Interview with Phil and Keila Banks: Part 2 (Keila)

I'm going to 2013 Federated Conferences Week


In Part 1 of this two-part interview series, Keila's father, Phil Banks, explained how he helped get his 11-year-old daughter (and the rest of his family) involved with open source. In Part 2, Keila talks about the role open source plays in her life, discusses her favorite open source tools, and predicts how she'll use technology in her future. Keila will be speaking at Federated Conferences Week next month in San Jose. She'll give her talk, Free to Be a Kid, at WiAC '13. (Early bird discounts for FCW '13 end on June 3, so register soon.)

Rikki: Keila, tell us how you got started with open source technologies.

Keila: I got started with open source technologies when I was about eight, because my dad always told me this one statement, "The best things in life are free." Ever since that, we have been finding alternatives to everything to try and be more open source.

Rikki: What inspired you to submit a talk proposal to WiAC '13?

Keila: Well, it all started when I was at SCaLE 11x. My dad usually just takes us to attend there and then we leave and come back every year. But this time, my dad's friend who was an organizer for the convention told them they needed more talks, so my dad and I decided to enter. After my talk ended up so good, my dad was friends with someone at SCaLE 11x who told him about the convention [WiAC '13], and we decided we would enter.

Rikki: How do you use computer technology? Which programs, what do you like doing with them, etc.?

Keila: I really like to photo edit. I mostly use GIMP, Pizap, and PicMonkey because they are all free and are good. Also, I have a notebook designing business where I make notebook covers with the person's picture and their name on top of a background for 50 cents. I usually make it in GIMP and then give some sort of "special effects" to it in Pizap.

Rikki: Do you see yourself having a career in technology? And if so, what would you like to do?

Keila: I'd most likely want to move to Montreal and be a virtual world designer for Woozworld, or a famous video vlogger.

Rikki: I'm the mother of a teenage daughter who has been around Linux and open source since she was little, but she's still not being exposed to it at school. Do you think Linux and open source tools should be readily available in public schools? And if so, how would you like to see them used?

Keila: Yes, of course! You wouldn't imagine how many Linux and open source things I use for school. Let me just name a few: I make my classroom newspaper in GIMP; I make notebook covers (like I mentioned earlier) in GIMP and Pizap and for projects and research; or I may customize our introduction a little with an edited picture. Another way to get open source involved in schools is to maybe persuade the principal to use Linux and Ubuntu, because the students can be exposed to so much more. I am trying to get that message to my principal as well, but he doesn't want to spend another truckload of money on non-Macintosh computers, since our computer lab is everything Mac for some reason or another.

Rikki: What do you plan to talk about at WiAC '13?

Keila: I plan to talk about my life as an 11-year-old entrepreneur who can use open source to achieve just about anything. I will also be talking about the obstacles of it.

Rikki: Anything you'd like to add?

Keila: I wanted to also add that my presentation is not in Power Point, but in an free program called Prezi.

Rikki: Thanks, Phil and Keila! I look forward to seeing you at Texas Linux Fest and WiAC '13. I'll be working at the USENIX booth in Austin and also giving a talk (How to Recruit, Hire, and Retain a Diverse Team).

Also read:

7 practical reasons to teach children about open source

See video from WiAC '12:

Strategies for a Successful Career in Computing

Uncharted Paths

"Career Information and Workload Warriors - Time Saving Tips and Tricks" Presentation

"Overcoming My Biggest Roadblock, Myself" Presentation

"Staying Happy in System Administration" Presentation

Register by June 3 to take advantage of the early bird discount.