I wandered into town on the 14th of July to see what was what, and it was a fairly impressive experience. TANKS!! GENDARMES!! POMPIERS!! SWING DANCE!! FIREWORKS!! Actually I think the swing is not a traditional component of the Bastille day experience, but it was rather fun to watch anyway. I walked up to the top of the Bastille (it, you know, seemed like a good place to visit on Bastille day…) and the swing dancers were out in force. It’s rather strange looking down on a firework display from the top of a mountain though. I always thought fireworks went 100s of metres upRead More →

I went to ITiCSE 09 last week in Paris, along with Karen Petrie from BCSWomen. Rog joined us for a day, which was great. Our talk was on opinions of women in computing – we ran a survey on women at the Lovelace and Hopper events last year and tried to work out what it was about successful women in computing (i.e., those doing PhDs or degrees or similar) that made them interested. One great outcome of the conference is that we made contacts with people in Turkey and in the USA who thought our study was interesting enough to run in their countries –Read More →

There are two markets fairly near my flat – one huge one, under the train tracks near the centre of town, which is about 10 mins bike away, and one medium one in the other direction that’s about 5 mins cycle. My Sunday morning routine involves visiting one or the other, and I’ve been mostly going to the nearer one. It has fewer “artisanal sausage and expensive olive” stalls, and more “north african men standing behind a huge pile of unattractive bras” stalls. And the vegetables are really cheap and tasty in both. That’s 9€66 of healthy fruit and vegetables (and a kettle).

Yesterday I was in London for W-tech, the UK’s biggest ever event for women in technology. It was fantastic. The day had a mix of panel sessions, networking opportunities, displays, demos, recruiters, and of course talks. I was running around most of the day as I chaired 2 sessions, gave a talk in another, and even managed a quick G&T with the parents… But I still managed to soak up a lot of the atmosphere and chat to people from BCSWomen and all over. I was really pleased with my talk – I’m used to talking to academics and it was hard to pitch itRead More →

Music night involves bands playing for free all over France. These guys, who are apparently Welsh, were on in the Irish pub, in Grenoble… and played one of my favourite songs ever. They were much better than the audio on my camera makes them sound. I stopped at the pub on a whim. I’d been out walking, and thought that a guinness would be nice after some hours of hilly countryside hearty healthiness. I sat down, exhausted, and it was lovely to hear them break into one of my favourite songs ever.

Some things I’m going to find it hard to get used to, #2 in a series of N… The politeness. People in the street say “Bonjour!”, whenever you sit down to eat strangers wish you “Bon Appetit”, you get greeted when you enter a shop and they bid you farewell when you leave, groups of teenage lads shake hands when they meet each other. It’s all rather nice. The temperature. Note to self: curry might last a day or so when left in the pan in Leeds, but here, a day on the stove top is a recipe for interesting furry growth. Oops. I wasRead More →

Number 2 in a series of N… (Snigger) Actually, as I am sure everyone knows, the Shag is a kind of dance, and the Shag Café (snigger) is a restaurant, bar, cafe and dancehall. It is somewhat strangely situated in the middle of a light industrial estate, out in the suburbs. I was convinced I was lost until I saw a guy getting his dancing shoes out of the boot of his car, and then I figured I must be in the right sort of area. Nestled between chemical companies, tech firms and industrial bakeries, there it was. A large metal shed, with the welcomingRead More →

For our upcoming ITiCSE talk (details and paper download here) we asked a bunch of women computer scientists a load of questions. At the end of the questionnaire we asked “What’s the best bit about computing?”, and “What’s the worst bit about computing?”. I’ve collated all the answers to these questions and turned it into an animated gif, shown below: I love the way that some things come out both best and worst (and it’s fascinating how many times “programming” comes up in both categories). Because I am a proper geek, I made the gif by writing a hacky perl program. So if you haveRead More →