As part of my #2017readingchallenge I finally have to read a lot of the non fiction that’s been sitting on my shelf forever. I do enjoy non fiction and learning new things, but they just take so long to read!! My patience level is too low for that.
There are three central non-fiction sub genres on my shelf: WWII, religion (all of them not just one), and technology.
Now I don’t know about you, but I am 25 years old and was born during the true rise of technology. In my elementary school I think we had two computers for student use, and we had one at home (that used AOL so it was so slow!!!). It was the time of floppy disks, where you needed an entire stack of them to hold on your school assignments.
And then to my child brain, everything seemed to change overnight. Suddenly there are iPods, laptops, USB drives held more than all my floppys combined, and social media became a huge part of our lives. Insanity!!!
But it’s crazy to realize that this rise of technology was over 100 years in the making. Right now I’m reading The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Issacson. (Walter Issacson is an amazing biographer, and I cannot wait to read more of his work.)
But according to Walter Issacson, the invention of the computer and the technological revolution dates back to the 1800’s!!! Long before we had proper calculators Ada Lovelace and Charles Baggage were working on a computing machine. But the truly amazing this is Ada Lovelace basically envisioned the modern day computer and is considered to be the first computer programmer. This is a woman who died in 1852. The first computer programmer died more than 100 years before Steve Jobs was even born!!!
The number of women we can attribute to the technology reveloution is outstanding. Here’s a few of my favorites:
- Grace Hopper – this woman is truly badass and I don’t think we’d have all that we do without her. She was a rear admiral in the Navy and a mathematician. As one of the first computer programmers she invented one of the first compiler tools and popularized machine program languages. Also in 1967 at the age of 61 and again in 72 at 66, she was recalled to active duty. At the time of her retirement she was the oldest active-duty officer in the Navy, at f***ing 79 years old.
- Jean Jennings Bartik – Jean Bartik and the other ladies she worked with under Grace Hopper, were one of the first teams of computer programmers. Now as I understand it, the women were given this job because it was believed (wrongly) that the programming wasn’t as important as the hardware the men were working on. These women developed subroutines, nesting, and pretty much laid the groundwork for modern programmers. And they didn’t get any damn credit.
- Ada Lovelace – mentioned her already but she’s pretty damn impressive. Ada had a beautiful mind, part romantic and part logical, I believe she was born in the wrong time. Her ideas and plans for the future were so beyond her time and so remarkable for a woman of her time that I just can’t even believe she exists.
As I continue on my technology non fiction tour I’ll add more. But until then I’ll be learning more about computers the size of my living room.