This book is not about Ada but rather the author's defense of Ada's image and place in history.
There are gratuitous associations of Ada Lovelace to truly famous geniuses and science. For instance, this part of a letter (page 124) --
It cannot help striking me that *this* extension of Algebra ought to lead to a *further extension* similar in nature, to the *Geometry of Three Dimensions*; & that again perhaps to a further extension in some unknown region & so ad-infinitum possibly...
-- leads to this comparison (page 122) --
In the next series of letters Ada hyposthesized a geometry of the "fourth dimension." Several popular books today deal with this subject: Rudy Rucker's The Fourth Dimension, Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, and Philip Davis's Descartes' Dream.
I don't see any reference in Ada's letter to time. I expect it is simple 4 dimensional geometry she is thinking of.
There is some incredible gushing over the programming language ADA. This book was written in 1992, when it surely should have been obvious that ADA was not the be-all and end-all. Yet the author has apprently fallen hook, line, and sinker for the party line over the programming language named after her hero. Here are some examples. Note these are the author's words, not Ada Lovelace's.
Pages 176-177: It is accordingly most fitting that the programming language ADA, developed in the early 1980s by the US Department of Defense, provides the most precise facilities for this software development (specification) task of any general-purpose software language for large-scale problems existing today.
Add this idolatry to the author's infatuation with Ada Lovelace, and the reuslt is some far-fetched comparisons between Ada Lovelace's documentation and later computer concepts.
Page 179: Here again, the ADA software language contains somewhat unique facilities corresponding in a sense to Ada's insight... A second unuusual ADA facility, exception handling, reflects in a ! different but related way Ada's vision of the Analytical Engines's superiority over the DIfference Engine...In a sense the ADA language exception handler operates at a level of control above the program itself, confirming Ada's foresight.
Page 185: One can read into the following quotations the germ of perhaps the most important advance in software development in the past twenty years, an idea variously referred to (in its many forms) as *sbatraction*, *modularity*, *separation of concerns*, *information hiding*, or *object-oriented design*.
Pages 187-188: In the first excerpt from Note D, Ada commended the use of indices, a now-basic technique for reducing complexity in the processing of regular data structures.
Page 190: ...Then she expanded the visual image she had of weaving and symmetry to highlight the *cycle*, a conceptual building block of programs for both the Analytical Engine and later the computer.
This exaggeration is also extended to Babbage's Analytical Engine.
Page 173: Babbage planned to store over 1000 fifty-digit numbers.
Page 181: It was not until the mid-1960s that the modern computer could store as many digit numbers as did the Analytical Engine.
Quite wrong; I worked on computers from the 1950s that had more storage capacity.
Pages 186-187 compare Babbage finding a new use for the Jacquard loom punched card to software reuse: Some predict that the 1990s will be the decade in which software reuse becomes the principal software development mechanism, and that the ADA software language, which simplifies software reuse because of its precise interface specification and generic subprogram facilities, will lead the way.
Page 189 compares multiple Analytical Engines operating together to current parallel supercomputers, with further comments on ADA supporting this.