Steve Jenson's blog

I was really pleased with Paul Graham's recent work. A few of his observations in my own words:
  • Most languages strive to be Lisp without realizing it.
  • Any sufficiently advanced language is indistinguishable from Lisp, modulo syntax.
  • After all these years Lisp isn't stale because Lisp isn't merely a language but math with a syntaxless syntax and "Math doesn't get stale"
  • Server-side programming has brought about a "Programming Language Renaissance". There is less pressure to use middle-of-the-road (crappy) tech.
  • You can actually lose by using a less powerful programming language. "When you talk about code-size ratios, you're implicitly assuming that you can actually write the program in the weaker language."
  • "Industry best practices" are really a cop-out, if the "best practice" fails you then it's not _really_ your fault since the industry picked it, not you.

XML comes to my mind as an example of a poor "industry best practice" being forced into practically every area of programming. I can guarantee we'll be drowning in XML backwards compatibility in a few years. It's just fine in small doses but horrible in large quantities. XSLT is a good example of such a nightmare. *psst*, XSLT is now inching ever closer to being a bloated, nearly unusable Lisp

I love the story about ITA coming in late to the game, and using Lisp to practically humilate their opponents. (ITA are the guys who supplied Orbitz with their kick-ass airline ticket search engine)

Paul Graham isn't a Lisp fanatic, regardless of his background. He's a level-headed, smart developer who has come to some conclusions that might be pretty painful for people afraid of parenthesis.And don't forget, by Lisp he also includes (my favorite) Scheme, Goo, and the upcoming Arc.

Also, my blog doesn't look quite right in any browser but Chimera. As most of you know, I'm not a web designer, I'm a programmer. I was getting tired of the fruit salad look and decided to go with more of a caesar salad look. This was my first foray into CSS and it wasn't unpleasant at all. Any advice will definitely be appreciated.

I wish I could be at E3 this year. Games don't interest me that much but John Carmack and Michael Abrash (no longer at id) have inspired me more than any other programmers out there and I'm really excited to see what's been whipped up for Doom III. Apparently they're worried that people will think the game demonstration is pre-rendered. Damn!

I've pretty much panned the entire video game industry but I think I own every id game out there. Only Abuse (a game written in Lisp and is now open-source) and Dark Reign (which seemed much farther ahead than the other real-time strategy crap out there but didn't receive a lot of attention) ever really interested me.

# — 21 May, 2002