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Monday Morning Musings

Posted by mcm0704 on December 9, 2013 |

It was a brisk 30 degrees when I went for my walk this morning. Probably a warm spell for you folks north of the Mason Dixon Line, but for us in Texas that is cold, cold, cold. However not as cold as it was this weekend when temps dipped into the teens and we there were ice storms in West Texas that slammed into the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

We were lucky here, 100 miles east, and only got a bit of ice that did not stay long and did not hamper driving.What it did was hamper our weekend performance of our holiday show, Calliope’s Christmas. We had to cancel the Friday performance, but did manage to get Saturday and Sunday performances, and we had terrific audiences for both shows.

I was intrigued by today’s Google Doodle so I clicked on the link to go to the Time Magazine feed to see who that lady was sitting in front of what looked like the computers that did the data processing in the early years of data processing. It took a whole room full of large machines to do what many small processors are able to do now, and I remember going to where my husband worked and visiting the computer room. It was larger than my house and had rows of tall, metal machines that hummed and crackled with activity.

Today the doodle celebrates what would have been the 107th birthday of computer pioneer Grace Hopper (1906-1992) just in time for the “Hour of Code” kicking off Computer Science Education Week. Hopper created COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language,) the program that allows computers to communicate through language as well as numbers. That was the language my husband used as a programmer, and it has given way to far more sophisticated languages.

My book, One Small Victory, will be featured Tuesday at The Fussy Librarian, a new website that offers personalized ebook recommendations. Subscribers choose from 40 genres and indicate preferences about content and then the computers work their magic, sending recommendations for new reads. I joined a few months ago, and I really like getting information about new books. The whole idea is pretty cool, and you might want to check it out –  www.TheFussyLibrarian.com

Has the weather been kind to you this weekend?  Had you heard of Grace Hopper before? I will be honest and say I had not, but what an impressive resume she had. For those of you who have done computer programming you might be interested in how the term “bug” came about. She coined it. Check out the Time article for the details.

If you have a moment and want a bit of a humorous break to your day, join me at The Blood Red Pencil where I wrote about the joys of trying to work with little kids under foot and in your office.

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2 Comments

  • Cold here in NJ, too – but it’s normal for use to get snow a few times a season. We’re not good drivers in snow, ice, and slippery rain – not enough of it every year. Those of use who lived in Wisconsin and rode our bikes/drove through five winters there are better at it.

    Be safe – don’t follow too closely.

    Congratulations at being featured at the Fussy Librarian next Tuesday. Hope it finds you lots of readers.

    Rear Adm. Grace Hopper is a legend to us computer and former computer folks. A classy lady, and officer, and a gentleman. And a very smart woman. A true heir to Ada Lovelace. Scientific computing on CRAY supercomputers was my thing before I got sick, and I still miss the fun of doing physics by computer from real data. In an ancient language, FORTRAN, still used – but forever past my capacity now. I think they’ve updated it.

    When you think how tiny computers have become, it’s amazing to have lived in these times. My kids have, in their phones, computing capacity greater than whole rooms of primitive computers.

    It it’s cold, stay inside and write. That should help.
    Alicia

  • Alicia, you have a similar computer background as my late husband. He used FORTRAN a lot as he moved up from programmer to software design and data base engineer. I’m sure he had heard of Grace Hopper. He just never mentioned the name to me. Of course, I was totally clueless about what he did on those big machines, and once he retired, he did not want much to do with PC’s, so I became the computer expert at our house – as expert as I can be. LOL

    I learned how to drive on ice in MI, driving on a frozen lake. I’m comfortable with my skills, just not everyone else on the road.

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