Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fragments from Orientation Week

-- Watching audiences from the back of the auditorium is always enlightening. For Liberal Arts orientations, I saw many tattoos and handheld electronics, and few strollers. For Teacher Ed orientation, I saw many strollers and few tattoos or electronics. Criminal Justice usually leads the pack in baseball caps per capita, using per capita in the most literal sense.

-- We need to figure out a way to make “information security” appealing to the masses. It's one of the few areas in which well-paying employers are going begging for people, and we can't fill classes. To the extent we do get students, they're exclusively men. Young women should know that if they go into this field, they can write their own tickets. Not entirely sure what's keeping them out, though I know it's not just a local issue.

-- My best theory, and I’m not entirely happy with it, is that male computer nerd culture acts as a sort of female repellent. While there’s probably some truth to that -- a female friend who attended a mostly male technical university reports that the saying among the women there was “the odds are good, but the goods are odd” -- it’s not obvious why that’s unique to a narrow band of fields. A generation or two ago, most fields were male-dominated; now, at least at the cc level, women are in the majority. There seems to be something about the computer field specifically, though I don’t quite know what it is.

-- Watching HP flub the Touchpad/WebOS thing has been an education in itself. I was honestly hoping the Touchpad would take off, if only to get some &#(%^)& apps in the pipeline for my Pre Plus. Instead, they drove the entire platform into the ground. If nothing else, maybe the touchpad's abrupt posthumous success at firesale prices will at least convince other manufacturers to lower prices. I can't justify five hundred bucks for a tablet, but one hundred? Now you're speaking my language...

-- The Boy and The Girl started music lessons this week. He chose guitar, and she chose piano. It would be lovely if the public school offered those, but alas. (They offer nothing until fifth grade, at which point they push instruments like french horns and trombones. No disrespect intended, but given the choice between french horn and guitar...) We found a little local music school run by a guy who could have been Jeff Bridges' role model as The Dude. TB's guitar teacher is a slightly fatter version of Shaggy, from Scooby Doo. But they're amiable, and I kind of like the idea of exposing the kids to some, uh, let's say “type B” personalities in small doses. Diversity takes many forms...

-- You'd think there would be a limit to the number of times a day that a seven-year-old girl would play “Oh Christmas Tree.” You would be wrong.

-- An earthquake and a hurricane in the same week seems like a bit much. I'm just sayin'. And choosing orientation week is just cruel.