Skip to comments.Silent Technical Privilege: In Technology, My Looks Got Me Everywhere
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 ...
5 1/4 floppy’s and a dot matrix printer...vintage
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?
Very amusing. The fiction story is almost exactly a description of my nephew’s experience.
Thanks for saving the click-thru but it was exactly what I suspected upon seeing the photo.
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?
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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)
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.
Actually good looking programmers had a leg up just about everywhere in the eighties.
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.
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.
I haven’t seen one of those in a few decades. I wonder if they’re still out there?
Naw, 8 inch floppies and an ASR33 Teletype is vintage.
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.
I swear that printer looks like a Panasonic KXP-1124
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.
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.
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.
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.
That must make paper tape and punch cards downright prehistoric... ;)
“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.
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)
Mine fell victim to a paper clip. The joys of toddlers.
A can of Tuna was about 2¢.
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.
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
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!
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."
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.
Not sure of the model, but it’s a Panasonic for sure.
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.
Sometime we got more done with those than people do with theirs today. But again, we were not waiting for bloatware to swap out.
Our “disk packs” would hold about 1 meg each, and the whole data storage unit was about 18” x 18” by 3 foot high.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.
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.