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About The Girl

girlwithcomputerHello, my name is: Ashley McClelland. But for all intents and purposes of this blog, I am just a girl with a computer. Really.

My husband and most of our friends are computer programmers. I’ve always been surrounded by programmers. People tend to surround themselves with those who have qualities they love. I personally love the expressive, analytic, creative qualities programming requires and utilizes. Not surprisingly, I love these qualities in people, too. And I know I, myself, possess these same qualities, so why don’t I program? I asked myself that last week, and decided there was no reason not to learn a language. My husband probably didn’t think I was serious at first. He handed me the C Programming Language book he swears by (K&R), but I never got past chapter two. Surprise.

I became interested in Why’s Poignant Guide to Ruby, TryRuby, and HacketyHack via advice from friends when they learned I might be interested in expanding my capabilities beyond live FTP website editing, and silly facebook affiliate/adsense experiments. These interactive, easy to follow guides made programming fun and interesting. They made me beg for something more academic, even (whereas the C book bored me to sleep each night with its insensitive codespeak.) I went to Barnes and Noble and bought myself an Apress Beginning Ruby book by Peter Cooper (foreword by _why). I am currently supplementing my reading daily with interactive IRB tutorials and why’s guide as I go. As a result, I have multiple, fun ways of looking at Ruby. It has been an amazing experience so far. Within the first few pages of reading my Beginning Ruby book, my husband and I joined forces to hack on an algorithm to reverse integers without turning them into strings. He figured it out before I did, of course, but it was a good time. Marital bonding at its finest.

I am on the computer all of the time, but I’ve never learned more than basic HTML and CSS until now. I started coding webpages in notepad in 1999 when I was 13 years old. I stopped the next year or so because CSS was catching on and I had no idea what the hell a Cacading Style Sheet was. I had no serious resources at that time and thought it’d be too hard to learn. Gurlpages.com was probably the closest thing I could find to a community of women (well, I was a girl then), that knew that HTML even existed. I’m sure there were resources. But I couldn’t find them. I moved on with my life, but I still used the internet a lot. One time I ventured on a limb and downloaded Visual Basic, thinking I might try to “program.” Fatefully, I met my husband in 2000 in an AOL VB chat room. But I never did learn Visual Basic.

In general, the deeper side of computers seemed pretty hard, so I stayed pretty shallow. For the past ten years, I’ve used the internet for everything from meeting my husband to creating basic web presences for the projects I’ve been involved in and expanding their marketing capabilities via the internet. I’ve been heavily involved in tutoring companies (online and center-based), educational start-ups, and small potatoes websites and web marketing for the past few years. Most of my experience is in the field of education, actually. My goal, at one point, was to spend the rest of my life in the education field, but I’m not sure what the future holds. It’s hard to remember what I wanted yesterday anymore. I think I may have decided I want to program instead. At very least, it’s my newest hobby, and I am enjoying the challenge.