On Sunday, myself and a few friends went to the TEDx event in Oxford.

TEDx, for those who don’t know, are TED style events organised by interested parties. They happen all over the world, and are usually pretty popular. This one packed out the New Theatre in central Oxford, which is no mean feat.

The speakers spoke on a number of subjects; from neuroscience to artificial intelligence. Some speakers were inspiring, others were… confusing… but all were interesting.

Interestingly, the speaker that sparked the most conversation over lunch and after the event was probably Laura Bates from the Every day sexism project. The stories she relayed shocked us all; with the men in the audience seeing this as new, but with the women nodding along in bitter recognition.

Myself, I was aware of similar horrors through the various “Women in Technology” conversations I have had, where every single woman I spoke to could relay situations where an actual crime had been committed, but pretty much shrugged it off as something that “happens”. Still, it was still shocking, and through our discussions after it seems that there is a variation of the observer effect going on for the men in our group – that is, the very act of us being present, means that the acts won’t occur to the women around us.

A new trend that was highlighted in the talk, which I found interesting, is that now the abuse seems to be often couched in a joke (which is clearly not funny), but means that the perpetrator can play the victim when the woman objects. I’ve seen this a couple of times in tech circles, but it’s clearly a growing trend.

One thing I wish was covered in her talk (although, perhaps it’s a complex subject for 15 minutes), is what can we actually do to address this? Particularly, what can we as men do? This is clearly a massive problem, and I know we seem to be losing ground in the tech world, but it seems the equality cause is losing ground elsewhere as well.

Depressing stuff. How do we fix it?

Last night I went along as a +1 to Oxford Girl geek dinners, an event organised in order to encourage more women to get involved in technology.

It’s an informal gathering with some presentations and lots of opportunity for networking. Men are permitted, but only if accompanied by a girl geek.

From the central website:

The Girl Geek Dinners were founded on the 16th August 2005 as a result of one girl geek who got annoyed and frustrated about being one of the only females attending technical events. She was tired of being assumed to be marketing, tired of constantly having to prove herself and decided that she just wanted a change and to be treated just the same as any other geek out there, gender and age aside.

We started off at the White October offices with coffee and some presentations, before relocating to the Oxford Blue for some serious networking.

Good fun and both myself and Kelly thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, more please!

Over on GitHub I have just open sourced a PHP web and web services framework which I’ve been making use of to build a lot of projects recently.

Initially, it was built for a single project but I’ve ended up using it for many other things, and I thought it might be useful to the Open Source community.


  • Pluggable
  • Light weight
  • Sophisticated events system
  • Abstracted database layer
  • MVC architecture
  • Virtual pages
  • Object/Metadata based data model

Its designed to have much of its functionality carried in plugins, many of which I will release a little bit later just as soon I’ve had the time to tidy them up a bit!

Anywho, its available under the MIT licence and hopefully it’ll be useful to you!

» Github Project Page (Core Plugins, Extra Plugins)