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Warning: this is not a politically correct viewpoint, but nevertheless it's my perspective.

The actual best thing about this post being in first place on Hacker News is not that it's a woman posting but that she has a Y chromosome and most people don't realize it.

It's like her recently-acquired vagina is a new laptop to be hacked. It's still objectification of women if you try to turn into one and then objectify yourself.

The real goal of this post is to get a bunch of men to fantasize about "her" and glorify how cool "she" is for being a geeky hacker.

Not all trans(vestite|gender|sexual) people are like this.

My girlfriend wrote this post for the same reason she wrote the the other posts on her blog: to share her work and talk about neat hacks. Your statement that she's doing it for attention is incredibly sexist.

Also she's queer, so the idea that she's doing it for male attention is pretty funny really.

I loved the stuff about reverse engineering the protocol. Very neat stuff.

This is a great post with so many neat hacks along the way--when she started talking about modeling and 3D printing the enclosure I was thinking "Wow, this is a true renaissance hacker."

The world needs more blog posts like this.

Yeah, she's impressive. You might enjoy some of the other posts on her blog too, my favorite is the duct tape RFID post, but mostly because she made that one for me.

(But also it's a neat hack, she powers the microcontroller via the I/O pins and just attaches the vcc and ground pins to a capacitor.)

>Also she's queer

Your good fortune, mankind's loss:


'queer' (depending on one's definition) is basically "it's complicated". "Queer" does not imply "lesbian". She might not have ruled out all men.

> It's still objectification of women if you try to turn into one and then objectify yourself.

I don't buy in to the equivalence of building a better vibrator and objectifying women.

Whether she is trans* or not has nothing to do with this writeup. Why belittle her accomplishments? This is an innovative idea, and it will get people thinking about different ways to please themselves or their lovers.

In some people's eyes trans women are objectifying women merely by existing, and those people tend to interpret everything they do through that lens. I'm a bit surprised to see a comment like that on HN though; this particular form of transphobia is basically a radical feminist thing, and I didn't know we had any radfems.

I'm not a radical feminist in the sense of "intercourse is rape" but hmmm... I think I have body modification phobia - so that would include women getting breast implants - and also exhibitionist phobia and also pull-the-wool-over-your-eyes phobia. (Although quite frankly, I wasn't fooled for long just based on the extremely masculine technical writing. I have never read anything that a woman wrote that looks remotely like that. Sorry.)

If the article had been open about scanlime's transexuality it wouldn't have irritated me nearly as much, but my interpretation was that it was (unconsciously, perhaps) designed to validate that she really is a woman. No, you cannot actually change sex, modulo some crazy gene therapy.

I know I was kind of unfair in my original comment. I think it was really me whinging that the HN crowd wouldn't be gushing like this if they all knew that scanlime was trans, and then me also getting annoyed at my guess that scanlime was complicit in this. I feel like I need to say sorry. Sorry. But I'm about to undo my apology :/

In general, I get really annoyed by queer people making a point about their sexuality (e.g. gay men who lisp), and in my mind this article counts as such. They annoy me as much as frat boys and drunk girls in skimpy clothes and people wearing leather collars. I basically think our society is hypersexualized and that this is bad.

I don't know if trans women are objectifying women merely by existing. Most men do this, so it's highly likely. My most heinous viewpoint is that queer/fetish sexuality is likely to be some kind of psychological defense mechanism against childhood trauma, and while good and perfectly acceptable if it works and life is functional, it's important to keep the source of it in mind. Oh and finally I'm very likely not a radical feminist because I don't believe in equality between men and women but rather a kind of complementarity. (Yes, universal suffrage is good, and woman should be allowed to have jobs, etc.)

Wait, first you say you're irritated that the OP wasn't "open" about being trans (where, I assume, by "open" you mean "announce it inside the very blog post", cause it's pretty obvious from e.g. the contact page).

Then, you say you're annoyed by "queer people making a point about their sexuality". Now, the OP did not make a point about her sexuality in the blog post (1). You complained that she didn't. And then she did anyway? And that annoyed you?

Really, you can be a transphobe all you want and make an idiot of yourself that way, but this is HN, at least think about what you write.

(1) And, by the way, being trans has little to do with sexuality, but ok.

We all tend to sound like idiots when we're outside our area of competence or familiarity. Realize that the vast majority of people have no personal experience with trans etc. people, beyond what they've seen in the movies / read about.

This is not meant to excuse hatred, but there should be some tolerance for confusion due to unfamiliarity. It's simply not something that most people have spent a lot of time thinking about.

Jeri Ellsworth and Limor Fried (ladyada) write similarly to this, are both female, and tend to be awesome. And Joanna from Blue Pill. Plus a bunch of female phd students, university post docs, and industry people.

I think what you read as "masculine tech writing" is just competence. True, there are a lot of incompetent female tech people who write, but 3-7x more incompetent men who write (due to overall prevalence of men in tech).

Well, thanks for the vote of confidence. It'll be interesting to see what those women have to say.

It might be the case that this strikes me as a man's writing just because there are more men in tech, but I don't know that it's the incompetence per se. It's sentences like, "Often in this situation I’ll break out something like the Saxo board, with an FPGA and a thick USB 2.0 pipe," that I just have a very hard time imagining a woman writing. In the same way that a woman couldn't have written Cory Doctorow's Little Brother. I think it's the implied, "I'm so cool because of all my techno whizbangs." But it's even in the non-tech writing: "In other words, I wanted to hack something I actually use: my vagina." is so horrid that I have to believe that even the bona fide female Xeni Jardin, lover of techno whizbangs, would have a hard time accepting it as... womanly... to talk about "using her vagina".

My girlfriend has screamed at me more than once over the futility of sharing my thoughts with "you people" who "will never understand [my] perspective", but at least a few here are kind, even if I'm not, and for that I'm grateful.

Those specific examples, and a few more in the article, did seem over the top; I assumed they were meant ironically due to the topic of sex.

By putting quotation marks around her & she, you're implying she is not female. Don't do that.

I find the quotation marks rather snarky, but your rebuke is incorrect too. Female is defined as:

"[the] sex which produces eggs and which has XX chromosomes"

She doesn't produce eggs and she doesn't have XX chromosomes, so if you follow the strict definition she isn't female either.

Who's definition is that?

That's not the definition of female either I (and others) use, and it's also not the definition of female used by modern society.

Hardly anyone knows what their chromosomes actually are, since people rarely get them tested (do you know yours? did you get them tested?), there are numerous biological conditions where people-commonly-treated-by-society-as-female do not have XX chromosomes, e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complete_androgen_insensitivity... and all the other "intersex" conditions. Likewise some people-commonly-treated-by-society-as-male do not have XY chromosomes. Phenotypically female does not always imply genetically XX. Many people only discover their genetic gender if they go to a fertility treatment (since many of these conditions affect fertility), sometimes the genetic gender is not their gender.

There are also lots of people-commonly-treated-by-society-as-female who do not (or cannot) produce eggs. Pre-pubescent girls, post-menopausal women, women after a hysterectomy, women on the contraceptive pill, etc. Likewise there are many people-commonly-treated-by-society-as-male who cannot produce sperm, sterile men, men after testicular cancer etc.

Regardless, some regions (e.g. UK), have law that allows a person to change their gender (they are treated as that gender "for all purposes"), and get a new birth cert in that gender, and makes revealing the previous gender a criminal offence. ( http://www.yourrights.org.uk/yourrights/right-to-receive-equ... ). That's another definition of gender right there.

Sorry, but the world/people/biology are complex and does not fit your simple definitions.

> Who's [sic] definition is that?


So you're going to deny someone how they live based on what a wiki dictionary ion on the internet says? Dictionaries change all the time.

I see you wikitionary and raise you wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender

Who talked about "denying how they live"? I'm just saying that in the strict sense of the term the author is not female. Per wikipedia:

"The sex of most mammals, including humans, is genetically determined by the XY sex-determination system where males have X and Y (as opposed to X and X) sex chromosomes."

I think the correct term for the author's sex is "Trans woman": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans_woman

I upvoted the post due to the technical content (it is a pretty good and very clear description of the full process of reverse engineering and consumer product modding. It wasn't arduously difficult or technically demanding, but that is a better starting point for competent software hackers getting into hardware.)

The sexual content (in a place like HN) made me uncomfortable; if it had been a post of normal quality I would have flagged it.

On the other hand -

The genital surgery is, in itself, a hack. And not really a very elegant one - you go it with a knife, cut bits up and move them around, then sit back and wait for it to heal and hope the nerves hook up in a timely fashion so you can have a good time.

So hacking it some more? Sure. Why not? You've already started.

I'm a trans woman, and I think this is pretty cool, though I can't read the article because the host is down.

>The real goal of this post is to get a bunch of men to fantasize about "her" and glorify how cool "she" is for being a geeky hacker.

Could you be being any more blatantly transphobic? You're literally just inventing and projecting nonsense.

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