July 27th, 2014

wood cat

Readercon: When the Other Is You

Panel notes, belatedly but whatever! Tidying while on Readercon conference call, actually.


When the Other Is You
Being part of an underrepresented group and trying to write our experience into our work can be tricky. We might have internalized some prejudice about ourselves, we might not have the craft to get our meaning across perfectly, and even if we depict our own experience totally accurately (as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie observed in her TED Talk "The Danger of a Single Story"), we do so while struggling against the expectation that our experience is or isn't "representative" or "authentic." How do we navigate the pitfalls and responsibilities of being perceived as spokespeople? What potentially pernicious dynamics allow us that dubious privilege in the first place? Which works make us cringe with their representations of us, and which make us sigh with relief and recognition?
Chesya Burke, Samuel ("Chip") Delany, Peter Dubé, Mikki Kendall, Vandana Singh, Sabrina Vourvoulias (leader).

(My standard note on accuracy and names.)

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wood cat

Readercon: very short report

This was another split Readercon for me. The hotel situation . . . was better than last year, but still not good, because after I called twice to emphasize how important it was that we get a connecting door and how they messed it up last time, the hotel set aside two rooms with a connecting door for us . . . and then gave one of those rooms away. And apparently didn't notice or care until they handed me the keys for rooms 20-odd numbers apart and my face crumpled.

Eventually they found us two adjacent rooms without a connecting door, and I'd bought a baby monitor out of anxiety about the situation, so it was workable, but GAH. The hotel sent me a "give us feedback!" email, and I gave them feedback, you bet; the manager-type who wrote back said that I should contact them next year, but honestly I don't know. The split thing is increasingly unsatisfying, and I think I might leave the family at home next year and do a proper New England vacation with them separately.

Anyway. One panel, notes of which were just posted; one panel of my own, notes on which forthcoming. Bake sale did well. Pleasant lunch with [personal profile] yhlee and spouse; pleasant conversations with people for a bit on Saturday night. And the kids had fun at Boston museums and in the hotel pool—SteelyKid made fast friends with a kid in the pool on Saturday afternoon, who turned out to be Gavin Grant and Kelly Link's daughter, which amused me for some reason. Things went okay strictly-con-wise for me, but I was hardly there, so, you know, that take with a grain of salt.

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wood cat

end of an era

No, not Readercon; my ancient extremely-dumb phone (picture).

I'd been doing pay-as-you for voice and texts, since most of my life is in spaces with WiFi and I didn't feel the need for a monthly payment. But then I refilled my account and realized that I was spending about $20/month as our text messaging use increased, so it would only be another $25/month for Verizon's no-contract plan with a hundred-buck phone. And the prospect of never having to do a text message by cycling through all the button presses, let alone the security of Internet access more places, well.

So: the low-end 3G Moto G, because it's for backup stuff, checking email in emergencies and getting directions, and not streaming media. It fits nicely in my hand [*], though the grippy sides of this cheap case plus belt holster are welcome, and it runs stock Android and basically does what I need it to without fuss.

Here are some apps I've found useful specifically for the phone:

Widgetsoid (with donate add-on). This does two things: (1) it lets me toggle certain things directly from the lock screen (I use it for WiFi, mobile data, Bluetooth, and ringer status) and (2) on a home screen, it lets me fit more stuff in the same space—I have seven app shortcuts or toggles in a 4x1 widget on my main screen, for instance. (The donate version lets you save widgets to edit them, among other things.)

DashClock with DashClock Gmail+ Extension and DashClock SMS viewer [**]. This lets me see multiple things on the same lock screen: the number of new GMail messages (plus the subject and sender name if there's only one new message; I thought it was supposed to show that if there was more than one, but apparently that's a potential feature not an actual one); new text messages with their text; plus time, weather, and my next calender appointment within a certain time. There are default lock screen widgets for GMail and messaging, but they're on separate screens, and if I'm stopped at a red light, it's nice to get everything in one place.

(There are a million extensions for DashClock, but skip the toggle ones: all of them require unlocking the phone, not just the app-launch ones like in Widgetsoid.)

Moon Reader. Syncs reading position across devices with Dropbox, very customizable. The Pro version has more fonts and things, and I bought it to support the developer, but I don't actually depend on any of the pro features, I think.

[*] But though I loathe the idea, I can definitely see that when my Nexus 7 dies, I'm probably replacing it and this phone with a bigger-screened phone. I like the size of this, being able to fit it into pockets and hold it very comfortably, but the convenience of a single device is hard to beat. I already gave away my beloved Sony eInk reader, because I was hardly using it with the tablet always to hand, and I can definitely see the same fate coming for the phone+tablet combo.

[**] Before you download it, you'll probably need to go into Settings/Security and check "Unknown sources."

What about you? What handy little apps or tricks have you found for your Android smartphone?

Edit: I forgot, Verizon gave me a free Bluetooth car speakerphone, which works fine, though I don't use my phone in the car enough to bother with buying one for myself.

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