nil's recent activity

  1. Comment on What operating system do you use? in ~comp

    nil
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    Currently FreeBSD and 4.3BSD Quasijarus. Might switch from FreeBSD to OpenBSD when it's time to upgrade.

    Currently FreeBSD and 4.3BSD Quasijarus. Might switch from FreeBSD to OpenBSD when it's time to upgrade.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on Suggestion: when clicking on an external link, open it in new tab in ~tildes

    nil
    Link
    Please don't! When I want to open something in a different tab, I middle-click it (Firefox) and I'm sure other browsers have similar functions. If you implement this, please DO make it an option!...

    Please don't! When I want to open something in a different tab, I middle-click it (Firefox) and I'm sure other browsers have similar functions.

    If you implement this, please DO make it an option! Leave the decision to open a new tab to the user!

    20 votes
  3. Comment on The loneliness thread in ~talk

    nil
    Link Parent
    It's probably no consolation, but I think I know exactly what you are talking about!

    It's probably no consolation, but I think I know exactly what you are talking about!

    1 vote
  4. Comment on The loneliness thread in ~talk

    nil
    Link Parent
    Nothing to add, really. Just wanted to let you know that I think that your analysis is flawless. If only more people would see through the smoke screen of "modern society"!

    Nothing to add, really. Just wanted to let you know that I think that your analysis is flawless. If only more people would see through the smoke screen of "modern society"!

    4 votes
  5. Comment on What, if anything, makes a morally good war? in ~talk

    nil
    Link
    I'd recommend the book "Nonviolence, the History of a Dangerous Idea" by Mark Kurlansky, if you are interested in the mechanics of starting a war. To answer your question, though: a "morally good"...

    I'd recommend the book "Nonviolence, the History of a Dangerous Idea" by Mark Kurlansky, if you are interested in the mechanics of starting a war.

    To answer your question, though: a "morally good" war is whatever those in power want you to believe is "morally good". In my personal view, the expression "good war" is contradiction in terms.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on What Nobody Understands About Content Creation in ~creative

    nil
    Link Parent
    I should clarify: most of the books I have written are non-fiction and there is not as much competition as in the fine literature market there. Even a little marketing could go a long way. One...

    I should clarify: most of the books I have written are non-fiction and there is not as much competition as in the fine literature market there. Even a little marketing could go a long way. One review once sold 100 books in two days and a lecture at university typically sells 200 copies in a month. Unfortunately this happens almost never.

    My point still stands, though: volume without marketing is worth nothing.

    1 vote
  7. Comment on What Nobody Understands About Content Creation in ~creative

    nil
    Link
    While volume may be important for a sustained stream of revenues, I think the key is marketing. I have written more than 10 books (so the volume is fine), most of them were received well, but I...

    While volume may be important for a sustained stream of revenues, I think the key is marketing. I have written more than 10 books (so the volume is fine), most of them were received well, but I can barely make a living. The most common email message I get is, "wow, why didn't I hear about your books earlier?" Why? Because I suck at marketing.

    1 vote
  8. Comment on In your opinion, why is there something instead of nothing? in ~talk

    nil
    Link Parent
    Those are only concepts. Neither you nor the keyboard can exist separate from the rest of the universe, so neither is separate from the universe. All those differences are only thoughts, which are...

    Those are only concepts. Neither you nor the keyboard can exist separate from the rest of the universe, so neither is separate from the universe. All those differences are only thoughts, which are also inseparable from the universe. Nothing can exist of its own volition, no matter how it was "made", except for existence itself. And nothing is ever made or destroyed, there is only being that takes various shapes, constantly transforming from one to another. (Part of ) "you" may very well have been a keyboard before or may become one in the future.

    Thanks! I'm glad I was early and could get that name! :)

  9. Comment on In your opinion, why is there something instead of nothing? in ~talk

    nil
    Link
    There are no things, there is just existence itself which takes all kinds of interesting shapes. Think about it: how is the keyboard in front of you separate from the rest of the universe? How are...

    There are no things, there is just existence itself which takes all kinds of interesting shapes. Think about it: how is the keyboard in front of you separate from the rest of the universe? How are "you" separate from it?

    4 votes
  10. Comment on Minor text formatting updates in ~tildes.official

    nil
    Link Parent
    Also useful! Thanks!

    Also useful! Thanks!

    2 votes
  11. Comment on Minor text formatting updates in ~tildes.official

    nil
    Link Parent
    Great! Should have tried it before asking! :) test, which I should have done in ~test before posting

    Great! Should have tried it before asking! :)

    test, which I should have done in ~test before posting
    1 vote
  12. Comment on Minor text formatting updates in ~tildes.official

    nil
    Link Parent
    Laziness and wanting to avoid learning a new markup, I guess. :) Just kidding! Triple backticks will do fine! Thanks! test

    Laziness and wanting to avoid learning a new markup, I guess. :)

    Just kidding! Triple backticks will do fine! Thanks!

    test
    
    1 vote
  13. Comment on Minor text formatting updates in ~tildes.official

    nil
    Link
    What about <PRE>? Pretty please?! :)

    What about <PRE>? Pretty please?! :)

  14. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~tildes

    nil
    Link Parent
    Yes, but they do no offer any falsification, but only anecdotal "evidence". I also have anecdotal evidence: I did experiments, they showed predictive power with reasonable confidence. Of course...

    Yes, but they do no offer any falsification, but only anecdotal "evidence". I also have anecdotal evidence: I did experiments, they showed predictive power with reasonable confidence. Of course N<10, so my results are worthless, but at least I tried.

    Until definite research is done, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

  15. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~tildes

    nil
    Link Parent
    I did not say there are no problems with MBTI, I said it has predictive power.

    I did not say there are no problems with MBTI, I said it has predictive power.

  16. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~tildes

    nil
    Link Parent
    I meant predictive, as in "make a prediction, do an experiment, falsify."

    I meant predictive, as in "make a prediction, do an experiment, falsify."

  17. Comment on What do you remember about the "old" internet? in ~talk

    nil
    Link
    My first internet connection was a 1200 baud cu connection to an HP9000 at university. When downloading large stuff via FTP (like a few hundred kilobytes) I usually drove to the campus and copied...

    My first internet connection was a 1200 baud cu connection to an HP9000 at university. When downloading large stuff via FTP (like a few hundred kilobytes) I usually drove to the campus and copied the download to floppy disk, because the phone line was too flaky for a zmodem download.

    I did have mail and Usenet news before that, though! My Unix box dialed in to the next node, using the same 1200-baud modem, and exchanged batches every night.

    You valued software much more after staring at a progress indicator for hours or driving to campus to make a copy.

    1 vote
  18. Comment on Why doesn't Common Lisp see more usage? in ~comp

    nil
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    Back in the days (1960's-80's), LISP did not really have any competitors, except for other dialects of LISP, and the "expensive proprietary equipment" was IBM iron, like the 70x and System/360 as...

    Back in the days (1960's-80's), LISP did not really have any competitors, except for other dialects of LISP, and the "expensive proprietary equipment" was IBM iron, like the 70x and System/360 as well as DEC machines like the PDP-1, PDP-6, and PDP-10. Was it expensive? Sure. But the same hardware was required to run FORTRAN or COBOL. Nothing special here. LISP machines came later and they did fill a niche, but not for a long time, because hardware development caught up so that LISP could run on an off-the-shelf SUN or VAXstation.

    Lack of adoption? Certainly not back then and not even now. Maybe lack of visibility, because there are few shiny FOSS projects, but certainly not lack of adoption. There are loads of quality packages for Common Lisp and for all kinds of dialects of Scheme. And there are even vendors who make a living by selling Common Lisp development environments. How many vendors make a living by selling C compilers?

    And, finally, LISP is not that different unless you want it to be different. That's its strength! Want to write imperative FORTRAN-style code in LISP? Go ahead? Declarative? No problem. Object-oriented? Sure! Functional? Knock yourself out.

    To anyone who wants to make an informed decision, I suggest you pick up some decent introduction textbook and work your way through it. For instance, Friedman and Felleisen's "The Little LISPer" or Touretzky's "Common LISP: A Gentle Introduction to Symbolic Computation". Or have a look at this list: http://schemers.org/Documents/

    Edit: for a more up to date and less academical work see Seibel's "Practical Common Lisp".

    1 vote
  19. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~comp

    nil
    Link
    xterm. In 80x24!

    xterm. In 80x24!

    3 votes
  20. Comment on Why doesn't Common Lisp see more usage? in ~comp

    nil
    Link
    LISP has seen a lot of usage in the 1960's, 70's, and 80's. There were lots of interesting dialects and implementations, all with their own sweet spots. LISP 1.5 on IBM iron was the first one...

    LISP has seen a lot of usage in the 1960's, 70's, and 80's. There were lots of interesting dialects and implementations, all with their own sweet spots. LISP 1.5 on IBM iron was the first one heavily used, mostly in computer algebra. It then evolved into MACLISP (from Project MAC, unrelated to the computer by the vegetable company) and INTERLISP and a few other efforts, like Portable Standard LISP, LISP 2, NIL (New Implementation of LISP), etc.

    In the 1980's, specialized hardware for running LISP was created by multiple companies (LMI, Symbolics, Texas Instruments, etc). The LISP Machines ran descendents of either MACLISP of INTERLISP. MACLISP evolved into ZetaLISP, INTERLISP into several branches running on different hardware.

    So in the late 70's there was MACLISP, Scheme, INTERLISP, Spice LISP, ZetaLISP, LISP Machine LISP, Portable Standard LISP, and may others. All of these were commercial or commercialized implementations, some of them running on specialized LISP machine hardware.

    So LISP has seen some massive usage in the course of time! Enough usage to keep several companies with several hundred employees afloat.

    Then COMMON LISP (later Common Lisp) came. It is pretty much a consolidation of all of the above dialects and one of the two dialects that are still commonly used these days, the other one being Scheme.

    Why was it mostly replaced by other languages in the 1990's? Some quote execution speed (which is a myth, there are LISP compilers that can easily compete with C), some garbage collection (which is a solved problem since generational and ephermeral GC).

    The truth is probably more political than technical. The agencies that funded the development of LISP moved on to new ventures and lost interest in the technology. Workstations became capable of running LISP efficiently, so LISP machines became overpriced artifacts (cool, but unnecessary). A few companies survived by selling LISP systems for workstations and then the PC came and workstations became overpriced artifacts (cool, but... you get the idea).

    Even today, though, there are still companies selling commercial LISP development systems, most notably Franz Inc, the creators of FranzLISP (now Allegro).

    One thing many people are missing about LISP is how cool parentheses are!

    LISP is homoiconic, so code and data share the same syntax. Hence it is extremely easy to extend the language using macros. Your LISP does not have a WHEN syntax (i.e. (WHEN condition expression ...))? Easy:

    (define-macro (when expr . body) `(if ,expr (begin ,@body)))

    Sure, other languages also have macros, and even Java has a code walker, but I doubt that you can define some new syntax in one easy one-liner in languages that are not homoiconic.

    Plus, the % command (match paren) makes editing LISP in vi(1) really easy. Move an expression? d%, move, p. Much easier than any other languages.

    And all the parentheses? You really do not see them any longer after a few weeks. And even if: they are beautiful. Esthetics is in the eye of the beholder.

    All in all, rumors of LISP's death are greatly exaggerated! Check out Planet Lisp (http://planet.lisp.org), Planet Scheme (http://scheme.dk/planet/), Lambda the Ultimate (http://lambda-the-ultimate.org/), or Schemers.Org (http://http://schemers.org/)!

    (Edit: markup)

    6 votes