Finding Adas - The Next Generation

As part of the Finding Ada Day celebration, I’m taking part in the pledge to write a post about a woman in Technology I admire.

AjaxLife is a web based service that allows you to log into the Second Life Client, access your friends list and chat with them. It was built over 2 weekends and a few evenings by Katharine Berry. It’s something for the techs at linden Lab, the makers of Second Life had been trying to do for sometime, and it was a resounding success, and now has an iPhone application for those who are on the go and need to keep up with what is going on in the virtual world.

Katharine Berry was 15 when she built AjaxLife.

A resident of Teen Second Life, the Second Life grid for those between 13-18 years of age, the UK resident astounded the Ajax (a programming platform) community with what she had achieved, with the predictable questions pertaining to her gender, as well as some pretty heroic geek adulation.

So why do I admire Katharine? She’s obviously got a stellar future in front of her – if computing is what she decides to pursue as a career, but her strength of character is the final piece of the puzzle that brings me to see her as a woman to admire. Whilst creating statistical applications to make using Second Life easier (some of her applications monitor SL servers so users can see the uptime of their island – or “sim”), she has been unafraid to tell Linden Lab what they are doing wrong, and how they can fix it. Also she just went and did it, then told people about it – no mean feat for a woman in IT.

When I heard about the Ada Lovelace day, I thought long and hard about who I would write about. There are many great names out there, although not as many as we would like – hence the reason for Ada day. What about those who are coming along – the next guard, are they not even more important?

Katharine impressed me, she needed something so she made it. Perhaps the next generation will not be fettered by the problems that our and past generations have had to face.

Flying into the face of adversity, and resoundingly ignoring it, that’s what made me choose Katharine! There’s a lesson we can all learn there.