from: Ada’s Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World's First Computer Programmer
written and illustrated by: Fiona Robinson
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2016
Ada Lovelace was born on December 10, 1815, at the front edge of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain. Her keen mind and fascination with machinery led her to write complex algorithms defining complicated mathematical computations.
Only a few inventions have shaped the course of humankind. The wheel, the written alphabet, and the computer come immediately to my mind.
I have experienced various kinds of wheels:
- transportation (cars, trains, tow trucks)
- toys (LEGOS, Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends, dolly strollers)
- kitchen implements (rolling pins, dishwasher bins, pizza cutters).
The computer, though, is not really my best friend. It’s 2016 and I have finally arrived (kicking and screaming and dragging my feet) into the 21st century. I have a smart phone.
My phone is really a computer. I type messages on it. I take pictures and store them and send them. I check my e-mail. I play Angry Birds. Oh, and I make and receive phone calls.
I type on a laptop, my other computer. It works or it doesn’t. Mostly it does. I don’t know how it works. I just turn it on and start typing or looking up stuff, or checking my e-mail. My printer is wireless, so it’s anybody’s guess how that thing works. But it does, too, mostly.
My grandfather (my mother’s father) was born in the horse and buggy days. He experienced inventions from the lightbulb to automobiles to rockets headed for the moon and beyond. Although he had an attitude like Ada Lovelace’s, his curiosity didn’t lead him to invent anything. He was too busy providing for his family. But Grandpa loved to learn about the world. Sure he was stuck in his own ideas about some things, but he was open to change. That says a lot.
I like to blend the old with the new.
I look online for stuff like when the next super moon will appear: December 14, 2016 (https://science.nasa.gov/news-articles/2016-ends-with-three-supermoons) or how to roast vegetables But, I keep my newspaper recipes alphabetically in a notebook. I call my bank’s automated teller, but I do the math with paper and pencil. My phone has a calendar app, but I keep my spiral one up to date. For now, I’ll keep my phone (and laptop) charged up. But I’ll keep a sharp pencil at the ready.
Happy Birthday, Ada!