Who is the geekgirl of Geekgirl’s Plain English Computing?

The site is a solo effort – created, produced, directed and maintained in its entirety by Rose Vines (that’s me). I’m an award-winning computer journalist and long-time social activist. I’m also a firm believer in the thoughtful use of technology. Part of that “thoughtful use” is making sure as many people as possible have access to technological knowledge and information, hence this site. It’s my little bit to help make computers understandable to a wide audience.

Computing days

I’ve been writing about computers since 1982, when I began work as a programmer and journalist at Federal Publishing in Sydney. My computing days began before that, though, with my first IT job as a mainframe programmer churning out COBOL at the Banque Nationale de Paris. That was followed by a stint as a microcomputer programmer at Federal Publishing (in dBASE on micros running MP/M, if anyone remembers that). When my employers discovered I could write in English as well as code – my first degree was in English Lit – they invited me to join the staff of Your Computer magazine, while continuing as a part-time programmer and PC support person for the company.

For a couple of decades from the mid-’80s until around 2004, I was self-employed, working as a computer consultant and as a freelance journalist for a couple of dozen publications around the world. I still freelance, writing primarily for Australia’s top-selling computer monthly, Australian PC User, and for Harris Publications, based in New York. Much of the material you’ll find on this site first appeared in one form or another in PC User.

These days

As well as freelance writing, I’m the Director of Online Discourse for the Death Penalty Discourse Network. I work with Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, to end the death penalty in the United States. My fancy title means I handle all the web sites, technology, training and online writing for Sister Helen and the other staff at the Network. This is a lovely synthesis of my computing work and my pre-computing days, when I worked with various social justice and community organisations in Australia.

In my spare time I do a lot of web building and other volunteer work for non-profits. I sponsor children in Afghanistan through the remarkable Afghan led and run AFCECO (the Afghan Child Education and Care Organization) and I have created a website called Hope for Afghan Children for sponsors of Afghan children. As you check out my site, you’ll no doubt notice the ads for AFCECO dotted around the place. If you find my site useful and would like to repay me in some way, I’d be grateful if you’d help me help AFCECO in any way that appeals to you: sponsor a child or an orphanage, donate something towards buying educational supplies or gym equipment, buy them something from their Amazon wishlist.

I also run the web site for Hike for KaTREEna, an organisation dedicated to replanting some of the 100,000 trees lost in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. And I’m an editor with Kiva, the incredibly successful and wonderful micro-lending organisation.

Contacting me

All the material on this site is copyright. If you would like to reprint any of the articles, please contact me by clicking the Contact link below. I’m usually happy to give permission to use my articles, free of payment – but with attribution, please! – for non-profit, educational and non-commercial use. If you want to reprint my articles for any other use, you’ll need reprint rights.

I also welcome other communication, so click the contact link below to write if you have any comments, suggestions or questions about this Web site or any of the articles. I try to reply to e-mail I receive, but it comes in truckloads, so I can’t guarantee a reply. I do, however, read it all.

You’ll also find me on Twitter, where I tweet about technology, cosmology, Afghanistan, New Orleans, trees, executions and anything else that takes my fancy.