I usually don't write about feminism, but...

I rarely write about feminism. When I have, it has to point out the foolishness of pushing non-tech women into technology in the name of gender equality, and trying to obscure the ability gap by pressuring competent women to spend too much of their time with the incompetent ones. This time I'm writing about a brilliant article I came across on twitter (thanks @crell). The tech industry isn't closed to women, or girls for that matter. I was welcomed from the first day I wandered into the open source world, a self-conscious twelve-year-old farm girl with no feel for tech culture. The problem is that most 12yo girls don't feel like spending their nights in front of a computer screen...

On Speculative Web Development Work

Many web developers, especially Drupal developers (who are in particularly high demand these days), won't touch speculative work, period. With so many options available to us, we can choose work that will pay now over work that might pay some day. Still, not everyone who has an idea has the front money to build it. I have had some luck with speculative web development work over the years, and I thought I'd talk about why I do it and how I choose which projects are worth speculating on. Not long after I diverted from my former career path to pursue life as a Drupal consultant, I received the following advice from a trusted friend: "Every good independent web developer has...

Protection vs. Preparation

A 7yo boy was kidnapped from someplace in Oregon. It's received the kind of coverage parents can only get when their missing child is cute enough to imply profitability to network news directors. During a one-year period studied by the DOJ (stat via missingkids.org), an average of 2,185 children were reported missing each day. Paring the news coverage down to the occassional poster child makes the subject more manageable, but it also gives the illusion that kidnapping is a rare occurrence. Commentary I heard today from parents I know -- really good parents -- was all along the lines of "I just want to hug my kids and never let them go" and "it makes me scared to...

The Anatomy and Habits Of the Common Support Leech

Support leeches are a fact of life in the open source world. Some people don't understand how to be worth supporting. Others are just so obsessed with their own short-term wants that they are willing to destroy the community they are trying to get support from in the process. Below are my observations, gleaned from years of actual support leech encounters. Anatomy There are two subspecies of support leech, however hybrids are not uncommon: The clueless support leech is uninitiated in the ways of open source support, and possibly in IRC, mailing list, or forum courtesy in general. With proper education, some clueless support leeches can be persuaded to morph into community members -- a completely different, non-parasitic, species. The...

Taxes are less about money than you think

Reuters reported yesterday that a bill about to be considered would raise taxes on investment fund managers, by treating some of their investment income like "regular" income. Will this raise a lot more money in the grand scheme of things? No. Why do it? Politics. It's a way to look "tough on" Wall Street. This week the unpopular people are the investment fund managers, so we are going to tax them extra, and not let them eat lunch at the cool kids' table. One of the reasons our tax system is so insanely complex is that it's not designed to be about raising needed money, it's not particularly "designed" at all in the sense that there's some overreaching vision that...