Abusing the abused

Another newspaper article that makes grim reading “David Goodwillie rape accuser opens her heart on vile internet abuse after charges are dropped“. Wonder what it tells us about Scottish society when a *woman* who’s an alleged rape victim is the one who’s vilified? The footballer guy at the centre of this is in the middle of transfer negotiations. Pretty rotten that Rangers also pounced with a bid for him a split nano-second after the charges were officially dropped. Something stinks about that.

I just can’t even begin to imagine the despair of a woman raped and yet brave enough to come forward and press charges only for the justice system to grind to a halt. When Elish Angiolini was the first female Lord Advocate she set in motion plans to train up solicitors and courts to deal sensitively with rape cases. We still have an abysmally low prosecution rate for sexual crimes even after all the efforts to modernise (Update 2 Aug 2011, Sexual Violence and the Justice System [Village Aunties]). Here it sounds like it’s the legislative system at fault, since there didn’t seem to be enough evidence to go ahead with a trial successfully. It’s a classic “he said, she said” case. Hang our heads in shame. Can’t we at the very least get Dundee United to ban ‘supporters’ that post foul messages about her or who chant on the terraces? If that’s not bringing your club into disrepute then what is?

DrupalCon and archive.org

Was noseying around websites for previous DrupalCon’s and found that previous events have video available hosted on the archive.org site. Even better, archive.org offers RSS feeds based on queries so to get an automated podcast download of DrupalCon chicago 2011 you can use e.g.


The Chicago video alone is 48 sessions and over 11GB of MP4s chock full of Drupal goodies…I may be gone for some time 🙂

A hard drive named Lazarus

My hardware hoodoo continues. Earlier in the week I dropped a hard drive on the floor …a shiny, new, whopping 1TB. A fall of about a metre and a half. That sick sinking feeling. Plugged it in, yay the blue light was on, great, only one problem. The lights were on…but nobody was home. Disk wasn’t spinning up, boo. In days gone by I might have cried but seemed reasonably calm about it as I knew I didn’t have that much on it. But it set me thinking, I honestly couldn’t remember exactly *what* content I had on it. If you’ve lost something but it’s not important enough for to to remember what, have really you *lost* anything at all? But I digress. Geeks need to problem solve.

Shelled out twenty quid for a drive connector kit and gingerly opened the Iomega external drive case. There was a small controller card at the front with the power and USB connectors, removed that so I could get access to the drive sockets. Plugged in the SATA connector and plugged the power cable in, swiitched on…and…the disk spun up, wheeee! Was feeling well chuffed but copied the data off as quickly as I could incase it was only a temporary reprieve. I had difficulty with one 5GB file but then I remembered the portable drive was formated FAT32. Got a Mac drive and got the last file off phew. Double-chuffed, mission salvage completed. Even better once I’d removed the connector kit and put the drive back together it started working again! Maybe there was just a loose cable or something after the fall. But who wants to trust precious bits to a potentially dodgy drive? A bit like a lover who’s been cheating on you, things will never be the same again, the trust is gone. You’ll always have one part of you fearing the worst. To the back of the cupboard for you Lazarus.


Since I’ve spent a lot of today at work configuring WordPress installations what do I do when I get home…yes indeed, configure my own WordPress installation. Am experimenting with various plugins so there may be a few different features being tested/trialed. First up, a plugin for serving up a mobile version of a WordPress blog via WPTouch. Have tried it using an iPod touch and the site loads much more quickly and strips things down to lightweight lists rather than full text entries on the homepage. Love this functionality, things are just so easy these days with these huge repositories of plugins/modules. I’m like a kid in a sweetie shop.

To Google+ or not to Google+, pseudonymity, women and net abuse

Have been feeling like a wallflower at the disco (story of my life) watching everyone get their Google+ accounts. Alas for me I can’t take part with the account I’d like because I’m a Google Apps user and Google profiles aren’t yet available for Apps accounts. Thought of creating an account on gmail but can’t really be arsed with having yet another new account. Over the last few months I’ve been consciously slimming down my portfolio of domains and services aiming for as few as necessary.

There’s been a couple of excellent articles by Violet Blue: “Google Plus: Fast, Cheap and Out of Control” and more disturbingly “Google Plus Deleting Accounts En Masse: No Clear Answers“. The first tip I got that something unsettling was happening was when veteran podcaster Madge Weinstein said that all of the Google services including mail and youtube had been blocked for supposedly breaking a TOS. Madge is a “character” but it’s the name that the male artist has been using in public for years. The pseudonym is the name by which that person is commonly known. Now hopefully such bans are temporary and can be overturned by protesting but this is just such a disappointing behaviour from Google and thought they learned from the debacle over their Buzz launch. A lot of feminist material may relate to subjects like rape and domestic violence, not clear if that can be posted on Google+.

I really want to know what the position is regarding psuedonyms as it would affect me. I almost never use my actual name signing up for social networks, not for any privacy reason but because my entire online ‘career’ has been spent trying to make Scottish Women more visible on the net. My real name is unisex so I found whenever I posted in forums about technology and such like it was just assumed that I was male…which lead to some awkward but amusing situations in face to face meetups. So I decided to spell it out loud and clear, I am Scottish Lass on the net. I registered scottishlass.co.uk back in the 1990s and was a early blogger on this domain but gave it up just when it was becoming popular. I came to realise quite quickly that this was also handy as a personal brand and people remembered it. In the majority of online places folk wouldn’t know my real name so for all intents and purposes Scottish Lass *is* my name on the net, particularly on the web. It is my identity. If Google+ wont allow me to be that there then well…I guess I’m going to give it a miss which puts it in the same category as Facebook for me as a social network I don’t use (the latter for their scummy adverts and disregard for other users privacy that were driving my acquaintances nuts).

Another article I think Google folk should read is “Who is harmed by a “Real Names” policy?“. Still amazes me that so many men seem to have no understanding that women can get hassled online just for having a female name let alone for photos or other content. I’ve spent many years helping women deal with online abuse even pre-web, usually tracking down and reporting the suspects. As an administrator of websites that cover topics like feminism and LGBT issues I’ve also personally received dogs abuse for that and two people have actually lost either a training place or a job because of the vile messages they’ve posted on my sites or emailed. I’m lucky, I can defend myself and have a stomach hardened to that crap that I don’t rise to the bait or get personally upset by it. Other women aren’t so lucky. Often someone will put me in touch with women distraught about what others have posted about them online or shocked that e.g. Facebook has yet again made things public that they thought were private. It’s usually straightforward to lock things down or report the abuse via official channels – it’s this latter step that all too many women don’t realise they should or how to do. Usually they’re just so upset they can’t face going back and reading whatever site they’ve been using or they’re frightened that they’re getting unwanted attention. I make a point of *always* reporting personal abuse I witness online however minor…for the simple reason that such abusers rarely have just one victim. You  usually don’t have to do much research on the perpetrator to find them doing similar things or worse to others. Please report abuse using whatever official contact mechanisms you can find on whatever website. You might find details of how to report abuse in a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) or Terms of Service section or even buttons marked “report for abuse” or similar on web postings.

Hello world!

Yet another failed attempt to resurrect a long-form blog. Don’t expect much and you wont be disappointed.