Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is the World’s Largest Gathering of Women Technologists. It is produced by the Anita Borg Institute and presented in partnership with ACM.

This conference is a big event that’s coming up next week and I fear it may be overlooked. It would be short sighted and misguided to do so.

The notion of “diversity” strikes me sorely. Being “diverse” is not an attribute to be achieved like some level up in a game. Diversity is the default. Failure to live up to that standard rests upon all of us who enjoy the benefits of having been born into that particular bucket that had a “Straight to the Top!” sticker slapped on the side. And, no, that’s not to dismiss the merits and work of anyone in the bucket who has made it. But let’s not pretend we didn’t get a boost.

The Grace Hopper conference will be held between the 14th to 16th of October. Many of the sessions sound terrific. They offer insights into how we approach our projects. Many others are sessions that you will never see at any other conference yet address what it means to be human in a field so rife with stereotypes.

I doubt they’ll make a deal of it publicly but Apple is a key sponsor this year and will be sending an awful lot of people. Google, Microsoft, CapitalOne and Cisco, along with Apple, are the “Diamond Sponsors” of the Grace Hopper conference.

We’re not likely to see any new product announcements there. It’s not that kind of event. It’s vital nonetheless.

Çingleton ended last year around this same time. How about this year, rather than getting together, we spend our time, effort and written words supporting a movement that makes us all better.

I’d appreciate that.


I co-host a podcast called Debug with my friend Rene Ritchie. It’s an interview show and we chat with our guest about either the topic of the day or their career. Mostly we cover careers, the arc of technology, their role in forming it, and how they feel about it all now.

At it’s worst Debug is someone incredibly smart and remarkably good at what they do recounting how they came to particular decisions (both in life and in technology) and reflecting upon their reasoning. Invaluable knowledge that has been hard earned and they’re passing it on to listeners. Tuning in to Debug is being a fly on the wall during a casual conversation with some of the smartest people in software. That’s the bad news.

At it’s best Debug captures an oral history of one the greatest transformative moments in technology. People like Don Melton, Nitin Ganatra and David Gelphman have all been on the show and been remarkably honest about a famously secretive company. I don’t even want to start counting the number of ex-Apple people who’ve been on the show. Suffice to say if you really want to get a window into how Apple works: Debug is it.

With the exception of The Record and the upcoming App: The Human Story I can’t think of other attempts to try to capture this history. It’s important because it’s impactful. Not because of the notion that the world will be remade in the image of Silicon Valley idealists but because there are kids out there who really love their Angry Birds pillow.

I would like to spend more time focused on making Debug better. Not a podcast you listen to on your way to work. An oral history of the development of technologies that are changing the world.

So, you might have seen this coming. Consider sponsoring Debug by getting in touch with my friend and all around ace, Jessie Char. She can be reached at her first name at neat dot fm. I’d be more explicit and helpful but, come on, that’s really not asking too much.

Also, if you’ve been on the show and have said things we’ve cut and really don’t want them to be public get in touch. We can work something out.

Acorn 5

I’ve known my friend Gus for a long time now and he’s always been an ace. Gus is the kind of fella that will tell you straight up if you’re being a dummy.

Gus is not a dummy.

He’s just released Acorn 5 and it’s really quite something. If you love to draw or design buy it. If you enjoy software — go buy it.

There’s an attitude to Acorn that is unique. It’s friendly and flippant while being extremely competent. Under the “Bézier Stuff” menu you’ll find incredibly well implemented and easy to approach tools for addressing what’s normally a fussy aspect of vector graphics. And the Shape Processor is a lot of fun too.

If there’s one thing about Acorn I cannot stand it’s that I didn’t write it.

Go buy Acorn 5.