Ada Lovelace: First Programmer or Harbinger of Doom?

Perhaps it is a purposefully shocking title, but I propose Ada Lovelace’s contribution to the human condition helped us on our way to a doomed end filled with strife, woe, and run-on sentences.

Think about it. Beyond simple tools (technology unto themselves) such as the Hammer or Spork™ what has technology really done for us? Fewer people die from easily treatable ailments, which leads us down the path of overpopulation. It’s easier to educate a larger number of people, which allows said educateds to rise faster than those without, broadening the gap between haves and havenots. Relatively instant communication; need I say it? I don't care what you had for breakfast.

Some would have me blame Math or that go-to scapegoat, Science, but I prefer to individualize my fury. If Ada Lovelace were alive today… well she’d be really old, but I’d still start a Flame War with her. Why? Oh don't get me started… solely because you don't need to. I got myself started.

One way you could explain what I do on a daily basis is that I try my best to make human's interaction with technology (usually software) as painless as possible. No easy task. Have you seen some of the technology floating around these days? Some would say, “Hey, job security!” I say, “Woe unto me for my work will never be done!”

And Ada Lovelace Doombringer is to blame. She set this all in to motion back in the mid-1800’s and humanity has been paying the price ever since. Ada is my Newman.

Forget Your Meds or Something?

Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. It’s no business of yours. But fine, maybe for a moment I can take off my Captain Bringdown suit.

Today is Ada Lovelace Day. At least, according to those freaks who use Twitter.

Now, if you could make an argument for Ada Lovelace you’d likely say something about the fact she is female and the first computer programmer and how she's an inspiration. And maybe that’s true(ish). But consider this: she was just doing work that she took great delight in. That's nothing special. Uncommon, but not special. I was the first person to put on my pants this morning. Again, uncommon but not special.

What did you do today? How did you rock the world? Male or female. Doesn't matter. Do. Create. Give. And do it on things that would drive you literally mad if you weren't able to do. Then 150-ish years form now someone might say, “Hey! Let’s have a [yournamehere] day!”

Fine. Humans need role models. I accept this. But I prefer the kind that are alive and can still ruin everything by becoming addicted to Crack or singing in public. People don't need a 195-year-old crone who has yet to apologise for ruining my life as a role model. They need crones that are 18-34.

As such, I present you with a list of women who work in "tech" who would likely qualify as a role model:

Meri Williams, Molly Holtzschlag, Lori Hylan-Cho, Stephanie Sullivan, Annie, Eileen Quenin, Sarah Szalavitz, Whitney Hess, Jo Wong, Amanda Nance, Katherine Maher, Kristina Halvorson, Emily Lewis, Margot Bloomstein, Rashmi Sinha, Whitney Quesenbery, Beth Dean, Aye Moah, Erin Malone, Ivy Clark, Elizabeth Bacon, Kyle Soucy, Natalie Greco, Christine Furst, Destiny, Anne Gibson, Emily Chang, Elizabeth Churchill, Cecilia Villalon, Courtney Skay, Alexa Scordato, Meredith Kench, Ashley Pearlman, Samantha LeVan, Valeska O'Leary, Paige Valentine, Leslie Jensen-Inman, Dana Chisnell, Deb Morton, Delilah Hinman, Halley Suitt, Marianne Masculino, Tiff Fehr, Jenna Marino, Andrea Arbogast, Cindy Stanford, Abi Jones, Ruth Kalinka, Jina Bolton, Lisa Herrod, Diana LeRoi-Schmidt, Sarah Harrison, Steph Troeth, Lea Alcantara, Lisa McMillan, Jessica Beck, Sally Carson, Frances Berriman, Cindy Li, Eris Stassi, Natalie Jost, and Roz Duffy.

And those are just the ones I know on Twitter. I have it on decent authority that the world is full of women who kick ass in Tech. You might know one. Go find one today and thank her.

And leave it to your descendants curse her name in 200 years.