Today is Ada Lovelace Day. The purpose of Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging about women in technology. Now, there are the obvious people that I could blog about, namely Limor Fried (aka ladyada) who runs Adafruit Industries, or Susan Kare, who designed the Macintosh Trash Can, the Happy Mac, Claris the DogCow and now is at Chumby, or Mary Lou Jepsen, who designed the One Laptop Per Child and then went off to start her own company called Pixel Qi.
No, I’m going to talk about Grace Hopper instead, only because she is attributed to this quote:
“It’s better to ask for forgiveness than to beg for permission”
She’s also the mother of COBOL, and a female pioneer in computing. She obtained a PHd in Mathematics, and she was credited for being the person who found the Moth in the computer which is often referred to as the first computer bug. It also should be noted that she had a long career in the US Navy and she eventually also got promoted to Commodore, which later got renamed Rear Admiral, Lower Half. She also has a US Naval Ship named after her as well.
Honestly, I think I really like Grace Hopper because of the quotes that she’s attributed to, namely the one above and this one.
“I believe in having an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.”
It’s this sort of attitude that leads to go open source projects, in my opinion and is similar to how other people explain their pragmatism, and it shows the ability to get things done. In my opinion, we need more people who show this sort of dedication to what they are doing. She was a fan of the paperless office, and she hated clutter. She also believed (and rightly so) that we wouldn’t be able to get rid of paper, and that microcomputers (AKA PCs, Laptops, iphones, etc) would take over from the Mainframe. She really understood where we were going and how we were going to get there.
While I’m not a fan of the military, I think you would have to be a fool to not salute the memory of Grace Hopper. Someone who worked hard and got things done!