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Ellen Ullman
Ellen Ullman

Ellen Ullman is a programmer and author, whose articles on technology, gender and culture have appeared in top print and online publications, including Harper's, Wired, The New York Times and

Ullman first became interested in computer technology in the early 1970s. While earning her B.A. in English at Cornell University, she became involved in the public-access video movement and in electronic image-generation for videotape. She was intrigued by early computer-aided animations, and her first motives for studying programming were to produce electronic animations.

By the mid-1970s, however, grant funds for video became difficult to find, and Ullman turned to business programming as a way to make a living while getting herself established in San Francisco. Her initial programming work was in insurance specifically in early electronic interchanges between insurance companies and networks of agents, or what is now called business-to-business software. She went on to work with relational databases, tools for programmers creating interactive programs, and (before Windows or UNIX Motif) the design and implementation of a graphical user interface for UNIX.

Ullman began writing about her experiences as a programmer in 1995, when she was asked to contribute an essay to an anthology, "Resisting the Virtual Life," published by City Lights Books. After the essay was excerpted in Harper's, City Lights proposed that Ullman write a book. The critically acclaimed "Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents" was published in 1997.

Ullman's witty, technically savvy and socially insightful essays continue to appear in Salon and other national magazines and newspapers. She was named one of San Francisco Women on the Web's Top 25 Women on the Web for 2000. She lives in San Francisco, California and is now working on a novel.


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