Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Earthstar Wikipedia Pages

With some surprise help of former Earthstar guitarist Dennis Rea I've written Wikipedia pages for Earthstar and for their three releases on Sky Records between 1979-1982. I must say I was absolutely floored and thrilled when I saw Dennis Rea's name in my inbox. Earthstar has been a favorite of mine since I was introduced to their music in college nearly 29 years ago. (Yep, I'm dating myself here.) To get mail from one of the members....

Anyway, according to Dennis we now have the most comprehensive documentation of the history of the band online anywhere. Links to individual album pages are in the discography section.

I learned a lot doing this. I never knew that the "Atomkraft? Nein, Danke" lineup recorded another album, still unreleased. I certainly didn't know that there were misspellings of the musicians' names on the liner notes. I also had no clue that the Musique Intemporelle reissue of "French Skyline" on CD was unauthorized. Yes, I own a copy, a gift from a close friend who knows how much I like Earthstar. Anyway, having Dennis Rea step in and make corrections and additions was invaluable.

What I did find was a lot of documentation of the band and lots of people who seem to love Earthstar's music online. I am now more convinced than ever that limited edition reissues of their albums (say 500-1000 copies) could easily sell out and that their unreleased works could probably do as well if not better. Maybe with the new articles on Wikipedia and the obvious interest in the band online someone, somewhere associated with a record label will figure that out.

Music selections since last post:
Neuronium & Vangelis - A Separate Affair
Ash Ra Tempel - Schwingungen
Cluster - Cluster II

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Monday, September 3, 2007

So Predictable

The responses to my previous post on the blatant sexist attitudes of some IT recruiters was originally posted on the O'Reilly Linux Dev Center blog. The usual responses, the ones that are so very predictable, the ones that are repeated over and over again by a certain loud minority of male commenters, the ones that turn up every time there is a discussion of gender related in any way to the world of computing, have once again reared their ugly heads.

I've been told I'm "oversensitive" and I should "just roll with it". I've been accused of calling all men "male chauvanist pigs", a phrase I'm sure I've never used to describe anyone. I've had my experiences dismissed and been called naive. I've been told to "quit bitchin". All of these posters are male. None have experienced the type of sexism I'm describing. Many posts are just plain immature, defensive, argumentative, and/or just plain offensive. Some guys are just plain clueless and don't want to even consider other people's feelings and experiences.

Why am I not surprised?

Yes, there have been a handful of clueful responses but they have been overwhelmed by the other type.

Why do I bother with posts like this? The best way to tackle a problem like sexism is to shine a light on it and bring it out in the open. If I get even one person to reconsider their actions or attitudes it's all worthwhile. I had a little proof that I do have a small positive impact this week. The following was written by Joseph James Frantz in the comments to Carla Schroder's article about the offensive ad at Linux Journal:
Thank you for educating me on the term feminazi. I have never considered those aspects of the term. From now on, if I should disagree with a woman, I will not use that term.
It's a small bit of progress but I'll take it.

Music choices since my last post:
John Renbourn - The Lady and the Unicorn
Michel Huygen - Elixir
Fleetwood Mac - Mystery To Me
Fleetwood Mac - Heroes Are Hard To Find
Cosmic Couriers - Other Places
Brian Eno - Ambient 1 / Music For Airports

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Saturday, September 1, 2007

No, I Need Mister Caitlyn

I promised to write about my recent experiences with sexism in the IT industry, so... Here is a rare cross post of an article from the O'Reilly Linux Dev Center blog which I contribute to:

Lately I've been looking to pick up a new contract or even possibly move back into a long term corporate position. My résumé (CV for those outside the United States) is, I think, fairly impressive. I am a competent systems administrator and security geek with over 27 years of experience in the industry. I've had lots of calls from recruiters: some quite good, some not so good, and some, well...

In the past couple of weeks I've had several calls like this. I'm pretty close to word for word on the most recent:
Me: Hello.
Recruiter: Can I speak to Martin please?
Me: This is Caitlyn Martin. How can I help you?
Recruiter: No, I need Mister Caitlyn Martin.
Me (annoyed): There is no Mr. Martin. What is this about?
Recruiter: (sputters and trips over his tongue, then goes on to say it's about a job)

These recruiters have several things in common:
  1. They are all male
  2. All but one have a foreign (Asian or Middle Eastern) accent
  3. All simply can't believe that the woman on the phone is a skilled technical professional

Yes, one spoke unaccented American English, but most come from places even more misogynistic than the United States. None of them, regardless of whether the position made sense or not, gets to represent me or submit my résumé anywhere. I have to believe that their prejudice will get in the way of them doing a proper job of presenting me to a prospective employer or customer.

I read the replies to Carla Schroder's recent posts about the sexism at Linux Journal. You know, the ones that claim there really is no sexism in IT and that we women are being oversensitive. I even got similar comments when I blogged about Carla's posts. Let me tell you that in my experience things have gotten worse since the turn of the century, not better. If you still don't believe there's sexism in IT in general and in the Linux community in particular either you are blind to it or part of it.

Oh, and how many of you have ever met a man named Caitlyn?

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Music selections last 24 hours:

Michael Rother - Katzenmusik
Steve Hillage - Fish Rising
Nik Tyndall - Lagoon
King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black
Edgar Froese - Aqua

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