IBM girls’ camp too girly

Girls don’t just wanna have fun
It’s well known that the number of women engaged in IT jobs is woefully low . . . and getting lower. Same goes for enrolment in computer science and technical degrees. So how do we fix this? Call me a cynic, but I’m not sure the right way to invite 13-year-old girls to make binary bracelets composed of one and zero beads. That’s one of the options available at an IBM girls’ camp offered at Big Blue’s Watson Research Centre in Massachusetts. Other activities include dipping flowers into liquid nitrogen. What, no basketweaving with extension cords? No making gingerbread men with pocket protectors? It’s hard to see how arts and crafts with a high-tech theme is going to inspire more women to work in the sector, but I guess we’ve got to start somewhere.

Perhaps IBM can phase out the jewellery portion of the girls’ camp and focus on some other aspects that might be of genuine interest to future technologists. IBM also offers Lego robot programming and a project management exercise in Second Life. That’s more like it.

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Vista gets its ass handed to it
The editor of PC Magazine is leaving his post after five years to pursue a career at a high-tech start up. That in itself isn’t of huge interest to Insider, but Jim Louderback used to occasion to write a scathing blog entry about Microsoft’s Vista. At first Louderback was a Vista convert, installing the OS on many of his own PCs, but he has since recanted. Why, you ask? Cos it sucks.

“I could go on and on about the lack of drivers, the bizarre wake-up rituals, the strange and nonreproducible system quirks, and more,” says Louderback. “But I won’t bore you with the details. The upshot is that even after nine months, Vista just ain’t cutting it. I definitely gave Microsoft too much of a free pass on this operating system: I expected it to get the kinks worked out more quickly. Boy, was I fooled! If Microsoft can’t get Vista working, I might just do the unthinkable: I might move to Linux.”

Dang it, how did MS screw the pooch so badly on this OS? No, seriously. I welcome your answers.

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NYT finds a worm in Apple
Another blogger with more than a handful of readers is David Pogue with the New York Times. His particular beef isn’t with Microsoft but Apple. Why does iMovie 8 stink like yesterday’s kippers? Apple has been on a stellar course of success with practically every product and software release for the last five years, but this one missed the mark, according to Pogue.

“Most people are used to a product cycle that goes like this: Release a new version every year or two, each more capable than the last. Ensure that it’s backward-compatible with your existing documents.

IMovie ’08, on the other hand, has been totally misnamed. It’s not iMovie at all. In fact, it’s nothing like its predecessor and contains none of the same code or design. It’s designed for an utterly different task, and a lot of people are screaming bloody murder.”

It goes on like that for a few screens, so go ahead and click through if you’ve got a hate-on for Apple or even if you think Microsoft has taken too much of a beating in Insider and you’d like a break.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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