humor?. The usual jokes were made (“rm -rf clothes”, for example), but not a single commenter suggested that the ad might just be a little bit sexist and possibly a cause of women’s avoidance of high tech. Elizabeth Bevilacqua wrote about the ad in her LiveJournal, and a couple of male commenters did the usual hand-wringing.

I’m hardly someone you could accuse of being politically correct; I have some issues with the way that society currently treats perfectly natural male behaviours as suspect.

However, I think that stuff like the Qsol doesn’t help the high-tech gender balance. I think it “breaks” rather than “bends” (from the expression “If it bends, it’s comedy; if it breaks, it’s not”). Once again, what Neal Stephenson wrote in Snow Crash about sexism in geekdom still holds true. In the novel, the men belived that Juanita Marquez’s work on faces and facial expressions for a VR interface was relatively unimportant, and Stephenson wrote:

It was, of course, nothing more than sexism, the especially virulent type espoused by male techies who sincerely believe that they are too smart to be sexists.

I think that the ad does the tech industry a double disservice. It sends a message to women that they might want to look to another field for a career and it makes men in high tech look like dolts.

Doc Searls Helps Out

I sent an email expressing my concerns to the man I like to refer to as “the adult supervision of the blogosphere”, Doc Searls, who’s Linux Journal’s senior editor. He responded quickly, saying that he’d have a word with the publisher and asked me to please pass his apolgies along.

Thanks, Doc! You’re the best.


Reason #2 Why There Aren’t More Women in Technology [Updated]

These mousepads were reason number one, this is reason number 2…

QSOL ad with a beautiful woman: “Don’t feel bad. Our servers won’t go down on you either”
Click the ad to see it on its original page at full size.


I did a little Googling and found that Qsol ran this ad back in 2000 in Linux Journal. After receiving complaints (and increased sales), Qsol’s president Joe Safai apologizes and promised not to run it again.

After finding out that the ad originally ran in 2000, I decided to give the copyright notice at the bottom of the ad. I could’ve sworn it said “Copyright 2007”. It does.

More Googling led me to Elizabeth Bevilacqua’s LiveJournal, where she wrote:

My employer recently footed the bill for a subscription to Linux Journal for me (how cool is that?). I received my first issue this week, dove into it, and was floored by the 5th page.

No, not by some fantastic article, not by the ToC, by an advertisement. An advertisement by Server Appliances. WARNING, implied sexual content: see it here.

I sighed and figured this was going to be par for the course for a tech magazine. I mentioned it to the LinuxChix and that’s when someone said “Isn’t that ad really old?” Nope, August 2007 Linux Journal!

Elizabeth has sent letters to Qsol and Linux Journal. Perhaps I’ll drop my good buddy Doc Searlshe’s their senior editor — a line.

[via Reddit]


Microsoft’s Disturbing Graphic

Microsoft “Energize IT” poster

Perhaps something is very wrong with my brain, but my first reaction to the graphic shown above — it’s for Energize IT, a free Microsoft developer event taking place in downtown Toronto on June 16th — was “Wow, bukkake. Microsoft can sure be edgy when they want to be.”

(If you’re unfamiliar with the term “bukkake”, you may wish to remain that way. Go ahead, Google it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

That being said, I’ll probably attend — there’s an XNA Game Studio Express track that interests me.


The Next Network Topology?

Here’s another photo that Tom Purves took at Reboot 9 — it’s his quickie diagram of the evolution of network topologies, from the initial centralized model to something akin to those Star Trek aliens that have evolved “beyond the need for physical bodies” into beings of pure energy (as per the Commandments of Science Fiction):

Tom Purves’ Network Diagrams
Click the photo to see it on its original Flickr page.