Browsing articles tagged with " Barbie"

Yeah My Mama She Told Me Don’t Worry About Your JOINs

Dec 5, 2014   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Awesome, Blog, Data, Fun, NoSQL, Parody, Snark, WTF  //  1 Comment

BarbieBoutTheDataMed

(with apologies to Meghan Trainor)

Because you know
I’m all about the data
‘Bout the data, no trouble
I’m all about the data
‘Bout the data, no trouble
I’m all about the data
‘Bout the data, no trouble
I’m all about the data
‘Bout the data

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t NoSQL
But I can love it, love it
Like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I still got zoom zoom that in the database
With all the right facts in all the right places

I see the newbies are workin’ that drawing slop
We know that shit ain’t real
C’mon now, make it stop
If you got data models, just raise ’em up
‘Cause a Zachman Framework is perfect
From the bottom to the top

Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your joins
She says, “Data likes a little quality to keep it right.”
You know I won’t be no schemafree denormal Barbie doll
So if that’s what you’re into then go ahead and move along

Because you know I’m
All about the data
‘Bout the data, no trouble
I’m all about the data
‘Bout the data, no trouble
I’m all about the data
‘Bout the data, no trouble
I’m all about the data
‘Bout the data
Hey!

BarbieIT

I’m bringing quality facts
Go ahead and tell polyschematics that
Normalized data, I know you think it’s slow
But I’m here to tell ya
Transactional data’s perfect from the bottom to the top

Yeah my mama she told me don’t worry about your joins
She says, “Data likes a little quality to keep it right.”
You know I won’t be no schemafree denormal Barbie doll
If eventual consistency’s your thing then move along

Because you know I’m
All about the data
‘Bout the data, no trouble
I’m all about the data
‘Bout the data, no trouble
I’m all about the data
‘Bout the data, no trouble
I’m all about the data
‘Bout the data

Because you know I’m
All about the data
‘Bout the data, no trouble
I’m all about the data
‘Bout the data, no trouble
I’m all about the data
‘Bout the data, no trouble
I’m all about the data
‘Bout the data

Because you know I’m
All about the data
‘Bout the data, no trouble
I’m all about the data
‘Bout the data, no trouble
I’m all about the data
‘Bout the data, no trouble
I’m all about the data
‘Bout the data
‘Bout the data, ’bout the data
Hey, hey, ooh
You know you love the data

Barbie 2010-12-30 002

Refactoring Computer Engineer Barbie

Jan 30, 2014   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Awesome, Blog, Data, Need Your Help, Snark, WIT, WTF  //  23 Comments

imageIn mid-January I came across a link to a story about a new book by Random House called Barbie I Can Be…A Computer Engineer.  As you know, I travel with a Computer Engineer Barbie (@data_model) and Venus Barbie (@venusbarbie) in my work advocating that girls take more STEM courses.  So let’s say I have a strong interest in making sure my wonder girl Barbie has a great book.

But the story said that the book actually put Barbie in not so great place.  So I bought the book and read it.  And it made me cringe.  I read it a few times and decided it needed to be fixed.  Or in Computer Engineering terms, it need to be refactored.

So that’s what I’ve done.  In this review of Barbie I Can Be…A Computer Engineer, I will point out the parts that set a lousy role model for girls and offer suggestions on how it can be refactored to make it better.  Just like in software refactoring, I’m not going to change the functionality of the book, but I’m going to improve the code words to leave it better.

And to make it easy for you to fix you copy, I’ve included a Refactoring Computer Engineer Barbie PDF. You are welcome.

Synopsis (SPOILER ALERT!)

Barbie is working on a design for a new puppy computer game when her laptop catches a virus.  Luckily, she wears a heart USB drive around her neck and has backups of her files.  So she uses her little sister’s (Skipper) laptop to try to retrieve the files.  Oh, CURSORS! she has infected Skipper’s laptop, too.  She promises to make it all right and rushes off to school to ask her computer teacher (who is a female!) how to fix it. Her teacher gives her some tips and Barbie heads to the library to get get both her data and Skipper’s data back.  She gets two friends to help and they get it done.  Skipper, with her restored data, makes an excellent presentation in her class where she says that Barbie is the person she most admires. Cue tears.  Barbie presents her game in computer class.  She does such a wonderful job, her teacher even gives her extra credit.

The End.

Well that sounds Awesome! Isn’t it?

Sounds like a great story with good female leadership, doesn’t it?  Female teacher, Barbie and friends fix the problem, Skipper and Barbie give great presentations.  We need more great females to speak, right? Well, just like in database design, the Devil is in the details.

Unfortunately, some of the details really make it look like Barbie is more of a Booth Babe than a Computer Engineer.  This is making the IT community cringe. Twitter is blowing up with campaigns to get the book removed from shelves or to get Random House to fix it.  Well, I’m going to save Random-House the effort by fixing refactoring it for them.  It’s one thing to raise the issue, but as a designer-architect-project manager-methodologist-computer engineer, I just want to FIX it.

Let’s start with the first troublesome passage:

Computer Engineer Barbie Laughs and is Needy

image

"I’m designing a game that shows kids how computers work", explains Barbie. "You can make a robot puppy do cute tricks by matching up a color blocks!"

"Your robot puppy is so sweet," says Skipper. "Can I play your game?"

"I’m only creating the design ideas," Barbie says, laughing. "I’ll need Steven’s and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game."

That last line is a problem. First, saying “I’m only” makes it look like design work is some how lesser than building.  I know there are some techs out there that would agree with that, but it’s still not true.  In fact, in technical professions, the designer / architect is the senior position on the project.  Secondly, she is laughing this line, as if it is hilarious to think that Barbie can build something.  Finally, Steven and Brian are recurring characters throughout the I Can Be… book series.  They are friends and friends help each other.  But this passage seems to reinforce a position that boys build, girls draw.

So I’ve refactored this passage by changing out that line with this one:

"Not yet," explains Barbie. "I need to finish the design then work with Steven and Brian to turn it into a game."

See how that says basically the same thing, but it doesn’t devalue Barbie’s design work? It also reinforces the more realistic situation that teams work together to make a product.  Barbie doesn’t “need help”; she is part of a team to get it done.

Steve and Brian Will Get It Done Faster

image

After class Barbie meets with Steven and Brian in the library.

"Hi guys!" says Barbie. "I tried to send you my designs but I ended up crashing my laptop and Skipper’s, too. I need to get back to lost files and repair both of our laptops."

"It will go faster if Brian and I help," offers Steven.

This last line could be interpreted that Steven and Brian, not Barbie, can get this done faster.  I realize this is just one interpretation and the intention could be that if everyone works together, we can get it done faster.  We know in software engineering this may or may not be true – in form of the Mythical Man Month.  But in general, three people fixing two laptops might make this all go faster – debugging, troubleshooting, copying files and those sorts of things typically do turn out better with more people at the desk. 

But I’m still concerned about the fact that the less generous interpretation could be that boys can fix things; girls just come to them with their problems. So I’ve refactored this to say:

"We can all work on this together; it will be faster," says Steven.

The work continues with this on the next page:

"I got Skipper’s assignment from the hard drive!" exclaimed Steven.

"Fantastic!" says Barbie. "And her other files as well?"

"I got everything," says Steven. "Now let’s retrieve the files from your hard drive. Both laptops will be good is new in no time!"

It’s here where the dialogue really makes it look like Steven did all the work and Barbie waited anxiously for the results of his work. So I’ve refactored these to show Barbie being more engaged in the process.  Not just the Holder of the Compact Disc.

"We’ve got Skipper’s assignment from the hard drive!" exclaimed Steven.

"Fantastic!" says Barbie. "Let me get her other files as well!"

"Great! Now we’ve got everything," says Steven.

See how Barbie has a more engaged role here? No confusion about her fixing this problem, too.

One More Thing…

One of the key things that an engineer should do when disasters happen is to ensure that it never happens again.  One of the steps missing from this story is making sure Barbie and Skipper’s laptops are safe from future viruses. So I’ve added a new line to a passage:

The next morning Barbie gives her sister a big surprise. Skipper turns on your laptop – and it works!

"My lost assignment! cries Skipper. "You are just too cool, Barbie. You fixed my computer and saved my homework!

"I set up new security software on both laptops to make sure this doesn’t happen again," exclaims Barbie.

Skipper gives Barbie a huge hug.

You can’t just retrieve the files; you have to ensure those pesky viruses don’t come back.

How Do We Fix the Book, Though?

image

I fixed my copy by refactoring the printed pages.  You can do that, too. I’m sharing the Refactoring Computer Engineer Barbie PDF I created with the refactored dialogue.  Just print it on sticker paper and cut out the revised sections to update your copy of the book.  You might also want to head over to read that open letter to Random House, too.

I love my Technical Barbies and I want girls (and their parents) to have great role models in real life, not just with dolls action figures.  So books like this need the Best Practices in their writing.  I hope you do, too.

I have another post coming about the computer security parts of this story.  But for now, go fix your copy of this book.  Don’t leave it sitting around in production, waiting for someone to read it when it’s wrong.  Love your Data and Love your @Data_Model.

Be The Next Microsoft Employee: @Data_Model and @VenusBarbie get makeovers – Behind the Scenes

Jul 24, 2012   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Fun, Speaking, SQL Server  //  2 Comments

Technical Barbies wait for filming to beginAs I shared with you previously, I’m a guest judge on Microsoft Learning’s new reality show, Be The Next Microsoft Employee.  In this contest, four SQL Server DBAs compete for a chance to work at Microsoft.  They have to go through all the normal Microsoft interview processes PLUS compete in front of cameras, crew and the Internet on a series of data-related challenges. The challenge I participated in, filmed on the Microsoft campus, was the last one and it was a doozy.

It should be no surprise to you that I took the Technical Barbies (@Data_Model and @VenusBarbie) along for the filming.  Since this was a hiring contest, I also brought along Working Woman Barbie, who comes with a suit that also turns into a glittery dance dress for after work fun.  Working Woman Barbie can talk, too.  She says fun things, but she talks too much about Ken.

When we arrived at the shoot, the first thing the Barbies got was a professional makeover.  Stylist Mimi Pettibone of StellarStyle.com has previous professional experience styling Barbies and action figures.  HOW LUCKY WAS THAT?  Mimi also gave me some great tips about styling and posing the Barbies.  Fishing line seems to be a key component.  I also showed her how I used clear braid rubber bands to help keep Barbie from losing her cell phone and shoes.  Just like I do.  Or should.

I live by a man’s code, designed to fit a man’s world, yet at the same time I never forget that a woman’s first job is to choose the right shade of lipstick.
– Carole Lombard

I’m not sure I agree with Ms. Lombard there, but both the Barbies and I had to wear lipstick for this shoot.  That’s how I knew I was on a reality show…just a different type of reality.

We took some before and after pictures.  I think I pretty much looked the same as VenusBarbie.  Mimi worked wonders with me.

VenusBarbie before

VenusBarbie in the chair

Working Woman Barbie in the chair

Data Model in the chair

Mimi did a fabulous job, don’t you think?

Technical Barbies after

I’m Hiring This Girl One Day…#WIT

Dec 25, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Generations, Professional Development, Snark  //  2 Comments

I’m so blown away by how well this girl rants against the onslaught of PINK on girls and females.  For us grown-up girls, the concept of "shrink it and pink" as a marketing approach makes me want to run screaming out of the store.  I had an exhibitor take a nice 16GB USB drive I was picking up out out of my hand and replace it with a blinged out pink 2GB one, saying "Oh, you want this one instead".  No, I didn’t.  And the fact that this vendor thought I did spoke volumes for how they felt about their female customers.

Sure, I cart around Barbies and have my fair share of girlie toys, but my Barbies are working girls – Technical Barbies that have job.  Astronauts, School teachers, FBI agents, Computer Engineers.  Action figures, I call them, because they do something other than look pretty. Most Barbies look like some type of working girl that involves being pretty, but I’ll keep that discussion for later.

Anyway, this video of Riley on Marketing gives me new hope that someday we’ll raise girls to have good analytical thinking.

 

Riley, You Go Girl!

 

In fairness to retailers, they stock and display merchandise in a manner that sells best.  Parents (and Aunties and Uncles), they do this because you like it.  Stop liking it.  Don’t just buy for your little girl from an aisle with big sign that says "Girls" over it.  Think about where you want your darling girl to be at age 18 – still trying to find a Prince to make her a Princess…or readying to enter post-secondary education so that she never has to rely on anyone but herself.  Sure, buy her a Laundry Barbie and a all that princess stuff.  Tell her that she is your princess.  Let her have her truly silly girlie moments. But please don’t let that be her only professional development plan from age 5-25. 

All I know is that when I hire people, I want a hell of lot more Rileys than I do princesses.

Handouts From My DAMA Speaking Tour

Nov 10, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data, Data Modeling, Database, Speaking  //  No Comments

MSP 2011 2011-10-17 001MSP 2011 2011-10-17 002MSP 2011 2011-10-17 003

I had a fabulous time meeting DAMA Members in the US Midwest over the last couple of weeks.  I was worried most about making all these flights, but they all worked out well.  These DAMA Speaking Tours are something I look forward to every year.  If you are interested in booking one, contact chapters in your general area and propose some dates.

DAMA Minneapolis 

Career Success in the Data Profession

You’ve Just Inherited a Data Model, Now What? (Video)

DAMA Iowa

10 Physical Database Design Blunders

DAMA Chicago 

The Straw Poll Handouts

Career Success in the Data Profession

DAMA Day Nebraska

Data Modeling Contentious Issues

Videos of the Endeavour Shuttle Launch – by Barbie #NASATweetup

May 17, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Fun, Space  //  No Comments

Google Maps View of Retraction LocationFor fun I thought I’d share two of the videos that I filmed while visiting the Kennedy Space Center as part of the NASATweetup to view the launch of Endeavour.

The first is of the retraction of the Rotating Service Structure (RSS) that surrounds the shuttle while it is being prepared for launch.  This happened about noon on 15 May 2011, the day before the launch.  We tweet up-ers were taken by buses courtesy of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Visitor Complex to just outside Pad 39A where Endeavour activities were finishing up prior the launch.  I took a screen shot of Google Maps on my phone to show the location near where we viewed the retraction.

I was able to get a bazillion pictures, as the retraction takes about 30 minutes. We all stood there in the Florida sunshine, watching people do their work while the RSS slowly rotated away from the orbiter.

In addition to using real cameras, I also gave Video Girl Barbie a chance to do her own filming with her embedded video camera.  Her camera produces low quality recordings, but I find what she does produce to be of decent quality.  First up is the retraction video taken on 15 May just outside Pad 39A.

 

 

 

Video Girl Barbie Films Endeavour RSS Retraction

NASATweetup 2010-05-15 180

For some more context, this is my photo of Endeavour.  That’s how close we where.

The next morning we arrived at KSC just after 3AM.  It was especially nice to see the orbiter all lit up.  We definitely weren’t as close this time, but being 3.1 miles away meant that we were the closest non-staff viewers of the launch.

Video Girl did a great job filming the launch.  You may want to crank up your speakers to get the full effect of the rumbling launch sound.

Video Girl Barbie Films Endeavour Launch STS-134

I have a bunch of pictures to share, and a few draft blog posts hanging around that you’ll see over the next few weeks.  I’ll try to spread them out a bit so that you aren’t inundated with all my #spacebrain content all at once.

All Things Considered, Science is Emotional #NASATweetup

May 4, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Fun, Social Networking, Space, Speaking  //  2 Comments
KSC Countdown Clock - Karen Lopez

KSC Countdown Clock

 

I haven’t blogged yet about my NASA Tweetup experiences, for the most part because I’m worried about coming across as too emotional about the entire experience.  As I previously posted, I’m attending a special NASA program that brings 150 Twitter users from around the world to Kennedy Space Center to watch the launch of the Shuttle Endeavour on her last mission, STS-134.   I started this post hoping to keep it as a short overview.  It’s not.     

Pre-Tweetup – Level Green

The launch was originally scheduled for mid-April, then that was moved to 29 April due to a traffic jam in space.  No worries. I arrived here in Florida on 26 April.  Wednesday I picked up my credentials and then went over to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to add to my space brain, the term I’ve been using for being inundated with science about space exploration. I also met up with my house mates of Venus House for the first time.       

Thursday – Level Orange

Thursday we headed over to Kennedy Space Center (KSC) to get settled in the Tweetup Tent (affectionately referred to as the twent).  I new we were going to be close to the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building, but I had no idea we’d be parking right next to it. That was just awe-inspiring.  There we met our fellow Tweetup attendees.  We started with the obligatory “everybody introduce yourselves, tell us where you are from and something interesting about you”.  Crap.  Interesting? Okay, I’ll say that I’m a…well, let’s wait to see what everyone else says.  I was sitting on the far end, near the air conditioners.  They started on the other side.  As people stood up to say who they were I sat there stunned by the number of accomplishments and backgrounds.   Quick…what the hell can I say that is interesting? Somehow “I like data” just didn’t seem to be that interesting with this group.  Attendees came from all walks of life: 3 -time Jeopardy champion, Internet company founders, Twitter staff, rocket scientists, TV and film stars, musicians, pilots, journalists…well, you can read what most said about themselves at http://nasatweet.com/wiki/STS134_Fun_facts …but I think that most people were a bit too humble about their interesting things.     So I finally settled on “I’m a former national spokesperson for Women in IT. I help encourage girls to take more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)”  That seemed to go over well, with this crowd being STEM friendly.  I mentioned that I had brought the technical Barbies with me to enjoy the launch, too.  I was already starting to have the overwhelming feeling that this Tweetup was going to be something like I’ve never experienced before.  Emotions were at Alert Level Orange by that point.            

Kennedy Space Center VAB - Karen Lopez

Kennedy Space Center VAB

 

We did a tour of the KSC property, including the inside of the VAB.  There we got to see Atlantis being prepped for her last voyage soon after Endeavour’s trip.  Did I tell you we got to go inside? That’s insane.  There aren’t normal tours for going inside the VAB.   I guess to other people it’s just where they work.  For me it was just amazing.  I need to find another word.  Someone find me a thesaurus.    

Thursday was a full program of speakers from NASA, including astronauts and staff.  More on that later.  We were supposed to go out near the pad to watch the retraction, but freaky storm weather cancelled that.  My first disappointment.  Emotions still at Level Orange, but barely.             

Friday – Level Red

The Astronaut Van makes right turn instead of a left turn

The Saddest Right Turn...

 

 On Friday we headed back over to KSC ready to experience an opportunity of a lifetime — to see the launch from just over 3 miles away. To put this in perspective, if you were 400 yards from the launch the heat and flame would kill you.  If you were 800 yards from the launch, the sound would kill you.  So 3 miles is close.  It’s as close as non-workers can get. Emotion Levels were Reddish Orange, sort of like a tequila sunrise. I set up my tripod to reserve a space.  Right next to a tripod from an international camera crew.  My tripod looked sad next to theirs, but it was setup and ready to go.  More exciting program inside the twent happened, and I’ll post pictures of that in a later post.    

Every presenter over the two days spoke of the emotion and the feeling of awe of what they did for a living.  It was all about STEM, but overall the most blow-me-away thoughts were about humanity, peace, the meaning of life, and…emotions.   As each person spoke, I could see the passion they had about the work they did;  they were changing the world and they loved every minute of it.         

Sadly, as Rob blogged, the launch was scrubbed about noon on Friday due to a mechanical failure.  We were terribly disappointed, but all of us understood that safety first is the key phrase.  We watched the Astronaut Van drive slowly past, it made an unexpected turn into the VAB drive.  We were hoping that it was just making a special drive by of the special observation area, but it wasn’t to be.  I was interviewed by NPR’s All Things Considered about this disappointment.  I found out that interview made it to the air because people all over the US started tweeting that they heard me on their drives home from work.  How wonderful is that?   

I have to say that seeing that Astro Van take a turn when it wasn’t supposed to was heartbreaking.  It wasn’t a crushing blow because I was by then riding a full RED ALERT emotionally already.  I had experienced so many amazing things up to then it didn’t matter.  The launch would happen when Endeavour was ready for it to happen.              

Later in the afternoon President Obama arrived, even though the launch had been scrubbed, to meet the astronauts and their families.  We were able to wave to him as he waved back at us, a bunch of Twitter Space-crazed photographers.              

NASA Tweeps get Engaged at the Countdown Clock

NASA Tweeps get Engaged at the Countdown Clock

 

And then there was more: NASA Tweetup attendee Chris Cardinal proposed to attendee Nina Tallman, right in front of the Countdown Clock.  As a fellow geek, that was so amazing to see.   My emotions were now just going crazy.  I took a bazillion pictures.         

Most of us stayed in the twent, listening to ad hoc program presentations, chatting about everything that had been happening so far, and talking about making extended travel arrangements.   We looked forward to a launch in the next 48 hours.  All was fine. 

Saturday – SQLSaturday

When the scrub was announced, Kendal van Dyke (twitter and another former NASATweetup attendee) reminded me there was a SQLSaturday happening in Jacksonville.  I caught a ride with him and two other great SQL community members Bradley Ball (twitter) and Dan Taylor( twitter).  So I got to spend time with the rocking SQL Community at the last minute.  What a great opportunity. For the ride back we were all really tired and we had great gut-busting laughs, the kind that are hilarious if you are tired, entirely stoked from being with a great community and punchy from getting only a couple of hours of sleep.  Thanks, guys, for taking care of me and the Technical Barbies.  Oh, and for letting me be part of your SQLRoadtrip.      

Now – Back to Tequila Red Orange

I have many photos and blog posts to share and am struggling with how to not overly spam this blog with them. I have lots of potential blog posts that talk about data, project management, decisions, and costs, benefits and risks.  But my main concern is that I’m still GUSHING with emotions and I don’t think my posts will come across as anything but completely insane.  I’ve been struggling with this post, trying not to fill it with #FTW #AWESOMESAUCE #ZOMG and 10,000 exclamation points.  Did I tell you have pictures?        

I so wish I could have taken every single girl that I talk to about taking more science, technology, math and engineering along with me to see an hear just how freaking rewarding STEM careers are.  I’d show them how these careers change the world and make lives better.  I’d show them the fabulous role models, how much fun they have, and how being in a community of insanely smart people can make every minute count.  

As I am putting the finishing touches on this, NASA just announced that the current date (more about that coming, too) will be pushed back again.  I was doing okay travel-wise because I was already planning on being in Orlando for SQLRally on this Saturday.  Staying over a few extra days was cheaper and easier, so that’s what I’m doing.  As of right now, it will be later and not 10 May as last announced.  You know what? I’m still at EMOTION LEVEL RED…ish.  All things considered.        

Pages:12»

Subscribe via E-mail

Use the link below to receive posts via e-mail. Unsubscribe at any time. Subscribe to www.datamodel.com by Email


Categories

Archive

UA-52726617-1