Black Lives Matter - Action and Equality. ... Adafruit is open and shipping.

Take Back the Net: Joy Rankin’s A People’s History of Computing in the United States #WomenInSTEM @larafreidenfeld @nursingclio

Women holding parts of the first four Army computers. ( Historic Computer Images/Wikimedia Commons)

Via Nursing Clio: Lara Freidenfelds discusses A People’s History of Computing in the United States by Joy Lisi Rankin. (Harvard University Press)

Rankin shows that it was the hippie ‘60s and ‘70s, not the corporate and consumerist ‘80s and ‘90s, that first gave shape and possibility to connectedness via computing. She gives us a new origin story for computer-based connectedness, anchored in the worlds of college and high school education and student participation rather than Silicon Valley entrepreneurship. In this origin story, ordinary Americans were “computing citizens” before Silicon Valley turned us into “computing consumers.”

As Rankin describes, early postwar computers, while stunning innovations, were inaccessible to most of the world, and inconvenient even to those who were permitted to use them. These gigantic mainframes lived in major research universities and government research offices. Anyone who wanted to run a program on one of them had to translate their program into punch cards, physically deliver the stack of punch cards to the computer’s staff, and wait while their punch cards were batched with those of other programmers so that the computer’s time would be used efficiently. If the program returned an error, the disappointed programmer would take the punchcards home to debug and try again, perhaps weeks later. In this setup, the computer’s time was treated as much more valuable than the programmer’s.

A Sweet Briar student using an early computer in the Mary Helen Cochran Library, 1982. (Mary Helen Cochran Library/Flickr)
A Sweet Briar student using an early computer in the Mary Helen Cochran Library, 1982. (Mary Helen Cochran Library/Flickr)

There is a resurgence in documenting the role of women in programming and maintaining computers.

These networked communities were not utopias; Rankin gives a sensitive description of the ways in which 1960s gender norms played out as users interacted. Macho Dartmouth men used their computing prowess to impress their Mount Holyoke dates. On PLATO, female users sometimes complained of harassment. (Archive nerds will especially appreciate Rankin’s use of several years’ worth of preserved message board exchanges to document community interactions.) Still, these were vibrant communities in which women found ways to make their mark.

See the entire review here.

We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM. George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen. The Adafruit teams have specific actions we’ve done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit community to get involved and share what you are doing. The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year – we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country, read more @

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 20,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — To make it through a tough business cycle, layoffs should be a last resort

Wearables — Everything in its place

Electronics — The Case Of The Disappearing Capacitance

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: New Hardware, Python Releases and Much More! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @circuitpython @micropython @ThePSF

Adafruit IoT Monthly — BLE Store Capacity Indicator, Aquarium Automation, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Arcade Game Garden Jam!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — NEW PRODUCT – ESP-PSRAM64H Chip – 64 Mbit Serial Pseudo SRAM – 3.3V 133 MHz

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.