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January 22, 2010 AT 1:50 am

Who is Adafruit?

 Blog Wp-Content Uploads 2010 01 Freid
We discovered the origins of Adafruit through a google alert, fun read 🙂 Thinkbeta (Purdue University Entrepreneurship blog) writes –

What’s behind the name of her company, adafruit? What follows is my conjecture. Way back in the dark ages there was a object-oriented  programming language named Pascal which was also one of the first programming languages compiled for the  Apple II computer. My youngest son Jason and I bought it for $525 (ouch!). It was, in due course, followed by a  programming language named Ada. Seems that the name Ada (Lovelace) is revered by Geeks. “In 1953, over one hundred years after her death, Lovelace’s notes on Babbage’s Analytical Engine were republished. The engine has now been recognized as an early model for a computer and Lovelace’s notes as a description of a computer and software.” [Quote from  here and much more on Ada’s history.] In short, her notes include (Section G), in complete detail, a method for calculating a sequence of  Bernoulli numbers with the Engine, which would have run correctly had the Analytical Engine ever been built. Based on this work, Lovelace is now widely credited with being the first  computer programmer and her method is recognized as the world’s first  computer program. So we take “ada” + “fruit” and we have a name along the lines of  bearing fruit from Ada’s original work some 160 years ago. That ought to be geeky enough for the most uber geek out there. Hat’s off to Ms Fried and all the giants upon whose shoulders we attempt to stand on.

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7 Comments

  1. I have been waiting a long time to read something like this! Limor, you should really tell your own story sometime. It is worth telling. And I’m sure I’m not the only one that would enjoy it.

  2. Nice read. Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage are my Heroes too. However, as a programmer, I can assure you that Pascal was never object-oriented. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal_%28programming_language%29

  3. Daniel’s right, Pascal itself was not object oriented. The original PUMAR (Pascal User Manual and Report by Kathleen Jensen and Niklaus Wirth) did not have any object oriented features. Neither did the ETH version of the compiler or, for that matter, the OMSI implementation for the PDP-11.

    I did some extensions to the IBM VM/CMS implementation (a bootstrap of the ETH version to compile its P-code output for the IBM 370) to make it object oriented in about 1977 which mostly worked, sort of. More significantly, Borland’s later commercial versions of the language added object oriented features. Since that was the main implementation which many people used I think the idea that those features were in the original language might have stuck somewhere.

    I’m not really familiar with the Modula series of languages but I think the first was, more-or-less, Wirth’s addition of object orientation to Pascal.

  4. In this picture, it looks like Limor learned something from Phil.

  5. @hal – that’s a bit mean?

  6. Er, looking a bit Borg’d out LadyAda.
    Watch out for those glowing green cubes…
    You will be assimilated.

    I’m pretty sure that Limor picked her handle out of respect for Ada Lovelace. They are both pioneers in their industry. AdaFruit is the progeny of LadyAda’s work. I’m very glad that she’s made very simple and easy to follow fruit!

  7. Sorry! It wasn’t meant to be mean! He just always looks super serious in pictures.

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