Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Breaking things

MIT Press has a book, "Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing," (Title link goes straight to the book on Amazon) which discusses how family, education, and institutional barriers often keep Computer Science a women's field.  (Photo link below connects to my Amazon Associates account.)

A short synopsis is that boys are often encouraged to take things apart and "break things," while girls are often conditioned not to do that.

Chapter 2 "Middle and High School: A Room of His Own" particularly discusses how family computers may be stored in the boys bedroom. If there are multiple computers, he may receive one of his own.

Yesterday I posted about how I got my first personal laptop about 2 years ago. It's strange to look back and realize how inhibiting sharing a desktop computer with my husband could be. I didn't want to interfere with anything that he might need it for.

This laptop is the first computer that's been entirely mine, the first one that I've felt comfortable configuring to my liking. Soon after I got it, I set it to dual-boot with Ubuntu. But since my graduate school classmates were using Microsoft Word, I stuck to the Windows side, until yesterday.

I've described my attempts to use my old Lego Mindstorms Robotics Invention System 2.0 with this Windows 7 laptop. Some online users have recommended using Linux with a Windows XP Virtual Machine. So yesterday I logged on to the Ubuntu side, and began playing around with it. It downloaded some updates, and then said it needed to reboot. I told it to go ahead, and then it looked like the screen froze. Eventually I powered it down myself... and now the Ubuntu side won't load.

I think I'll need to reinstall Ubuntu Linux.

Meanwhile, I set up a Virtual Machine on the Windows side, and loaded it with an old Windows XP disk. The Lego Mindstorms software is set up to run on it. I got a driver for the tower to work with XP, however there seems to be an error getting it from Windows 7 to the VM. So now I'm back to trying Linux.