We are not all…⸮

Stereotypical Geek

I retweeted this

OH: How can you spot an extroverted engineer?
They look at *your* shoes when they talk.

Ever since people have been getting at me for re-tweeting it. But then again I didn’t get to include my irony backwards questionmark ⸮ in the retweet

I understand the frustration but I mainly wanted to retweet it because I’m fed up of hearing this type of thing. And clearly its not just designers who are to blame.
Recently I was at a event which was well attended but a lot of the developers were saying how many people were not from engineering and development background. Then came the jokes…

A web designer walks into a bar, but immediately leaves in disgust upon noticing the tables layout.

How many designers does it take to change a lightbulb?

1 to call an engineer

And its not just jokes… its the other stuff which winds me up inside.

I understand its part of what we do as humans but seriously is it about time to over come some of this…?

Stereotyping…!!!

Geeks don’t all love Star Trek, Designers don’t all love Apples, Developers are not all introverted, Recruiters are not all evil, Architects are not all control freaks, Models are not all thick, etc, etc… Its almost 2013, its time we got over it all…

Geeky&Sexy… The politics of first time dating

This is Thursday in my busy social week

Following Tuesday’s talk at Preston Social, I was looking forward to deep diving on the politics of first time dating for the new look Geeks Talk Sexy…

We had it all planned out and about 4pm I got a text message from my partner in crime saying she wasn’t able to make it anymore. To be honest I was really really peed at this news. A few weeks back she had told me that she had a funeral on the same day and might not be able to make it. I did say back then, if she can’t make it just tell me but it would be a real let down but I could have struggled through. I mean its devastating when ever anyone dies and to be honest Geeky&Sexy can’t even be considered when something like this happens. However she said she will be there…

Except she wasn’t! The only reason I’m not naming her is because I can’t be bothered with the stress (i’ve had the same thing before remember…)

Anyway, I headed to FYG Deli early as I wanted to work out what I was going to do and have a nice red wine and cheese platter to calm my frustrations. I explained what had happened to the lovely owner and she had a think about the problem. After a while she suggested why don’t the two waitresses do the part which was missing? Brilliant! And after a quick preview of the justification why the guy should pay emailed to me a few days earlier. They gave a look over and went away to do there day jobs.

About 7pm people started arriving, some new faces and some old faces. The great thing is although we had about 15 people (which is nice intimate number) half were female and the other half were male. So we really had a spread of ideas and thoughts.

Kicking off about 7:30pm, once people had settled and got themselves a drink and little snack from FYG’s amazing deli menu. I started the presentation and handed it over to the two FYG waitresses to explain why the man should pay on the first date. They were nervous at first but quickly gained confidence together. I then explained why its best to go dutch or split the bill on the first date. After which I left the question of the woman paying in the air.

The conversations really got going as soon as the waitresses explained why the man should pay. There was very little prompting and poking for peoples views. Everyone felt so very comfortable in the intimate setting of FYG, it all just came out. People were very respectful of other peoples opinions and I swear I had a harder time trying to call breaks and move the topics on to the other aspects of the politics of first time dating. I’m sure if I had left it, we would still be discussing it all till 11pm still.

I know its hard to convey in a blog post after the fact but it was one of the best things I’ve done in March.

Everyone loved it and are looking forward to the next one on Thursday May 3rd. Its going to be at FYG Deli again, topic may change a little to how to end a relationship in the best possible way…

What about sex?


Found in Linux Magazine, the start almost sounds like one of tiny nibbles podcasts.

“What about Sex?” the woman sitting across from me at the dinner table asked. I felt my face start to flush. She was about my age, and fairly attractive. I, of course, am unmarried, and therefore “available”. However, her husband was sitting next to me……

“She is afraid that these young people who are in front of computers the whole day, only communicating by Facebook and the Internet do not have the social contact that people need”, her husband explained. “She wants to know if they have ‘significant others’.”

The rest of it is much more what you’d expect from a Linux magazine… Which I guess is a bit of a shame. But I really want to leave a comment pointing to the series of talks and workshops which made up geeks talk sexy series. Hey and lets not forget the article which turns the question on its head too…

Flirting versus pick-up. Where to begin?

Buyin the game

Since the moment the concept of doing a flirting and pickup workshop was kicked about, there’s been a silent backlash from different quarters… One of the people most vocal has been @Maznu who’s been writing about the whole thing on Twitter quite a bit. In actual fact, we’ve been going back and forth for a few nights on twitter. But Maz also wrote on Simon Carters blog and my own. After reading her (I’m assume shes a she) reply I had to blockquote it as its a very well executed argument, and crystallizes a lot of what I don’t like about the game and pickup.

I’m in two minds because I feel Simon Lumb might have been unfairly singled out by people like Maz, when actually he’s a nice guy who happened to dabble with pickup a while ago. Then again, Maz kind of covers that too. Anyway, he’s the comment with my thoughts between

…First I suppose I ought to outline what I believe these two things are.

Flirting: to deliver a compliment to somebody in a way that says, “out of all the people right here right now, I’ve noticed you, there’s something special about you, and maybe we should talk a little longer.” Flirting is something that anyone can do regardless of the nature of the “attraction”: gay guys flirt with girls (who they have no intention of taking to bed), and vice-versa. I flirt with friends, lovers, former lovers, would-like-to-be lovers, people I am not attracted to, anybody. It’s a “compliment++”: it doesn’t mean “I want to have sex with you” (though there can be that connotation). From what I’ve read of Nicole’s presentations, and her website, I think she’d agree with me.

Yes I think Nicole would be in total agreement…

Pick-up: by the definitions of The Game (the book), this is all about steering conversation and interaction with someone as quickly as possible from initial meeting to sex. Don’t get me wrong: I have absolutely no problem with promiscuity. I have no problem with “one night stands”. You and I and Simon and Ian and whoever are quite welcome to shag whoever they want… but there has to be respect and honour.

On respect: The Game (or rather the book “The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists”) is about a short-cut. Using techniques such as NLP, reframes and others, the goal is to proceed from initial encounter through seduction to sex in a swift manner. And the people that Strauss writes about in The Game seem to have a secondary goal: validation amongst their peers. This is where The Game falls down for me utterly, and where my offence at Sexy Geeks’ “Flirting Workshop” (as originally advertised) stems from.

Its worth mentioning Simon Lumb did email me after we posted the description for the event and say he wasn’t really happy with the description. Without getting semantical, the description was written by myself with another guy in mind. Originally it was meant to be Simon and Andy but Andy had to drop out at the last moment and so Simon inherited what was planned by Andy. Now to be fair, if Simon had been a little more in touch he could have crafted the session a bit more, but I had to go with what I had on the table, which was mainly Andy’s plan.

Although it hurts me to say, I think your right short cutting people with NLP techniques does bother me greatly, specially when there not shared in a open way. Its gives one person the upper hand and thats not good in my book. Dare I say a lack of respect. But I have to say, Simon’s really not like this.

The pick-up seems (to me) to be more about the PUA’s “self esteem” than something which, frankly, is more equal. The result is that many will see the PUA as sexist, misogynistic, etc. Personally I don’t differentiate on gender, so I just see this smarting of lack of respect: it’s about using someone. I always feel that you should party company with someone — be it saying goodbye or ending a relationship — leaving the other person in a “better state” than when you found them. Pick-Ups don’t achieve this; but further, the behaviour of Strauss and his peers actually distances them from the female company they seek. Theirs becomes a completely male-dominated society: they only ever seem to earn or seek respect from their fellow PUAs. Therefore I find their approach to be completely incompatible with the sort of thing I thought “Sexy Geeks Manchester” is about, namely “helping make good relationships”).

I was once called a misogynist because I didn’t act like most guys with a bunch of (lets say) lovely girls. They expected me to try my luck and I wasn’t having any of it (I think this is about the time when I discovered the Rules). They were the centre of most guys attention at the time and place but not mine. They later concluded that I wasn’t gay, married or in a relationship so I must hate woman. Simply because I exercised control over my feelings and sexual organs.

I guess I’m saying in that example is woman can be equally bad at making the opposite sex feel crap. Not that this equals or squares things off. Just a thought that I imagine a lot of guys may have come cross and so they turn to things like the Game to help them get the upper hand. This is the reason why I bought it up to start with.

On confidence: personally I believe that the attribute of people that is most commonly “attractive” is confidence. Unfortunately we are all too easily fooled by bravado, mistake it for confidence, and realise this about our new boyfriend/girlfriend/lover/etc too late. Bravado is covering up an insecurity with a projection of confidence, and a lot of PUA techniques seem to be about doing just this. Sadly, as a “self help book”, The Game doesn’t really address the underlying confidence problems. The educated reader might do that themselves — I hope Simon was one! — but what The Game teaches strikes me to be more about “casting a glamour” rather than self-improvement. The strange and subtle thing about confidence is that confident people don’t usually appear confident… because they don’t need to!

Ok you got me… I think your right on this one. Me and other pickup artists (certainly not Simon) have debated this to death. And your right the projection of confidence aka Bravado bugs me greatly. You need to be comfortable in your own skin, if your not no matter what front you put on it, it will still be there when you look in the mirror tomorrow morning. I think Simon’s confidence may have took a serious knock back in 2002 (is when he said it might have been) but I can’t help but imagine what he was like before I met him. I’m sure he was always a nice guy with a passion for games.

I did say to Andy a while back when we were planning the workshop that I’ve always been happy to talk to the opposite sex. It just wasn’t a big deal… This is part of the reason why I find it hard to understand the need to put on a game face or bravado. I am who I am and if you don’t like it, well tough… 🙂

I also wonder about casting a glamour, I mean at what point do you have to give up the bravado and get real? First date, 2nd date, after meeting the parents, after meeting the friends? When your engaged, when your married or maybe even when your dead? If its not really you, then why bother? Is that other person worth that much trouble? Surely doing this must cause massive problems down the line.

But perhaps the PUAs you had speak at Sexy Geeks weren’t “bad” PUAs. You talk of a heart-warming story. I can fully get behind anybody who is pushing through a self-esteem problem, as your speaker Simon says he was after a horrible break-up. Unfortunately I have several questions, or perhaps hesitations, about this. For instance: “Simon talked about it and suggested he also doesn’t really like it but sees what its trying to do,” but in my book if you don’t like it, then why are you doing it? “Finally Simon talked about moving away from the pickup artist title”: is that because he internalised sufficient PU techniques till they became instinctive, or does he now have qualms with the ethics of “picking-up”? While the “lessons learned” by PUAs might be similar to those things that help with flirting (be yourself, confidence, etc), I think context is key: respect is earned not just from what you’re doing, but why you’re doing it.

I have no answers for you on this one… Only Simon could really tell you whats in his head (besides Halo and Djing). I would only suggest that maybe internalising pickup techniques could be handy in certain suitations like interviews for jobs. I would be a liar if I didn’t admit to using NLP techniques in interviews and to be fair I’ve only been turned down for one or two jobs in my life when I’ve gotten past the CV/application stage.

We can moralise the PU techniques as “ice-breakers” and say “they just help level the playing field” or “but I have low self-esteem, I need something that works.” But at the same time, the presenters at your talk were labelling themselves as “pick-up artists” — to speak of someone as “wingman” very much suggests a PUA lifestyle as per Strauss’ initial meeting with Mystery — and this comes with trappings and potential anti-feminist connotations. Perhaps they would protest, “We’re pickup artists, but we’re nice people! We don’t exploit women!” — but I have trouble believing that, because I can’t imagine someone using that “negative” label in such a manner. Maybe I have it wrong, maybe Chris and Ian are reclaiming the words “pickup artist” in the way that some of us are reclaiming the word “slut”, but if so, that hasn’t come across at all in any of the blog posts I’ve read about their talk; and it’s not part of a wider movement that I’m aware of either.

Yes I think Simon might be in a bit of hard place due to myself again. The description was hard to write and was written in a rush without talking to Simon (he was busy at the time) and once again he did ask me to change it, as he wasn’t happy or even comfortable with pickup artist (I kept because I couldn’t really think of another term).

I would also add Simon is the only person who would not admit to being a pickup artist in the past (I only found out because Andy let slip one day). Maybe there is a fear of the pickup artist stigma but Simon (and total respect to him) did it anyway with a slight push from me.

So generally I think Simon has never really been comfortable with the idea that he might be a pickup artist as such (sure he’s the only one who knows). No one’s certainly try to reclaim the word, although I did try and reclaim “serial dater” away from a player to someone who just goes dating a lot…

Yes, there is a place for discussing these “chat-up techniques” and debating them. I think this is a very interesting topic, and attitudes such as The Rules and The Game should be discussed.

To be honest, I was planning to do “The Rules” at some point in the next geeks talk sexy season because just like “The Game” (and your so right grouping them together). I did allude to it in geeks talk sexy part 2 but the whole debate got hijacked by the notion of the game as so many people hadn’t heard of it.

However, I still feel very strongly that the billing of “Flirting Workshop” alongside “Pickup Techniques” did a disservice to what I believe you’ve been trying to do with Sexy Geeks Manchester. All your speakers up till now had been about forming relationships in which equality, fairness, happiness, passion and fun are a huge part; and some of the “types” of relationships discussed have been quite diverse. I wasn’t there, I might not be reading well enough between the lines, and for these reasons and more perhaps it’s not my place to be so offended…

I totally understand the outrage but also I have to be honest, I’m balancing freedom of information / open information (because I still believe people should know about this stuff) with my distaste of it. The Flirting workshop was always on the cards from the start but after the outrage of geeks talk sexy 2, I decided to push this into the limelight.

As I said on the techgrumps podcast, I’m taking a anthropological view on it all. Its like being Louis theroux I imagine. Never was I promoting the pickup lifestyle, but I do think people should be informed so they can make there own decision without social bias.

As Simon said, some people take this knowledge and use it for there own means, screwing over most of the people around them. Others (like myself and I would suggest Simon) take it and use positively to help people around them and improve relationships. I will admit not only have I read the game, the rules but also as Simon said Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people” and one of my favorites Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Although not dealing with relationships exactly, there also a source of NLP and other techniques. But likewise I’m choosy when I use these techniques and I find them handy for protection when your being social engineered by someone else.

What bugs me is the tons and tons of books and articles on Sudo-NLP techniques which I’ve witnessed in the dark corners of the internet. Anyone who thinks the game is shocking should have a look down the Piratebay’s top 100 ebooks.

  • How to analyze people on sight?
  • How to blow her mind in bed?
  • The Game
  • The body langauge rules: A Savvy Guide to Understanding Who’s Flirting, Who’s Faking, and Who’s Really Interested?

If we don’t cover these type of things, people who might lack the social skills seeking a way to understand the whole process better. I’d much rather someone learn about it in this way that from sudo crappy shadowy book, tutorial, etc…

but I think this combination overstepped a line of taste, somewhere. As I said in my first tweet, “what next? someone talking about The Rules to Geek Girls Manchester?” — and that is still how I feel. Interesting material, but somehow — to me — it seemed the wrong combination of time and place for it.

First up I wouldn’t do the Rules to just girl geeks, it would be open to everyone because it would be interesting for men to know too.

Maybe we did overstep the mark, but to be honest I was planning to push back on Simons talk but it totally surprised me, as it was enlightened and not like some of the other people I know who use the term pickup artist as a proud badge. Geeks talk sexy was always going to be touchy for different people. We’ve had people moan at us about our binary notion of relationships, our over indulgence (there word not mine) in non-monogamy and finally our look at the art of pickup (can’t find a better word)… Locking pickup and flirting together might not have been the best idea but I got to say everyone walked away from the event positive.

Maybe Maz, Josh and others would have felt different if they had come on the workshop.

We are all ears for the next season of geeks talk sexy… I look forward to the feedback…

Geeks talk sexy part4: The dynamics of relationships

Chris and Simon

Ed and Alice live together and will soon marry. She decides she’d like more sexual experiences before settling down with the man she loves, so she convinces Ed they should “see other people” (as in, sex with strangers), even as they continue to live together and plan the wedding. They discuss it. Each knows someone who thinks this idea is cool; each has a friend who thinks they’re nuts. Things start reasonably well, but soon their relationship goes awry. Can the genie get back in the bottle and Ed and Alice return to companionship – or does seeing other people put an end to how Alice and Ed used to be?

Geeks talk sexy part 4, kicked off with a edited version of the film, seeing other people. This time it was a slightly lower key affair with a total of about 12 people showing up to find out what the dynamics of relationships meant.

The dynamics of relationships started without the wonderful Samantha Bail (Sam has a university course she needed to spend far more time on, shes ignored it for too long really). We (me and Simon, who has helped out with geeks talk sexy from near the start) weren’t sure if she was the reason for the large turn outs earlier but it was a quieter more intimate event this time, which actually worked out nicely.

Right from the start we asked some very challenging questions about previous relationships and there thoughts about monogamy. We always planned to discuss in the first half about relationships including hacking them. Then in the second half about non-monogamy.

So in the first half, we de-constructed what it means to be in a relationship… At one point we started to project manage a relationship using planner (which is like Microsoft project). Assigning time information to tasks, we were able to see if Agile methodology could be applied to relationships? The idea seems to work quite well but applying the time information was challenging to say the least. For example, there was a question: At what stage do you change your facebook status to say your in a relationship? And do you say in a relationship with person x? On top of that, we explored hacks people use in relationships. Someone suggested sending flowers to the other person, and this was followed up with a discussion of applying this to a cron. Now thats hacking a relationship…!

Up to that point we talked about relationships in a monogamous way. Now we were asking people to think out side the box. In the break we played the 4thought with Clair Lewis.

Clair Lewis from Manchester has two partners, Phoebe and Gordon, and cannot understand why anyone would have a problem with her loving two people at once

After the break and a cocktail later, we were deep in discussion about  the map of non-monogamy. There was plenty to be said… too.

Before long we were on to the special guests (Chris & Simon) who explained how they went from a everyday married couple to become poly. A very interesting tale of love, trust, commitment, compromise and  understanding. Simon said it right when he explained you can love more that one person… You love your parents, your sister/brother, your children, your partner. A relationship isn’t just sex, love takes many different forms.

People later added there own experiences to the mix and before you knew it, we were all questioning our own thoughts about monogamy and would we be able to manage having a non-monogamous long term relationship, and if so which type? I certainly think the Unicorn Polyamory would be high on a lot of men’s lists, but as Louise said… Its called that because its not reality…

Lots to discuss and simply not enough time to discuss it in… It was over the road to Common to continue the conversations till the late hours of Saturday night… The event was a great success, its just a shame we had so few people this time around.

Another great Geeks talk sexy… and maybe the end of our regular scheduled sessions this season. However there’s at least one more, this time a flirt & walk workshop with Nicole from Flirtology and the art of the pickup with our budding pickup artists Simon & Andy. Places are very limited, but expect a grand end to season one…

Continue readingGeeks talk sexy part4: The dynamics of relationships

Geeks talk sexy part 4: The dynamics of relationships

Geeks talk sexy 4

Photo credit – virginsuicides

Its that time again… Yes geeks talk sexy time… Sign up here.

In this Geeks talk sexy, we will de-construct what it means to be in a relationship. In a frank, geeky and enlightening way, we will explore the notion of relationships between one person and another. And ask the eternal question – Why should relationships be any different from a complex piece of code?

  • How do you decide your in a relationship?
  • At what date do you pose questions?
  • How do you deal with the differences?
  • What kind of life hacks do you apply to relationships?
  • Can you apply agile methodology to relationships?

Then when you think we’ve gone too deep, we’ll be thinking way outside the box by exploring what its like to have a relationship not based on the concept of monogamy.

This is certainly not for the faint hearted but there’s no doubt its going to be another eye opening geeks talk sexy. Next stop agile relationships…

Its going to be a good one, and look out for part 5 as its not long after. (keep May 7th free if possible) You can also follow the twitter account for geekstalksexy or the subscribe to the official geekstalksexy tumblr blog.

Geeks Talk Sexy – The Other Half of the Population

Photo credit: hoyvinmayvin

The description says: Geeks Talk Sexy is back – bigger and better!

And it certainly will be bigger and much better.

So we’re kicking off with part 2 of the sexygeek series. Of course we always planned to do more. But I got a feeling part 2 might shock people because its quite distinct.

This time its all about the female geeks, except instead of the usual discussions about woman and men which we’ve all heard quite a few times. We’ll be digging down into the deep mystery of relationships between the two.

  • How do girl geeks and guy geeks interact in the geek community?
  • What happens when we go from techy hack day to romantic hack date?
  • What are the problems we have to overcome?
  • What can we do to make everyone feel comfortable in their role?

Yes the nitty gritty or you might prefer the nuts and bolts of male and female relationships within the scope of the geek culture.

Most discussions center around woman in the workforce, as entrepreneurs, in places which were along time ago though as only for men. But there is little talk about relationships of men and woman. In actual fact I’m kind of lying. There is quite a lot information but they tend to be buried deep down in places where most of us don’t go looking. So we’re uncovering and discussing it on Friday 4th Feb at Madlab. We may also have a very special guest stopping in, so what you waiting for? Sign up now at our event page.

Disclaimer

Now I have to add the very serious disclaimer because people are going to get very irate about the whole thing.

We are fully aware that this title and concept is only a vague approximation to reality and that gender is not just binary. We are in no way assuming that there are only straight, cis, monogamous, male or female geeks. For the purpose of the talk we picked the most obvious intersection for arising problems, which is the role of women in the geek community that is usually only discussed from a professional point of view.

We hope this decision does not offend anyone (although I got a feeling it will) and that people of all genders and orientations join us for the talk. Please do get in touch if you have got serious concerns.

The whole series

I said in my new years resolutions for 2011, a lot of things regarding Take Geek Culture to new heights. We (me, Samantha and Hwayoung) have worked hard on the series and have some cracking surprises to come. I really hope people bear with us, the first one was great and we learned a lot from that one but it was ultimately very difficult because we tried to cover a load of issues in one overview session. In this one we will stick to one subject, so it will be a lot more tighter. We’re also hoping to have a special guest join us for the event, who that will be will be revealed later. To get you all started, there is this Comfort-a-Crying-Woman

Next in the series we will be exploring Gay, Lesiban, Bi, Poly, Transexual and what ever else there is. I’m happy to say we have some help from Simon Carter who has stepped up to help us better represent section of geeks talk sexy. Me, Samantha and Hwayoung are not that familiar with most of these. So to do them any real justice we certainly need help.

Of course its all about part 2 right now, so what you waiting for? Sign up now!

Geeks talks sexy: What does sex have to do with geeks?

Geeks talk sexy at Madlab

So finally we did it, yes the geeks talked sexy at Madlab. @smanthabail, @hwayoung and myself have been planning this series of talks for a while now and after the last change of dates we managed to get over 30 people to sign up to the 1st in a series of talks. Although we did so many signing up, about 20 turned up on the night but to be fair, we all had a great time. We kicked off at 19:30 with loads of geeky cocktails nicely provided by @MadlabUK. My favorate has to be Sex on the geek, which packed quite a punch.

Cocktail menu

To start we got everyone to write down some geek stereotypes which we then later read out, twittered and dispelled after the break. Here’s some of the stereotypes

  • Geeks have bad dress sense
  • Geeks are Reclusive
  • Geeks don’t wash
  • sexually inactive
  • there all virgins
  • Obsessive and socially backward
  • geeks are young, anti-social and overweight
  • geeks only do it in the dark and missionary only
  • girls don’t like geeks
  • geeks only have online friends and partners

We broke down every stereotype with some evidence for each one. After the break, we started running through some of the rubbish we’ve collected from the main stream press on geeks. Things such as 10 reasons why woman love geeks and my personal favorite 10 real reasons why geeks make better lovers. All before descending down into the pits of the internet with tron style sex, erotic falconry and a live demonstration of chatroulette and the all new adult themed citizenx.

Geeks talk sexy

End of the session, I think everyone really enjoyed it but there was a feeling we can or could go much further that even we had imagined. Because of this we are going to juggle things around a little and see if we can go a little further a bit earlier that expected. I’d highly recommend you come to the next one (sometime in Jan/Feb 2011), but it will be much more serious that the last one. I expect number 3 will be much more fun and a lot more erotic.

Continue readingGeeks talks sexy: What does sex have to do with geeks?

Claudia Winkleman hosts Film 2010, hold back the sexist stereotypes

From Den of Geek’s Claudia Winkleman vs the People.

Claudia Winkleman is a sexy woman. Some male nerds are uncomfortable around sexy women. Some women certainly don’t like or trust other sexy women. A lot of people, both male and female, indulge in nerdy pursuits to escape from the pressures and perils of dealing with the opposite sex and sexuality itself. If you then unbalance that equation with some misjudged sex appeal they get confused and angry, like at the impossibly perfect models who present shows about Starcraft on Anerican videogame websites, or at the sexy Spock who snogs Uhura (not logical, apparently).

I’m actually not that much of fan of Claudia Winkleman but I got to say there is something very sinister (hinging on sexist) running through the criticism of why she shouldn’t be hosting BBC’s Film 2010 show. I actually thought you she did alright and after the shock of seeing her on the show (I just happen to have the TV on and was expecting Jonathan Ross) I did check out some of the comments across twitter and the blogs (not singling anyone out except the Daily Mail). But alas Den of geek hits the issue where I’m thinking.

Let me be clear about something: I’m not saying that if you are male, and you don’t like Claudia Winkleman, then it would follow that you are a raging sexist powered by the heady combination of hatred, lust and jealousy. What I would argue that it is a combination of her femininity (she’s the opposite of a tomboy like, say, Emily Booth), attractiveness, and track record on reality shows that makes her so unpalatable to many male viewers.

Gabby Logan and Emily Booth both had to prove themselves up to the task by being better informed and better presenters than the majority of their male counterparts, and this is the area where Winkleman is ultimately going to live or die – is her film knowledge up to scratch?

It a sad fact but yes you need to be better that your counterparts. You almost have to shock your counterparts into believing you are amazing. The recent character assassination of Claudia Winkleman has got me thinking about woman geeks again. Of course we are going to explore this at a much deeper level at the series of talks we got setup starting with geeks talk sexy on 19th November at Madlab.

But a geek very much respect for her frank thinking and amazing insight is Tara Hunt, whos been thinking a lot more about her personality in the context of the Facebook movie.

If I had a penis and was 10-15 years younger, there would probably be a movie about me, too. But I’m not. I’m a woman who has been told since she was a young girl that she needs to be quieter, more humble, more demure, more agreeable, more attractive, less outspoken, less ambitious, less aggressive and more ‘woman’-like. I was highly unpopular growing up because I didn’t feel the need to fit a mould. I learnt as soon as I did fit a mould, I was rewarded. I got the academic awards and accolades? I was ostracized + called a show-off. Nobody wanted to be my friend. When I slacked off, dressed pretty and laughed at the boys stupid jokes? I was popular! This didn’t change in adult life, either (don’t even get me started on how dating advice on how a woman ‘should act’ fits into this whole mess)

There will be lots more of this type of analysis at Geeks talk sexy… But for now its worth saying there is something sinister, I’m also saying its not all out sexism but there is certainly a need to change the script.

Geeks talk sexy…. *new date* (now on the 19th November)

Excellent photo by hoyvinmayvin – cc: by-nc-sa

Sex and geeks don’t fit together or compute, most would say. However the truth may be the total opposite.

This quarter we take a brave step into the explicit adult world of sex, lies and alternative lifestyles by following the geek world underground.

Join us on the wild ride in to the unknown, in a series of open talks and discussions. Next stop sexy town.

The event is free to attend, but you MUST BE OVER 18.

We have a new date for geeks talk sexy, so don’t miss out, sign up now!!!

Geeks talk sexy….

Geeks talk sexy

Excellent photo by hoyvinmayvin – cc: by-nc-sa

Sex and geeks don’t fit together or compute, most would say. However the truth may be the total opposite.

This quarter we take a brave step into the explicit adult world of sex, lies and alternative lifestyles by following the geek world underground.

Join us on the wild ride in to the unknown, in a series of open talks and discussions. Next stop sexy town.

The event is free to attend, but you MUST BE OVER 18.

Not many people know but every once in a while I do a talk at BarCamps titled “Sex.” I usually do it to be slightly controversial and to bring a certain edge to the talks which can be far too technical for some.

I’ve had mixed success, I think the funniest session was at BarCampLiverpool while the most serious was at BarCampLondon7. (Not sure what that says about the cities)

However while talking one night in the Northern Quarter with Samantha and Joshi about BarCampManchester3 and my plans to do another one. I mentioned the sex talks I’ve done previously and that meme must have stuck in Samantha’s head (I need to get better at doing that). She had a word with Hwa Young Jung over at Madlab (Manchester’s digital laboratory) and bish bosh boof we have a new series of talks and discussions planned for the next few months.

Of course we’re also after knowledgeable and thought provoking guests for the future, so if that interest you, give us a message on twitter.

Oh no… here comes the (so called) geek squad

Geek Squad comes to the UK

Oh yes if you've ever been to Best Buy in America, you can't help but notice the geek squad signs everywhere. Need a hand installing your DSL router, putting in memory, fixing your wireless, going to the toilet, feeding yourself… – Call for the geek squad.

But now there in the UK, yes scream and runaway. Trust me people, there not cheap and there certainly not good news. Thanks Carphone Warehouse for inflicting the pain of black and white beetle cars on our roads, and don't get me started on the actual (so called) geeks.

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Great justification for the future of Digital Britain

Guys talk about Volume at the V and A

Victor Keegan from the Guardian, pins down a great argument for the TV license rise. Here's some of the best bits.

The BBC needs to be cut down to size because it uses the certainty of its licence fee to undermine entrepreneurial initiatives in the private sector. That is the accusation used by many of its rivals as they try to prevent the BBC from getting an above-inflation rise in its current licence application, a decision on which is imminent. The reality is rather different, as two recent examples illustrate.

Back in May the BBC – Radio 1, actually – was prescient in launching a pop concert in the now-fashionable Second Life virtual world that attracted 6,000 people. The spin-off from the event is credited with tripling the number of SL participants and helping to change it from a geek's secret paradise into a mainstream phenomenon. Justin Bovington, chief executive of Rivers Run Red, the enterprising Soho company that employs 22 people to build projects in SL, reckons that only the BBC could have done that because
private sector companies wouldn't have taken the risk.

The main UK global media brand online is the BBC (with the Guardian running second). If the UK wants to breed companies that can rival YouTube or the new wave of online media such as NowPublic.com (which utilises 52,000 story-hungry cameraphone-equipped citizen journalists) then the most obvious organisation in terms of resources and a culture of innovation is the BBC. Why can't the politicians throw themselves behind one of the few global stars we have instead of finding reasons to cut it back?

No one knows what will happen when the digital revolution is turning whole industries upside down. The latest instalment is this week's news that the founders of Skype, the free internet telephone calls company, plans to launch a global near high-definition broadband television service.

At a time when a small cup of coffee at Starbucks costs £1.90, the BBC's licence fee of £131.50 a year for colour (36p a day) or only £44 for black and white (12p a day) is amazing value for money. If the government, through the licence fee review, underfunds the BBC during this critical period, then it will truly deserve the contempt of history.

Indeed! This certainly makes me proud to work for the BBC. This is also one of many reasons to have projects like the Backstage and Innovation labs. We're a publicly funded company and everything we do is to the benefit of the public now and into the future. If the government does (in my view) the right thing, Digital Britain will be a great place to live and work. But obviously we can't go it alone, this is why I find things like Vecosys moving on from techcrunch, Girl geekdinners expension plans extremely interesting. 2007 also seems to be the year when conferences and events in england (at least) grow massively. February looks to be very busy and with companies like Chinwag launching their own events, its certainly looks like there will be something of interest for everyone involved in Future Media and Technology (I'm dumping new media in 2007).

I was also thinking the other day about the sheer diversity of the UK compared to elsewhere. Bruce Sterling wrote a nice piece in Make 07 titled the Interventionists. About how the tech geeks and fine artists are jostling onto the same page. After reading it I thought Dorkbot London and started to reflect on some of the other groups which already occupy the UK. The UK government has also made it clear they want to help drive more of them as this is critical to enterprising britain.

So in summary, I think 2007 will be great for the reasons of people coming together more than ever. The BBC will have a big role to play in this but maybe more to highlight whats already going on elsewhere.

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Geek events I’m planning

campsite at night

I've been thinking about geek events and geek culture recently quite a lot. I'm a self described geek enjoy being around other geeks. And it seems I'm not the only one. I was flicking through my tagged for reading later entries in Great news today and came across a entry by Molly where she was talking about geekcruises. I thought it was more a joke than anything, but I was wrong. I did a look around the site and even did a few pricings for myself and Sarah. The prices are well, lets say out of my price range for right now. 3000 dollars seems to be a rough medium. But someone must be paying it and actually really enjoying it, and that proves there is a market.
So anyway enough of the talk, now its time for me to put my time and effort where my mind is…

Pledge number 1 – geekdinner nye2006

I will setup and run a geekdinner on new years 2006/07 but only if 100 other self described geeks will help out and/or commit to going to the geekdinner.

Believe it or not but you can text pledge geeknye2006 to 60022 if you live in England or Wales.

Pledge number 2 – geekcamp

I will setup and help run a geekcamp somewhere in Europe but only if 30 other self described geeks will join me and/or help out.

And yes again, you can text pledge geekcamp to 60022 if you live in England or Wales.

Although, I'm certain one of the events will go down better than another one (will reveal some other time, if you couldnt guess). I'm really getting a good feeling that this is a good time to arrange such events. Some one asked Slashdot the question Have Geeks Gone Mainstream?

Recently, I've been seeing more and more news stories about how 'geek' has gone mainstream. There have been a slew of articles with titles like Geek Pride and Geek Chic, which discuss how movies like 'The 40-Year Old Virgin' and 'Napoleon Dynamite', as well as television shows like 'Beauty and the Geek' have made it cool to be a geek. Two pinup calendars of geeks have been released this year, taking advantage of the new mainstream interest in all things geeky. These include the Geek Gorgeous Calendar, which features women who work in the hi-tech industry, and the Girls of Geekdom Calendar, which includes geeks like 'Art Geek' and 'Movie Geek'. So if being a geek has really become cool, why has interest in CS as a major dropped among incoming freshmen and women are still a minority in computer and engineering fields? Is it cooler to pretend to be a geek (wear 'Save Pedro' shirts, etc.) than to really be one?

When anonymous asks about CS, he/she's refering to Computer Science which I think is a major mistake. Being a geek does not mean your from a Computer Science background. Like I always say, some of the most geeky people I know are designer, music makers, etc. But the point is taken about the mainstream aspect of it. Sarah uses the term Geek hag quite a bit and I can certainly see how it could be applied.

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