Thursday, February 25, 2010

Will the real Dr. Burks please stand up

Dr. Burks, president of Harding University, decided he needed to clarify something in chapel this morning. Apparently lots of people were befriending the wrong Dr. Burks on Facebook.

There are multiple Facebook accounts claiming to be Dr. Burks, and he showed a few screen shots of the impostors (the photo below is one of them). This is a problem because some students have been receiving messages from the fake Burks; one message asked someone to speak in chapel this week. (Sure is annoying when people create fake Facebook profiles.)

Dr. Burks showed everyone his correct profile and said he'd love to be everyone's friend. I have a feeling that he'll be receiving hundreds of friend requests today... that is if anyone can find the correct Dr. Burks. I did a search for "David Burks", "David B. Burks", and (Dr. Burk's email address), and the only profile that looked legit was the one pictured above. I even looked through one of his son's list of friends on Facebook, and he wasn't listed there.

It looks like the fake Dr. Burks will continue racking up friends for a while.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Barbie is a computer engineer! Or maybe just tech support.

By popular vote, Barbie's next career will be Computer Engineer. There's a good chance that the voting was slightly in our favor due to some rumored automated scripts that artificially boosted the vote. wink

Barbie will be sporting a very stylish outfit and carrying around a laptop that has apparently frozen (see the binary numbers floating across the screen).

Her wardrobe has received a lot of attention. Apparently it was designed in consultation with the Society of Women Engineers and the National Academy of Engineering, organizations that are well known for their sense of style. She'd blend right in with our Engineering department.

The BBC News also had a lot to say about the new Barbie. Unfortunately, they seem to equate Computer Engineer with Tech Support:
"As anyone who works maintaining computers could tell you, Barbie would do well to invest in a hair band... Even the shoes are unlikely to be seen on the feet of people who spend half their day crawling under desks or feeding cables through walls." (emphasis mine)
I'm sorry, but a computer engineer is not the person hooking up your network or installing virus protection on your desktop. But I do understand the popular press's misconception of what computer engineers do. I just fear that it's this misconception of computing that will continue to drive females away from computer science/engineering rather than attract them to it.

On the SIGCSE mailing list, the event has received a lot of attention. Some think it's trivial, other think it's ridiculous, but some are hopeful it will make young girls think that maybe a career in computing is something desirable and obtainable. I sure hope so.

I'll be buying one for the department... we could use a little more pink around here. wink


A friend of mine converted the binary one's and zero's on Barbie's laptop into ASCII. Guess what it spells? Barbie.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

How do my students really feel about me?

Sometimes students tell you right to your face what they think about you or your class. Sometimes they let you know anonymously through teacher evaluations. And sometimes they think of more creative means.

This was from an assignment in my Mobile Computing class where I had my students develop a tic-tac-toe game for Android. My wife said she was going to have nightmares tonight after seeing this.