August 28, 2003


From #lisp on

<kkhawi> There is a guy in my neighborhood who has "MAPCAR" for a tag on his car, I always thought he was a Lisper until I spotted him one day packing long rolls of maps and geography material into his car

Posted by jjwiseman at 01:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Pupusa on a Stick

cute little kid at the sunset junction fair in silverlake, LA.  tony pierce's friend karisa took this photo.

Last year was about Sonic Youth, this year was about the food. Squishy, Jack, Sonic and I went to Sunset Junction and ate and ate. Then Jack ate again. Then we drank. Then I rolled around inside the Gravitron, where all us riders applauded the operator sitting inside with us at his little centrally located control station every time he exceeded the maximum safe speed of 24 RPM.

The pupusas, giant bacon-wrapped hot dogs, sweet corn tamales and Hawaiian bbq helped a lot to ease my longing for the pork chop sandwiches, fried cheese on a stick and cream puffs of the Wisconsin state fair.

Once again, Tony Pierce has pictures.

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August 27, 2003


A couple weeks ago I shot a gun for the first time in my life.

i take a bead on something

Lauren, who's big on guns, was in town, and since I'd been curious to shoot we decided to just go ahead and do it. Lauren brought her personal cannon down to LA in the trunk of her car. I get the feeling that Lauren is prepared—for whatever.

lauren loads her gun while i distract her

I convinced Geoff, Scott and Ronnie to come along, too. Besides Lauren, Scott was the only other person who'd shot before. Lauren gave us some quick lessons.

scott is in his happy place

For the first 5 minutes in the range every time someone fired anything larger than a .22 Ronnie and I jumped involuntarily.

chicks with fuckin guns

But we both got over that and had fun. By the end of the night, guns had gone from being chilling instruments of death that I was nervous just to touch to charming little devices that I treated with a casual disregard.

check out my ass

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Hamish Harvey and Mike Hannemann both emailed me about this Register article about some representing-both-data-and-code-as-XML thing.

Hamish says

In all this gushing, never once is Lisp mentioned. If this isn't just Lisp in XML syntax, I want to know how it differs. If it is, I want to know why a patent is pending.

While Mike said

Can't we just bring back Lisp machines with a custom formatter to make people think it's doing XML instead?

I'd make a sarcastic joke here about my surprise at XML being associated with bad ideas, but it's really not worth it.

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August 26, 2003

They are Mostly Good Days

marisa, ann and a large disembodied head

I don't mention it all that much here, but my life is really pretty great.

There are too many reasons why my life is pretty great to list here, but one of them is that on a good day really cute, funny, crazy girls invite me to the slumber party they're having in my bed.

I try hard not to take these things for granted.

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Fresh Meat

Bill Clementson has some one-sentence descriptions of his collection of lisp and AI books (he also has a new lisp-focused weblog).

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August 25, 2003

Shuttle Progress

NASA is testing some ways to do on-orbit repairs of damage to the the shuttle's leading wing edge [via robot wisdom].

That still leaves these five shuttle catastrophe scenarios that NASA's currently most worried about (Jorn's blurb: “Shuttles remain hopeless deathtraps”).

“Some people still involved in the program confided to me that they have been awakened in the night with nightmarish pictures of the vehicle cartwheeling off the pad,” said Bill Heink, who retired in 2000 as site director of The Boeing Co. shuttle operations at Kennedy Space Center.

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August 22, 2003

I Have Seen This Happen Quite Often

Joe Marshall on ll1-discuss:

I have seen this happen time and time again:
   1.  Prototype is developed in Lisp
   2.  Attempt is made to port to a less capable platform:
        these days it's Java or C++, but in the 80's it was
        C and Ada (remember Ada?)
    3. The result is a general fiasco.

I have seen this happen quite often:
    1.  Flagship product is developed in C/C++
    2.  Somebody in R&D tries Lisp
    3.  Lisp version is quickly up and running, provides
        more features than the flagship product, and
        performs better.
    (unfortunately, this is usually followed with Lisp
    project cancelled, R&D guy gets disgusted and quits)

However, I have *never* seen:
    1.  Product or prototype developed in Lisp.
    2.  Subsequent product developed in C++ that is
         more capable, delivered on time and on budget.

Perhaps I'm living a sheltered existence.
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August 21, 2003

Just Lazy

lax's encounter restaurant
LAX's Encounter restaurant, photo by Ann

The other day I woke up and the first thought that hit my brain was “I'm going to take a lemonodor hiatus.”

Then I checked myself. What the fuck, next thing I'll be “going on sabbatical.”

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August 19, 2003

Review of Lisp web server APIs

The lispweb mailing list has woken up a bit, with Dan Barlow kicking off a survey of lisp web server APIs.

The first step towards standardizing is to study the existing work, and I'm going to start with the work I know best, because I wrote it: Araneida. I invite authors and users of other CL web servers to review their tools against similar criteria (configuration, HTTP request model, URI manipulation tools) and follow up here. A list of links to responses will be collected, probably on an ALU wiki page set up for the purpose. Very well, then. Let's go

So far they've covered Araneida, cl-modlisp, AllegroServe, Edi Weitz's TBNL, Nic Ferrier's HIPY and O-Plan.

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August 18, 2003

Sports Night

If I were a cam whore I'd have the Sports Night DVD set on my wish list.

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August 16, 2003


satellite view of the blackout

nyc is not entirely dark

Mike Hannemann, from NYC:

I'd been talking with a co-worker in Kalamazoo, MI, when the power went out. I gave him a call to apologize for dropping the connection and explain that the power had gone out, and the last thing I'd expected was for him to respond, “What, you too?”

Josh: “When the time comes, you will be the first I hunt for food, I thought, siphoning gas out of the Le Sabre next door.”

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August 14, 2003



Smog is just another kind of weather here. And this morning it was making the sky look as dramatic and pretty as any midwestern storm clouds.

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August 13, 2003

Like Beyoncé and Jay-Z

Bruce Eckel quoting Robert K. Cooper [via Krzysztof Kowalczyk, in the context of the question of who should stick with computers in a rough job market”]:

In 1960, a researcher interviewed 1500 business-school students and classified them in two categories: those who were in it for the money—1245 of them—and those who were going to use the degree to do something they cared deeply about—the other 255 people. Twenty years later, the researcher checked on the graduates and found that 101 of them were millionaires—and all but one of those millionaires came from the 255 people who had pursued what they loved to do!

Research on more than 400,000 Americans over the past 40 years indicates that pursuing your passions—even in small doses, here and there each day—helps you make the most of your current capabilities and encourages you to develop new ones.

Inspirational blah blah soft headed blah conflating money & success etc. Po Bronson blah crap. But it's still good to remember. And for me it's good to keep in mind how lucky I am to be doing something I'm passionate about. I'm not sure most people even know what they're passionate about.

As I write this there are are two ants crawling on my legs and one on my chest (it's ant season in LA). As long as I don't smash one in the laptop when I close it, everything's fine.

Posted by jjwiseman at 09:08 AM | Comments (948) | TrackBack

August 12, 2003

What Do They Do

In answer to the question “What do they do at the lisp conference?” Philip Greenspun says they talk “about how a 20-year-old version of Lisp is so much better than all the language tools being hyped right now.” Hee.

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New Symbolics Museum

The new Symbolics Museum, which I didn't know about until now but seems to have gone up in the last month, is pretty nice [via CLiki].

Posted by jjwiseman at 12:15 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Patterns of Software Online

Richard Gabriel's Patterns of Software is now available for free online [via lambda the ultimate].

I liked this book a lot, and there are three things from it that I often remember or think about:

  1. Object orientation is code compression (not much different from Paul Graham saying that object orientation is a way to write spaghetti code).
  2. Starting a company with friends inevitably leads to an end to friendship.
  3. Smart people fail. A lot.

(These might not be exactly accurate, but they're what I remember).

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August 11, 2003

Lemonodor Secretssss (#2)

Right up until I learned Lisp, my favorite programming language was C++.

Posted by jjwiseman at 11:16 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

The Spam Wars

Paul Graham wrote a bit about spammers' attempts to fool Bayesian filters and some possible counter strategies in “Filters that Fight Back”.

A little thought should make it clear that spam detection is AI-complete. I think Greg Egan (in Permutation City?) even described a world in which people used intelligent agents to filter spam, so spam used intelligent agents to try to figure out if it was being read by a real person before allowing its content to be viewed, leading to an arms race that ended up with some people being concerned about the ethics of forcing artificially intelligent software to do nothing but read spam all day.

It looks like the arms race is heating up. What a terrible waste of everyone's time.

Posted by jjwiseman at 11:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 09, 2003

Because It's Saturday

...and I'm a little hungover, here's some stuff some friends are doing.

Jennie and Jay stuff their faces in Milwaukee

Jennie and Chris went to the Wisconsin State Fair.

I was supposed to be there, but I waited too long to get plane tickets (this isn't a quote, this is just me talking).

Jennifer ate a McGriddle:

One of the potential turnoffs for me was the idea that there were little paintballs full of syrup that would orgasmically erupt in a burst of maple spooge every time you took a bite.

Tom and Vivian are driving across the country:

...we see our share of gross, cylindrical children with a lot of Carl's, Jr. and Playstation and not very much of veggies and exercise.

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August 08, 2003

A to the L to the New

The Association of Lisp Users has a brand new web site. Thank god. (Compare to the old site, though maybe I'm just a sucker for their new color scheme...)

Of note: The ALU membership drive, the ALU CLiki, “Powered by AllegroServe and Allegro WebActions.”

Posted by jjwiseman at 08:57 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Bits, Management and Production of

On clump, Miles Egan announced Macho 0.1: “Macho is an email web archiving system, similar in scope to pipermail or mhonarc. It generates static html views of an email archive, organized and indexed for easy browsing.”

And Nathan Froyd advertised some lisp bits:

functions for computing SHA-1 hashes
a toy implementation of the svndiff binary diff algorithm and format used by Subversion
the start of an system for parsing vCard and iCal entries
a rewrite of Hemlock's SPELL package to remove the dependencies on CMUCL-specific functions
Posted by jjwiseman at 08:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


jeff mangum's head, i assume

Number of times I've listened to the Neutral Milk Hotel album On Avery Island in the past 24 hours: 6.

Even I know that overexposure to this emotional, fuzzy folk/pop isn't healthy. As I listen to it I think to myself “this isn't healthy,” and then I turn it up. The deal I've made with myself is that as long as I score at least a 2 on the NMHAKI (Neutral Milk Hotel Ass-Kicking Inventory, i.e., how many people in this photo need to be beaten up) then I can keep playing it.

my dream girl don't exist.mp3 (not from that album), you've passed.mp3 (from that album, but probably not a song anyone else would choose from it if they were choosing just one song)

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August 07, 2003

Aiming for 51% Lisp By Mass, Not Volume

You should probably just read all of The Knowledge for Thirst [via Jennifer and gavin]. I know I will.

On Pibb Xtra:

But like I explained to Marco, The Glass of My Needs contains my desire to take my neighbor's yappy little poodle and put it up on the roof of the high school, and he was saying that the Glass of The World's Needs is full of many things, such as dogs not liking to be on high school roofs, and high schools not wanting dogs on their roofs, and poodle-owners wanting their dogs to be on the ground at all times. And I was like But Marco, my glass is right in front of me and I really want to put the poodle on the roof of the high school and he said that maybe if I look again the Glass of My Needs is actually full of Peaceful and Legal Conflict Resolution Resulting from Open Conversation with my Neighbor about his Annoying Dog. And I just remember staring into the glass for a really long time as the room began to spin around me—the meds were really kicking in—but I think I managed to find a drop of Punching Marco in the Face deep down in my glass before they grabbed me from behind and dragged me back to my room.

So: about the Pibb Xtra that I'm drinking.

Code Red:

I can feel its nanobots building cities of refreshment in my heart.


I want to walk into a store and see where my bitch-ass whim takes me, is that so hard to understand? Didn't we just blow up Iraq to make the world safe for make-your-own-smoothie shops?

Posted by jjwiseman at 08:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Juri Pakaste mentions J, a text editor written in Java that uses Common Lisp as its extension language (it currently passes 61% of the GCL ANSI test suite—somehow I think the next 20 or 30% are going to be pretty tricky) .

Posted by jjwiseman at 08:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 06, 2003

SBCL/OS X screenshots

Brian Mastenbrook has some screenshots of SBCL running on OS X.

the Portable Hemlock text editor:

portable hemlock

Dan Barlow's Acclaim (viewer.lisp) in action:


(These are running in X11 on OS X, of course.)

Posted by jjwiseman at 11:18 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Mise en Scene

Fred updated. These things are important.

While Fred didn't come out and visit me in LA this summer, he did help me reverse a trend in my thinking and behavior that I had recently noticed, and been troubled by: Being defensive about and apologetic for loving the White Stripes.

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Learning Scheme

Greg Graham is learning scheme and documenting the process as he goes.

Posted by jjwiseman at 12:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 05, 2003

Lisp Project Hosting

Erik Enge is offering “free CVS access, mailinglists and webspace” to open source lisp projects that

  • have a BSD/MIT/PD license
  • include an ASDF system definition
  • run on CMUCL and SBCL

(Somehow I've ended up with about 20 unpublished posts, and some might not be “fresh”. I'm working on it.)

Posted by jjwiseman at 11:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Robotic Ladies of Film

Will sent me a link to the “Robotic Ladies of Film” poster contest at Ain't it Cool News.

1st place
2nd place
3rd place

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RMS's Lisp Speech

Oops. I saw this, and then forgot about it until I saw je_apostrophe's link to it: Richard Stallman's speech from the 2002 International Lisp Conference, “ My Lisp Experiences and the Development of GNU Emacs

Posted by jjwiseman at 09:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 04, 2003

Lemonodor Secretssss (#1)

I can't touch type.

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je_apostrophe: “If you want to process RDF in lisp, then use Wilbur.” (by Nokia.)

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August 03, 2003

Not To Mention the Belly Button/Armpit Sniffing Affair

If you read lemonodor regularly, as I do, you probably have noticed that there have been zero new colorful pictures to look at recently. And you might have found the posts from the last week to be kind of (really) boring; it's all lisp and robots and almost no playboy parties, ass-grabbing anecdotes, burlesque girls or rocking n rolling swedes, which actually do pretty much fill my days and make it a real challenge for me to come up with something, anything, else, but especially good lisp robot stuff to put in here.

The thing is that some coworkers were looking at this thing and they might have found it interesting, which made me feel funny, so I decided to smoke them out using the power of boredom.

Don't worry, they'll be gone soon, spending their time looking at more interesting or funnier things.

(It was funny, though, when Yu came up to me and asked, very seriously, “John, why would someone read someone else's weblog?” Yu, the situation is even worse than you know. For real.)

One of these days I guess I should find out where the logs are kept, and see if there might be other people who aren't close personal friends reading this.

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Dan Barlow hacked up some slide presentation code for SBCL.

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August 02, 2003

Taking the Human out of the Loop

The U.S. Joint Forces Command is performing a study called “Unmanned Effects: Taking the Human out of the Loop” examining ideas for the widespread use of tactical, autonomous robots throughout the U.S. military [via].

This article quotes Gordon Johnson, the Unmanned Effects Team leader for Project Alpha (the “U.S. Joint Forces Command rapid idea analysis group” in charge of the study):

“We call them tactical autonomous combatants because they'll operate largely autonomously with some limited human supervision,” explained Johnson. “We're talking about, where we can and where we have the capability of replacing humans. We're not talking about the operational level or strategic level, but at the tactical level, still using humans where we need to. Using adjustable autonomy or supervised autonomy, humans will still have to interact with the machines and help guide them.”

And, somewhat ominously, and to me at least, implausibly:

“We believe that other countries or groups will pursue robotics,” Richards said. “We can be at the vanguard, or we can lag behind and some day have to oppose a lethal robotic force. Better to be in the lead.”

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August 01, 2003


Christophe Rhodes announced on sbcl-devel that SBCL (in cvs) supports OS X (modulo three or four known issues--Christophe says the problem with mmap'ed streams mentioned in the announcement has already been fixed).

Posted by jjwiseman at 08:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

SOAP for Lisp

Franz has released a SOAP API for ACL (SOAP is an XML-based RPC mechanism; it's used by Amazon and Google as the means of interfacing to their public web services APIs).

When I last looked at SOAP it was annoyingly complex. But that doesn't mean it's not important, and this may be the first SOAP implementation for Lisp that's complete enough to talk to Google, more than a year after they announced their SOAP-based API.

I find that slightly embarrassing.

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ILC 2002 Proceedings

Proceedings from the 2002 International Lisp Conference are available from Franz ($65), along with videos of some talks, posters, t-shirts, etc.

Posted by jjwiseman at 12:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack