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December, 2011 | Chasing Men Who Stare at Arrays

Monthly Archive for December, 2011

Lettow on Brooks honouring the 90th anniversary of KEI’s birth

As they say in rock and roll, “You can’t always get what you want… but you just might find you get what you need…”

When Ken Lettow asked me if he could swing down to North Carolina for my interview with Professor Fred Brooks,  I answered with a resounding and emphatic, “NO!”

You gotta love Ken.  Persistence is his middle name.  He then proceeded to convince me that he would not bring havoc to my film set and in fact, he would make himself useful.  And a short training session later…   I have a  sound engineer and set photographer all in one enthusiastic bundle  of a subject matter expertise.   In short, a much appreciated helping hand.

In honour of the 90th anniversary of Ken Iverson’s birth Ken Lettow sent out a wonderful account of our adventure to North Carolina to the J-Chat forum:

As [KEI and Prof Brooks] developed course material for the class,  Ken began to formalize the notation that came to be known as APL, the “the blackboard version” as Eugene McDonnell once so aptly put it.  Their collaboration ultimately resulted in the publication of two books, Ken Iverson’s “A Programming Language”,  in 1962 and “Automatic Data Processing” by Iverson and Brooks, published in 1963.  They also became lifelong friends during this period.

You can read Ken’s  full text here.  He’s also posted a great set of photos.

Happy holidays everyone.  May the Force be with you always.

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Being creative takes time

It sure does.

(Thanks SG)

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A somber reminder from Canada

December 6th is a somber anniversary for Canadian women in tech, especially those of us in my generation who remember 1989.

A gunman confronts 60 engineering students during their class at l’École Polytechnique in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989. He separates the men from the women and tells the men to leave the classroom, threatening them with his .22-calibre rifle. The enraged man begins a shooting rampage that spreads to three floors and several classrooms, jumping from desk to desk while female students cower below. He roams the corridors yelling, “I want women.”

CBC Digital Archive

Chilling words. And this happened in Canada. I’ll say this again, because if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.

This happened in Canada.
Women in Tech

The lesson is that tragic things happen when people are singled out and demonized based on some arbitrary attribute. And I mean this to include all levels of society; at home, at work, in the judicial system, in the movie theaters.

Do me a favour and take a quiet moment to think about what I’m saying to you today.

Thank you.

And forever, I appreciate all your support in this crazy documentary adventure.

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