RE: Grace Hopper (Was - impersonating a technical writer)

Subject: RE: Grace Hopper (Was - impersonating a technical writer)
From: "Harry Bacheler" <hbacheler -at- geo -dot- census -dot- gov>
To: "Harry Hager" <hhager -at- dttus -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 12:06:02 -0400

To all

I have added my comments, and retained the beginning of the thread.

"Amazing Grace" spent over 50 (?) years in the Navy. (I believe it was
closer to 60.)

She called Admirals "Sonny".

She is the one who initially used the word "bug" in computers when she found
a moth in
one of the early 'steppers' that was used in the early computers.

She defined and implemented what became COBOL while she was in the Navy (in
the late 50's, early 60's).

When she was finally 'forced out' of the Navy she became a consultant to
Digital Equipment Corp.

I too was in the AF but had a great deal of respect for "Amazing Grace".

Harry M. Bacheler, Jr.
VGS, Inc.

"The thoughts, ideas, and opinions expressed in my portion of this email
are mine and mine alone.  They are not the thoughts, ideas, and/or
opinions of any past, present, or future employers, or any group that I
might belong to."

> -----Original Message-----
> From: bounce-techwr-l-20951 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
> [mailto:bounce-techwr-l-20951 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On Behalf Of Harry Hager
> Sent: Monday, 03 April, 2000 11:21 AM
Subject: Re: Grace Hopper (Was - impersonating a technical writer)
Yes, it is a quote from Grace Hopper. If I remember
correctly, I heard her say it at one of her presentations Newport News,
Virginia, more
than a few years back. I even got one of her nanoseconds but lost it
somewhere along the way. (Her nanosecond was a 11+ inch of wire
indicating the distance an electron can tavel in one nanosecond. She
was in the habit of giving these out when she gave a presentation.)

I don't remember the exact quote (I'm sure it's out there on the Web
somewhere) but I think it's more correct to say it goes something like

"Don't wait for permission. It's easier to ask for forgiveness than it
is to ask for permission."

BTW, Grace Hopper was on (chaired?) the US Navy committee (board,
joint committe, whatever) that defined the standard (ANSI standard?)
for COBOL. Even as late as 1977, she headed the US Navy efforts on
standards for COBOL. (This is no plug for the US Navy. When I
her persentation, I was in the US Air Force.)

Jim Hager
hhager -at- dttus -dot- com

<snip> ...

" Don't wait for permission; "it is easier to
get forgiven than it is to get permission." (I'd love to cite the
originator of that saying, but I haven't a clue. It remains one of my

I think this is attributed to Grace Hopper, an Admiral in the USN who
worked on the ENIAC team and was on the Board of Directors of Digital
Equipment Corporation for many years.

The wording is not quite right but the sense of it is on the mark.


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