Frogging again

If (and that’s a big if) i’m gonna blog again, it’d better be using a blogging engine i can have fun with: here‘s my new experiment, in case you liked this now officially superseded one.

Here’s to Dan

When in 2009 i attended the International Lisp Conference, Dan Weinreb had been part of my personal pantheon for some time.  There, i had, for the first and only time, the opportunity to see and listen to him in the flesh, and to confirm, once again, that really brilliant people are always approachable and kind; you can reach them without having to jump over a cohort of cheerleaders, they know much better than that.  Despite that, i didn’t say anything to him, nor even introduced myself; i was happy enough just listening.

Back home i wrote a blog post about ILC and Gerry Sussman, and, out of the blue, Dan chimed in, made some comments, and we exchanged some emails.  He talked in them about the old days at MIT with David Moon and Gerry Sussman, of how later he had attended the SICM courses, about generics in Lisp and how hard they were to get right… just as you would to an old friend.  Those days were brighter than average.  A few months later, he was asking about some friends in Boston i was working with, and when ITA was bought i couldn’t resist writing again and, as always, he found the time to write back and share.

I didn’t know about Dan’s illness, and today’s news feel all but unreal and sad.  I can’t find the right words. So let me just say farewell, Dan.  There’s less kindness left in the world today.


2010 in review

This blog was viewed about 41,000 times in 2010.There were 7 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 148 posts.

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


A Haskell bookshelf March 2006


A Scheme bookshelf January 2007


Scheme lectures, mostly December 2009


Programmers go bananas March 2006


Geiser May 2009

The lord of the Lambdas redux

From R2RS:

Data and procedures and the values they amass,
Higher-order functions to combine and mix and match,
Objects with their local state, the messages they pass,
A property, a package, the control point for a catch–
In the Lambda Order they are all first-class.
One Thing to name them all, One Thing to define them,
One Thing to place them in environments and bind them,
In the Lambda order they are all first-class.

(Hat tip Mark H Weaver over at guile-devel)


I guess this is old hat for most of you, but, anyway, here‘s a mildly amusing page by Jamie Zawinski (he of the amusing homepage) on the “sanitization” process that Netscape’s code suffered prior to its release. Says Jamie:

When we created and released (most of) the source code to Netscape Confusicator 4.x, Netscape’s lawyers made us go through a big “sanitization” process on the source code. [...] they also made us take out all the dirty words. Specifically, “any text containing vulgar or offensive words or expressions; any text that might be slanderous or libelous to individuals and/or institutions.”

There follows a list of heavy swearing code snippets and comments. Strikingly, one of the censored words is hack. WTF?

The greatest program ever written

I’ve just stumbled upon (via a post in John Cook’s blog) an old article back at kuro5hin entitled the greatest program ever written. It describes 1k chess on the ZX81, a program capable of playing chess on the Sinclair ZX81, a computer endowed with a total memory of 1024 bytes, and written by David Horne. I didn’t believe it either, until i saw it by myself. Kids these days!

Update:I’ve just learnt, thanks to a comment below, that there’s actually an earlier chess program, written by Peter Jennings, of similar characteristics: Microchess for the Kim-1 computer. The linked webpages contain lots of information about the program, including listings. Pretty fun stuff.


Today is the anniversary of programming musings: it’s been 4 years, 141 posts, 429 comments and almost 300,000 visits since i wrote my first post. A drop in the web ocean, i know, but enough to make waves in my local pond, and much more than i expected. These are the twelve most visited entries so far:



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