Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace (1815 - 1852), daughter of Gordon, Lord Byron, was the world's first computer programmer.

When Charles Babbage put together his Analytical Engine, Ada Lovelace was there to program the punch cards that ran it. These punch cards were an idea borrowed from the Jacquard Loom, and would continue to be used well into the 20th century. Ada Lovelace was among the first to see computers as more than glorified adding machines.

So now, on March 24th, the blogosphere is honoring Ada Lovelace by honoring the women who are her legacy. There's a pledge involved, but really all one has to do is put up a woman who creates or uses technology in meangingful ways.

I choose to honor Karen Ellis, whose semi-autobiographical webcomic Planet Karen records her trials and tribulations in modern London, from scraping up enough to pay the rent to battling depression, and most lately watching her flat burn down with all her worldly possessions inside.

Far be it from me to apply such cliches as "gripping" and "compelling." I raise my glass to Karen Ellis, for having the courage and tenacity to keep a graphic journal of her struggles, her defeats, and her triumphs. May she live long and prosper.

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