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Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day!

As a woman who owes a lot to technology, I was thrilled to learn about Ada Lovelace Day, celebrating the contributions of women in tech. Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) is widely considered to be the first "computer programmer" for devising a method for performing calculations using Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine (find out more about Ada Lovelace here) and Ada Lovelace Day is an international blog initiative to call attention to women's contributions to, and experiences with technology.

I've always joked that computers "saved" me. In my young adulthood, a variety of personal and economic issues interfered with my formal education, and limited the kinds of jobs I was able to get hired for to low-level administrative stuff. But I always wound up with the reputation in the office as the girl who could "figure out stuff on computers" (this meant anything from being able to install software for befuddled executives, to realizing that the printer wasn't working because there was a paperclip jammed in the print roller) and got bumped along on the strength of those on-the-fly-acquired skills.

To get somewhere with technology, all you need is a willingness to dive in. That's as true now as it was then, and today I'd like to celebrate the achievements of the Organization for Transformative Works, for the work it's doing, and for the opportunities it's providing women like me.

For all my years of comfort with hardware and software, one thing I never really tackled, was "real" programming. Oh, I've been meaning to learn for years, but without a specific reason to sit down and do so, the overall hectic pace of my life always overtook my good intentions. Well, the OTW finally provided the motivation I needed. What could possibly be a better "excuse" to learn coding in one of the coolest, and most powerful Web development environments going (Ruby on Rails,) than working in service of an awesome fan community project like building the Archive of Our Own? It's all win. I get to:

* learn a real-life marketable (and very in-demand) skill
* be supported and mentored by an amazing team of women
* help build something great and lasting for my beloved fan community
* work on an open-source project (gift economy values I believe in)
* feel all empowered and stuff!

I'm still very much in the early stages of training, but so far, it's been an amazing experience. I highly encourage anyone who's been even mildly curious to take the plunge! The OTW really needs more coders to work on all the great projects that are underway. You can sign up to volunteer here. No prior programming experience needed (take it from me!) :-)

And here's to you, Ada Lovelace -- thanks for paving the way! ::clink::


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 24th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
Woooooo, your post makes me happy - I'm always so excited about other people without previous programming experience getting involved. :D *cheers you on*

(Though btw, I've just noticed that your volunteer link actually goes to my LJ post, which I suspect is probably not what you intended? ;) )
Mar. 24th, 2009 06:00 pm (UTC)
Yes, I am sending all volunteers to you personally! :-D

Haha, thanks for catching that, I was peeking at what link you'd used to send volunteers to, and the url for your post was still in my clipboard when I thought I'd c&p'd the volunteers URL. Fixing! :g:
Mar. 24th, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
All your volunteers are belong to me! Muahahahaha! <3
Mar. 24th, 2009 10:34 pm (UTC)

It's so exciting to have new people on board. Reading all the posts today has gotten me fired up all over again!
Mar. 25th, 2009 02:06 am (UTC)
Yay! I know, reading all the posts has renewed my glee (and it was pretty shiny already! :g:)
Mar. 24th, 2009 11:58 pm (UTC)
I knew you were cool, dude. *g* When I was reading the OTW_News's post, I was thinking...I wonder if Rustler is involved in this? I kept reading, and boom! there was your name. I've been following OTW for a while, but I just finally joined last week during the membership drive. I wish I could do more, but $25 is my limit right now, you know? I can't wait until the Archive is out of beta, and everyone can post their work to it. It feels really good to have even this small a part in the organization, I can imagine how you feel.

:::pats you on the head:::
Mar. 25th, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)
Aw, thanks Dusty! And the Org is totally happy for any and all support - always! It's the $10 here and $25 there and people spreading the word and cheering everyone on that makes it all go. {{hugs}}

p.s. If you poke around the Archive and send detailed feedback with your thoughts and suggestions (features you'd like to see, things you think could be improved, reports of things that don't work well (or at all!) etc.) they've been known to give out beta accounts. :-)
Mar. 25th, 2009 08:40 am (UTC)
Fabulous post!

*g* I keep forgetting that I can substantially update my resume as a result of working on this project, it fills a gap I haven't been able to fill in my 'real life' but keep getting training in :p
Mar. 25th, 2009 12:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so glad I've come aboard -- and yeah, the resume additions are a nice bonus. :-)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
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