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Written By: Gary on March 24, 2009 No Comment

admiralhopper.gifAdmiral Grace hopper lived from December 9, 1907 to January 1, 1992 and had a lot more to do with computing than most names you know today.

“A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for. ”

She graduated from Vassar in Mathematics and Physics and got her Ph.D. from Yale in the same subjects. She to a leave of absence from Vasser, where she was an Associate Professor of Mathematics, and joined the Navy Reserve. I’ve got a few quotes of hers in this post. She’s also attributed to phrase “bugs” in the computer (or maybe “debugging”), but I’ve heard so many stories about that I’m not so sure but here’s a photo with notes.

  • She served on the Mark I computer programming staff at Harvard.
  • In 1949 she was a senior mathematician on the team developing the UNIVAC I.
  • In the early 1950s she worked on the A-0 programming language compiler. This is the first computer compiler!
  • A lot of her compiler work is said to be the basis of the COBOL computer language.
  • In the 1970s she pioneered the implementation of standards for computer languages (like COBOL and FORTRAN).

    “It’s always easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”

    She was on 60 minutes in 1982, here’s part 1 and part 2, she’s pretty funny.

    Here’s a video of her on Letterman (Oct. 2, 1986). She holds her own pretty good and explains how fast light and electricity can travel. It’s some of the same jokes from the 60 Minutes interview, but dumbed down for Dave.


    Here’s the original YouTube link.

    In 1971 ACM created the Grace Murray Hopper Award which is awarded to the outstanding young (35 or younger) computer professional of the year, selected on the basis of a single recent major technical or service contribution. Be sure to click the link, you’ll see some familiar names (Wozniak, Joy, Kurzweil, and more).

    “The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from.”

    Additional info on Admiral Hopper: There is a conference named in her honor Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. She’s received 47 honorary degrees. When she retired she was the oldest active person in the military! She was in the Navy for 43 years; from 1943-1966, 1967-1971, and 1972-1986. The Navy’s USS Hopper, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, is named after her.

    Why am I talking about her today? Because I signed a pledge that said “I will publish a blog post on Tuesday 24th March about a woman in technology whom I admire but only if 1,000 other people will do the same“. I’m one of those 1,000 people, actually when last I looked it’s up to 1,610 people (I think I was number 844 to sign up).

    Info on the post taken from here, her WIkipedia entry and some other info I’ve posted before.

    Later: I see Brenda Wallace, Kathleen Weaver, Miguel Esquirol Ríos, cr0n.net, Joanna Bryson, Carolyn and Andy Roberts chose the same topic as I did.

  • Written By: Gary on December 31, 2007 No Comment

    You can still Get 1 Give 1 through December 31st, 2007, they extended the date. I don’t know what availability is going to be after that, but you’ll have to take your chances after that…

    As of JANUARY 1, 2008 they still have the G1G1 order form on-line.

    200Laptop The only way to get one is to donate one, so you actually get one for yourself and a tax deductible laptop that is donated to a developing nation. The Get 1 Give 1 (G1G1) program ends today (December 31st, 2007) so order now.

    This is nifty little machine (and a good cause) I’ve mentioned the XO laptop before and I’ve been talking more about it more in depth over at the XO Experiment.

    Written By: Gary on November 21, 2007 4 Comments

    200LaptopSo I caved and ordered my $200 laptop, actually I had to order two . The only way to get one is to donate one, so you actually get one for yourself and a tax deductible laptop that is donated to a developing nation (total = $400). The Get 1 Give 1 (G1G1) program only lasts 5 more days (ends November 26) so order now.

    As a “Give One Get One” donor, you will receive one of the first XO laptops to be distributed in North America. Laptops will be delivered on a first come, first served basis.

    OnelaptopperchildIn addition, T-Mobile gives you one-year complimentary access to T-Mobile HotSpots (I think you can use any laptop there, not just the XO). So that’s an extra bonus too. The tax write off for part of it and a year of free hotspots (granted I wouldn’t have purchased it, but I will use it) give even more value to it. And I’ll probably spend a little more time at Starbucks and Borders now.

    Here’s some more details from when I had mentioned this $100 laptop before and some reviews on the laptop and the program. I’m not sure why they’re limiting the window for when you can buy it or why it’s limited to the US and Canada. I just wish I had it for my next trip to Costa Rica….

    Written By: Gary on August 3, 2004 One Comment

    So while I was in London I had a chance to have lunch with Nick of ‘only so much writing in the air’. He had lots of insight on London/American differences which I always find interesting. It was great to chat with someone who worked in the area and in similar IT areas. He’s a very ‘open source’ person and we chatted about that that a bit and one thing that sticks (and while it may be more obvious there than here) is ‘it’s easy to use open-source software when the industry standard doesn’t support languages you need’ (such as Welsh). I suppose I wouldn’t have a hard time convincing my school district to switch to open source if MS didn’t let us type in the language we needed. It was a lot more interesting lunch than I make it out to be here but it’s not like I took notes or anything. :)

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