Stuff I want to learn

After @jukesie posted on twitter about his a few things I want to learn list inspired by @pipstar‘s 100 things list, I sort of got bullied (in a nice way) into posting mine.

So here it is, just a brain dump as I thought of them:

  • Learn enough French to be able to have a normal conversion with someone, not at my current two year old level.
  • Learn Japanese well enough to watch a Godzilla film / Anime without subtitles.
  • Learn Audio mixing/DJing, it would be nice to throw together mixes even half was good as 2Many DJ’s.
  • Create a nice Theme for this site.
  • Implement and learn more about agile development and lean development.
  • Build a raytracer in to teach me OpenCL.
  • Play with Cellular automata for ocean and water modeling.
  • Finish the @teatweets website
  • Have a mess around with asterisk
  • Finish off my certificate in web applications development.
  • Learn how to wear make up.
  • Dress better.

I’ll probably think of dozen more once I click publish but that what I can remember off to the top of my head but I really should get back to work, so that will have to wait.

Ada Lovelace Day – Lynn Conway

So I first learnt about Ada Lovelace day on del.icio.us and signed the pledge, and then spent a long time thinking about who I should write about, Ada Lovelace seems a little like the safe option. Being a hardware architect in a former life and still working on embedded platforms, Lynn Conway seem to be the perfect choice to for me to write about.

I’m guessing many people will not have heard of her, but nearly everyone will have benefited from her work. She worked on out of order execution at IBM, is used in most CPU today. Not to get too technical but exploiting the parallelism of the units inside a CPU, you can get a much greater throughput, so programs run faster and you do more ‘stuff’ done.

Another large contribution was her work in VLSI design, taking the technology from a handful of companies and giving smaller companies and universities access to the toolbox and a structured method to use them, giving much cheaper and faster prototype, leading to an explosion of companies producing ASICs which powers many consumer electronics products.

She was also at Xerox PARC when the foundations of current personal computers were being developed and was part of that hive of creativity.

Part of reason for picking Lynn was that people who work in the more ‘hardcore’ side of technology, tend be less visible than people working in the web,games or the more user facing part of technology. Not to take anything away from people who work in those areas (I’ve also worked on web projects and games in the past), partly I guess this is because these deeply technical subjects are harder to explain, less visual and well less interesting to most people (or perhaps were telling the stories wrong). So all of this is to say don’t feel limited to ‘acceptable’ career options, if your interested in an area go for it.

So finish off here’s a few other people I could have written about: Wendy Carlos, Delia Derbyshire, Grace Hopper , Aleks Krotoski, Kathy Sierra, Alice Taylor , Sophie Wilson