Just this once, I have to say something about diversity.

I was very sad to find this post yesterday.

Speaking in a purely personal capacity, I hope that I never will be (indeed, never have been) accepted as a conference speaker because I am female. I also hope never to attend a conference where speakers have been selected for any other reason that they are the best qualified individuals to talk on their subject material.

As a director of PHP London and one of the organisers  of the  PHP UK Conference I would wish to reassure our speakers, particularly our female speakers,  and attendees that  talks were selected primarily on the merit of their submission. In fact, when I graded the talks I looked only at the title, abstract and their reasons for wanting to speak – I had no idea if I was selecting women or men.

Anyone who wishes to address the lack of diversity in our industry would be better to lend their support  groups already working in this area, for example WAAA. Or, failing that, supporting initiatives that are directed at changing the way that computing is taught in schools.

Read  what Trisha Gee has to say on diversity. In her last paragraph she speaks of role models and I can’t improve on her words. Although I’m female my role models are mostly male and as it happens, Andrew Betts is one of them.

SketchUp projects

SketchUp is a funny sort of thing; it used to belong to Google but never really seem to fit with Google-anything-else. Someone once told me that it looked like a product that was conceived when the Google executives got rich and wanted something to help design their new homes. In April 2012 SketchUp was acquired by Trimble, I really hope it’s going to have a great future, I’m using the free version at the moment but it’s so useful that I probably will end up paying for it.

Over the Christmas holiday this year I built a table – using a piece of slate that we bought about 30 years ago intending to ‘do something with it’, some oak and a bit of custom made stainless steel. I used SketchUp to help me plan out the project.

This is a screen shot of the initial design:

Coffee table design

Coffee table design

The angles between the stainless steel rods and thus the placement of the legs were dictated by the dimensions of the  slate. The table looks like this upside down

Upside down view

In this view I have pulled one of the legs away slightly to show the construction of the top of the legs – this is also shown in more detail in the inset. The most useful part of SketchUp was that it helped me to work out the exact saw cuts that I needed to make – then move pieces around to that I could see what the result looked like.

Other useful things were being able to send images to Alan at Designs in Stainless who made up the stainless steel part and being able to deconstruct the wooden part of the design into a cutting layout so that I knew how much oak to order. By the way, the oak came from Alresford Interiors who make the kind of fitted kitchens that I’m going to have in my dream home.

I’ll continue using SketchUp for this kind of project – I’m sure that it probably wasn’t what it was intended for but I don’t think I could plan this sort of construction without it. Here is a shot of the finished table:

Finished table