We recently wrapped up version 2.0 of the Laszlo Presentation Server. In celebration of the new components, I opened a couple of Cafe Press stores to special-order some custom Laszlo schwag. It was a fun excuse to check out Cafe Press. Its an amazing business where you can create your own T-shirts, mugs or whatever with custom graphics. The site is very easy to use and I highly recommend it.

So… the stores are open and mugs are sold at cost. I’m posting links here for Laszlovians, Laszlo developers and other fans.

available at http://www.cafeshops.com/laszlofanclub

available at http://www.cafeshops.com/laszloweekend

Art and words by Peter Andrea. I’m not sure that he inteded the words to be immortalized in ceramic. Created originally in a test file, we enjoyed them so much that they travelled into an example file.

Mug graphic preparations by Dan Lewis. Tabs by Christian Walker and Pablo Kang. Checkbox and radio buttons by me. Font by Truth in Design with insane amounts of detail work by Chris Lowrey and Peter Andrea.

Jason Banico, a developer of funchain, wonders “if there are ways to convince people to write more public-consumption material or something more article-like, rather than diary-styled entries which only those with personal ties to the authors can appreciate.” I think he is right that its often a different kind of person who writes for “public-consumption” rather than for a small group of friends or family.

I’d guess if it was called “ideachain” or “memechain,” they would attract more cyber intellectuals. I thought I would register and start a chain, but I was disappointed in the privacy policy:

“We provide the information to trusted partners who work on behalf of or with FUNCHAIN.COM under confidentiality agreements. These companies may use your personal information to help FUNCHAIN.COM communicate with you about offers from FUNCHAIN.COM and our marketing partners. However, these companies do not have any independent right to share this information.”

Most web sites these days allow me to opt out of receiving any e-mail from the company or its partners. I sent them this bit of feedback, although it was a bit of a hunt to find a comment form.

I was going to sign up anyhow and even filled out most-of the form (using one of my anti-spam e-mail accounts). The web form did have a nifty in-line validation check for matching e-mail addresses that I liked. Sadly I found that gender and birthday were not optional. Sorry too-much-information required.

…and another thing. Please, don’t make me download a PPT to learn about your site before I register. If you aren’t up for creating a Flash walk-through, how about just putting the images up in a series of HTML pages?

Normally I save my blog for writing about fun, happy things, and I started this entry because I hoped funchain would be one of them. I publish this in hopes that someone over there might notice and fix some of these issues.

(via What is Not via a comment on 26 countries. I haven’t been to the Philippines since 1977 and I’m sure it has changed a lot. It’s fun to be reminded that this really is the *world wide* web.)

“Women’s goals used to be to get into management, to get onto the boards of Fortune 500 companies, to become CEO… There is a new goal. The aim now is more radical and more abituous: it is to change the game entirely” — Margaret Heffernan

I enjoyed reading “Women Don’t Ask” by Linda Babcock and Sarah Laschever after reading about it on misbehaving.net. It was refreshing to read results of research on gender differences along with some practical suggestion on how to affect change. The gender divide can be so stark at times, that it can feel like there is little we can do to affect change.

“Is is essential to remember, however, that the restraints placed on women are ‘socially constructed.’ They aren’t physical principles like the law of gravity…which can’t be altered. They are products of our culture… They can be loosened and changed completely if we want them to change.”

Sometimes the simple actions of presence and voice are radical enough. Sometimes we can do more when we play a decision making or decision influencing role.

I used to frequently interview engineering candidates. I noticed a few gender differences. First, resumes from women were almost invariably more impressive than resumes from men. I do not believe that women typically write better resumes or that women are inherently better engineers. I do believe that it is just not worthwhile to pursue a career in engineering as a woman if you are not very good at it. I imagine its not worth the hassle.

The other big difference I saw was in the interview process itself. When asking a man about what he can do, he will typically answer with respect to what he thinks he could do given the opportunity; whereas, a woman will speak with respect to what she has already proven she can do. Both are reasonably and honest responses, but you can imagine how much more effective the former response would be. After I noticed this, I learned to ask not only how the candidate would approach a particular problem but to provide specific examples of how he or she would apply past experience. In this way, I was able to compare candidates effectively without being biased by different communication styles.