There used to be adverts on buses and trains saying “If u cn rd this u cd gt a rly gd job”. At the time, I nvr figured out what the jb was, but now I realise it was probably to write software for texting applications. Like everything else, sms had its origins in Victorian love poems (and if you don’t believe me, look at this). However, when clever Charles Bombaugh was writing about loving “U 2 X S,/ U R virtuous and Y’s”, the only programmer in the country had been dead for about 20 years, and the computer she wrote the algorithm for, clever Charles Babbage’s analytical engine, was never built.
The memory of Countess Lovelace (for it was she) lives on in the programming language Ada named in her honour, but today most programmers are men, or boys (they’re getting younger every day). Women account for…
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