You’re a fan of Apple and Apple’s products. Tell us about how that started.

I had a PowerBook Duo 270c in college and *loved* that computer. It was so great to be able to have one machine that could be used both on-the-go and at my desk with the benefit of a full-sized monitor and keyboard. I’d love to see that docking concept again but with an iPhone or iPad as the base device. After college, I ended up in the Windows world, but when I decided to back to school in 2009, I opted to do so with my first Mac since that Duo.

How did you become a part of the Apple fan community online?

When I got that Mac, it had been many years since I’d used one, so I turned to the internet to learn to effectively use it. The Mac Power Users podcast was one of the first resources I fell in love with and then I fell into a deep nerdy pit on Twitter and elsewhere online. I still feel like a novice compared to most of the people I follow and interact with, but I do enjoy the Apple community a great deal (most of the time ;)).

What is your favorite Apple product of all time and why?


This is hard. I really don’t know. I still think my Duo was the coolest piece of hardware I’ve owned. But the iPhone was life-changing and the iPad Pro was work life-changing. And I deeply love both my Pencil and AirPods, thought those aren’t useful without their partner iOS devices. I suppose if I *had* to pick one, it would be the iPhone, but only by a slim margin over the iPad Pro.

What are your favorite and/or most used apps?

My current favorites are Ulysses, Things 3, Drafts, Pocket, Halide, and PDF Expert. I use them all multiple times each day and can’t imagine life without them anymore. I’m an inveterate app switcher in most things – always looking for the next best thing. In these categories, I no longer have any desire to tinker with alternatives.

At App Camp, we emphasize that it’s important to have interests outside of tech and to take breaks from looking at screens. What are some of your interests outside of tech? What do you do when you need to take a break from work?

I like to hike, read, workout, and spend time with friends and family. I live in Oregon and it’s gorgeous here, so I enjoy getting outside as much as possible.

 

My son is really into birding, so I spend a fair bit of time doing that with him. We bird locally frequently and a few times a year, take long weekends to go to birding festivals elsewhere in the region. I also keep an eye on Oregon’s Rare Bird Alerts and sometimes we’ll hop in the car with no notice to try and see a species that’s not usually around.

 

But I’ll admit… there are a number of excellent birding apps (iBird Ultimate for identification, eBird for tracking sightings, Merlin for those new to the hobby are just a few that come to mind) so screens do come into play a bit.

Why do you support what App Camp does?

Technology was very different when I was in school – heck, I remember NCSA Mosaic being released while I was in college – but the tendency for girls and young women to feel out of place in STEM subjects was sadly quite similar. I started college planning to go to med school, but soon felt excluded and diminished in my math and science courses by the men who greatly outnumbered me. I wish I’d been stronger and recognized I did belong there.

 

I want girls to believe from an early age that they are capable and that they belong where they choose to be, including in technology.

What do you recommend to those who want to support more diversity in tech?

– Build a network of people who are not like you.
– Listen to those people and learn from them.
– Share opportunities to diverse groups.
– Be cognizant of how behavior, language, actions and so on can be exclusionary and focus on being more inclusive.
– If your team lacks diversity, honestly evaluate why that is and then build and execute a plan to address those issues.

Just talking about the need for more diversity isn’t helpful – you have to act.

How can technology be a force for good?

Technology allows us to communicate and share in ways we never could before. Tech itself isn’t a force for good, but the ways we use it certainly can be. It can give people around the world access to information, connections, and opportunities that never would have been possible just a few short years ago. What can happen from there is limitless.

You can find Julia on Twitter.

Help more girls learn software development. Contribute to the App Camp For Girls Indiegogo fundraiser, get a cool perk, and enjoy the feeling of having helped the next generation of software developers.

Heidi Helen Pilypas, Independent App Designer
Ross Kimes, Weather Decision Technologies