Gender Bias

Back in October when Ismael hosted his Office 2.0 conference there was a dustup about the speaker roster featuring almost exclusively men. It was a good learning experience for everyone involved in this conference and a strong effort was made to correct the imbalance.

I see Office 2.0, located in the Silicon Valley the very bastion of women who celebrate the concept of ‘working from within’, and there’s only one woman on the list. One.

Today I get an email from Pierce Mattie Public Relations asking me to vote on their “publicist of the year award” and in looking at the roster I can’t help but notice an imbalance, there is only one “token male” on the list. One. This is a blatant case of gender bias if I’ve ever seen one, I am only left to wonder if Shelley Powers is going to rise up with indignation on this one too.

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HP swats a fly

The thing that sits wrong with me and this settlement is that 1) it’s not entirely clear that HP violated any laws and if they were accused of that then the AG should have settled criminal charges, and 2) a civil lawsuit settlement presumes that the plaintiff suffered some actual damages. Not only did the State of California suffer no reputation or physical damages, it’s not evident that the legitimate participants in this scandal did either (minus Dunn, but that’s self-inflicted).

In other words, while I understand that HP settled this to make it go away and the financial penalty they agreed to is literally a rounding error for them, I don’t believe that bending over for Bill Lockyer really does anything but encourage more of these frivolous actions. Let me also say that I think the conduct of the Board in this episode is inexcusable but there is a difference between being reprehensible and being illegal.

H.P. Will Pay $14.5 Million to Settle Suit – New York Times:

Hewlett-Packard said Thursday that it would pay $14.5 million to settle a lawsuit by the California attorney general over the company’s use of private detectives to obtain private phone records of board members and journalists.

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Year End Book Recomendations

The Economist published their annual year end list of book recommendations spanning everything from business to history to fiction. I haven’t read many of these, but the book on Alexis de Tocqueville will probably make it into my bag when published. The Battle for Spain is also one that I have been hoping to find time to read. I was disappointed to not see more narrative works on economics in the list, especially with the passing of Friedman just a couple of weeks ago, and I didn’t much agree with their current events picks as it related to foreign policy and the GWOT. I have added some picks that I would have put on the list (even though they were not necessarily published in the last year… it’s my blog so I can do whatever I want):


“Capitalism and Freedom: Fortieth Anniversary Edition” (Milton Friedman)


“The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor” (David S. Landes)


“Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, New Edition” (Jared Diamond)


“A Short History of Nearly Everything” (Bill Bryson)


“Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam” (John L. Esposito)


“Small Wars Manual” (U. S. Marine Corps)


“Confronting Iran: The Failure of American Foreign Policy And the Next Great Crisis in the Middle East” (Ali M. Ansari)


“The Real Jimmy Carter: How Our Worst Ex-President Undermines American Foreign Policy, Coddles Dictators and Created the Party of Clinton and Kerry” (Steven F. Hayward)


“The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future” (Vali Nasr)


“Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the End of Revolution” (Peter Baker, Susan Glasser)


“The Federalist Papers: In Modern Language : Indexed for Today’s Political Issues” (Merril Press)

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Sitemeter and Usability, Two Words That Don’t Go Together

Like a great many bloggers, I have an account with Sitemeter for statistics. Despite having a really poorly designed user interface I have kept with the service over the years because it basically works, once you get used to the UI quirks. I even signed up for a “plus” account for $6.95 a month because I wanted non-time delayed stats and $7 a month seemed well worth it to me. Which brings me to the issue that will force me to stop using Sitemeter…

The credit card that I used for monthly billing expired and for the last couple of days I have been getting emails indicating that, surprise, my monthly billing for sitemeter was declined by the credit card company. I went into the “manager” page on sitemeter to update my credit card details… nada, zip, nothing. Went through all the pages looking for billing details… nada, zip, nothing. For fucks sake, how hard is it to anticipate that your customers will want to be able to view and/or edit their billing details and make that an obvious feature on your management page?

On top of all that, Sitemeter has not had a single UI upgrade in the entire time that I have been using the service. Surely they cannot believe that they just nailed the usability out of the gate and no modifications or improvements were necessary.

I pulled the sitemeter script out of my sidebar and eventually they will stop trying to bill my expired credit card and my account will be cancelled.

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