Happy Ada Day!
I read about Ada Lovelace while at uni, studying the cultural roots of digital media, so I'm really happy to see Suw working to give this woman the recognition she deserves.
She's generally seen as the first person to write about the idea of using computation machines for creative purposes, like creating music, and she was doing this before Charles Babbage had even built his first Difference Engine; she was the prototypical art-code alpha geek of her day.
As I pledged to, I'm going to write about a woman in tech who admire, and at the risk of embarassing her something rotten, I'd have to say Becky Hogge's, ex-executive director of the Open Rights Group us my choice.
I started my internship at ORG round not long after she had just begun in the job; she had some pretty big shoes to fill after Suw, day to day responsibility over an NGO with a ridiculously wide remit, and not much in the way of a budget to accomplish a clutch of heady, heady goals.
And in the two years she was there, she did an amazing job, and she's been one of the professionals my industry who I've often looked to for a sense of perspective about my own working life.
Through shadowing her at the Demos thinktank, over the course of my internship, and even after it had ended, she always impressed me with how eloquently she communicated abstract issues like copyright term extension, digital privacy, e-voting reform and many more to both lay people and experts alike.
She moved on early this year to concentrate on writing, something she does incredibly well, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what she does next.
A lot of my own views about professional integrity and working with technology have come out my time with her, and partly as a result of this came my decision to start a company with a friend working solely on web projects we believe in.
She also shared with me a wonderful line* that I use whenever I'm working on something that isn't immediately lucrative, but feels good, true and plain right:
"Our cause is just, and we must prevail!"She's my choice for Ada Day because if there's one thing the tech industry would needs more of, it's fiercely intelligent women who can communicate clearly about complex issues, and Becky clearly is one of these rare breeds.
- She doesn't claim ownership of this line, but a cursory googling of the phrase doesn't bring up the name of the original owner of this utterance.