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Silent Technical Privilege: In Technology, My Looks Got Me Everywhere
Slate ^ | 01/16/2014 | Phillip Guo

Posted on 01/16/2014 6:31:45 AM PST by SeekAndFind

I started programming when I was 5, first with Logo and then BASIC. The picture above is me, age 9 (with horrible posture). By the time this photo was taken, I had already written several BASIC games that I distributed as shareware on our local BBS. I was fast growing bored, so my parents (both software engineers) gave me the original dragon compiler textbook from their grad school days. That's when I started learning C and writing my own simple interpreters and compilers. My early interpreters were for BASIC, but by the time I entered high school I had already created a self-hosting compiler for a nontrivial subset of C. Throughout most of high school, I spent weekends coding in x86 assembly, obsessed with hand-tuning code for the newly released Pentium II chips. When I started my freshman year at MIT as a computer science major, I already had over 10 years of programming experience. So I felt right at home there.

OK, all of the above was a lie. With one exception: That is me in the photo. When it was taken, I didn't even know how to touch-type. My parents were just like, “Quick, pose in front of our new computer!” (Look closely. My fingers aren't even in the right position.) My parents were both humanities majors, and there wasn't a single programming book in my house. In sixth grade I tried teaching myself BASIC for a few weeks, but quit because it was too hard.

(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: profiling; race; technology
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1 posted on 01/16/2014 6:31:45 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

5 1/4 floppy’s and a dot matrix printer...vintage


2 posted on 01/16/2014 6:33:31 AM PST by 12th_Monkey (In an alternate universe Obama still dips ice cream)
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To: SeekAndFind

I refuse to give Slate the hits.

Am I to assume from the title that he got jobs in the technology sector using his good looks instead of his brain?


3 posted on 01/16/2014 6:35:48 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz ("The GOP fights its own base with far more vigor than it employs in fighting the Dims.")
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To: 12th_Monkey
Our first PC at work was a dual-floppy, so we could run LOTUS. Most everyone else was filling in forms on paper and then retyping them into the mainframe consoles. My first home personal computer (beside my pencils/brain thingy):


4 posted on 01/16/2014 6:39:19 AM PST by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: SeekAndFind

Very amusing. The fiction story is almost exactly a description of my nephew’s experience.


6 posted on 01/16/2014 6:40:28 AM PST by SatinDoll (A NATURAL BORN CITIZEN IS BORN IN THE USA OF USA CITIZEN PARENTS)
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To: SeekAndFind

Thanks for saving the click-thru but it was exactly what I suspected upon seeing the photo.


7 posted on 01/16/2014 6:42:42 AM PST by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I’m not sure what this guy is all hepped up about. So... People tend to assume that Asians with a degree from MIT are smart and good with computers. Yeah. So?

It’s a stereotype. So what? More often than not, stereotypes are formed for a reason— they’re often true. So sometimes a stereotype is wrong. Yeah. So?


8 posted on 01/16/2014 6:45:56 AM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us one chance in three. More tea anyone?)
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To: P.O.E.

Bought my first slide rule in 1962. K&E Decilon, still have it. Along with other such antiques.

My first electronic calculator in 1972.

Built my first pc in 1982.


9 posted on 01/16/2014 6:50:35 AM PST by Texas Fossil
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To: SatinDoll
Reminds me of this audition in American Idol from a North Carolina grad student named Anoop Desai:



Simon Cowell remarked that the singer looked like he just came from “a meeting with Bill Gates in Silicon Valley."
10 posted on 01/16/2014 6:50:57 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: Texas Fossil
"first electronic calculator"
TX 1250/8 functions..1 sto?

11 posted on 01/16/2014 6:56:13 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun..0'Caligula / 0'Reid / 0'Pelosi :-)
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To: SeekAndFind

Looking back I realize I suffered from a complete lack of vision.

I’d spend hours writing hundreds of lines of BASIC code, look at the end result, and think “you could do this with a pencil in five minutes...it will never catch on!”


12 posted on 01/16/2014 6:59:24 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: skinkinthegrass

Actually I think mine was a Remington. It was an odd little device. Only displayed 8 digits, hit button to display right of decimal point. Last time I looked at it, it actually still worked. It was very basic, only added, subtracted, multiplied, divided.

But it was a hand held. Think I paid about $70 for it back then.


13 posted on 01/16/2014 7:01:10 AM PST by Texas Fossil
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To: Ramius

Turned out? He WAS good at programming. And now, he feels guilty about it. He’s trying to convince everyone that the ONLY reason he was allowed to succeed is because: people THOUGHT he could.

Uh.... no... actually, you ARE good at it.


14 posted on 01/16/2014 7:02:23 AM PST by SomeCallMeTim ( The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them!)
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To: Texas Fossil

Only the “rich kids” in my trig class had calculators back in ‘73. By “rich” I mean whose parents had the new split-levels in the next development over from us in our Cape Cods.

We did have “equality”, back then, though. We all had to either bring lunch or eat the bland cafeteria food. (although the pizzaburgers were pretty good)


15 posted on 01/16/2014 7:02:43 AM PST by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: P.O.E.

We were not/are not wealthy, but I don’t remember any calculators in my classes in high school. Graduated in 1966.

I remember using the Wang programmable calculators in college, graduated in 1970. They were pretty nice for statistics.


16 posted on 01/16/2014 7:05:56 AM PST by Texas Fossil
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To: SomeCallMeTim

Actually good looking programmers had a leg up just about everywhere in the eighties.


17 posted on 01/16/2014 7:09:56 AM PST by Chickensoup (we didn't love freedom enough... Solzhenitsyn.)
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To: Texas Fossil
115$ (TI 1250) here, then the bottom drop out.
full Sci. for 40/100$ (TI35/65)..
ani't technology grand?

18 posted on 01/16/2014 7:12:19 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun..0'Caligula / 0'Reid / 0'Pelosi :-)
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To: Ramius
Actually, due to affirmative action, asians have to work much harder and score much higher to get into college than lesser performing blacks and hispanics. This is a fact, and it is racism, and discrimination against asians.

I think this idiot Slate liberal, an actual, but rare, stupid asian, wants to argue that asians aren't discriminated against, or flat out lie that they get special privleges just because of their asian skin color, in order to keep justifying continued affirmative action, aka discrimination against asians.

19 posted on 01/16/2014 7:16:52 AM PST by sportutegrl
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To: Texas Fossil

Nothing matches the drama of bashing numbers into those old calculators, except of course the older ones with the “chaaching” handles.

I still have my old clock radio with those flip-over numbers (clock part doesn’t flip, but the radio part does).

When we moved into our house a few years back, the previous owners left behind an old microwave (with the dial). We kept using it until, while watching GSN we saw it being offered as a grand prize on Match Game ‘77. My wife put her foot down at that point.


20 posted on 01/16/2014 7:16:53 AM PST by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: P.O.E.

I haven’t seen one of those in a few decades. I wonder if they’re still out there?


21 posted on 01/16/2014 7:20:09 AM PST by Cyber Liberty (H.L. Mencken: "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.")
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To: 12th_Monkey
5 1/4 floppy’s and a dot matrix printer...vintage

Naw, 8 inch floppies and an ASR33 Teletype is vintage.

22 posted on 01/16/2014 7:20:27 AM PST by GingisK
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To: Chickensoup

Except nerdness is expected in a cubicle farm. We have a couple of nice-looking women in our farm but I sometimes worry that people don’t take them seriously. And yes, they are good programmers.

I had a bad habit of wearing suits to work when I worked for a large corp and people always wanted to move me into management. I passed.


23 posted on 01/16/2014 7:21:05 AM PST by AppyPappy (Obama: What did I not know and when did I not know it?)
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To: 12th_Monkey

I swear that printer looks like a Panasonic KXP-1124


24 posted on 01/16/2014 7:22:19 AM PST by AppyPappy (Obama: What did I not know and when did I not know it?)
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To: SeekAndFind

With enough training, experience, and encouragement, anyone in the world can become an Obamacare brain surgeon, or President of the USSA. The only requirement is that like Obama they are good at faking it until they make it and don’t mind destroying things.


25 posted on 01/16/2014 7:22:31 AM PST by Reeses
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To: 12th_Monkey
I think I nailed it

26 posted on 01/16/2014 7:24:29 AM PST by AppyPappy (Obama: What did I not know and when did I not know it?)
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To: Chickensoup
Actually good looking programmers had a leg up just about everywhere in the eighties

Good looking people have a "leg up" in just about every field. ;-)

I went to school and was very close friends with a young lady who was drop dead gorgeous. Seriously. I mean, guys would come HIT on her while she and I were having dinner!

She went into Computer Science and was immediately highly sought after by several big companies. After a stint with the big guys, she branched out and started her own Web Design company... which, is still successful.

27 posted on 01/16/2014 7:26:53 AM PST by SomeCallMeTim ( The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them!)
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To: Cyber Liberty
Actually, I do see a few on e-bay. I also used to have one of these plastic clicker thingies.

Mom would let me use it when we went grocery shopping so I could keep a running tab. Notice it only goes up to $9.99 - just a clue as to what grocery shopping was like back then.

28 posted on 01/16/2014 7:28:10 AM PST by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: AppyPappy
Except nerdness is expected in a cubicle farm. We have a couple of nice-looking women in our farm but I sometimes worry that people don’t take them seriously. And yes, they are good programmers.

_____________________

In the eighties that wasn't so much the case. Most of the female programmers were crazy or not too good. The crazy ones were usually excellent coders, and the good looking ones were lousy coders but personable.

29 posted on 01/16/2014 7:33:16 AM PST by Chickensoup (we didn't love freedom enough... Solzhenitsyn.)
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To: GingisK; 12th_Monkey
Naw, 8 inch floppies and an ASR33 Teletype is vintage.

That must make paper tape and punch cards downright prehistoric... ;)

30 posted on 01/16/2014 7:48:59 AM PST by Ol' Dan Tucker (People should not be afraid of the government. Government should be afraid of the people)
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To: EQAndyBuzz

“I refuse to give Slate the hits.”

That should be the warning above every thread that leads to liberal rags like NYT, MSNBC etc....just show the summary. I don’t like giving hits to those BS sources too.


31 posted on 01/16/2014 7:53:46 AM PST by max americana (fired liberals in our company last election, and I laughed while they cried (true story))
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To: AppyPappy
I swear that printer looks like a Panasonic KXP-1124

Yep, a very fine piece of hardware! (I still have mine! - but then again I've got a Commodore 1702 monitor in my office too)

32 posted on 01/16/2014 7:55:38 AM PST by The Duke ("Forgiveness is between them and God, it's my job to arrange the meeting.")
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To: The Duke

Mine fell victim to a paper clip. The joys of toddlers.


33 posted on 01/16/2014 8:00:10 AM PST by AppyPappy (Obama: What did I not know and when did I not know it?)
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To: P.O.E.

A can of Tuna was about 2¢.


34 posted on 01/16/2014 8:04:59 AM PST by Cyber Liberty (H.L. Mencken: "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.")
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To: Texas Fossil

In 1975 I took a graduate course in statistics and in the middle of the mid-term my calculator ran out of power and I had to complete the t-square and sum of the square calculations by hand. Got a B+. Today a calculator malfunction would qualify for a redo.


35 posted on 01/16/2014 8:05:12 AM PST by AU72
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To: P.O.E.

Mine was a Timex-Sinclair for home.

My first “real” job was with Wang Laboratories. 8 inch floppies and 10 meg hard drives (diablo and Hawk). Bigger sites has 75, 90 and 300 meg drives.

Oh those were the days


36 posted on 01/16/2014 8:12:13 AM PST by 12th_Monkey (In an alternate universe Obama still dips ice cream)
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To: Ol' Dan Tucker

LOL ... I was going to post something similar. IBM system 360 ... then UNIVAC 9000 series computers .... punch cards, paper tape and TTY machines ... What fun!


37 posted on 01/16/2014 8:19:38 AM PST by Neil E. Wright (An OATH is FOREVER OathKeeper III We are EVERYWHERE)
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To: SomeCallMeTim
I went to school and was very close friends with a young lady who was drop dead gorgeous. Seriously. I mean, guys would come HIT on her while she and I were having dinner!

To parody this Slate author: "I hope to live in a future where people who already have the interest to pursue her don't self-select themselves off the playing field. I want those people to experience what I was privileged enough to experience with her in the restaurant, theater, living room sofa, and beyond: unimpeded opportunities to develop expertise in something that they find beautiful, practical, and fulfilling."

38 posted on 01/16/2014 8:24:26 AM PST by Reeses
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To: GingisK

Oh I remember the 8 inch floppy. I wish I had a few of those just to look at.

Those were the days, when memory was in K’s and disk storage was in the megs and cpu speeds were in the kilohertz.


39 posted on 01/16/2014 8:25:34 AM PST by 12th_Monkey (In an alternate universe Obama still dips ice cream)
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To: AppyPappy

Not sure of the model, but it’s a Panasonic for sure.


40 posted on 01/16/2014 8:26:15 AM PST by 12th_Monkey (In an alternate universe Obama still dips ice cream)
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To: Ol' Dan Tucker
...paper tape and punch cards...

I liked punched cards and the "Big Iron". I got my finger cut pretty badly on paper tape that was being read at 1000 characters per second. Ah, the PDP-11 was a honey.

My list of computers I've used is really long. Most people have never heard of many of them.

41 posted on 01/16/2014 8:48:01 AM PST by GingisK
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To: 12th_Monkey
Those were the days, when memory was in K’s and disk storage was in the megs and cpu speeds were in the kilohertz.

Sometime we got more done with those than people do with theirs today. But again, we were not waiting for bloatware to swap out.

42 posted on 01/16/2014 8:49:44 AM PST by GingisK
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To: 12th_Monkey

Our “disk packs” would hold about 1 meg each, and the whole data storage unit was about 18” x 18” by 3 foot high.


43 posted on 01/16/2014 8:55:37 AM PST by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: P.O.E.

Biggest I ever had the displeasure of having to service was the 300 meg. Forgot how many platters were in the disk packs, too long ago.


44 posted on 01/16/2014 9:35:25 AM PST by 12th_Monkey (In an alternate universe Obama still dips ice cream)
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To: SeekAndFind

45 posted on 01/16/2014 9:47:02 AM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: 12th_Monkey

“Mine was a Timex-Sinclair for home.”

Same here. I worked in QC for a foundry sand mill and wrote a BASIC program to handle the daily manual testing calculations.

Set up a cassette deck and an old black/white tv in the lab and cut out about 3 hours of work each day by having the computer crunch the numbers.


46 posted on 01/16/2014 9:53:32 AM PST by Rebelbase (Tagline: optional, printed after your name on post)
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To: SeekAndFind
Ah, yes, I know. Those of us with drop-dead-gorgeous good looks are never sure if they love us for our talent. It's a heavy cross to bear.

Is this guy kidding? I know geeks - been in the biz for 34 years now - and trust me, if you can't produce, everybody, and I mean everybody knows it.

47 posted on 01/16/2014 9:54:37 AM PST by Billthedrill
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To: SomeCallMeTim

“Good looking people have a “leg up” in just about every field. ;-) “

Indeed. I knew a kid with JFK good looks who got hired by a mega bank as a teller.

A bit over a year later he was an assistant Mgr., year later branch manager, 3 years later regional mgr. 2 years later VP for a district.


48 posted on 01/16/2014 9:58:33 AM PST by Rebelbase (Tagline: optional, printed after your name on post)
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To: P.O.E.
I had one of these as a child.

-PJ

49 posted on 01/16/2014 10:00:48 AM PST by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: AppyPappy

Wow, the KXP-1124 was my first computer printer. I used it until 2002. It was very reliable and cartridges were easy to find. I threw it out along with a box of paper this past June. It was very economical.


50 posted on 01/16/2014 10:23:08 AM PST by Justa
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