enjoying salad since 1978.

Sunday, May 26, 2002

So I just remembered why I like handheld computers so much, I learned to program on one very early on. I haven't touched BASIC since. blech. And like most poor college kids out there, I used my Ti-85 as a PDA, writing basic apps like a calendar and addressbook in zshell.

Today while contemplating whether to buy Wolfram's _A New Kind of Science_, I asked Stacy whether you could put a price on 20 years of life and work, she instantly replied "2 dollars!". I hadn't laughed that hard in a long time. (She doesn't like Wolfram very much). I bought Lisp in Small Pieces instead.

Friday, May 24, 2002

The other day I made a subtle dig at XML and today I found a presentation codifying most of what I dislike about XML but explaining why I use it anyway. (from dnm's blog)

Very rarely do I have a restaurant recommendation but tonight stacy and I had dinner at this great place called Bistro 1650 on the corner of Balboa and 18th Avenue.I had the duck and panfried zucchini ravioli with a chicken matzah ball soup while stacy ate mussels and rotelli in a tremendous white wine sauce. We brought some desserts home, I'll let you know.

More than the food (well, equal to the food, which was amazing), the restaurant owner was just the most personable guy you could hope to meet.

Thursday, May 23, 2002

I've had two seperate conversations about this today so I put up a quick wiki page to talk about RSS Best Practices

Also, work on my S-Expression library for Objective-C has been progressing nicely. So far the biggest difference between Rivest's reference implementation and my own is that his is List-based and mine is Tree-based. A b-tree just made more sense to me in the context I want to use it in (a basic Object store).

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

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.

Monday, May 20, 2002

brand new look, brand new feel, same old bullshit.

I've seen the new Star Wars flick and I have some points to make but for now I'll only link to The Case For the Empire (from Matt's blog)

Sunday, May 19, 2002

So I've been the victim of thinking that the traditional writing process offered me something. This month was an experiment in rigorous self-editing. What a failure! How many posts have you seen this month? Until today's flood of half-edited backed up posts, none. fuck editing. All the fun stuff happens when people misconstrue my typically innocent comments into something truly nasty.

I look forward to your hate mail.

Friday, May 17, 2002

Emerging Technologies was a lot of fun. Spicy Noodles dinner was enjoyable and I ran into my old friend Dave Smith on the train ride back while Bram chatted it up with one of the Danger hip-top guys.I'm really thinking about that little beast. Always on 150k/sec GSM connection, email, IM, and it's a cell phone! The fact that the screen isn't touch sensitive is a real boon, I think. I've broken a lot of touch-screen PDAs. too sensitive for a big monkey like me.

At the conference I couldn't figure out what makes WuWu different than BEEP, except that WuWu is less general purpose and the only implementation is closed source. Ontonet makes an interesting product, one I'd like to use. The freenetworks.org guys had some fun toys, some old Creative VoIP Blasters, and they had a Yagi dish without a Radome, which I don't seem to see very often.Maybe it was just a skeletal parabolic dish. I'm not really a radio guru.

Overhead at ETCon: "There's no such thing as software engineering anyway" No such thing as "software engineering"? I've been hearing this more and more frequently and even from people who I would normally consider clueful but this cute phrase of the punditocracy needs to die. There is a field called software engineering but it's numbers are far fewer than the number of people who put "software engineer" on their PetFoodsOnline.com business card and wowed you at some pointless loft party.

software is math, young apprentice. learn that and perhaps you'll no longer confused by this perturbing "software engineering" term.

Monday, May 13, 2002

Since I'm not making it to ETCON today (geez, don't ask.), I at least can work on my S-Expression library. I think sexp's would serve as a good texty persistence format for this object store I'm working on in ObjC.

I had been thinking about writing a Blogger-bot using Jabber until I stumbled upon somebody who already did it. Now if only I could get his vanilla WikiWannaBe to work.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

I spent yesterday reading BEEP docs. The O'Reilly BEEP book left a little to be desired as it never talked about how to write a profile and left some channel numbering ambiguityin my mind. (which huston franklin was nice enough to clear up for me) but other than that, I was ready to go.

Saturday, May 04, 2002

I caught the Spanish version of Natural Born Killers on Univision today. Not understanding the dubbed voices, I actually had a chance to pay attention to the sound track that was buried the last umpteen times I watched it in Gringo-speak.The first time I saw it was opening weekend in a theatre that was completely empty except for my pal Rosco and myself. Own our private screening.

I can't tell you how glad I am to hear that HST is still kicking out the fun times