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women and computers

Things We Saw Today

Things We Saw Today: Hey, People at SDCC. Buy Us Some Direwolf Plushies.

Yes, but do any of these SDCC-exclusive stuffed direwolves [Game of Thrones season three finale spoiler] have a detachable head? Head to io9 for Factory Entertainment’s three-eyed-crow and dragon egg plushies.

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Sock It To 'Em Ada

Ada Lovelace, This is Your Google Doodle

Today, on the one hundred and ninety seventh birthday of Ada Lovelace, Charle Babbage’s Enchantress of Numbers, Google commemorates her contributions to computer science with a doodle, and an informative video. Watch it below!

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What Boys Think of Girls

Finally, A Computer Women Can Use! [Eyeroll]

Everyday items for “ladies” almost always rub us the wrong way. I mean, Lady-Pens, really? But now one company has decided those pesky desktops and laptops we already own should probably be replaced with something more suitable for women-folk. May we present, the Fujitsu Floral Kiss? 

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This Exists... Because of A Lady

Meet Dona Bailey, The Woman Behind Atari’s Centipede

If you remember hanging out at arcades as a kid, and blowing all of the quarters in your piggy bank every weekend, you definitely know about Centipede. The classic arcade game was bright, colorful, operated by a trackball, and difficult as hell: players must shoot a centipede that splits into more centipedes as it winds down the screen. But what you might not know, is that a large part of the iconic shoot ‘em up game was designed by Dona Bailey, one of the few women programmers for the Atari.

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The Human Machine

Ladies Lounging (Uncomfortably) With Laptops

Ahhh, stock photography. Slightly more attractive people doing regular people things! But do you ever see a stock photo that makes you wonder, “Do people really do this?” Well, this collection of women with laptops might make you think that, in addition to “Isn’t that uncomfortable?” While it’s true that computers are used for leisure as well as work (as these lovely ladies demonstrate), these “leisurely” poses might actually cause serious back pain if maintained for more than six minutes. We strongly urge you not to try any of these at home, maybe consider a standing desk, or just don’t use your laptop on the freaking floor, restricting your human arms to the limited mobility of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

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This Exists... Because of A Lady

Meet Susan Kare, the Woman Behind Apple’s Icons

Back in the days of yore when a computer’s interface was, well, less than “friendly” and only understood by the most entrenched computer programmers, a young Steve Jobs took a tour of Xerox PARC. The company was developing a new graphical user interface (GUI) for computers marketed for corporations, but Jobs saw the future: user-friendly, personal computers that used GUI. He quickly licensed the technology so he could create a “democratic” personal computer. Eventually, a young woman with a Ph.D. in fine arts came along and helped to create the fonts and icons that made people fall in love with the Apple interface. That woman was Susan Kare.

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Sock It To 'Em Ada

The Number of Female Computer Science Majors Has Tripled at Harvey Mudd College — Thanks to This Woman

Since taking the position of president of California’s Harvey Mudd College in 2006, Maria Klawe has earned herself some bragging rights among her peers, specifically this astounding statistic: 42 percent of the college’s computer science majors are female — that is more than triple the number of women pursuing that major since Klawe’s arrival just five years ago. That’s not all she’s accomplished in her short time at Mudd — she was also responsible for expediting changes in the curriculum to keep the school and its students ahead of the programming industry curve. Her success is already making an impact on nearby Silicon Valley, and she also has plans to attract more underrepresented minorities to the field. Oh, and she skateboards around campus. That’s her in the picture above. I’ll bet you’d like to know more about Maria Klawe now, wouldn’t you?

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To Boldly Go

The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again) of Women in the Computer Programming Business

We talked a while ago about the fact that women were way more involved in the early days of coding than we commonly hear about these days. In reality, in the early days of computing women flocked to the career; it was even marketed to them in Cosmopolitan and throughout the mid-sixties as “women’s work.” This was for a variety of reasons, as were the possibilities behind why women left the field in droves over the following decades, and for their return now. Follow the jump for the statistics, from Fog Creek Software, behind these trends.

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