ESXi 5.5 Patch03 officially supports Mac Pro 6,1

I got some excellent news from our hardware compatibility team this week.  ESXi 5.5 Patch 03 now officially supports the Mac Pro 6,1.

As ever, William Lam at Virtually Ghetto has full details.

Posted in Apple, vSphere | Leave a comment

“Why are you in Fargo?”

It’s not an existential question, it’s what happens when the TSA encounters a Nobel Prize medal.

“They’re like, ‘Sir, there’s something in your bag.’
I said, ‘Yes, I think it’s this box.’
They said, ‘What’s in the box?’
I said, ‘a large gold medal,’ as one does.
So they opened it up and they said, ‘What’s it made out of?’
I said, ‘gold.’
And they’re like, ‘Uhhhh. Who gave this to you?’
‘The King of Sweden.’
‘Why did he give this to you?’
‘Because I helped discover the expansion rate of the universe was accelerating.’
At which point, they were beginning to lose their sense of humor. I explained to them it was a Nobel Prize, and their main question was, ‘Why were you in Fargo?’”

I’m not entirely convinced that they had a sense of humor to begin with, but we’ll let that one slide.

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Notable Women in Computing card deck

Those of us at GHC14 got to see the first version of the “Notable Women in Computing” card deck.  The people behind it have a Kickstarter for v2:

Women in this card deck were selected after receiving multiple, high-level awards from more than one institution, such as being named an ACM Fellow, IEEE Fellow, and receiving the Turing Award. Our deck also seeks to portray the true diversity of women in computing both current and historical, showcasing professionals from a variety of nations, backgrounds, gender identities, orientations and abilities. There are a dozen or more different groupings of notable women we could have turned into this deck; you can make your own using the instructions at the bottom of [the Kickstarter] page.

I kicked in $20 for v2 (one deck for me, one deck to be donated).


Posted in women | 1 Comment

this is what we face when we try to negotiate

One of the points that I discuss in “The Mid-Career Donut Hole” is that women are penalized for negotiating salary.  Women who attempt to negotiate are viewed as greedy, whereas there is no negative association for men who negotiate.  There have been many attempts at strategies for ameliorating this negative association, although the research is mixed about whether they are effective in doing so.

Today, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gave another example of how difficult it is for women to negotiate.  When asked at GHC14 about his advice for women who are uncomfortable asking for a raise, he said this:

It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.

According to Nadella, we can’t ask for a raise, we can’t negotiate our salary.  We just have to have faith in the system, which is the same system that has already given us a pay gap and an attrition rate more than twice that of men.

That answer is not sufficient.  As an industry, we have to do better.

Updated just after midnight: I see that, about the same time I posted this, Nadella sent an apology out to Microsoft employees.  I’m glad that Nadella, eight hours after saying such a thing and four hours after trying to pass off his original answer as “inarticulate”, apologized to his employees and acknowledged that his answer was “completely wrong”.  The apology is excellent.  

However, it doesn’t address the basic problem that women face when negotiating: the immediate gut response is “it’s not really about asking for a raise”.  It took the backlash  for it to be acknowledged that trusting the system is not the right answer.  In the vast majority of negotiations, there isn’t an audience watching and live-tweeting.  The gut reaction is the one that sticks, and results in women being penalized for trying to negotiate.  It’s still not enough for women to “just ask” for a raise.

And so, I say again: That answer is not sufficient.  As an industry, we have to do better.

Posted in Microsoft, women | 2 Comments

Google’s Tech gCareer Program

This looks like a great program out of Google that directly addresses some of the problems that women face in their mid-careers.

Google’s Tech gCareer Program is a 3-month program open to all qualified Software Engineers who have taken a break from a Software Engineering position at a high tech company. The program will provide participants with tailored technical training to help them bridge their knowledge gap as a result of extended leave. In addition to skills-based training and programming projects, cohort members will participate in professional development and mentoring sessions aimed at supporting their transition back to work.

Knowing how data-driven Google is, I hope that they will share how many people who go through their program are successfully able to get back into (and keep) a software engineering career.  If it’s successful, perhaps they’ll extend outside of coding too, and perhaps we’ll see other companies create similar programs.

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“The Mid-Career Donut Hole” references

In my GHC poster “The Mid-Career Donut Hole”, I define it as follows:

Women are at least twice as likely to drop out of technical careers after 10 years.  The Mid-Career Donut Hole is the time when women are faced with multiple challenges that make them question whether they should continue a technical career.

In the poster, I selected 5 challenges that women face in technical careers that contribute to our high rate of attrition.  In putting together this poster, I wanted to share an overview of the research that shows how common these issues are and how they impact our careers.  Part of the difficulty for us in dealing with these issues is that they can be quite subtle, so you question whether you’re really seeing it, and whether what you’re seeing is unique.


Posted in women | 1 Comment

Grace Hopper sessions I’m looking forward to

Oh, the places you’ll go!


  • 9:30am: opening keynote by Shafi Goldwasser
  • 12:30pm: “Executive Presence: Making the Leap” workshop
  • 2pm: “Leadership Strategies for High-Impact Women” workshop
  • 7:30pm: poster session (come by and say hi!)


  • 8:30am: keynote by Satya Nadella
  • 10:15am: “Accountability and Metrics for Gender Diversity” panel
  • noon: “Humans, Devices, and How They Live Together”
  • 2:15pm: “What Do You Mean It Isn’t a Meritocracy?” birds-of-a-feather


  • 8:30am: keynote by Arati Prabhakar
  • 10:15am: “Designing Secure and Privacy-Aware IoT and Wearable Technologies for Healthcare”
  • noon: “Systers Creating Change Everywhere Through Community and Technology Initiatives”
  • 1pm: Systers lunch
  • 3:30pm: “Trends and New Directions in Software Architecture”

I know I’ll go to more sessions than this, these are the ones that I really want to see.  What are yours?

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Silicon Valley diversity irony from The New York Times

This weekend, The New York Times published an op-ed about “Silicon Valley’s Diversity Problem”.  A dressing down from the Times on diversity is painfully ironic, given that the Times has the biggest gender gap of the US’s ten most widely circulated newspapers.  In the Times, 69% of its bylines are men.  That’s not all that different from Google’s workforce, which is 70% male.

The Times has suggestions for improving Silicon Valley’s diversity problem, including this one:

Not all tech industry employees are engineers and programmers. The companies employ large numbers of people who manage projects, market services and design products. Many of these jobs do not require a computer science or an engineering degree. But the proportion of women and minorities in these types of jobs is not much better than the proportion in technical positions. Companies should make efforts to hire a more diverse group of workers — including more liberal arts graduates — for nontechnical jobs, according to Vivek Wadhwa, who has written a book about women in the technology industry.1

The Times assumes that engineering and programming jobs require a computer science (CS) or engineering degree.  This isn’t true, and hasn’t ever been true.  Anecdotally, I know programmers without degrees at all.2  I know programmers with philosophy degrees, and English degrees, and history degrees.  There have been plenty of times where I’ve been in a roomful of developers where I was the only one with a CS degree.  Software development changes fast.  We value people who are self-taught.  A CS degree is not required for a programming job.

Better is that their solution is a two-tiered solution to engineering.  It’s the same as their two-tiered solution to journalism.  At the Times, as elsewhere in journalism, women are significantly more likely to write articles about lifestyle or health.  Articles about crime, justice, and politics are still more likely to be written by men, as are op-eds.  The hard news and analysis goes to men, the soft news goes to women.  And so too should the hard engineering problems go to men, while the soft stuff like project management or design go to women.

According to “The most comprehensive analysis ever of the gender of New York Times writers”, only five sections have articles that are mostly written by women: Fashion, Dining, Home, Travel, and Health.  According to The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2014 (PDF), men have 3 times as many page 1 quotes in the Times than women do.  The Times would do well to improve its own record on diversity before advising others what to do about theirs.

We should not divide software development into men’s work (programming) and women’s work (“manag[ing] projects, market[ing] services and design[ing] products”, as per above).  Women are just as capable as men of programming.  Men are just as capable as women at project management, marketing3, and design.  Tech companies need real diversity, not enclaves of women in specific roles in a misguided attempt at diversity.

  1. I’m not even going to begin to get into the problems about quoting Wadhwa as an expert about women in technology.
  2. I rely on anecdote because I wasn’t able to find data about how many programmers actually have CS or relevant engineering degrees.  If you’ve got a source, please share.
  3. Come on, has no one seen Mad Men?
Posted in women | 4 Comments

“Four Interactions That Could Have Gone Better”

I’ve been doing a fair amount of tech events lately, which is probably why this blog post from Bridget Kromhout resonates so strongly.  She starts off thusly:

If you’re wondering why women don’t attend the conferences, unconferences, meetups, or hackathons you enjoy, or why you don’t seem to make meaningful professional connections with the ones who are there, maybe they’ve been having these conversations often enough that they’re tired of it, and would rather spend their time doing anything else at all.

This is part of my decision-making process for tech events.  How likely is it that I’m going to have to deal with this type of interaction? Given other tech events that I’ve attended lately and how often (or not) I’ve had to deal with this type of interaction, do I have sufficient energy for dealing with this type of interaction if it does occur this time?

Posted in women | 1 Comment

Nadyne @ Grace Hopper

Next week is the Grace Hopper Celebration!  I’m excited.  It really hit me last night as I was putting the final tweaks on my poster.

Here’s my current schedule for the event:

Want to meet up for coffee, lunch, dinner, drinks, something?  Ping me.

(Edited 10/2 10:32am to add a link to GHC and to add the ABI communities meetup to my schedule.)

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