Happy New Year

We’re just staying at home this year, avoiding all the drunks with moving vehicles and fireworks.

Happy New Year, everyone! 2005 has been one of the most eventful, yet most enjoyable years of my life so far.

What’s wrong with kids today?

Tonight, Amy and I went out to eat at Ninfa’s, here on Westheimer in Houston. It’s the first time we’d gone there during normal evening dinner hours.

We were seated between two tables with large families, each table having three or four children (all looked to be under the age of 10). Throughout dinner, the kids threw temper tantrums, cried, screamed, yelled, and failing that, got out of their chairs and *ran* around their table and the restaraunt, disturbing everyone else around them who was trying to have a nice dinner.

If Amy or I had done that as children, we would have been told to sit our asses down and shut up. If we failed to do that, we’d have been taken outside and given a spanking, and then probably another after getting home. These kids didn’t seem to care, and their parents either didn’t care about making them behave, or were scared to properly discipline their children in public.

Is fear of getting in trouble for “child abuse” so bad nowadays that parents aren’t even allowed to spank their kids when they need to?

It reminds me of something that happened when I was around the same age. I was grocery shopping with my mother, and was acting up. She told me “Behave, or I’ll spank you.” Like the little smart-ass I was at the time, I looked at her and said “You cant! You don’t have a belt!”

She looked at me, walked down to the cowboy (this was rural Oklahoma) at the other end of the aisle. “Excuse me sir, can I borrow your belt? I need to spank my child.”

He said “Yes, Ma’am.” Took off his belt, and handed it to her. She walked back, gave me a sound spanking, and thanked the cowboy as she returned his belt.

That was one of the times I learned to never underestimate my mother.

The Perils of JavaSchools

Joel Spolsky has written one of the best articles I’ve ever read, about the dumbing-down of Computer Science educations. Some schools have replaced languages like Scheme and ML with Java, and are now trying to make Java even *simpler* to learn.

Book Review: The Brain Makers

I finally finished H.P. Newquist’s The Brain Makers a few days ago after seeing it on Bill Clementson’s list of Lisp books. Luckily, I found it for a great price ($0.50 plus shipping!) as an Amazon used book.

I really liked this title. Primarily about the “AI Revolution”, the rise and fall of companies selling Lisp Machines and related software in the late 70s and early 80s, it’s probably one of the best histories of Symbolics and LMI that I’ve seen so far.

At times I wish it had been a bit more technical, but I suspect it was written more for people who wanted to see why the *companies* failed, not the merits or problems with the actual *products*.

I remember from years ago, reading a bunch of “Symbolics field support horror stories” on the Net somewhere, but I’m not able to find those anywhere now, nor anything resembling what I remember. Anybody else know what I’m talking about?

Upgrade Fever

Got tired of waiting for Sveasoft to release an updated Talisman firmware that fixes the bugs I’d run into, so I switched my WRT54G to the DD-WRT firmware last night. Everything went without a problem, the newest DD-WRT firmware is faster, and has more features. I’ll send them $25 in a week or two if it stays stable.

Along with the router firmware, I upgraded this weblog and SunHELP to WordPress 2.0. Those installs went smoothly as well, and all of the plugins I’m using are 2.0 compatible. The new object cache backend plus the wp-cache plugin that I was already using, makes both sites even faster.

how timely

At first I thought it checked the date, then realized that CLISP always does this:

. . . . I . . . i     ooooo    o        ooooooo   ooooo   ooooo
I I I I I I I I I    8     8   8           8     8     o  8    8
I I  \ `+' /  I I    8         8           8     8        8    8
I  \  `-+-'  /  I    8         8           8      ooooo   8oooo
 \  `-__|__-'  /     8         8           8           8  8
  `--___|___--'      8     o   8           8     o     8  8
        |             ooooo    8oooooo  ooo8ooo   ooooo   8

Copyright (c) Bruno Haible, Michael Stoll 1992, 1993
Copyright (c) Bruno Haible, Marcus Daniels 1994-1997
Copyright (c) Bruno Haible, Pierpaolo Bernardi, Sam Steingold 1998
Copyright (c) Bruno Haible, Sam Steingold 1999-2000
Copyright (c) Sam Steingold, Bruno Haible 2001-2005

Lisp Fun, this time with Maxima

Latest Maxima under Solaris 9/SPARC:

root@ohno:/usr/local/src/maxima-5.9.2/src> ./maxima
Maxima 5.9.2 http://maxima.sourceforge.net
Using Lisp CMU Common Lisp 19c (19C)
Distributed under the GNU Public License. See the file COPYING.
Dedicated to the memory of William Schelter.
This is a development version of Maxima. The function bug_report()
provides bug reporting information.

It compiled with SBCL, but then I couldn’t save an executable image. CMUCL worked fine, as you can see above. Yes, this is what I do at 5am on Christmas morning. 😎


Time Warner had scheduled a tech to come out and fix my repair job, for between 8-10am. Given their prior track record, I expected them to either show up early and leave a “Sorry we Missed You” note, or not show until 9:55.

The tech showed up EXACTLY at 8am, took less than 20 minutes to fix the shoddy work the first installer had done, and was gone by 8:30. It’s a Christmas miracle!

I’m going back to bed. Bah Humbug.