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Women in Technology and Ada Lovelace Day

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Ada Lovelace Day, a celebration of women in computing, actually caught my attention in Marshall Kirkpatrick’s ReadWriteWeb blog. He posts about how the celebration includes multitudes of bloggers promising to write about a woman in technology they admire on March 24th.

According to Wikipedia, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (1815 – 1852) is considered one of the first computer programmers, because she wrote programs for Charles Babbage’s yet to be completed mechanical computer, the Analytical Engine. Her modern name has been abbreviated simply to Ada Lovelace.

An AdaLovelaceDay pledge asked for 1,000 people to post on a woman you admire in technology. At the end of the day, they were 20 people shy of doubling the request and the responses were wonderfully positive. Another site posted The Ada Lovelace Day Collection that currently lists over 1100 of the blog posts. Topics range from notes on local teachers, coworkers, and Moms, to women who toiled in World War II breaking code, scientists, and pilots. It is a fascinating history lesson about women in technology from authors all over the world.

If I had to pick one woman in technology I admire, it would be Hedy Lamarr, but then again, I had not heard of Ada Lovelace before yesterday. Thirteen of the blogs cover the beautiful actress Hedy Lamarr, who holds a patent with George Antheil for a frequency-switching system for torpedo guidance. Wikipedia explains, the system “serves as a basis for modern spread-spectrum communication technology, such as COFDM used in WiFi network connections and CDMA used in some cordless and wireless telephones.”

While there don’t seem to be any women in the Mac market that made the Ada Lovelace blog list, two woman I admire for their expert contributions are Sandee Cohen, a graphics program trainer and Dori Smith, a JavaScript expert. Both women appear regularly on dust jacket covers and speak at various conferences. Not to ignore my new home company, I’m also happy to tell you that OWC has an impressive 60-40 split of men and women employees, quite a difference from other companies I’ve worked with in the Mac market.

Please share with us your favorite blog on women in technology in our comments below.

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  • The computer language Ada was named after Ms Lovelace, but that was probably before your time.

  • My vote is for Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, one of the programers of the Mark I and the person who coined the tech term “bug” when she discovered a moth in the computer that was causing it to misbehave.