Stephen Wolfram on Untangling the Tale of Ada Lovelace:

Ada Lovelace was born 200 years ago today. To some she is a great hero in the history of computing; to others an overestimated minor figure. I've been curious for a long time what the real story is. And in preparation for her bicentennial, I decided to try to solve what for me has always been the "mystery of Ada". It was much harder than I expected. Historians disagree. The personalities in the story are hard to read. The technology is difficult to understand. The whole story is entwined with the customs of 19th-century British high society. And there's a surprising amount of misinformation and misinterpretation out there. But after quite a bit of research - including going to see many original documents - I feel like I've finally gotten to know Ada Lovelace, and gotten a grasp on her story. In some ways it's an ennobling and inspiring story; in some ways it's frustrating and tragic.

Absolutely fascinating. (Obligatory link to Sydney Padua's wonderful The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.)

[Via jwz]