Get stuffed Stuff Magazine

stuff off stuff magazine

I am in the market for a new mobile phone. I love my current LG running android but it is a bit battered and after a little family member chewed the buttons it doesn’t work as well, and the camera is very slow. So, I was given a copy of Stuff Magazine The Android Issue and having looked at it for the first time today I am enraged. I am furious.

What has the girl on the cover got to do with anything in this magazine? Turning the pages there is more of her and another girl in progressively silly poses. They are not even interacting with the technology, they are just looking about with a vacant expression only ever seen in porn magazines for men. Android doesn’t need porn style poses to promote its wares. I think my alternative version of this cover is better. Same plastic dollie bird except Barbie has more clothes on and looks pleased with her ipad.

The Stuff magazine cover and its Android article appalls me. The message I guess this cover is aiming for is: Android is ‘sexy’. The message I receive is that this magazine is aimed at and edited by sad porn loving men who like to fumble furtively with their Android apps and believe any sort of technology is a man’s domain. Disturbing to say the very least in 2011. The Internet has opened up the world in so many ways and technology is moving on constantly to make things better and more exciting. But sadly, marketing ‘sexy’ is used to sell more than ever and we are bombarded by unnecessary pictures of scantily clad vacant women.

Come on, you might say, it’s only a bit of fun. It isn’t. It truly isn’t. I am a mother of young girls and a computer scientist. I want to share with them the excitment of a world improved by technology. Cool, accessible technology which makes life easier. I won’t be using Stuff magazine to do that because I don’t want to have to come up with an explanation of what the silly girls are doing in the pictures. Imagine it:

Daughter: What is that girl doing mummy?
Me: Well she certainly doesn’t need to use that stylus when checking the weather app, she hasn’t got to grips with the multi-touch functionality on that HTC phone and she really must pay more attention to what she is doing…

Give me break! Already my eldest has used the term ‘boy’s toys’ and I can tell you that it is not a term she learnt from me.

We don’t need to sex up our technology, especially not to promote Android. Come on Stuff magazine, have some respect for your demographic and stop treating them like porn mad losers.

Newsflash: women do technology. The first computer programmer was a woman.

Goodbye Kubrick, hello twenty ten

The old kubrick website of Ruth Stalker-Firth

Today I updated WordPress. Wow! I have blogged in the past about how much I love WordPress, but where have I been? The WordPress community have been busy making everything smart and sexy. The new dashboard and themes make me desperate to write cool blogs (Dream on – I will).

Before my discovery today, I was a little upset to change my Kubrick theme, I read somewhere that it is no longer supported but after I installed my upgrade it worked as beautifully as ever. However, as much as I love its calm blue smartness, I have always secretly hankered for something more without ever wanting to commit to doing anything. Apart from the ‘if it ‘ain’t broke don’t fix it’ adage, scripting is a means to an end with me. If I really need to do something in a scripting language, I hack away blindly and never get it right the first few goes. Sometimes catastrophically.

When I was an industrial placement student, I edited a whole live database system under the tuition of the resident systems security ‘expert’ (who was one creepy guy). I guess he would have told me not to do that but I was 20 years old and didn’t have a very long attention span. Seriously, who does at that age? Anyway, one embarrassing mess later I was highly amused to find out that he hadn’t a single backup of the database in his Hong Kong Book of Kung Fu tricks . It just goes to show you that everyone needs to think carefully about who is going to carry out the essential but boring jobs (university departmental intranets are a total case in point). And if you must also bore your poor students whilst instructing them, make sure you practice what you preach, and it is probably best to get it down in an email so they have clear instructions.

Apart from my hacktastic tendencies, the other reason I hesitated about tinkering with the Kubrick theme was that I liked its simplicity and its clear lines and from a usability point of view, it is easy to read and to process (Where am I? Where have I been? Where am I going?). I have chosen a similar layout on this one and it looks great, but reading it I tire more easily because the text is too wide and hence, more tiring to read. I need a smaller text column. I feel more tinkering coming on.

Luckily that will be easy to do as I have used the child theme approach (great tutorial here : http://www.throwingabrick.com/wordpress/customizing-the-wordpress-twenty-ten-theme.html ). The child theme approach to editing themes is perfect. It lets me overload my code changes in a separate directory without ever messing up the real theme’s code. Fantastic. And then, when tired of scripting, I can use the Appearance Editor in the Dashboard to change colours and had a tinker about. The sidebar is taken care of by the Widgets drag and drop. This mixture of a bit of typing and mouse manipulation is exactly me. I love it. I want to start thinking of cool things to say, up my game, have cool blogs, but I might just have to fiddle with this new theme a bit more first.

Augmenting referees – why didn’t Piero help Uriah?

Last week, Uriah Rennie let Newcastle player James Milner’s goal stand even after his teammate Scott Parker had been flagged off-side and had jumped out of the way of the ball and (too late) West Ham goalkeeper Roy Carroll’s view. West Ham had been two goals up since the first five minutes of the game and possibly onto their first away win of the season. Instead, they left St James Park with only one point for their efforts. Continue reading “Augmenting referees – why didn’t Piero help Uriah?”

In control of self-assessment

Normally, I have violent fantasies about the things I would like to say when on the telephone with the Inland Revenue. Yesterday I didn’t say a word when interacting with them as I filed my self-assessment online. Continue reading “In control of self-assessment”

Favicon creators

ruth s-f faviconAt: http://www.chami.com/html-kit/services/favicon/ they offer a service to upload any picture and get it turned into a favicon that you can put in the header of your page. Last time I created a favicon it took me a good while longer. I followed the tutorial http://photomatt.net/2003/11/13/how-to-create-a-favicon/ which was good but it did take me longer than the two minutes I spent today on choosing a suitable picture before uploading it to chami.com. Perhaps my attention span is getting smaller as I get older.