Introducing….Sarah Johnson: Web Developer, Writer and Algorithm Wrangler

Who are you and what do you do?

Sarah Johnson, I have a web design business called and I’m a writer as well.

What will you be teaching at Geek Girl Tech Conference this year?

SEO, Google Analytics, Writing for the Web, and WordPress Advanced


What was your favorite part of the conference last year?

The people. The classes were full and people were really fired up to learn.

PC or Mac?

Definitely a Mac, though I have a lot of PC experience from corporate life.


When did you first know you were geeky?

When I was 10 or 11 and begged for math puzzle books that were like crossword puzzles but with math and logic algorithms…early aptitude signals for programming-geek.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Wars.

Choose 5 people from any moment of time to have dinner and drinks with. Who would they be and why?

Emile Zola, because he’s my favorite writer these days and he was incredibly prolific and able to write his way into all kinds of characters and situations. Matt Damon, because he’s a local guy who made good-and I way over-identified with Good Will Hunting. President Obama because he’s incredibly interesting and human without having an attitude about himself, and he’s seems like he’d be a lot of fun. Bon Iver because I’m interested in his creative process, and Eleanor Roosevelt, who Truman called “The First Lady of the World” for her human rights efforts.

Who do feel has had the most impact on technology in your time?

Steve Jobs without a doubt, simplifying, innovating, inventing….isn’t everyone going to own an iPad in the next year?


Facebook or Twitter?



Tell us something about you nobody knows….

Seriously, if nobody knows, there’s no way I’m going to tell 500 geek girls about it.

Wanted: San Diego Geek Girls

Do you love the ocean?

Long walks on the beach?

69 degree average temperature year round?

Fish tacos and Stone IPA?

Then you MUST be a San Diego Geek Girl! And we want you!

We just started a Meetup Group to find Geek Girls in the San Diego area who might be interested in being a part of future Geek Girl Boot Camps in the area, as well as the successful “Hire a Geek Girl” program.

If you are a programmer, designer, social media maven, Quickbooks queen, PC or Mac afficionado, foursquare junkie, code toad or IT rock star…then join our Meetup Page and suggest some topis to discuss, events to partake in and perhaps just an all-around networking meetup and get to know ya party.

And if you are interested in sponsoring any of our events, we would love to have you involved and come and speak to the group!

Join us today and get involved with helping others get empowered in tech!

P.S. Geek Guys are so invited.

Top 10 Reasons to go to Geek Girl Boot Camp…

Here are the Top 10 Reasons to go to Geek Girl Boot Camp on Saturday, March 19th from 8 am. to 6 p.m. at the Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable:

10.) Not a Geek? Not a problem. It’s meant for all types of computer users; newbies, the hesitant, the self-taught, hard-core geeks, and people just wanting to empower themselves with all things geeky. Knowledge is Good!

9.) Not a Girl? Not a problem. The demographics of Boot Camp range from our youngest at 10 to our oldest at 84. And guys are totally welcome!

8.) Open schedule. Go to any workshop you want (some may have max capacity, etc)

7.) Come with friend/fellow co-worker and divide and conquer on workshops and share. Make new friends. Then learn how to make friends online with Facebook and Twitter!

6.) Outstanding Value. 8 hours of computer instruction, demos, discussion and the famous Geek Girl Help Desk, for less than the cost of 1 hour with a computer tech. Bring a laptop and take advantage of the opportunity!

5.) It’s Local! Right in your own backyard! No need to travel to Boston or Silicon Valley to get the latest on technology. It’s so simple!

4.) You’ll have fun! End the day with a schwag bag full of goodies and a tshirt, mix and mingle with attendees and speakers at the cocktail party where oodles of giveaways will be handed out to winners. (And martinis.)

3.) The Essential Geek Girl Handbook. Containing Top Ten Lists for workshops, speaker bios, ads from sponsors, glossaries, resources and filled with your own notes, this full-color book will be your reference source long after Boot Camp is over.

2.) Demos. Check out computers, smart phones, tablets, video cameras, digital cameras and other consumer products before buying. Get information from the people who use the products every day.

And the #1 Reason to go to Geek Girl Camp….

1.) Just so you can shock your know-it-all teenagers, your impatient spouse or that know-it-all guy in your office and say, “No thanks, I don’t need you to fix my computer. I went to Geek Girl Camp and I can do it myself!” Priceless…

It’s not too late! Register NOW!

Just a Thought: Donate a Scholarship to a Student or Woman in Need! This is a wonderful way to “Pay it Forward” – You can stay anonymous or we can post your name on the website. Contact us for more information.

See you at Boot Camp!

The Geek Girls

Glossary: What Does FTP Mean?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is one of the most common methods of sending files between two computers. You can use FTP to exchange files between computer accounts, transfer files between an account and a desktop computer, or access online software archives. Most web developers will have their own FTP system for uploading large files like graphics, but there are some web apps you can use as well that serve the same purpose. And never send large files through email!

If you are not a web developer or designer but you still need to send large files, check out YouSendIt, DesignFTP, or even DropBox. You don’t need to be a web developer to send large files, you just need to know how to send them so they will not clog your email box, or worse yet, the person you are sending it to. There’s nothing worse than a 5Mb file slowing down email!

Who's Coming to Boot Camp Southeast Mass? Tickets on Sale Now!

POSTPONED – will have new date soon!

Who’s coming to Boot Camp Southeast Mass 2010?

Registration is now open for Boot Camp on May 22nd at Bristol Community College in Fall River, MA, from 8am-6pm.

If you are interested in learning about the following, then Boot Camp is for you!

What is it?
Geek Girl Boot Camps are technology “unconferences” for women of all ages and knowledge levels where you can go to take classes on everything to do with computers, PC and Mac, the Internet, marketing, consumer electronics, software, social media, Photoshop, blogging, podcasting, digital photography, and more.

It includes:

  • Admission to all workshops – space allowances per room
  • Admission to Discussion Groups on Various Topics
  • Geek Girl Help Desk – All day Expert Help Desk, questions and answers, on everything tech; Mac and PC, software and hardware, email and Internet, Web Browsers and Social Media. The all day Help Desk will feature a library of O’Reilly Media tech books
  • Access to some of the finest experts in their fields
  • Huge Schwag bag full of goodies to take home
  • A Geek Girl Boot Camp tshirt – be the envy of everyone!
  • Great raffle gifts like computers, plasmas, iPods, printers and gift baskets
  • Phenomenal Networking and Support Groups
  • Cocktail Reception
  • and Lots More!

Who should attend?

Any woman, from young and old, who needs help with technology!
Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced

Entrepreneurs, employees, business owners, teachers, home businesses, consultants, stay at home Moms, women in transition, artists, non-profits, organizations, students, realtors, bankers, financial advisors, lawyers, PR, marketing/advertising, small business owners and (insert your job here!)

Your Mom! Your Grandmother! Your Daughter! Any woman you feel would benefit from the experience!

If you are a beginner just learning how to use computers, the Internet, digital cameras and more!

If you are an intermediate and know how to use a computer, but want to know more for your company or for fun!

If you are advanced, but want help on marketing your website, blog, podcast, social media skills and more!

What Are you Going to Learn? All levels of:

  • Social Media – How to use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn like a pro!
  • How to make your own Social Media Community
  • Learning how to make your Non-profit grow and succeed online with Social Media and Fundraising
  • Tools for Non-profits
  • How to start an online marketing and social media campaign for your service business: Perfect for contractors, real estate agents, small companies, Ma and Pa shops, entrepreneurs, consultants, coaches, home-based businesses
  • How to Diagnose my Computer
  • Becoming Proficient on my PC!
  • Becoming Proficient on my Mac!
  • Dreamweaver, HTML and websites
  • How to create and utilize a Database
  • QuickBooks Instruction for my Small Business
  • Understanding my iPhone
  • How to use iTunes
  • Adobe Photoshop and InDesign
  • Digital Photography
  • Graphic Design
  • All about Google! Google Search, Analytics, Docs and more
  • Video – How to shoot, market your video and what video cameras are for me?
  • WordPress and Content Management Systems
  • Podcasting – What is it, is it for me and how do I get started?
  • Blogging – Steps from getting a domain name, to setting up a blog, adding comments and marketing it – all in ONE day!


Just a Thought:
Donate a Scholarship to a Student or Women in Need! This is a wonderful way to “Pay it Forward” – You can stay anonymous or we can post your name on the website.

Continuing Ed credits for teachers may be applied – find out more: [email protected]

Would you like to be a Sponsor or Advertise in the Essential Conference Resource Handbook? Let us know!

Meet Geek Girl Lesa Snider

Photo credit courtesy of Richard and Tanya Hories

Lesa Snider will be teaching all workshops on the Design, Photoshop and Graphic Imagery Series including The Skinny on Great Design, Image Editing Bootcamp with Photoshop Elements, Photoshop: Quick Photo Fixes, Photoshop: Combining Photos and Vectors, and Elements: From Photo to Graphic Art. See all workshops here

1. How and when did you become a Geek Girl?

I have always loved computers and in school I found them fascinating. When I grew up and became a secretary, I delighted in recreating print documents and forms on my computer using WordPerfect for DOS—my daily success was measured by how little I used my typewriter. The only thing I didn’t like was how ugly the programs were: the backgrounds were always black or royal blue, with (full-bodied shudder) red or green type. Some programs allowed a modicum of visual customization, but the danger of damaging your eyesight was prevalent (imagine red type on a royal blue background!). Still, computers were way more fun than typewriters. No more using calculators either! Each time I had to perform a calculation repetitively, I created a spreadsheet that would do it for me. Although I was “Suzy Super Computer-Using Secretary,” I had no clue how the computer actually functioned, nor did I care.

When I saw my first Macintosh, my eyes were wide as saucers. It was colorful! It had little pictures on the desktop! No more black or royal blue screen and funky colored type! (Although with some tweaking in the customization settings you could attain that horrid look.) I don’t know how but that little Mac exuded a feeling of friendliness and ease of use. Even the cables in the back were “picture-coded” to the plugs in which they belonged! As far as the software, I could poke around in any folder on the hard drive, double-click on anything, and the computer told me what that item was used for. If it was something I shouldn’t be messing with, a dialogue box would appear stating, “This extension is used by the system and cannot be opened.” When I wanted to delete something I threw it in the trashcan. And wow, I could open several documents at once, move the windows around, and a word processing document actually looked on screen exactly like it would print.

The Mac seemed logical, pure and simply, and it seemed interesting. I knew at that moment when the time came for me to buy a home computer, I would buy a Macintosh. It would be something I could operate, maintain, and upgrade myself; no need to call the expensive PC technician to come fix my computer. I could install new software, attach new peripherals, and even upgrade the memory all by myself. It was truly a feeling of computing independence and great power.

I proudly brought home my first Macintosh from Montgomery Wards, a beautiful Performa 575, in May of 1993. By the end of the first night I had watched the space shuttle launch via QuickTime movie (albeit postage-stamp size). I had set up all of my personal and business accounting in Quicken, and created myriad word processing documents and forms. I easily constructed a database from which I could generate Christmas card labels and rolodex cards. I even made a template for file folder and hanging file labels to beautify my filing cabinet. That very same night, I contacted Apple about finding a local user group.

In 1995, I quit my secretarial job and started a typing service called Flying Fingers (I’m freakishly fast and accurate) and had a fun two years of typing everything from dissertations to naughty poetry to USDA training workbooks to the journal of a young woman who thought she was being stalked (eek!). As I began to get more requests for graphic design, I enrolled in the Art Institute of Dallas. However, before graduation, I began volunteering for Apple at Macworld Expo in January of 2000 (through a user group contact). I served as a Macworld Expo Tour Guide and became heavily involved with the Mac User Group community. I was newsletter editor, web mistress, and then President of the Cowtown Macintosh Users Group for many years (I created the club’s web site as part of my web development classes at the Art Institute and it won an award at Macworld).

At the height of my user group involvement, I served two years on the Apple Advisory Board (a global organization run by Apple) and was heavily involved in planning several full-day “User Group Universities” which used to take place the day before Macworld. Through my involvement with the Mac community, I met David Pogue (technology columnist for the New York Times and founder the Missing Manual book series) and became his assistant for about six years. David taught me so much about using technology in my life, and has been integral to my success as a writer (though I could have done without the all-nighters here and there when we were trying to finish one of his books!). If I hadn’t gotten interested in the Mac and then gotten involved with the user group community, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that shaped my career.

2. Technology is so big, so diverse: in what parts are you an expert? in what realms are you still learning?

I stay on top of most things involving the Mac, and as a stock photographer/image editing specialist I stay abreast of the current crop of digital cameras (both the point-and-shoot and interchangeable lens [dSLRs] variety) as well as image editing software. Other technological fetishes (obsessions?) include my TiVo with streaming Netflix, Nintendo Wii, and Garmin GPS (I’d be hardpressed to find my way out of the drive without it!).

I could stand to learn more about prepress (the realm of print), video editing, audio systems, and high-end cocktail mixology :)

3. Did you have an experience growing up or as an adult where you felt the huge divide between women and technology?

Heck yes! I saw women being pigeonholed into secretarial jobs when I was younger, and admittedly that’s what I did until I started my own company in 1995 (in Texas where I grew up, learning to type was the only way to ensure working in air conditioning during the summer!). I think women need more encouragement to get into technology fields and that appears to be happening, but not fast or early enough—you should see the happy dance I do when a female makes the cover of Fast Company magazine!

4. If you answered yes, how did you handle it?

I defied convention and went after a career in the boys’ sandbox anyway. My parents raised me with the notion that I can do or be anything I want, and I took literally. When someone tells me no, it simply means not right now. That’s a philosophy that continues to serve me very well.

5. What was your favorite part of Geek Girl Camp 2009?

The martini Leslie and I had after it was over. Aside from that, the excitement of the women and pure joy on their faces as they gathered in the main lobby at the days’ end. It was incredible! I loved seeing them so happy and empowered about what they had learned. Ideas that seemed far off and impossible now seemed attainable to them. I’ve been to all of the Geek Girl Camps thus far, and the reaction is always the same.

6. List 3 ways that women (or you specifically) can have an impact on technology.

  • Be vocal and give feedback regarding the technology we use and want to use. Take surveys when they’re offered and be sure to check the FEMALE box if it has one.
  • I try to be as visible and accessible as possible in a variety of technology fields.
  • To be a good example for other women wanting to get into writing or speaking about technology.

7. If you could change one thing about the world (and we know you can) what would it be?

Aside from taking siestas like the rest of the civilized world, I’d like to see women get equal pay and as many opportunities as men.

8. What is your desire, wish or goal for Geek Girl Camp 2010?

To drive home the fact that women can do anything they want if they set their mind to it.

9. If the Geek Girls could have 1 minute to talk to the world, what would we say?

That women are passionate and driven learners who place a high value on their skills. If more companies understood this, they’d move more product :)

Lesa Snider’s Bio:

Lesa is on a mission to teach the world to create–and use!–better graphics. She’s a stock photographer and chief evangelist for iStockphoto, and founder of the creative tutorial site Lesa is the author of Photoshop CS4: The Missing Manual (Pogue Press/O’Reilly) and many video training titles including From Photo to Graphic Art, Practical Photoshop Elements, and Photoshop Elements 8 for Photographers (all by, plus Graphic Secrets for Business Professionals ( She writes a regular column for Photoshop User, Elements Techniques, and Macworld magazines, and contributes frequently to and Layers. Lesa is also a member of the Photoshop World Dream Team of instructors and can be spotted teaching at other conferences such as Macworld Expo, UCDA Design Conference, Geek Girl Boot Camp, Graphics of the Americas, Santa Fe Workshops and many more. During free time, you’ll find her carving the twisties on her sportbike or hanging with fellow Apple Mac enthusiasts. Lesa is a proud member of the BMWMOA, F800 Riders Club, and CoMUG.