A nerdygirl review of the Game Developers Conference

Greetings from an ethnic librarian working in the games industry!

I’m posting this review of my experience last year at GDC (the Game Developers Conference) held every year here in San Francisco. It was originally part of a letter to my team here at Linden Lab, but I thought you librarians might be interested/amused, considering the gender ratio at most library conferences.

-Erica

Hi guys –
I went to the Game Developers Conference last year and found it to be of dubious value.

The best part of the conference for me was the Expo room, which proved to be a valuable source of alternative employment opportunities. I learned that if I want to move to Las Vegas and design slot machine interfaces, I can more than double my salary, which I’m keeping in mind for when I have a stroke and develop an unquenchable desire for polyester and/or chicken wings. I enjoyed scanning the various game interfaces set up to demo motion graphics products, and filed away a few ideas from the Pirates of the Caribbean MMORPG.


Photo by ruminatrix

For me, however, the most memorable moment was riding the escalator of the Moscone center and gazing across a sea of black-clad gamed developers among whom I was the only woman.

As a Person of Estrogen and part of a numeric majority in this world, I’m used to seeing many female developers, operations experts, and release managers at work.

This isn’t the 1970s. Nerdy women exist and thrive. San Francisco is a welcoming place.

GDC. Was. Not.

I get the feeling that all is not well with an operation that returns such a limited array.

The scene: riding the escalator, about five years too old but still worried about being mistaken for a boothbabe.

Behold my personal benchmark for outsider discomfort.

wurst

In summary: meh to the GDC.

Borrow someone’s pass and check out the Expo. Cruise the demo games. If you really care about a session, read the person’s book or website instead. And if you really care about making better games, spend the three days watching user observation videos.

HighEdWebDev 2006 – liveblogging

I got sent in as a pinch-hitter for this small local web conference for Higher Education. I’m listening to a keynote-speaker-who-shall-remain nameless reading Google’s mission statement. Which is interesting. At eight in the morning.

Ok, this is interesting. He gets 36 work-related emails per hour at Google.

The Google Book Search got a passing mention…

Hm. Google’s nice, but I like my 40-hour work week.

I could use a nap.

Did you know you can dial 46645 and do a google query on your cellphone? Could come in handy for those ambient askability moments of freerange librarainship…

Question…
Do you know anything about the Google CMS?
Answer…
Nope. Can’t answer that.

Question…
I’m really pretentious and want to insert the theme of the conference into a sentence, could you address this?
Answer…
Blah blah blah.

Great. It’s snowing.

My Conference Can Beat Up Your Conference

Hi there sexy library creatures. I’m spending this weekend doing prep-work for the upcoming South by Southwest Interactive conference. In my case, this means re-dying my hair, e-shopping for warm weather gear, and drinking a lot of water. Chris and I are flying to Austin on the 9th – we’ll be hunting down margarita machines and Shiner Bock soon thereafter.

The cool local burlesque troupe that I wanted to take you guys to isn’t performing this month. Still, I promised a party so I’ll do what every good librarian should: utilize existing resources. I’ll meet everybody at the Frog Design party (they had belly dancers last year). I’ll be handing out Librarian pins and buying beer for anyone with a library degree. If are going to be in town, lemme know and I’ll send you my cell number. Chris is an Austin native, so we’ll be hitting some good Mexican food joints throughout the week. Finally, I’ll leave you with a list:

The Ethos of ALA vs SXSWi

ALA SXSWi
Gobs of free books Gobs of free drinks
Shoulder Pads Electronic Notepads
Informative panels about last year’s technology Informative panels about next year’s technology
The Caldicotts The Bloggies
Meet Winnie-The-Pooh Meet famous pornographers
Nuclear politics Nuclear tacos
Blue hair Pink hair
Power suits and eye shadow Power symbol t-shirts and iBooks
Sponsored by: Demco Sponsored by: Tito’s Homemade Vodka

Bloggies

Last year I attended the Bloggies at the South by Southwest Interactive conference. The presentation was wonderfully low-budget, like a high school assembly. But, oh THE FUNNY. Not only were funny people doing the presenting, there was a huge screen next to the stage showing the IRC conversation about the presentation. So, imagine a presenter saying something funny, and then almost simultaneously, more funny people chatting about the presenter and mocking him. It was so meta that several audience members actually turned inside-out and had to be rushed to the hospital.

Anyway, I’m going again this year (yes, you’ll get your feminist strippers – hang on) and I WANT A BLOGGIE. Gimme gimme. Please. Although there are far more worthy candidates, I’m asking anyway. Won’t you nominate me? Please? I have included this emotionally manipulative kitten to help you with your decision.

To nominate Librarian Avengers for the Best Topical Weblog category, go here. Yes, I know I’m a publicity whore. La la la. Tttpth.

Here are the other fabulous blogs I’ve nominated. I left out some of the obvious ones, like Boing Boing, since they were well-represented last year. Check them out, but not while you are drinking anything that will hurt if you snort it through your nose. I’m just saying.

Best weblog application
WordPress
Spam Karma

Best Australian or New Zealand Weblog
Boudist

Best American Weblog
Dooce
Mimi Smartypants

Best Tagline of a Weblog
Bad News Hughes – Striving to find a way to punch people in the face by using the internet.
My Life as an American Gladiator – Caution! Do Not Insert In Ear Canal!

Best Entertainment Weblog
Pink is the New Blog
Gallery of the Absurd

Best Weblog About Politics
Sivacracy
Low Culture
Salon Broadsheet

Best GLBT Weblog
The Book You’re Not Reading
Pink is the New Blog

Most Humorous Weblog
Bad News Hughes
Mimi Smartypants
Cat and Girl Donation Derby

Best Writing of a Weblog
Echidne of the Snakes
My Life as an American Gladiator
Pound

Best Web Development Weblog
A List Apart

Best Designed Weblog
Megatokyo
Jenny’s Realm

Lifetime Achievement
Dave Shea

Best-Kept-Secret Weblog
PostSecret
Dog Blog
The Ten Thousand Year Blog

Best New Weblog
50 Books

Spain update

jamon.gifHi all – a quick update. I don´t want to type much since I´m using a cybercafe machine and the keyboard is greasy, perhaps due to the monumental consumption of pork products in this country. Great XForms tutorial this morning at the conference. I learned a whole lot about XHTML 2.0 as well. This is some damned exciting stuff for libraries and the library-ness of the web. I´ll try to talk some more about XHTML2 when I´m not dizzy from Spanish over-the-counter cold medicine.

Right now I´m going to stay away from the complicated topics and just wish everyone in Los Estados Unidos a happy Thanksgiving. Wish I was with you eating stuffing instead of sitting in a weird cybercafe looking at a pig leg and inhaling secondhand smoke. Good times. I´ll see you all on Saturday back at home.

Liveblogging Fundamentos Web 2005: Part One

Leader dog imageThe conference is in a combination of English and Spanish, with simultaneous translation headsets, so there’s a strange aural halo of chatter going on in the background. I’m providing my own simultaneous translation by blowing my nose every five minutes or so. Stupid cold.

Right now John Slaton from the University of Texas Accessibility Institute is speaking. I got a chance to speak with him for a few minutes before the presentation and was glad to hear about his work. I wish more Universities would have this kind of focus on making materials available to everyone. Granted, universities are much better at this sort of thing than most institutions. There’s usually an office somewhere, often in the basement of the library, which helps students with disabilities. Still, it’s neat to hear from a school that has taken a national role in developing accessibility standards. Hook ‘em horns.

Much of what we’re hearing right now from the W3C is "real soon now" about their next set of accessibility standards. Which is understandable considering the scope of this project. It sounds like there is a good understanding of the weaknesses of the current standards, especially regarding new and different combinations of technologies. The old standard assumes you are using just HTML, which is actually fairly unusual these days for large dynamic sites. At my library, we’re using Java, JSP, Struts, and some nonessential JavaScript. All of these languages are pretty tangential to the existing guidelines. There might be a new working draft announced tomorrow. Pretty cool. These are good folks, give them a break.

Conference

I’m liveblogging from the WDIL web conference, conveniently held where I work. I got shanghaied into this. I just wanted to meet the Wikipedia guy, but somehow I ended up going to the entire thing.

I’m no huge fan of conferences, as a rule. Usually the signal-to-noise ratio is insanely low, and I’ve got the attention span of a gnat when it comes to listening to ill-prepared speakers. Mercifully, coworker Rafe loaned me the office laptop, which is running Ubuntu, a very cool flavor of Linux, so I’ll be talking to you guys all day.

ALA tip

If any of you impoverished public librarians out there want to attend the American Library Association conference this year but need a slick way to get work to pay for it, here’s a tip. Schedule your departure for the day after the conference ends. Pack large, empty suitcases. Lurk around the publishers’ booths on the last day and collect the free and insanely discounted display books that the publishing representatives don’t want to haul home. Especially keep an eye on the DK booth and the fabulous Tenspeed Press. If you do it right, the money you spend on travel expenses will roughly equal the amount of schwag you bring home.

I won’t be attending ALA this year, having defected for South by Southwest Interactive where they have panels on subjects I care about, and the nightlife is an order of magnitude less lame.

SXSW

I’m back from webgeek megaconference South by Southwest in steamy Austin, TX. For all y’all librarians out there, SXSW Interactive attracts designers, web standards cheerleaders (closed tags, closed tags, rah rah rah!), and I’m-famous-online types for five days of geek panels and heavy drinking. One of things I got out of the conference was a strong feeling of guilt for not taking better care of my website. So, once my headache subsides you can expect big changes. Big!

Until then, I’m just glad to get back to the cat and my G5.