Off to GUADEC!

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It’s been a crazy week leading up to GUADEC, doing preparatory work and helping to wrap up a wide variety of tasks. It’s times like this that I’m happy I work from home, as working a lot and taking it easy haven’t been mutually exclusive. After a good amount of back and forth with doctors, I’m happy to say that I’m hopping on a plane tomorrow. In order to come to GUADEC I had to plan an easier travel schedule than normal, so I’ll be arriving in A Coruña on Monday. I’m excited to see everyone and for what’s shaping up to be a fabulous conference! See you there!

Literally and figuratively fried!

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I’ve been pretty quiet about my heart device lately, mostly focusing on GNOME events and other GNOME-centric activities. The whole time, though, my device has been working away quietly in my chest monitoring my heart. Until this weekend, when I was out of town and my heart went into what the device interpreted as a dangerous rhythm, and it gave me two defibrillator shocks over the course of two days. I went to the ER in New Hampshire, and after a long saga of getting the multitude of doctors up to speed, was admitted to the cardiac unit. I don’t know how many doctors worked on my case, exactly, but I can name 13! It was very interesting talking to the various doctors about my heart condition and learning how many of the cardiologists (and even electrophysiologists) hadn’t even thought about the security of the devices at all. Only one of them knew that the devices had been hacked, and he only knew the device manufacturer’s take on it. While I was more worried about getting my heart into a safer mode of operation, it was a good opportunity to do a little advocacy and learn more about the way doctors think about these issues.

It turned out that the shocks were inappropriate, though they weren’t exactly bugs either. My device isn’t set up to deal with the problems that my heart was having, but it interpreted the data it was receiving as a dangerous rhythm and delivered the shocks, even though they couldn’t have helped the situation. I have to admit it was pretty scary, and at 30 weeks pregnant, the hospital went into high gear to make sure that the baby was also ok (luckily, the baby *is* totally fine).

The really troubling thing about this situation is that I don’t really know what exactly brought this on and whether it will happen again. My heart device has been reprogrammed so that it’s less likely to fire in this situation again, and I’m on a higher dosage of drugs to prevent the more dangerous parts of the heartbeat. I’m hoping I can find out more information soon from the specialist doctors I normally work with, and in the meantime I’m just extremely tired while I adjust to the higher dosages.

I took yesterday off from work to recover from the hospital stay, travel and lack of sleep and have been catching up as best I can today. Hopefully I’ll get a better idea of what’s going on this week or soon after. I’m still planning on going to GUADEC, unless the doctors give me a red light – keep your fingers crossed!

What I’ve been up to

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It’s been a crazy few weeks! I went to Cleveland to see my specialist cadiologist (which I do once a year), which was all the more important this time given my pregnancy. An added plus is that he does a lot of work with drug safety and is very interested to hear about safety concerns regarding the software in the medical devices he frequently prescribes. I also had a bunch of various medical tests connected to the pregnancy. All is fine thus far, but they seem to come in waves and are an annoying interuption to my work! Here are some of the specific things I worked on the past couple of weeks:

  • I’ve been helping with preparations for GUADEC! I’ve been working with sponsors and potential sponsors, had the privilege of inviting and working with some of the keynoters and generally assisting with the conference preparation. The local and papers committees have been working very hard. It’s going to be an amazing conference! If you haven’t registered already, you definitely should do that soon!
  • Looking forward to next year, we published the call for GUADEC 2013 proposals. If you’d like to see GUADEC in your city, this is your chance!!
  • I followed up with a company that was using the GNOME foot inappropriately, and they stopped the use. They were extremely helpful and pointed me to where they found the logo and I was able to put some trademark notices in there too. I also started tracking down permissions on other GNOME-related logos and discovered that there’s more work to do.
  • The amazing Aaron Williamson of the Software Freedom Law Center helped us figure out some legal questions for Online Accounts and in return I got to help pro bono in a small way with something important that SFLC is working on. I’ve found that I really miss doing some of the legal work I used to do, so it’s nice to do at least a little bit for GNOME and other free softare organizations too.
  • As you may have seen in one of my recent blog posts here, I’m working on helping push the accessibility campaign over the last hurdle – we’re so close to meeting our goal!
  • I helped try to make sure that all of our existing Friends of GNOME subscriptions are being handled properly, and renewed discussions to overhaul our system to track them. Right now we rely on a lot of manual work, and I hope we can do better.
  • Bradley and I released a new episode of Free as in Freedom, which included a talk by Philippe Laurent from FOSDEM 2012, entitled Open Licences before European Courts, along with commentary by us.
  • I wrote a press release announcing GNOME’s new board of directors and enjoyed the first meeting that the new board sat in on (they don’t vote until the next one). I’m definitely sad to have some of the directors step down, but it’s also extremely exciting to have fresh perspectives from new people.
  • I cleaned up some paperwork that’s been sitting on my “desk” and finally submitted for reimbursements from the conferences that were nice enough to agree to pay for my travel to attend. Also, after consulting with my doctors, it’s become clear that OSCON isn’t in the cards for me this year. I’m so disappointed, but given the fact that it’s right before GUADEC, it’s just not practical for me to go this time. I have to make sure that I’m making all of the right choices to be there for GUADEC, so this year will have to be a pass!
  • I attended the IRC meeting of the GNOME Outreach for Women program. The program is currently in full swing, and as the blog posts on the Planet indicate, I think it’s going great! As always, many thanks to Marina for doing such a great job. I also took the time to follow up on some conversations that had been started around funding time to see how we can futher expand the program in the future. It’s been great to see our program pointed out by so many different people as a good approach to helping improve the participation of women in free software (and in many different contexts)!