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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 November 28, 2008 2 Comments

    So I think part of what makes Costa Rica (and other places I’ve traveled to in the world) so interesting to me is the learning that’s going on. Just going into a restaurant is a new experience, almost like when your parents let you order your own food for the first time. And many other basic things becomes a learning experience.

    In Costa Rica if you don’t ask for the check (la quintaff cuenta) they’ll never bring it to your table. In England, in a pub, you have to go up to the bar in order to get drinks or food and many places will let you sit until you figure it out. It’s part of the fun at least to me it is.

    When I travel, I don’t just want the sights, I want the learning that goes with it. I’ll hit the local places off the beaten path specifically to figure things like that out. In Costa Rica, taking the bus (the bus another post to come) or getting a driver’s license is an experience that lets you figure out how things work in that country. I find all those parts particularly interesting and enjoyable…

    UPDATE: Usually, I don’t update a post as much as I’m about to…
    But I’m reading a Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson, a humourous book about traveling in Europe. And he said.

    Bill Bryson Quote

    And I just thought that kind of exactly fit what I was saying a few days ago.

    I’m going to change the date on this so it floats up to the top, so if you saw it already, you’ll see it again for the new content…

    Written By: Gary on February 19, 2007 One Comment

    HA! Never heard that one before!!!!

    “The early bird may get the worm,
    but the second mouse gets the cheese”

    — Wendy’s MySpace Page

    I Googled it and found all sorts of references but didn’t see an original source.

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    Written By: Gary on November 17, 2006 No Comment

    “If you want a better world…
    …you’re going to have have to be better people”

    Found on the chalkboard at Trixie’s coffeehouse in Roseville, MI.

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    Written By: Gary on February 28, 2006 3 Comments

    At a certain age
    you’ll find it extraordinary
    the compromises
    one is willing to make
    for even the possibility of love.


    That’d be Denny Crane from Crane, Poole and Schmidt in Boston.

    Written By: Gary on June 23, 2005 No Comment

    100 movie quotesWhile I may have goofed the wording up, I see that my guess won for first place in the 100 best movie quotes of all time! As Casablanca was my second guess, I would have hoped it would have scored higher (but it did get six of the one-hundred quotes).


    Some of my favorites:

  • I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too…
  • Elementary, my dear Watson.
  • Soylent Green is people!
  • I’ll have what she’s having.
  • Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
  • Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape.
  • All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.
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    Written By: Gary on October 24, 2004 One Comment

    This is a the tag line on Carly’s blog:

    What feelings I have for you I cannot say, I have not met you yet, But I am waiting With baited breath And pounding heart, To take your hands in mine And know you.

    I can’t remember how I stumbled upon this blog, but somehow it seems to have more meaning / feeling that I realized she’s a seventeen year-old. You can read her writings at Paradise Will Wait.

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