Friday, October 07, 2011

Finding Ada is is Losing Loneliness

And in answer to the question "How does it feel to be be the only woman on the court?" she answers simply, "Lonely."

With the exception of spending two hours at the reference desk, I spent my working day trying to figure out how to add missing user information to a staff directory I was building in Drupal. By the time I had to leave work so I could pick my daughter up from daycare, I still hadn't figured it out. Once home and the kids were settled, I flipped open my laptop and kept searching for answers. About a half-hour later, I happen to stumble upon a workaround that just might work...

I don't have a computer science degree - I'm just learning as I go. It's hard work that is mostly insanely frustrating punctured with brief feelings of feeling supremely gratified. I'm lucky because I know that I have friends and an community that I can go to if I really get stuck. And I'm very grateful for this.

Still, the work is... well, it's lonely.

I'm not really up to unpacking that statement so I'm going leave it as it is.

Today is Ada Lovelace Day and I want to introduce you to two women that I recently heard speak at DrupalCamp Montreal.

Jen Simmons starting designing websites in 1996 and is best known for designing the default theme of Drupal 7. Her presentation -- "It's Not Your Father's Web Anymore" -- about HTML5 melted my brain. She is 42. I am 40. I mention this because it's hard for me to explain how profoundly re-assuring it was for me to hear her to give a brief history of the web that was filled with personal and historical touchstones that resonated with my own past.

The other woman I'd like to introduce you to is webchick aka Angie Byron. Her presentation "Getting Started in the Drupal Community" was the kick in the ass I needed to actually get involved in the do-ocracy of the open-source community. To hear that from the person who now is the co-maintainer of Drupal 7 admit that it took her ten years to go from 'open source cheerleader' to 'open source contributor' and that she herself couldn't explain why it took her so long... well, it made my own ten year journey to getting to the same point -- feel much less lonely.