Need to tell a bunch of coworkers unpleasant tech-related news?

Test sites with

So, here’s a thing I don’t see many people posting about: how and when it’s best to share unpleasant technical information. It seems really relevant today, when most of the web (well, OK, all the stuff I bothered checking) seems to be patched up after Heartbleed (more on that below, if this term is new to you), and therefore everybody ought to be changing all of their passwords soon. We had a discussion, in my department (Systems), about how best to share this information—and whether sharing it was the right call. There’s an argument that we should have waited for … Continue reading

In defense of Women in Tech (WiT) groups


  I’ve been rolling this post around in my head for a couple of days, in between attending conference and binge-(re)watching Firefly. It turns out, I have put a lot of time and effort—and, more importantly, thought—into creating and running a WiT group, so I have a lot to say on this topic. Also, Rebecca Stavick’s post isn’t the first anti-WiT-post I’ve read by a woman (great response to that one, here), never mind dealing with men’s arguments against these groups; so I’ve had time to think through a lot of these issues.   Myth #1 – Meeting as a … Continue reading


I wrote down all of my projects (that I could remember) and color-coded them

I’ve had occasion, lately, to think about how I spend my time and energy. Between the health stuff, MPOW’s looming “prioritization” efforts** and immediate budget cuts, a feeling of being totally underwater on too many projects, the worry that I’m not developing as a professional, and the general bone-tiredness that comes from living through winter in Alaska, I’ve realized I need to reevaluate and refocus. In reevaluating, I’ve (re)learned some things: 1) There’s more room than you realize. I had managed to wind myself up into a pretty deep funk around my work and service commitments, because they left so … Continue reading

#cs50 reflections – first two weeks


I’m taking CS50x through edX this year, along with some local ladies. My goal for myself is to get through the projects a little faster than one per month (yes, they’re called “weeks” in the courseware, but there are 12 of them, with everything due on December 31), 1) so I’m not scrambling in December, and 2) so I can actually help, in the unlikely case that anyone in the local cohort needs it. (Both people I’m meeting up with are smart cookies! But this stuff is hard when it’s new, so I want to be ready, just in case.) … Continue reading

So you want to learn to code?

Image courtesy of @nails_by_nette

A friend asked me how one might learn to code, if they’ve never coded before. I rattled off some of the resources I knew about, but promised to send links. And then I realized that, of course, this friend isn’t the only person with this question… So I figured I’d share with the world. I would suggest that, if you want to learn to code, you should sit back and think about your preferred learning style and your goals. Do you like to go totally self-paced? Do you need the structure of a class? Can you learn online, or do … Continue reading

Impostor syndrome


I’m going to say something I probably shouldn’t (for, indeed, what other purpose do blogs have?), but I hope that doing so will help other people, if they’re having similar issues. My admission: I’ve been feeling like an utter fraud and a complete failure at a significant portion of my job. (Spoiler: It’s better now!) I’ve been beating myself up for literally years, because I didn’t think I had an acceptable level of technical competence—specifically, coding prowess. And while there are legitimate disagreements about coding in the library profession, I think we can agree: most web librarians need a certain … Continue reading

Arguing for inclusivity


A surprising* number** of people*** are upset by the idea of a Code of Conduct/Statement of Appropriate Conduct/Anti-Harassment Policy (which I’ll refer to as “a CoC” or “CoCs” for the rest of the post). And, although I am unequivocally in favor of CoCs and generally frustrated when they are received poorly, still, I sometimes get little flashes of insight into the minds of people who fight against them. And I want to see if I can translate for them, maybe address some of their concerns/arguments. (I am trying to address the tech community, the library community, and the library tech … Continue reading

Getting buy-in on user centricity

I’m working on a post about professional association involvement, but honestly I got sidetracked by some other projects, including the LITA Forum. And the post is taking forever, because, seriously, it turns out that people had a lot to say. I think it’s going to be several posts, over the course of a week, rather than one gargantuan post. Anyway, I had a great time and learned a lot at the LITA Forum! I also gave my first solo national-level talk there, and I think it went fairly well—people discussed during the discussion period (20 of the 50 minutes), and … Continue reading

Giving Away Our Lunch

I’m not the first to post about this, and I hope I won’t be the last. But it’s been bubbling through my consciousness lately, and it has to come out. (Also, blame Andy, with his “librarians don’t blog about big issues” talk.) Maybe this is obvious to everyone, or I’ve failed to take something into account and am somehow deeply wrong, but in case not: I feel like IT is eating librarians’ lunch—and we’re happily handing it over. A friend recently sent me this fascinating job opening. Here’s how it starts, in case you don’t want to click through, or … Continue reading

Web Fundamentals

I don’t know if I mentioned, here, that I was signed up to teach “Web Fundamentals” at Anchorage Programming Workshop (“APW,” or “that monthly workshop where women learn to code”), earlier this month. I remember wanting to write a whole post about it, because I was fretting pretty hard about what to include, what to exclude, etc. But then I didn’t, because I got overwhelmed by that and other projects. I always have the most things to write about when I have the least time to actually do the writing. Anyway, it was supposed to be an hour-long (give or … Continue reading