jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
So, today WordPress crapped out on me.

I'd just finished an article I was writing (I use my self-hosted WordPress install like a word processor), then I clicked on "New Post" and all of a sudden got a "500 Internal server error." Trying to fix the problem turned out to be an exercise in futility, because my web hosting (they of the spotty connection and two other randomly broken websites) didn't like the password Firefox remembered for their CPanel or customer support area, and didn't remember any accounts registered to my main email addresses.

I sent them a call for help in a panic, and then started to think "What if I just used other websites, like normal people?" I say that because for the past three years or so, WordPress has been an often-frustrating "hobby" for me, which hasn't really gone anywhere.

Read more... )

Sorry to ramble, and stuff. I just ... yeah. I'm scared right now and I'm trying to figure out how to not have to go through this again.

I just want things to be simple.

I guess I'm not getting that second article written tonight.
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
GNOME 3 introduced what I think is a really cool concept: The global application menu.



As you can see, it's clean and modern, and reminiscent of Android's menu button. It just has a ton of problems right now.
  1. It's not discoverable. It looks like a Windows XP style taskbar entry. Those only have the option to close the window or perform window functions like maximizing. And sure enough, "Quit" is the only option available in most apps which run on GNOME, or even on earlier versions of core GNOME apps.

  2. It's not complete. Core GNOME apps like Totem and Web have so many menu options that they don't all fit in the "app menu." Because of this, they use either a classic Windows-style menu bar or a "Chrome wrench" style menu button (which is now a core GTK+ widget).



  3. It's inconsistent. I'm not aware of any design document explaining when to use what, and my understanding of how it works keeps getting broken. For instance, I'm used to the app menu replacing a Windows-style menu bar, so when I saw that Totem had the latter I ended up driving myself to frustration trying to find its Preferences dialog, before clicking on the app menu and finding it there.
The only guideline I'm aware of is that in multi-window apps, the app menu is supposed to apply to all of them, while the Chrome-style menu button is supposed to be for the one window. But I only heard that second-hand.

Where and when did we explain our design decisions to GNOME users and developers? How many of them are aware?

Un-breaking the app menu

Here's my proposal for how to make it work, based on the expectations I formed while using and developing with it.
  1. Explain the app menu to users. Every modern OS has a friendly introduction which explains the most basic, non-obvious concepts. For GNOME, this could be as simple as a single-screen "Welcome to GNOME" app, which helpfully points out the Activities screen, notification bar, and app menu.

  2. The app menu has the most basic options. An app always has one, and it always has the core, global functions in it: "About," "Preferences," and "Quit."

  3. Other menus have All The Options. People who are used to them expect that a Windows-style menu bar, or a Chrome wrench style menu button, will have a complete listing of the app's functionality. If an app has either of these (and modern GNOME apps should prefer the GTK+ menu button to space-eating Windows-style menus), it will contain all of that app's options, including the ones in the app menu. This makes GNOME more accessible and less frustrating.
But why have an app menu at all, then? Because it's a better way of doing things. It's simpler for users and developers, it's much more attractive and elegant, it's easy to remember once you've been shown, and it echoes the functionality of a modern OS (Android) in much the same way that GNOME's legacy menus mimic those of a legacy OS (pre-Windows 8).

Plus, it makes the apps themselves look much cleaner and take up less room on small screens.

Ideally, the App Menu will contain all of a given app's functionality. This is the assumption new GNOME apps (like Documents) are building on, and the one certain existing apps (like Empathy) are adopting.

The App Menu is the future that we are transitioning towards. Let's make it as painless as possible for users and developers, by adopting guidelines that get rid of frustration.

Still alive

Jan. 1st, 2013 07:10 pm
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
For much of 2012, I didn't honestly think I'd survive it. Whether because things were just plain rough in general, or because after being rejected last Christmas everything that reminded me this holiday season would drive me to despair.

But, somehow I made it. I feel like I've learned a lot, and that I'm stronger now. Not because breaking someone's arm makes the arm stronger afterwards, but because broken arms eventually heal, and you can at least learn from the experience. I don't think that I've fully healed yet, but I feel like I've passed the test, so to speak, and have been trying to get back in business.

Speaking of business

I have two commissions outstanding that I need to complete. After that, I would like to take more. Complicating that are the fact that my living space, computer, and website(s) are extremely disorganized after a year of living day to day, and that I need to keep writing articles to pay rent.

My old approach to productivity was to decide far in advance what had to be done today, fall short because of distraction or despair, then kick myself and be even less productive afterwards. This year, or at least for this past week, I've been trying something different.

First, I'm making a log of everything I get done in a day that I consider "productive," with writing work bolded. This way I have records that prove I'm not lazy, even when my depression tells me that I am. Looking at them, it turns out that I do a lot of cooking and cleaning and organizing, as well as projects to help other people and sometimes-difficult necessary social interactions (like calling tech support). Some of these things might be trivial to other people, but they cost me metaphorical spoons, and logging them serves to remind me of that as well.

And second, instead of trying to write two articles a weekday (which was proving too difficult in 2012 even though I'd managed more than that the year previous), I'm writing one article per day, full stop. Even if I have a depressive episode, I feel I can still hopefully maintain that. Furthermore, if I get more than a single article completed I'm spending some or all of the money from that on myself. There are a lot of things I need to get, still. Plus getting nice things improves my morale, as does seeing that I'm capable of doing this much work.

What I (would like to) use

Nearly every part of my setup this year got upgraded. My boyfriend, [personal profile] aliaspseudonym, bought me a new ThinkPad Edge E430, along with a 16 GB Nexus 7. The laptop was custom-built with a Core i5 processor and a solid-state cache drive, which is perfect for installing a minimal (lightning-fast) Linux setup. I wish that it had more hard drive space for Steam games though (more on this later).

Besides that, I got a free smartphone upgrade from my wireless carrier, and a generous friend gifted their 80 GB backwards-compatible PlayStation 3 they were no longer using. I've had a lot of fun in PlayStation Home, which is sort of like Second Life but with less bondage and much better controls. It's done a lot to improve my morale, and help me feel less isolated and give me the chance to interact with others and explore. Plus, the (small, inexpensive, open-box discounted) HDTV that I got for it works extremely well as a second monitor for my laptop.

Probably the most unexpected upgrade was a free game controller for my tablet, thanks to a promotion by Moga. All I (and everyone else who read Android Police) had to do was pay shipping, which was less than the cost of the bundled games. It doesn't work with very many titles, but it's compact and well-designed, and comes with a very nice slipcase that's almost exactly the size of my tablet.

I'd next like to get some of the tablet accessories I put on my holiday wish list, like a Poetic case, Wacom stylus and portable stand. A keyboard is also a must, although I'd need one which can fit in my bag. I really love the idea, though, of having a complete game console and workstation computer inside my handbag at all times. It makes me feel warm and secure, and reminds me of the Palm Pilot setup I used to have (with a folding keyboard) except better. Plus it's more portable than my new laptop, although it's more portable than my old one.

A holly-jolly something or other

Christmas was nonexistent for me this year. There were no decorations indoors (or spoons to put them up with), and I didn't spend it with anyone in person.

What I had was "just like any other Tuesday, except there's presents." From my sister [personal profile] cfmv, from Alias, and from a ton of online game stores which all held massive sales at the same time. And I suddenly had gadgets that I could play them on. >_>

I grabbed both of Square-Enix's Chaos Rings games for less than the price of one. Bioshock 1 and 2 were on sale for $5 altogether. Same with Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel. The first two Mass Effect games were $5-10 each. All these games I'd always wanted to play, and even a few extras that I was pleasantly surprised by. I got pretty much every game on my list this year, including the big ones (Xcom and Guild Wars 2), and a bunch that I didn't put on my list because I couldn't justify the cost. But suddenly -- between the ridiculous sales, a larger-than-expected monthly bonus, Alias' having more hours at his job this month, and another friend helping provide us with Christmas dinner and baking supplies and things -- the cost was no longer an issue.

So many sales. o.o; And two Humble Bundles, and Steam's Big Picture sale of controller-based games. All in one month. Plus the tablet game controller that inexplicably fell in my lap.

It not only helped distract me from the depression, it's probably going to carry me through until next December at this rate. >_>; I'm still planning on getting FFXIV: A Realm Reborn and FFXI: Seekers of Adoulin this year, but I'm waiting on subscribing to either right now. Instead, I've been too busy plowing through KotOR (and going to holiday events in PlayStation Home).

Extremely long digression about technology stuff )

Finally some family stuff

Most of you probably already know how my family dropped me like a rock right before Christmas 2011, when I came out to them as trans. They didn't stop contacting me then, though. Within a few months my dad was congratulating me about winning an award, and asking me what he should call me.

I just about bit his head off. Not because he was being impolite, or doing anything wrong at the time. But because his actions had put me through hell very recently, and cost me an extra $100 a month because of complicated lease-related stuff.

I couldn't ignore what they did to hurt me anymore. I couldn't just let them get away with this, like they had with everything else. Not because I want revenge. Because I don't want to be hurt again. I don't want them to feel they can hurt me at will, can lash out at me with no consequence and no apologies, and act like this is normal and okay.

I tried to reconcile with them, over a period of several months. But this time, "maintaining the status quo" was no longer an option. I'm honestly not sure I care if they "disapprove of my lifestyle" or not. I just didn't want to have to pretend that I didn't have both a boyfriend and a significant other; that I wasn't female; that I wasn't transitioning; and that my family's actions hadn't hurt me. Hadn't made last year hell for me, and put me at much higher risk of all kinds of dangerous things ... according to the research in a pamphlet written for Mormon parents of LGBT kids, which I kept trying to show them.

I don't want to have to be in the closet for them. Not about being trans, and not about being an abuse survivor. Not when I almost died there.

I pressed them for an apology. But what I really wanted was acknowledgment of the fact that what they had done to me was Not Okay, assurance that it would Never Happen Again, and recognition of what I was going through. That it wasn't like what they thought, and that whatever the heck they thought it was like, it was something I needed to do. That I loved and depended on both my significant others, that if I didn't transition I'd die, and that if they didn't want me to die they Must Not push me in a harmful direction.

I was unable to persuade them of any of the above. I am no longer speaking with them, and haven't for several months now. A "family" you can't be yourself around, can't ask for (at least moral) support with your troubles, and can't ever let down your guard around or you'll get hurt, is not family at all. It's less than worthless; it's harmful.

I'm glad to have my new sister, and am looking forward to spending next year with her and [personal profile] rev_yurodivy and my boyfriend and the extremely supportive friends that I've made here on Dreamwidth.

Happy new year, everyone.
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
Content note: This essay will very briefly touch on Mormon religious concepts, as an illustration to a point. This is not just more ranting about stuff that I used to believe.

The concept in question is the idea of "eternal progress." I was taught that this was something which set my old church apart from the Brand X(-tian) churches out there, which all supposedly thought we'd be sitting on clouds in heaven and singing forever and ever. On top of that, we supposedly had "continuing revelation" even in this life, where God's living prophet would tell us new things which were tailored for our day and age.

I really believed all of this. And I believed that "heaven," for that matter, wasn't simply an unquestionably good place that believers were rewarded with. Rather, I believed that there were two kinds of people who didn't go to heaven: The unworthy who knew and regretted their unworthiness, and the unworthy who didn't see heaven as heaven because they'd been twisted around so much they didn't know up from down. They didn't want to go there, and if they could it wouldn't be heaven to them. They simply couldn't appreciate it.

(I may have mixed in some Planescape theology there.)

A couple years after I left my old church, it hit me that this was exactly right. Because back there, they were still teaching the same "Sunday School answers" to every problem, at least the ones they acknowledged existed. And God's living prophet was still telling the same old stories about widows and stuff. Even their new website about "Mormons and Gays" (trigger warning for homophobia) explicitly says "we don't know" why God doesn't want gays to get married. This is what it's come to, now that their old reasons have been disproven. And while the rest of the first world is moving towards marriage equality, they're having a hissy fit over women wearing pants to church.

It's progress, but it's glacially slow and decades behind. And most of their discourse is still the same-old.

Progressive software

Why do I bring all this up? Because I've been realizing how unhealthy it is for me to dwell on that garbage, and trying to find new things to occupy my time with. And while looking at different forums and blogs, I realized I felt more at home on Planet Ubuntu than most more traditional "Free Software" blogs, although Planet GNOME's a close second and I also like Máirín Duffy's blog. And I realized the reason why was the same as with the above: Because in my personal experience, Free Software zealots in the vein of the Free Software Foundation are fundamentalists, who are as anti-progressive as the ones in the church that I left.

So while GNOME is moving design radically forward, they're throwing fits about it. While Máirín's teaching Girl Scouts to use Inkscape, they're making fun of her and staging juvenile protests on Planet Fedora, against the idea of making it easier to use and get involved with. And while the Outreach Program for Women is bringing new writers and contributors into the fold, they're trolling our blogs and insisting we're making stuff up about harassment and other issues that they do not face.

(I realize "they" is amorphous here, so for the sake of discussion it means "the people who do these things." I associate "them" with the FSF because I see it as the least progressive, most fundamentalist arm of the Free Software movement, which I associate in my mind more with their boycotts and insistence on purity than anything -- like the GNU project, or the gcc compiler, or the GPL -- that they may have actually done or created at some point. I'm open to being proven wrong here; I'm aware that people and organizations change, and have been especially impressed with some of Microsoft's recent products. This is just an impression I have, based on who they call their enemy and why.)

I guess what I'm saying is I realized I like the culture in Ubuntu and GNOME, where the emphasis is on moving forward (albeit in different directions for different reasons), and on bringing this stuff that we have to as many people as possible, and even on changing it so as to be more useful and accessible. Whereas in other projects, and communities, and of course churches, I see more of an emphasis on preaching (or appearing to preach) the same fundamentals over and over again, to the point of insulting people it doesn't appeal to or help instead of asking them why.

Progressive gaming?

I realize it's slightly ironic that I'm saying all this when my favourite computer game ever was made about 10 years ago. >_> In FFXI's case, though, I really haven't seen anything better at doing what it does best, for me personally. Most MMOs these days tend to copy World of Warcraft, with its looting and button-mashing and information overload UI. And they don't even do a good job of it.

For me, FFXI isn't a game so much as a world, that I experience in a particular way. It has a minimalist interface that's designed to be played with a game controller. It's immersive, and sort of invites contemplation. Chatting's normally done by text instead of headset. And the pace is extremely different. The only games I know of which come close to how it feels (which I didn't describe very well) are PlayStation Home and FFXIV, both of which I either play or am hoping to play when it comes to the PS3.

I realize now that a lot of the things I lament about missing, that were around in the "good old days" of FFXI, are things that made the game hostile to newbies. I feel good about triumphing over them, but countless others got discouraged and left. I like seeing the game make some progress on this front, and I have high hopes for FFXIV: A Realm Reborn. I want to see this style of game that I like stay young, and bring in new players. I don't want to only be surrounded by people my age, and with my exact preferences. And I don't want all that we talk about to be how things aren't like what they used to be.

In conclusion

I guess there's not really a point to all this. I just figured I ought to write more Dreamwidth essays. Most of the realizations I've been having and progress I've been making, in the last few weeks, I've only been sharing on Skype. I figure I ought to change that, since people seem to like my writing.
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
I decided to take a break from Dreamwidth a little while ago, and am just now trying to get back into posting and commenting here.

Here's the condensed version of I've been dealing with:
  1. Multiple close friendships strained or seemingly terminated, in ways which were harmful to others.

  2. Weeks of struggling over and over again to get everything working on my new PC, and finally getting FFXI working in Linux (Ubuntu) only to decide I need to take a break from that next for reasons related to #1.

  3. Being physically exhausted from having to haul 15 extra pounds all over the suburbs because I'm gaining weight on St. John's Wort, but become potentially terminally depressed if I try to wean myself off of it. I'm trying to at least monitor my weight and eating, now that I know my appetite is no longer reliable.

  4. Trying, and trying, and failing to keep up with writing (of all kinds).
I'm trying to learn healthier ways to destress than spending hours reading stuff that potentially triggers / depresses me (like exmormon forums). I've gotten back into PC gaming after installing a few years' worth of Humble Bundles, and taking advantage of a recent Steam sale. Sonic Generations and They Bleed Pixels are both amazing, especially the latter, and both work with my PS3's controller.

I want to have something ready for the holidays. I don't know if I'll be able to, but I'm going to try. I'm also going to try to finish my commissions.

I feel bad that I wasn't able to volunteer to mentor the new GNOME Outreach Program interns. I'll try to hang out on IRC, at least.

I've done a lot of crying, a lot of talking, a lot of realizing things. A lot of praying, a lot of hugging my mates, a lot of talking to them and my sister and her family. I feel like I have a better idea of why I hurt. For a little while I was afraid that I wouldn't survive through the holidays, especially given what happened last year, but I think that I'll be able to.

I'm going to try to go to the open house at the local LGBT centre for Christmas, while Yuro's off with their relatives. There are also a few events between now and then that I'm looking forward to. It costs me more to go to these now, both physically and insofar as it's hard to write while exhausted. I need the exercise, though, and the feeling of being appreciated.

I hope you all have a happy holiday season.
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
tl;dr Imagine a web browser that only lets you log in to MySpace and Yahoo!, and breaks when you access Google+, Pinterest, or any microblogging site. This is GOA in 5 years.

The situation

GNOME Online Accounts is GNOME's attempt at letting your desktop OS work seamlessly with websites. Instead of having to browse to Google Drive's website, for instance, you just open up GNOME Documents and there's all the stuff that you've written on Google Docs over the last several years.

It works this way because that's how it's supposed to work. GNOME Documents is useless in this day and age, to a growing number of technical and nontechnical users, if all it can get to is stuff on your hard disk. And Skype has become the universal chat client in the world at large, partly because of its effortless handling of video calls but also because of its seamless way of handling logins and chat logs from any device.

Once stuff that works this way becomes the norm, anything that doesn't support it feels broken.

The problem

The problem is that GOA only supports Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Windows Live, your Google account, and your Facebook account. That's it. There is no easy way to add support for your application to GOA. There is no way to share information from your app to others via GOA. The only way to get GNOME's core applications to work with your web app is to patch GNOME core, which involves persuading GNOME's core developers that your app is an essential part of GNOME.

This renders GOA irrelevant, and it renders GNOME's core apps irrelevant. Because by the time any of us realizes an app needs to work with GNOME, a bunch of people will have already stopped using GNOME core apps.

The next Facebook will be out for five years before someone from GNOME decides "hey we ought to import your pictures and contacts from this," because it won't be targetted at the demographic which comprises most of GNOME's core contributors. The next Skype will work on Ubuntu first, because it allows apps to add plugins to its version of GOA.

This has the potential to cause a bit of a mess, but the alternative isn't a pure and uncompromised user experience. The alternative is GNOME core having to make the decision, for every new web app, of whether or not GNOME should support it. The alternative is new Free Software web apps not working with the premiere Free Software desktop, because they'd rather write a plugin than beg and get turned down anyway.

The alternative is nobody using GNOME, because it doesn't work with their stuff.

"Asking permission from GNOME's core devs" is a solution which does not scale, and which imposes an unnecessary burden on third-party developers. We need a new solution. Because whatever we can do that makes it easier for people to work with GNOME, to write apps for GNOME, to write apps which tie in to GNOME, is a step towards making GNOME more relevant to more people's lives.

Optimism

Nov. 2nd, 2012 07:41 am
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
So far this week, I've managed to get two articles done every weekday. I've also been taking a ton of walks, and doing lots of cleaning and moving things around. I'm feeling better and more energetic, I got a personal project done last weekend, and I'm hoping to write more furry stuff this weekend. I've been watching a TV series [personal profile] cereus linked me to, about the time period their commission takes place in, and it's been surprisingly interesting.

I relocated most of my things to the bedroom, which was going mostly unused. It doubles as my office now, and there's something strangely reassuring about having a lot of screens and games and electronics around me. The ThinkPad Edge [personal profile] aliaspseudonym got me came in late last week, but it has a cluster of dead pixels on it, so I'm sending it back in to get serviced. Once it comes back, I'll use an HDMI cable to plug it in to the 19" display I'm currently using for the PS3, so that I'll have even more space to work with for writing and programming ... and FFXI, of course.

It's a very nice computer. >_> It's lighter than the 12" iBook I loved, and almost as streamlined and awesome. It's almost as big as my current laptop, but much more solid and professional. Plus it's extremely powerful, by my standards, and the 16 GB solid-state "cache" drive makes a perfect spot to install GNOME on and have it boot up in 10 seconds. I'm trying out Windows 8 also, and I really like it. Am considering writing apps for it, since you can use JavaScript and HTML. Want to continue working on GNOME though ... apparently, the Outreach Program is starting back up in January.

Starting to think about how I want to decorate my personal area. Looking at lots of people's workspaces, and collections of anime memorabilia. Not sure what sort of things I want to have, or how many. Right now I have a small sampling of all sorts of things that've interested me, from New World of Darkness RPG books to PSP UMDs. I got a set of card sleeves for my Magic cards, which have a very nice design IMO ... they may be the "girliest" thing that I have right now, and I'm surprised that I was okay with getting them at the store and wasn't afraid or hesitant.

Now to see if they have the bright magenta dice I wanted, at the game store today. I'm also thinking of playing a character(s) inspired by the card sleeve design, at Pathfinder Society. Wish us luck!
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
Here is a gallery of what the most popular app platforms' developer pages are like. These sites are all extremely well-designed and maintained, because attracting and educating app developers who have no prior familiarity with the platform is a priority for the companies behind them.

I put this page together to serve as a reminder for myself while working on the App Guide project, of what GNOME's developer documentation should be like in an ideal world.
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
My GNOME Outreach Program for Women internship is now over. My project was the JavaScript app developer documentation. When I started, it was woefully out-of-date and incomplete, and extremely poorly organized.

So how is it now?

Still really bad, in my opinion. Especially compared to Apple or Android's developer docs.

You can see, on the page I was working on, the beginnings of a curriculum. It tells you what you need to do to get started, and then starts to walk you through GNOME app development before giving you lots of code samples for specific widgets. But there are some experiments and approaches I took that I think were questionable, like the Switch widget example that covered AboutDialogs in more detail than Switches, or the starting lesson which jumps straight into Webkit.

When I started this project, I knew things had to be better but I didn't fully know how to get there. I used a lot of trial and error, writing code sample after code sample and refining my approach in each one. After attending the Open Help conference and sprint, I had a much clearer idea of where to go, and you can see the outline for my "App Guide" project on the live.gnome.org wiki.

I hope to complete the first draft of this guide in time for the next round of Outreach Program interns, and I hope to become a mentor for some of them. Whether they're working to improve developer docs, or writing their own GNOME apps.

Taryn's take on the Outreach Program

It was one of the best experiences of my life. It was confusing and frustrating at first, especially once I found out that GNOME app development wasn't as simple as I'd been led to believe by the existing tutorials. But I found my footing quickly, I think, even if that involved asking a ton of questions on IRC.

The parts that I'll always remember include all the technical triumphs, the encouragement from my mentor and the other interns and people involved in the program, and meeting up with people at Open Help. And in the #gnome-women IRC meeting where we gave feedback on the program, I said that one of the best things about it was how open-ended it was, because of how it let me understand the problem and approach it in my own way.

Since then, though, I realized another big thing about the program that helps make it successful:

Money

We've probably all seen the research on what motivates us, and how money is not a big part of it. But you know who's really motivated by money? People who don't have enough.

Women, disabled people, gender and sexual / romantic minorities, ethnic and cultural minorities ... all these groups are more likely to have a hard time making ends meet financially. And the opportunity cost for them to volunteer for Free Software is a lot greater than it is for a white, abled, male, non-queer hacker, who's being paid a decent salary and has health insurance.

Just as an example, the time I spent dealing with autistic shutdown and widespread intolerance, and trying to explain feminism 101 concepts to deter trolls from attacking me and others, are all things that most hackers don't have to deal with. They're practically a second job for many ... to say nothing of the women who are still expected to be the primary (or sole) caretakers for their children.

The Outreach Program's $5,000 payment is barely enough to maintain a minimal first-world standard of living over three months. But for me, it was more than enough. I was finally living my dreams, and being paid to work on what most excited me. And I could set aside other work that I didn't have the spoons (emotional energy) for, so that I could concentrate on this.

One of the reasons I'm going to continue working on GNOME is because I'm hoping to sell the App Developer's Guide as a Creative Commons-licensed book, and make some money from it. I'm hoping that once "GNOME OS" becomes more widespread, more people will want to learn to write apps for it, and that this guide will be there for them.

But another huge reason is because, once the problem of "how do I pay rent and buy food?" was taken care of for a few months, I saw how much I loved being a part of the GNOME community and helping with my part of it. So that stipend provided the activation energy for what will hopefully become a chain reaction, as I mentor other women who may go on to help others in turn.

I'm hoping to show them that they can be a part of GNOME too; that GNOME needs them, and that they can have fun contributing to GNOME. And while it may seem vulgar to talk about if you're explaining the program to people who don't need the money, as someone who's been there that stipend really helps sell the program to people who do.

Wrapping things up

Many thanks to the GNOME Foundation, Google, Mozilla, Collabora, the Free Software Foundation, and Red Hat for sponsoring my internship. I had a lot of fun with it, and I hope I made (or am) something that's worth it.

Many thanks to my mentor, Tiffany Antopolski, for answering so many weird questions and doing so much work to find out how to make the JavaScript code work right, especially for her version of the "Hello, GNOME" tutorial which hasn't gone live yet. Seriously, she went the extra kilometre, especially since mentors aren't paid.

Many thanks to her, Radina Matic, and Marta Maria Casetti, for being extremely supportive either on my journal or in person at Open Help. I needed a lot of encouragement and reassurance, and it was an amazing feeling to be validated and accepted there. If I'd known this would happen, I would've tried to raise money to go to GUADEC too somehow.

Many thanks to Shaun McCance for running the Open Help conference, and to him and Ryan Lortie for answering my questions there and helping me figure out what the App Guide should cover. Also just for being awesome. You guys rock.

Finally, many thanks to Marina Zhurakhinskaya and Karen Sandler for running the Outreach Program, and to Karen for helping make it possible as the GNOME Foundation's Executive Director. This may be the most welcoming Free Software community for women (including trans women) that I know of, right up there with Dreamwidth.

Here's hoping, and helping, that it just gets better from here.
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
So I stayed for the rest of Open Help, and am glad I did.

The technical aspect

I did a lot of brainstorming. It looked like this, and was apparently a thing of awe.

A whiteboard covered in detailed, individually-numbered, colour-coded notes, describing a series of GNOME JavaScript developer tutorials.
(Click here and here for detailed closeups.)

Letting my mentor Tiffany Antopolski have access to my computer resolved some annoying problems with git very quickly. Talking to Shaun McCance about Mallard (and getting his printed cheat sheet) gave me a ton of ideas for ways to format tutorials. And being able to talk to him and Ryan Lortie in person at the same time really helped me with doing the above brainstorming, and deciding what all needs to make it into the outline for my next project: The GNOME App Developer Guide.

I feel like my whole internship was just training to write it, and learning (partly through trial and error) what's needed and why. I also feel like it needs to be written. There isn't a real starting point for people who love GNOME, and who want to write apps for their favourite platform, but who aren't highly technical insiders already. And after the past few months, I feel like I'm both qualified and motivated to write it.

Now that I have a better idea of the scope of the project, I want to have at least the first draft ready in time for the next round of the Outreach Program for Women. I want to be able to mentor people who want to write JavaScript apps; I've been helping [personal profile] ausbatlyssavirus a little bit with setting up GNOME and learning JavaScript, and she's expressed an interest in the Outreach Program, as well as the Google Code-In.

Oh, yes. I also learned that it's pronounced "guh-NOME," the same as GNU.

The personal aspect

(Warning for possible trans-related TMI and abuse survivor emotional issues.)

After writing my last post about the conference I was terrified, and felt like I'd be punished for it. I largely felt that way about it because I feel that way about everything. I wasn't prepared for the amount of support I received afterwards, including from the person whose actions partly caused the earlier post.

It felt amazing to be accepted there, especially as a trans woman. I had no idea it would be possible to go out in public in female mode without being terrified. Or how much I needed to be seen as one of "the girls," and accepted matter-of-factly as though it'd be creepy and weird to do otherwise. Even when I had to do things like present as male at first because I couldn't bring myself to wear gender-appropriate clothes, or shave before going out to eat, or stop trying to talk in a semi-female register because my voice was getting hoarse, it didn't seem to faze anyone. That helped me so much in getting over my nervousness.

Many thanks to Tiffany and to Radina Matic for helping me feel more confident (and for the free food and for signing my yearbook). I'm extremely grateful to everyone who made the conference possible. It was an experience I'd like to have again sometime.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

Subscribe

RSS Atom

Tags

Style Credit

Page generated Sep. 24th, 2017 09:10 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios