where is the old website?here
what is a genderchanger?We did not make up this term, we are re-using it. The tech industry created it.
Technically and literally a gender changer is a computer part - the image top left of every page of this website represents one. It is an adapter that changes the "sex" of a port. Ports with pins are said to be male, ports with holes are said to be female. In the situation where two pieces of hardware both have the same port, an adapter saves the day and makes a connection possible.
We are reclaiming the term to mean a person interested in the gendered aspects of technology.
why women only?Imagine you are alone and travelling in a country where you don't know the language and cultural intricacies. Do you remember how it felt when you bumped into someone just like yourself?
One of our goals is to get more women involved in technology. The issue here is inclusion not exculsion. We reaccess this choice constantly. Presently the conclusion is that the need remains for spaces where women can share experiences, break things, make jokes and ask so-called stupid questions amongst themsleves.
This approach is not the goal but a means. Life outside of the workshops is ever present.
what is so great about free and open source software?The term "free" in the software world means that it is not proprietory, in other words that it is not someone's property. It is software free of patent and copyright laws. The term "open" refers to the fact that the creator(s) publish their work, normally the code that makes up the product.
This is great for a number of reasons. Firstly because software that is created in the public domain implies a huge developer base. Everyone can create, change, improve and test the programming code. As the saying goes: "Many eyes make bugs small". The result is code written in the best possible way, which in turn means stable, fast and abuse-resistant software.
Secondly, everyone wants to have freedom of choice when purchasing a product. With Microsoft and Apple's operating systems, this is not the case - one buys a computer and the OS is pre-installed. Without realising it, the consumer has become dependant on a single company, and it's certified affiliates for service or adaptation of the product. It seems however that 2007 may become a turning-point year for this practice, as Dell has started offering computers with Ubuntu pre-installed. However, it still remains difficult to buy a computer without any operating system installed at all.
Thirdly, it is good to be able to make an informed decision when purchasing a product. For example when I go to the supermarket I read the label to see whether the product has sugars, salts, preservatives or additives to name but a few selection criteria. In the same way all hardware and software should come with a label listing source code, materials, country of origin, etcetera.
what is wrong with the idea of "intellectual property"?The analogy of intellectual property with physical property is erroneous. Not only should one not compare intellect with property, but the laws covering the two subjects are not the same. Property law is a system to manage the allocation of scarce physical resources, namely land and what is on that land, relying on the market system of supply and demand. Ideas however will never become scarce. Intellectual property law is a government-granted incentive -- a subsidy -- to encourage the creation of new ideas. It is a welfare system to prevent market failure around the, again erroneous notion that if people cannot profit from an idea they will not have that idea.
Perhaps a more important argument against the idea of copywriting and patenting is the fact that all knowledge is context and time sensitive. No idea is cultivated in a vacuum or is completely unique. All thought and knowledge is built on what others have thought and done in the past. And there is always pure coincidence: the fact that two or more people with aboslutely no connection to each other at all can come up with exactly the same idea at exactly the same time.
why a hardware course?Hardware is tangible, real and visible. It's easy to work with, accessible. Everyone can do it, you don't need any schooling or experience to take it apart and put it back together again. Working with hardware is fun and sparks the "eureka" feeling in nearly everyone that has followed one our Hardware Courses!
Knowing computer hardware, being able to picture the devices and put life into the jargon is essential to continued growth in ICT.
what does GCA stand for?GCA is an abbreviation of Gender Changers Academy. We dream of a network of tech lounge cafes; on a canal boat in Amsterdam to a loft in San Francisco. Here a wide gamut of skills will be cultivated: from extreme pc makeovers to coding so close to the core you can wear it on your clothes. A school of tech skill sharing that never ends.
what does your favicon stand for?The image was found on a website covering Adinkra symbols from Ghana, West Africa. This particular one is called Ananse Ntontan (translated: spider's web) a symbol of wisdom, creativity and the complexities of life. Ananse, the spider, is a well-known character in African folktales.