Anyway heres Wonderwall https://web.archive.org/web/20190202185041/http://www.larryl...
I'm still not clear how office work has improved by me not having a secretary. The two hours a day I waste on email, meeting planning etc would pay someone a comfortable wage and mean I don't have to be bothered all the time by emails that I probably don't need to answer, unless it's from those two people.
In my current gig we have an actual full time office manager and it's fucking amazing.
That's always been the point of eliminating jobs: it frees up the people who used to do those jobs to do other things.
That's the problem of the current system, losing jobs is fine as long as they are replaced by better jobs. When they are replaced by worse jobs you have a broken system. And we have a very broken system.
She was awesome, at the first meeting she had worked out from previous years all the key things the other members of the committee needed to do - written all the letters and handed them to us to sign.
The problem is the "improvement" is a financial one for the company rather than a workflow improvement at the employee level.
PS: The best secretary I ever had was male; some of the smartest CS-folks I know are women.
Sadly the designing and building those machines were still male dominated - the female role was more administrative than what we now think of as a "sysadmin".
As for what caused the shift to become so male dominated. I couldn't say for sure. I have a few theories but I wont share them as they're largely speculative.
What an absolute POS gallery app.
Something wrong with using static HTML to display all of a couple dozen jpegs?
It can hijack elements after I think I know what they contain.
It can abandon the DOM and use the canvas.
And most of the time if you're rebuilding elements in JS the developer forgets to tag things correctly... So all I know is that there's an img that has appeared out of nowhere.
Look at that Tek scope on the scope cart! I purchased one of those as an undergrad in EECE, what a great old scope.
Also, is the part of your website that loads images behind a 1970s switch at bell labs, perhaps? :) I thank the other HN members for the mirrors.
Programmed Inequality by Marie Hicks  is a great introduction to some of the history.
As my mother was a software engineer in the 70s, it's so incredibly upsetting to hear folks describe how it's just an inherently male interest, forgetting the history of sexism that just happened.
That's largely bullshit.
The position of 'programmer' today would be that of a systems architect from 1960. The position of 'programmer' of 1960 is the linker/assembler program of today. The jobs where women used to be a majority of the staff were simply automated away.
Before you cry sexism the position of CNC programmer, a largely male dominated profession, has suffered from the same. With the job going from being a hugely skilled profession in the 1960s to being something you press a button in a cam package, with the pay dropping correspondingly from the 60s to today.
I would also say that the assumption isn’t entirely correct based on the percentage of CS graduates that were female around that time compared to today. Maybe these early women in tech could transfer to other positions but got rejected on application because of biases among employers?
If you look at female percentage of enrollment in CS courses, you will find it actually declined since the 70s, in part because PCs were aggressively marketed towards boys only. In other words, we've regressed as an industry.
Since then, I've met 2 women who worked directly at Bell Labs (with LeCun) in the 90s, both of whom I would consider experts in AI (and the present tools of DL), even though they are now retired. They started studying CS in the 70s.
The real boom happened in the 80-90s when it wasn't a respected field and educated women went into Medicine, Law, Marketing... It's only in the last 15-20 years that programming has been considered a "real" major. Before that most programmers had an education in something else.
I've seen this repeated a lot without, as far as I can see, any credible evidence that (a) this was actually the case and (b) that the causality worked the way indicated.
To me, it's at best a classic "wet roads cause rain" fallacy that doesn't make sense at any level.
1. Companies are dollar driven
This idea that companies would forego a massive market in order to...I don't know, "keep the girls out of computers" just doesn't make any sense. Even typing these words is weird, the idea is just so utterly ludicrous.
And the idea that it might have been just oversight also doesn't wash. At least one company would have at some point asked the question, tried it out and made a killing.
2. Nobody wanted to keep girls out
Heck, I grew up in the 80s, and the very last thing on the mind of any of us computer nerds was "oh my god, we need to keep the girls away from this stuff". We would have given almost anything to get more girls interested. They just weren't.
3. The effects of marketing are vastly overstated
Us computer nerds did not want computers because they were "marketed towards" us. We wanted computers because we really wanted computers. In fact, I had no awareness of computers until exposed to Apple IIs in summer camp, first a little BASIC and then shape tables. Oh boy, shape tables! And yes, the computers were open to anyone who wanted.
In fact, we got an Apple, despite all the marketing material I remember being the Tandy catalogs. They even had a 68K based model at that time!
4. The ads were gender neutral
Although I don't remember much in terms of ads, what I remember was fairly neutral. As a quick check, I did a Google image search and the ads were quite balanced, for example families grouped around a computer with mom+dad+girl+boy.
Hoo boy, are you naive. I still have computer mags from the 1980s (and maybe I have a pack-rat problem, but that's not important now).
A awful lot of the hardware ads had buxom nubile while female models, sometimes draped over the machine, sometimes with a sultry expression (why are you biting your lip over a freakin' backup tape system, woman?), often with caked-on hooker makeup. The software ads almost always had some young white man with an IBM-approved white shirt and pocket protector.
Ads in popular computer mags in the 1980s were definitely target-marketed towards white male hetero people. To claim the advertizing was ineffective and such people "just wanted" the devices is disingenuous at best.
Hmm...and young boys are the target market for backup tape systems?
Maybe I should have been more specific: the context was home computers, not the professional systems. I thought that much was obvious.
And even there, do you seriously think that the motivation for those ads was "oh, we must make sure that women don't enter the profession" or was it more "we know that 95+% of our target audience is male" and so they used the same sort of tactics that were used to sell cars and auto tuning products?
Again: wet roads do not cause rain.
Backup tape systems are sexy, man. That woman is a real geek!
Which means that dynamic should be changing again as PCs are far less relevant as a gamer platform. Though arguably the environment is established and is hard to change as a result.
I agree with your points, but I wonder if looking at CS won’t reveal the scope or timing of the problem. Based on my own experience entering the workforce mid-90s, it was only sometime in the 90s when the majority of software developers had CS coursework. When I started near a majority had physics, math, engineering and other backgrounds, with their computing experience being industrial.
If you look at female percentage of enrollment in CS
courses, you will find it actually declined since
Rampant discrimination, against ethnic minorities, women, and LGBTQ.
The "good ole days" generally aren't as good as we remember them.
Then what perhaps also contributed is the roles of workers by collar color. Coding was perhaps more considered manual labor (blue collar). Yet people seem to forget it's actually the computers doing the manual labor. The developer is much more a complex designer role thinking up the execution architecture.
So we got the waterfall movement where it was believed the higher payed intellectual roles didn't need to know how to code. I think this caused many men and women shifting towards those roles. We got the feminist movement which was very much focused on getting women into those higher payed top jobs. Coding wasn't considered one of those.
Then perhaps the education system is partly to blame. It has become a commercial enterprise making sexy promises for a future life. In earlier times it was more common to start at the bottom and work/promote your way up the career ladder. You would move up because you were more valuable doing other things. Other people could take over parts of your job. In our current time the idea is that you can just get some university degree, skip all the lower jobs and stream in sideways. This leaves the "upper jobs" somewhat disconnected from the "lower jobs". It perhaps causes some dysfunctional organizations. Especially in Europe.
I think this is what "the establishment" dictates. Meanwhile there were still those creative people getting their hands dirty hacking up cool solutions in their basements, garages and attics. Much more driven by a certain attitude than the safety and promises of a certain education. Their products simply outperformed the ones coming from the establishment.
We get the weird situation we see today.
I don't know what slideshow you're looking at, but the vast majority of the pictures I see are women.
What happened to all the women in tech fields? This office would make diversity/inclusion officers (who are modern additions to organizations) salivate, because current workplaces do not look like this slideshow.
The OP meant, if you were to do a slideshow now, there would probably be considerably fewer women now.
If you went into any software office around Oakland, CA or the larger Bay Area now, I would guess that 30-50% (if not more) of the programmers you see would be Asian males.
The big immigration came later in the 1980's with the end of the Vietnam war/killing fields, and opening of China. A lot of ethnic Chinese in South East Asia fled in the 1970-80's.
And these pictures are from Oakland circa 1970.
I remember this, too.
In fact, the first two people who taught me how to use a computer (back in 8" floppy disk and 2K RAM days) were women. And nuns.
Seeing these pictures really helps bring the people from this time period in the book to life for me.
BTW, I'm having problems getting all the pictures rendered in my browser (Safari), but the ones I've been able to see are really inpirational.
I teach mostly (+95%) men in audio design studies at university level and women are painfully lacking in the field. It would certainly help make the field richer, more interesting, and more dynamic (not only for us men, but in general),if there was more gender diversity in tech in general and audio (this is where I see it the most because it's my domain) in particular.
It does not look like a memory from the past but like a retro picture shooting. Weird.