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GirlGeek of the Week
June 2000

Rachel R. Hartman

Rachel R. Hartman

The first computer I ever saw was one of those old IBM reel-to-reel mainframes that filled a room. It is ironic to reflect on how I now have more computing power in my office than they could ever dream of. I became interested in computers back in high school, when the Internet was still the playground of universities, the government, and the military. I took a BASIC programming course my senior year of high school, but in college most of my computer time was spent doing word processing.

Shortly after I graduated, a geek friend of mine introduced me to the Internet. This was back when you still had to know a little Unix to take full advantage, and the coolest thing to do on the net was to finger a snack machine in Australia. Back then, I could only access the Web by telnetting to the University of Kansas to poke around in Lynx. (That dates me nicely, doesn't it?) I knew then that the Web was a Very Cool Thing, but I never would've guessed how it would grow in presence and importance.

In 1996, after several years of playing around with HTML, I collaborated with my husband on a professional web design job. There's nothing like the thrill of getting paid for something you love to do, so we formed a company to do it more often. My husband is no longer with the company, but he's still with me, so I still have the best of both worlds. I've designed sites for construction companies and professional associations, and I do pro bono work for SafePlace, Austin's domestic violence and sexual assault prevention center. I'm also active in HerDomain, Austin's group for women involved in computers and technology.

How do you earn a living?

Web design and medical transcription (both on a self-employed basis, so my income level remains steady).

When did you first discover your love and/or obsession with computers and technology?

Shortly before I fell in love with my husband, whom I met online.

Do you consider yourself a Geek?


What is your favorite Website?

Personal or professional? No, that doesn't make it any easier. I enjoy browsing through the IMDB. That may be tied with the SFWA Website.

What do you do when you are not working?

Spend time with my dearly beloved husband, play with our cats, fence (foil, but I hope to move up to epee), read, write, cook, and watch movies.


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