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Sarah Allen's reflections on internet software and other topics

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  • 12/13/11--16:47: a founder’s manifesto
  • I believe… I do my best work when I also have time away to clear my head and reinvigorate my spirit. People are more important than software. Software is made for people by people.  Also, the people that I love who are outside of my little startup world are way more important than my startup, but [...]

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    I’m thrilled to be part of the Women 2.0 Startup Weekend Documentary: Start Something.  Filmed as a student project with San Francisco State University’s Digital Video Intensive program, Start Something follows three groups of entrepreneurs as they navigate Startup Weekend, a three day event where entrepreneurs come together to share ideas, form [...]

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  • 12/23/11--11:29: sillicon valley love notes
  • We need more pop culture that show how strong men can be attracted to powerful, smart, technical women. A couple of years ago, I wrote about the rise in hacker love songs being a positive trend for women in computing. Today I saw Silicon Valley Ryan Gosling. I can’t count the number [...]

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    Jeff Casimir believes he can train anyone with the passion and will to learn to be a professional software developer. He goes so far as to say if you don’t make it (and you are really working at it), he’ll consider it a personal failure if you don’t. Also, he’s partnered with LivingSocial [...]

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    The hip trend these days in game dynamics is “compulsion loops,” where in one of the game activities lets us win gold or coins or some kind of virtual currency, which lets us buy stuff, which helps us play the game better, which earns more gold, and so on. (Stephanie Morgan gave a great Creative [...]

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    I’ve decided to join the first nReduce session which starts this coming Tues, June 5, for my startup Mightyverse. When I first heard of it via twitter, I was intrigued, but I was also put off by a venturebeat article which identified one if its founders, Jacques Crocker, as a Rails demigod. Since I am [...]

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  • 10/06/12--12:04: test-first business
  • I’ve long observed that lean startup methodologies are a lot like agile development. When I explain it to developers, they get it pretty quickly, but that doesn’t resonate with business folk. I’ve been searching for ways to explain why I believe market testing is so important before starting to build a software product. [...]

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  • 10/23/12--02:02: getting started with r
  • I installed the “roasted marshmallows” version of R (2.15.1) from www.r-project.org, which went smoothly on my MacBookPro running Lion. I was happy to find its REPL ran easily on the command line in Terminal. R is a free implementation of a dialect of the S language, the statistics and graphics environment for which John Chambers won [...]

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    I initially pursued gender diversity initiatives in tech because I love to create software, but sometimes felt alienated in new groups which were all or mostly men; however, I have grown to believe that the lack of diversity in our industry is not a women’s issue, and that gender parity is not diversity. Relative to the [...]

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    John Brand remarks that “ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics were probably the first real “commercial” examples of data visualization” (via @DashingD3js). He references a historical visualization that was new to me. In 1858, Florence Nightengale’s visualization of cause of death in the Crimean War told a compelling story of the how the real enemies were [...]

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  • 02/14/13--07:29: small gesture, big impact
  • I love sofware development. I think it’s like making magic, like I used to read about in fantasy books, but for real things… It’s even funny to call it real, since it’s just a series of ephemeral pulses of electricity that make it seem like shapes appear on screens or vibrations that seem like [...]

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    At SXSW, I joined Laura Sydell (@Sydell) for NPR interview: controlling your computer with a wave of your hand. The Leap Motion controller detects the motion of all five fingers as you comfortably wave them in the air above the device — you can even use both hands!  Currently available for pre-order for $79.88, this device is [...]

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  • 04/30/13--21:03: the allen rule
  • When people talk to me about the challenges of hiring women engineers, I often tell them that a good start is to make sure that they interview at least one woman when they hire for a new position. I believe that homogeneous hiring is more a symptom of a recruiting problem, than bias in [...]

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  • 05/05/13--11:37: weave silk interactive art
  • I love this new interactive art experience weave silk created by Yuri Vishnevsky. Simple controls and lovely default choices cause curves to flow from your mouse like wisps of smoke.

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  • 05/16/13--17:02: women are disempowered?
  • They say women are disempowered in our society. On April 9, 2013, we celebrated the Equal Pay Act of 1963. This day marks how far in 2013 women must work to earn what men earned in 2012. That is APRIL 9th, over three months into the year. Women in the United States are paid on average 77 cents for [...]

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  • 05/21/13--22:10: am I a woman programmer?
  • I am a woman. I was born this way. I strongly identify with my gender. I am also a programmer. I started programming when I was 12. Arguably, I was girl then, not yet a woman. I love writing code. I love problem solving and the shape of ideas. I love it when [...]

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  • 06/05/13--17:13: chelsea highline
  • I stopped for a couple of days in NYC on my way to Amsterdam for the Dutch Mobile Conference and decided to stay in Chelsea, which I had never really explored before this. I shared a cab from the airport with some locals who told me about the Chelsea Highline — used to be [...]

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    I believe we have a huge opportunity to integrate technology into our education system and empower a new generation. Our kids must become makers of technology, not just users of it. We can create this transition while reducing software and hardware budgets over time. 1) Teach middle school kids programming (start in 7th [...]

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    I am delighted to be spending the next six months at the Smithsonian Institution as a Presidential Innovation Fellow. The program was created in 2012 by the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) to place experienced industry innovators inside the government to help streamline government, stimulate the economy and provide more [...]

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  • 07/06/13--06:57: remembering doug engelbart
  • I first met Doug Englebart in late 1997 or very early 1998, when my friend and mentor Harry Chesley and I went down to SRI to hear him speak. I was awed by his early breakthrough work. (If you have not seen “the mother of all demos,” set aside some time to watch [...]

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