Photo closeup of a plant

Getting my geek on

March 27, 2013

Originally posted on Aucklandista

Last night was the first Auckland Girl Geek Dinner of 2013 and the first one that this baby geek has attended.

I managed to wrangle a mate to join me at the last minute (with the promise of a free drink and dinner) after the boy ditched me for urgent work stuff, but I barely needed him there to hold my hand as I knew quite a few people from the lovely geeky land of Twitter. And despite the fact that I mostly hung out with the Twitter posse (plus ‘real life’ friend), I’d put money on it that others in the reasonably large crowd would’ve looked after me, had I needed it. A friendly bunch, they were.

The ticket price was pretty damn cheap for how fab the night was ($20 including a drink and light dinner) and I’m pretty sure that’s thanks to the glorious sponsors of the evening (InternetNZ, Buddle Findlay, Datacom, and Lil Regie). It was welcomed by this IT-interested but charity-waged individual. But yeah, good food from Toto’s and great company… and I haven’t even got to the talks yet!

The lovely organisers had wrangled three great speakers. Julia Raue had me in fits of laughter as she went through her career from dropping out of school at the wise age of 16 to become a hairdresser, to the pretty damn high-powered position of CIO at AirNZ (she’s mah boyfriend’s boss and he wouldn’t mess with her). She made it sound almost achievable for the likes of little old me! I considered approaching her to say “Julia, I’m totes gonna come work for you.” but she disappeared off into the mist after her talk so my opportunity to fangrrl my way into humiliation was not fulfilled. Thank Dog.

Vivian Chandra was next and talked about the frightening things that governments are attempting in order to control the free flow of information that should be what the Interwebs is all about. It wasn’t all doom and gloom though! Vivian went on to let us in on the exciting things that Amnesty International has in mind for mobile applications; one was to be able to take photos and add in geo location data when uploading after the fact, in order to prove that photos taken of violence or other suitably dodgy shit were actually from the place where they were geotagged; and the other was to do the opposite, strip out geo data so that you could safely upload photos without fear of authorities using the geo data to arrest you. Exciting developments and great to see Amnesty getting involved in the tech world like that.

The third speaker of the night, Su Yin Khoo, had me laughing again with her great presentation on Grumpy Designers. Her dry sense of humour was amazing. The designer I work with couldn’t be further from the “Grumpy” description but I was able to learn quite a bit from the handy cat illustrations that featured in Su Yin’s presentation and now hopefully she’ll not be cursing me quietly behind her friendly and acquiescent emails.

Anyway, helllllllll yeah I’d go again. It’s a great night out and it’s fab to see something in the IT world to celebrate women, both the speakers and the attendees. Thanks so much to those that put it on, the wonderful speakers, and all the rad people that I got the chance to meet and chat with. See you there next time!