They say ‘all good things must come to an end’! Saturday past was the last class for Geeky Moms and Mom 4.0 at the RLabs Academy. The morning was filled with laughter and many tears. 2011 was the first year RLabs ran training under the Academy. As both Monique (co-founder of She’s the Geek) and I are very passionate about empowering women and technology equally, that it made absolute sense for us to facilitate the Saturday morning sessions with the women at the RLabsRLabs Academy. It has been an interesting and most fulfilling journey we have embarked on yet. My favorite part of this year has been watching the women find their inner geek! So finding the geek in every woman is most definitely possible.
My new love! October 10, 2010
I love Apple and especially the sleek, extra smooth feel of their devices. Well as a woman I am well aware of my sense of touch and feel. How I measure objects is usually by sight, touch and how and it feels when sliding my hands over it. This might not be technologically sound or correct, but as women its important to stay true to ourselves and what makes us truly tick or get excited when it comes to gadgets. Yes, I said it. I used the word gadgets and excited in the same sentence.
I am especially blessed to have had the honor of receiving not only 1 but 3 Apple devices in the past 8 months. Since the birth of my mobile phone life I was a Nokia fan and each phone I had, became the love of my life. My last Nokia phone I had was a Nokia E65 which I had for over 4 years. It was the first mobile device I used to access my emails and Facebook. But then with the exposure to Social Media and friends who started using Apple products (especially the iPhone) happened to arouse my interest. So I started playing around with the idea of moving over to Apple and more specifically an iPhone. It usually takes a while for me to decide when it comes to gadgets as I believe you have to love or at least like something that will become part of who you area and a have to carry it around with you.
So my journey started around Valentines Day (14February 2010), when my husband clearly thought I was ready for the jump and surprised me with a slightly belated Valentines gift of an iPhone. My first reaction was: how do I move all my contacts and info over from my Nokia? And I felt a bit unsure. But let me tell you after the first touch I was in love and most definitely hooked. It didn’t matter that all my contacts and info was still on my old phone along with the photos. I made the jump with both feet and loved running ever since. My favorite feature on the iPhone was the WordPress app and of course Facebook and Twitter. One could say that my social media journey really took off then. Because I could lie in bed and blog, tweet, update my facebook, read up what all my friends are up to and do my emails all in one go on my iPhone. Even when I was out and about there was no barriers to keep me from staying connected. Unless the 3G reception was bad or wi-fi non-existent.
Then 5 months later I get another surprise (also from my husband), a white MacBook. I just got out of hospital and was still recovering and as a get well gift, I received a MacBook. Let me tell you that that really worked. I was moping around the house feeling real sorry for myself because my recovery was taking too long for my liking. But one look at the box and the unpacking of my new Apple toy, I completely forgot about being sick. Now being an all Windows groupie for many many many years, it was a bit of a culture shock to move over to Mac from PC. Thank goodness for google and the Apple site. I managed to navigate my way through downloading all the necessary tools to stay connected and migrating all my documents. The only thing I couldn’t get over was my windows email. Tried various tools but nothing worked. It truly amazed me how totally incompatible Mac and PC are. Unless you buy the MS Office for Mac. Well after checking out those prices, I decided to do a complete transformation and say goodbye to Windows. As I work in an environment where most devices are Windows based and even the network printers don’t come with Mac drivers, it’s a bit challenging at times. But it’s all good and life is still full of challenges no matter if you using Mac or PC. At least I don’t have to worry about viruses!
So now we are in October and it’s my birthday month. My new love is my iPad! One of my birthday gifts from my husband. My love is 3 days old and just being a newbie I only managed to do my first blog post today. Unfortunately their aren’t many apps in the App store yet. The screen is bigger than the iPhone and the apps on the iPad has more features. My favorite one so far is the WordPress app. The brilliant extra feature is that you can have all your blogs in one app. Even the self hosted blogs. As I am a contributor on several blogs this is a handy feature because now I can manage and blog from just one device and all in one app, by just switching between blogs.
I wonder how many women get introduced to a new device by means of a gift! These were definitely among some of my favorite surprises.
I read loads of articles on “women in tech” and they all seem to go around women either whining about how we don’t get enough scope or recognition from men. Funnily enough most of the writers are male. But fortunately for me, the women I find myself surrounded by do not see themselves at the bottom of the ‘tech space food chain’ but at the top of their game! Meaning there is no need to prove themselves to anyone or to fight with men for recognition, but to just enjoy technology and the beautiful journey of discovering amazing and new things everyday and how it can be used to not only make our live easier but to make a difference in someones life or to help impact an entire community.
Well for the first time in my life I actually love gadgets! A mobile phone was obviously my first gadget. It was acquired more out of necessity than out of curiosity or love. But once I got used to it, it became a fashion accessary and I remember buying covers for my Nokia 5110 to match all my outfits. Now you know how old I am (not sure how many of you remember that long back in the mobile phone era). This was in the late 90’s when you were a trend setter by the mobile device you had. Now I think you a trend setter by how you use the gadgets you have. Maybe its my unconventional thinking or just crazy notions I have now and then, but in this day and age in 2010 we cannot choose to let gadgets we possess to dictate our status! Whether you trendy or not does not depend on what make, model and year you have. Come on technology is advancing with or without us as players in the field, but what we do with what we have or have access to I think sets us apart and gives us all the status we crave and most importantly who you take to join you in the playing field as an equal player.
Screaming Gadget…4 August 27, 2010
This is the fourth video in our Screaming Gadget series. We put one of our friends’ Shameez Liederman on the spot yesterday and asked her if she is brave enough to test this device. Watch the video to see her reaction.
This is the Personal Alarm from Ila Dusk based in the UK. It should be used in case of an emergency. Eg. When you are being attacked or you think someone is following and you are not feeling very safe. The screaming device will alert people around you that something is wrong and that you need some help. We haven’t tested it in a live attack yet. It is quite interesting to see how women react to this device when asked to test it. First the device screams on activation then the woman screams and laughs at the same time because of the high decibel screeching sound the device makes and maybe just pure shock!
More video’s will follow as we ask various individuals to test the device and tell us what they think and if it will help them.
Visiting Moms 3.0 by Veera Uusoksa June 19, 2010
It just so happened that I was in Cape Town for some open source related business (Freedom Toasters for Northern Cape) and decided to spend a weekend in town. I was dining at Kloof Street on Friday evening when Monique phones me asking if I would not like to visit RLabs the following day and join the Mom3.0 session. Well, of course I would. And what an amazing group of women it was!
RLabs is situated in Bridgetown under the shadows of the Athlone power station cooling towers “salt and pepper”. As I was turning off from N2, driving past a fancy looking mall through side streets and asking people for directions I was excited. I had heard about the work in the Reconstructed Living Lab, read about it and met Marlon Parker in quite a few events but never actually visited the centre. There is a few potential buildings on the street and it takes one U-turn to find the brown brick building with Youth Centre sign one can hardly read from a distance.
In front of the centre a legion of boys and young men greet me in the most polite way, giving directions and wanting to have a chat. I found it hard to believe that this is a community plagued with violence, drugs and gangsterism. Can’t quite put my finger on it but definitely something positive is cooking. First time in the community like this I felt a sense of pride. Or hope. Or future perhaps.
After the session there was no question about it. I want to be part of this! Yes, I will gladly spend a day in Athlone. There is no other place in the world I want to be right now but to watch community soccer and hear the old men shouting at the referee (some things don’t change no matter where in the world you are). Sun is shining, mountains surround the field and people are out.
And the moms? Mom3.0 Cafe Session is a social media gettogether for women. Twitter, blogging, Facebook and Gmail is shared every second Saturday by Monique Theron and Rene Parker. The class will last almost a year and after that ladies will be social media fundis. Monique herself is a graduate of the reconstructed class 2008 and blogging at She’s the Geek. At this session we concentrated on Twitter. Some where used to it, others signing up for the first time. Vibe at the session was fantastic to say the least. I had forgotten the special magic in all women technology groups. You can meet The Moms and feel the vibe on Twitter.
RLabs is “reconstructing communities through innovation”. Just check out their amazing projects and results. I surely was humbled and awed. It is rare one meets so many genuinly good people that inspire you to work better, smarter and get involved. I believe we found a perfect venue to launch our trail in January.