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Just read about this select few bloggers that get to Meet Collin Balester over at the Nationals Inquisition

Collin Ballester at Nationals Ballpark


Collin Balester at Nationals Ballpark

Since I have season tix and take pics at games which have been used on their blog, would it only be fitting if I could actually attend this event to blog about my experience and get some up close pics.

Also, I would like Collin to know I am a fan 🙂

Last night I attended an event to help plan the East Coast version for the b-annRachel Leigh Cook as a geekual (un)conference event known as “She’s Geeky” The concept of She’s Geeky (cue the Beastie Boys), comes from a woman whom I had the pleasure of meeting when I was attending the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco back in April. Kaylia Hamlin, otherwise known as “Identity Woman” is a very smart gal, but doesn’t consider herself a technologist.

And neither did some of the women in the room that came out to the event. It was a small gathering and its main purpose was to talk about the planning and ideas for the conference in New York to be held later this year. One of the immediate ideas was to move the conference from October to December 2008, for several reasons. The women in the room agreed that the elections are a big factor not only in technology and the DC area, but going forward as a country have many ramifications.

It seemed I was the only semi-associated Federal Government (albeit contractor) in attendance. But my cause was heard, maybe its because I am not afraid to speak up and actually would be happy to speak at any event should I be asked (this was a side [tangent] conversation of course that happened and we will continue to address).

I will probably help develop a track at the conference around Enterprise 2.0 in Government or quite possibly just speak about my experiences as a woman climbing the corporate ladder to become the Director of Technology for Navstar, Inc.

I have also agreed to help with the marketing and promotions of the event, as those of you who know me, know of my former life in the music industry. As such, this was something I was very good at and still continue to use these skills in my evangelism of social media in Government. So who knows, I might even take up the committee lead on that. We are coordinating the planning of the event through a wiki and I do believe I know my way around a garden 🙂

Most of the other women, were from non-profit organization such as DC Web Women, Women in Policy and Technology (WIPT – yes they are aware of how the acronym sounds), Care2 (OXFAM), United Way, and Women Thrive WorldWide, just to name a few. I think I made some great new friends and contacts and I am more inspired now for the cause to raise awareness for women in tech and all geekdom.

I want all my female readers to reach out to me in some shape or form if you consider yourself a geek in any way (not necessarily in tech, but maybe a scifi or D&D geeks). This blog is your sanctuary and I will help you find ways to find other women like you.

If you would like to find out more about this event, please feel free to contact me or search for yourself, by googling “She’s Geeky”. Hope to see you out in December in New York.

I don’t know about everyone in the world, its not my job. But I do know there are people like me who travel frequently and sometimes they can’t bring their phone with them into their workspace or have to have it off during the day. That can be a pain when you are “expecting a call or important text”.

Fortunately technology is starting to catch up with the demands of the likes of us. We can participate in massive social messaging with sites like twitter, pownce, ping.fm, friendfeed and so on. And by using these services we can see our messages online. OK cool. Then there is something called Grand Central.

Grand Central is cool, as its in beta, I can choose my own phone number from anywhere in the country and use this as my “semi-anonomous phone number”. I use this in a few ways. Its the number in my email signature I give out via business email communications and eventually will be on my new business cards (along with my twitter name: immunity). But I can also use it to screen calls and forward calls to multiple lines at the same time. And where I can also check the voicemail online as it comes via email. Very nice huh?

But all that takes a little work to set up and dissiminating those numbers and practices to your business contacts and tech savvy friends.

What happens if its your family and close friends, who might not be as techie as you. In fact, they are the ones that call YOU for IT support when their computer is b0rked.

This is where a service like Dashwire might come in handy. I recently stumbled upon the site, from a curious question posted by a fellow smartphone user on my twitter contacts. After reading some reviews on a zdnet blog and checking out the site, I decided to give it a trial run.

Dashwire essentially syncs up my smartphone (T-Mobile Dash) to a personal site for me so I can see all my calls, texts, pictures, and contacts. This is something T-mobile can do normally if I was using a sidekick, except for the text messaging. So this is why I like it. I can see the texts I am missing.

It’s able to make this work by sending text messages to the dashwire service, as a forward, so an unlimited text messaging plan is essential if you want to try this out. Additionally, beforewarned, this is a resource and battery drain, especially while synching. So while it maybe cool, consider this downside, especially if you are not able to charge your phone (charging in your car maybe a necessity).

Also to note, they didn’t have an exact match of the HTC phone for my dash, so I picked the closest model and it still works.

I started using this about 2 weeks ago and think I will give it at least one month more before I make my final call, but for this trial run (self-imposed trial, the service is free), its been very helpful.

As much as I love and preach the rapid growing technologies that are making life and work easier and more effective in less time, the more I hate technology as well.Thanks to Live Digitally for the photo, aka Jeremy Toeman

I am so addicted to all things mobile and how it connects me to the world. I can remember the shortcode for Twitter (40404), but I can’t remember my best friend’s phone number. In fact, I can’t remember anyone’s phone number post 2002, when my father finally bought my very own cell phone. I was late to the cell phone game as most of my friends had been using cell phones for a few years by then, but even 4 years out of the Army I was still clamming for a hard line. Now even my alarm system in wireless and I haven’t had a home phone in three years.

So since 2002 I have been becoming dumber. And I blame it on the cell phone. I mean think about it, before you owned a cell phone, you probably knew all your friends numbers that you called from your private line in your parents house and you could dial those numbers fast as lightening. But now, every time you lose your phone, reset it, or upgrade, you send a message out to Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or whatever ever social network to ask for everyone to send you their numbers again. Even those whom you have weak ties.

Why bother remember 10 little digits when your SIM card can do it for you?

So what happens when we rely on that technology so much, it fails us in life? We can end up looking like real assholes.

Don, Steve, Sean, Andrea at HBS, 7 April 2008This was the case for me back in April this year for instance. I was flying up to spend some time with my best friend in New Hampshire before heading to Boston to meet with Andrew McAfee, of HBS and to sit in on one of his classes. As the plane landed in Manchester Airport, I turned my T-mobile Dash HTC Excaliber smartphone back on so I could text him that I was on the ground. I was able to see that he had txt’d me he was waiting just as my phone froze. I restarted again and my phone started going into what I call the loop of death. This had happened once before so I knew my only recourse was to hard reset the phone. This meant 30 minutes of unavailability to do anything with it, even make a simple call.

So without a phone, I had no number to let him know I was there and I would be waiting for him. Luckily after 30 minutes and just as my phone was normalizing as I was sitting on a bench outside, he walks up, furious. Why didn’t call blah, blah, blah. He said a true friend would have the number written down elsewhere and couldn’t believe I didn’t have it memorize. To which, if I had, asked someone in the airport to borrow a cell phone for a local call or go to a pay phone.

This was not the first or the last time we had issues getting in touch because of not knowing each other’s numbers. I thought we had rectified this because we had exchanged business cards and (we are best friends mind you) that maybe by now we would have remembered or at least keep the numbers in our wallets.

Um no. It happened again. He lost his phone. His billfold is in storage where he thinks my business card might be. He had no access to get online (the Internet seems to be a novelty for laid back New Englanders) and thus excuses, excuses, blah, blah, blah.

OK so this is a long story to make a point. But as I sit here, many paragraphs later I can only remember the first three digits of his number (603). I still cannot muster up the remaining 7 with absolute certainty and it kills me. I mean I learned Arabic to fluency (which I have also mostly forgotten now), but I cannot remember 10 numbers.

My cell phone does all my day to day brain work for me, besides store numbers. It also emails me my daily calendar from google, I get my news, weather and traffic (see @thebeltway on twitter) via FriendFeed, twitter, and text messaging. I even read interesting feeds while getting iontophoresis during physical therapy in the mornings. I even email myself quick directions for meetings from google maps and in bad traffic on 95 I used Windows Live Search for finding alternate routes home.

Essentially its like my brain saying, try as I might, since some device that fits in the palm of my hand can remember all that information for me, why should I retain it in my head? I mean I don’t know how many times I have gone to t-mobile.com to look up the number of someone whom you would think I would have the number engraved on my knuckles.

Next up … getting my text messages online ? Say it ain’t so.

The O\'Reilly Bookstore on the Expo Floor at Web 2.0 Expo San FranciscoYesterday was an amazingly different and wondrous day. It started off with the hotel finding us the biggest chocolate croissants evar! Then Steve Mandzik and I walked down to E*Trade. After which, we started walking back to the Moscone West when we were stopped by News Channel 5 in SF to talk about the presidential campaign so far. I am hoping my soundbyte made it on air. (If someone can find me this clip I will love you forever and pimp your site, blog, twitter, whatever for you.)

Update: My friend Mike B. found the clip, I am standing next to Steve and his soundbyte made it, but mine did not. Next time eh?

After that, I sat in on Joseph Smarr from Plaxo’s presentation “Data Portability, Privacy, and the Emergence of the Social Web“. I saw Joseph earlier this year at the Future of Web Apps in MIami. This time he had more time to speak and talk about the direction in which the social web is going and the ever growing need for our connections to travel with us, instead of re-friending your friends. I also saw Kevin Marks again from Google and I met Identity Woman, Kaliya Hamlin.

I spent a lot of time back and forth in blogtropol.us and on the expo floor. I was really impressed with the Tell Me app that works with voice on your blackberry to keep your hands free when looking for information. I also got a demo of saleforce.com powered by google apps and the possibilities I can take with me back to Navstar. I still have 4/5ths of the floor to explore. A little each day.

Most of the time spent here is actually networking and talking to developers making cool hacks, scripts and apps. But the afternoon we got to listen to the Keynotes of Day 2 (Tim O’Reilly and Clay Shirky surely were the standouts).

So far the new apps I have been working with since I got here Fireball, powered by Fireeagle. Alertthingy, a desktop app for friendfeed.com. And ribbit, another way to make your phone do so much more for you.

Blog Notice to Readers

This is the personal blog of Andrea R. Baker. The views expressed within this blog are not representative of her employer, Navstar Inc. or any other professional association.

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While I may post and discuss the social web on this blog, please refer to my professional blog for my thoughts on Enterprise 2.0 and the workplace.

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