April 30, 2004


Franz has added support for ACL to SWIG, which supports the automatic generation of FFI code for ACL from C headers. This is potentially very handy.

There are some limitations: No C++ support, no support for unions, nested structures, bitfields within structures, global variables or enumerated types, functions with string arguments need to be handled manually and some defconstants generated from #defines will be wrong.

Ouch, using C headers is such a deficient way of specifying an API. Unfortunately it's usually all you've got.

Posted by jjwiseman at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2004

Swaths of Love

eagles of death metal

Last night I saw Eagles of Death Metal at The Henry Ford Theater with squishy and Joanne. They were opening for The Distillers, but they rocked so hard that once they finished we just couldn't take any more and we left after just a few Distillers songs for the oasis of Canters, the final pastramic conclusion to any good night of rock and roll.

Gavin told me about Eagles; they're a side project of Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme. Oddly, they are neither predatory birds nor are they heavy metal, but are actually a trio of guys who play americana-y voodoo-y rock and/or roll with a vengeance and who, I'm guessing, also cut mighty, uh, swaths of love through the ladies (especially the “extremely gay looking” lead singer, Jesse).

eagles of death metal / i only want you

Posted by jjwiseman at 06:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Yuji “bmonkey” Minejima has released hyperspec-addon.el for emacs, which enhances the ubiquitous hyperspec.el by adding the ability to search the Common Lisp Hyperspec for chapter names, format control characters (my favorite), reader macro characters, loop keywords, MOP symbols, arguments (e.g., recursive-p) and concepts (e.g., lambda lists). [via Bill Clementson.]

Posted by jjwiseman at 09:23 AM | Comments (0)


One of Jack Coleman's posts mentions something called SDRAW, which he said was helping him visualize cons structures. I hadn't heard of it before, but googling turned up a copy of the SDRAW code available from David Touretzky.

? (sdraw '((a b)(c d)))

 |                       |
 v                       v
[*|*]--->[*|*]--->NIL   [*|*]--->[*|*]--->NIL
 |        |              |        |
 v        v              v        v
 A        B              C        D

(This example is from a document by Lee Spector on Lisp internals.)

Posted by jjwiseman at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2004

Gameboy Goes Mobile

gameboy robot

Phillip Torrone has made a robot with a Nintendo Gameboy as a brain.

Posted by jjwiseman at 04:12 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Weekend Bus Trip : Owens Valley

CLUI bus tour of owen's valley

This weekend I'm going on a two-day bus tour of Owens Valley, organized by the Center for Land Use Interpretation as part of their Diversions and Dislocations exhibit.

From the relevant CLUI page, here are a few of the places we'll be visiting:

Jawbone Canyon
Haiwee Reservoir
Lakebed Mining at Cartago and Bartlett
Alabama Gates
Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery
Owens River Intake

ovro millimeter array

Owens Valley Radio Astronomy Observatory
Owens Lake Rewatering Project

manzanar high school

Manzanar Relocation Center

This is going to be so fun.

Posted by jjwiseman at 10:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 21, 2004

SDF Loves OpenGenera

Check it out, Super Dimension Fortress, the free shell/hosting/email organization, is running (among other things) Open Genera:

Connected to ol.freeshell.org.
Escape character is 'off'.

if new login 'new' ..

login: new
tput: tgetent failure: No such file or directory
Welcome to the SDF Public Access UNIX System - Est. 1987
You are the 678th guest today, logged in on 21-Apr-04 21:54:13.

Type 'mkacct' to create a UNIX shell account.
Type 'teach' for UNIX class information.
Type 'help' for additional commands.
In europe?  Try 'sdf-eu.org'

FEP Command: help

|COMMAND             | DESCRIPTION                             |
|what                | what is the SDF public access UNIX?     |
|mkacct              | create your own UNIX shell account      |
|dialup              | US & Canada SDF dialup access           |
|teach               | for teachers and UNIX class instructors |
|traceroute  {host}  | map a route to a specified host         |
|ruptime             | display system status                   |
|finger      {user}  | check if a login is available           |
|software            | ported and installed software packages  |
|logout              | disconnect from sdf.lonestar.org        |

Yep. It's a simulated Lisp machine. [via Henry Lenzi.]

Posted by jjwiseman at 03:00 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 20, 2004

Lisp on eBay

lisp machine rear bulkhead
Symbolics 3675 rear bulkhead

Roman A, Brenes wrote me to point out this Symbolics 3675 rear bulkhead for sale on eBbay.

At the moment, there are also two copies of a “LISP/80 CDROM” available.

Posted by jjwiseman at 10:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 19, 2004

X-45 UCAV Makes History

x-45 drops bomb

It's just one historic achievement in robotic warfare after another these days. The X-45 unmanned combat air vehicle's “point-click-kill” software is a success:

ST. LOUIS, April 18, 2004 — Target confirmation, arm and release consent. With those three commands from its human operator, a Boeing [NYSE: BA] X-45A unmanned combat aircraft made aviation history by releasing an inert (non-explosive) Global Positioning System-guided Small Smart Bomb and hitting a ground target today at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Range, China Lake, Calif.

“For the first time, an unmanned combat system has demonstrated that it can successfully deliver precision weapons on target,” said Boeing Integrated Defense Systems President and CEO Jim Albaugh. “Unmanned systems like the X-45 are well suited for high-risk missions like the suppression of enemy air defense and precision strike. Once fully developed, these systems will provide commanders with effective and affordable solutions that compliment and support warfighters on the ground, in the air, or at sea.”

During the test an operator authorized release, and when the aircraft determined it was within range the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) X-45A technology demonstrator dropped the guided 250-pound weapon from its internal weapons bay at 35,000 ft. and 0.67 Mach (approximately 442 mph). The aircraft autonomously performed all maneuvers, bay door operations, and weapon-away release sequences under human operator supervision.

The next major milestone for the X-45 J-UCAS program will be the demonstration of multiple-vehicle coordinated flight. That event will take place following a series of single-vehicle checkout operations and coordinated flights between an X-45A and a manned T-33.

Posted by jjwiseman at 06:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


they might be giants

On Saturday I saw They Might Be Giants play a special show for kids at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus. A special TMBG show for kids has

  • mostly songs from No! (other songs were played, but shortened for kid-style spans of attention)
  • puppets (singing Robot Parade)
  • lots of audience participation. I mean screaming.

The last time I saw TMBG was in 1989, and while waiting in line to get a dollar bill signed by the Johns I ran into a guy I knew from my hometown, Otis Ball. Otis was working as their roadie, though he was a musician in his own right (walk on water / Otis Ball w/ backup vocals by John Flansburgh and John Linnell).

This time I just saw Andy Richter.

Posted by jjwiseman at 12:03 PM | Comments (1)

April 16, 2004

Artificial Intelligence for Autonomous Control in Space

Artificial Intelligence for Autonomous Control in Space
Presented by Dr. Ayanna Howard
Senior Member of Technical Staff, JPL Telerobotics Research and Applications Group
A von Kármán Lecture, April 15, 7 pm.

I hadn't realized the lecture was for a general audience. It was a good presentation, but too basic to keep my interest.

It was fun going to up JPL with some friends, though, and looking over the full-size Voyager mock up. I'm looking forward to the imminent JPL open house again. This time I'll try to get to the clean room observation areas and the indoor Mars yard.

Posted by jjwiseman at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

Spam Vacuum

I got hit with 248 spam comments last night. With mt-blacklist it was a matter of only a couple minutes to clean up.

Posted by jjwiseman at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

Southern California Summer

Lying in bed this morning, waking up but eyes still closed, I heard a jungle's worth of birds outside.

Posted by jjwiseman at 10:52 AM | Comments (2)

April 15, 2004


Last night I heard a little bit about the evolution of cannon technology and its influence on Renaissance French garden design, and Hagop Sandaldjian's fascination with human hair, at one of those post-modern academic English dept. conferences I've heard so much about, in a huge building that used to be the corporate headquarters of some hyphenated incarnation of Big Star Wars Defense Contractors Inc. but looks like a mall from the 80s, down to the occasional benches for the parents and old people and the patchy throngs of young guys and young girls walking though, except that all the young people somehow appear more wholesome than the usual mall tarts and suburban-style thugs.

Posted by jjwiseman at 12:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 14, 2004

Finding Lisp

Finding Lisp is a new weblog by Dave Roberts about his decision to learn and use Lisp. He says “I hope it will become a guidepost for newbies interested in Lisp as well as a resource for those that decide to take the plunge.” and “...if most other languages are evolving towards Lisp, why not just use Lisp and get there faster?”

Programming Languages, a Journey (author unknown) appears that it might be something similar:

Then, when I saw this:

> (/ 10 20)

I about fell on the floor. If you try dividing 10/20 in Java, I believe you get 0 as the answer unless you use the right data types.

Posted by jjwiseman at 01:31 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


“I've never built a lisp package that was more complicated to build than DEFSYSTEM utilities are to use.” -- Gary Byers, on the openmcl-devel mailing list.

I sympathize.

Posted by jjwiseman at 10:15 AM | Comments (1)

CLIM Guided Tour

Paolo Amoroso found a CLIM tutorial from the old ACM publication Lisp Pointers that Markus Fix subsequently converted to PDF: “A Guided Tour of the Common Lisp Interface Manager”.

Posted by jjwiseman at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2004

SCL Pricing

From #lisp:

<kmr> got an email from dtc, scl's price now starts at
      $10000AU, so outside the reach of most individuals.

<kmr> The $10000AU does include support and dtc was
      extremely rapid/effective in fixing things in the
      version of scl that I was able to afford
Posted by jjwiseman at 08:23 PM | Comments (1)

Tip of the Iceberg

aibo crushing fetish
japanese foot fetish av star crushing an aibo underfoot

I'm unable to avert my gaze from the spectacle of the integration of robots with every aspect of human culture and society. I feel lucky to be living in this very interesting moment in history.

Posted by jjwiseman at 04:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


white box robotics' hmv security bot

At first I thought it seemed like White Box Robotics and VIA was trying to do something like what Evolution made a half-hearted attempt to do with the ER1 robot: create a robot for the home that's really a mobile PC, that plays music, sends email, etc., and is easily modifiable by hobbyists. Then I noticed they're actually using our ER1 software (“For its robotic functions, such as motion or obstacle avoidance, the 912 uses Evolution Robotics Robot Control Center software.”).

Other people have already commented on the similarity between these robots and Heathkit's HERO. (Would HERO ever have had a “great-looking SUV style grill guard”, though?)

Posted by jjwiseman at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2004

Firm cheers loss of robot in Iraq

[This is historic. From CNN:]

BURLINGTON, Massachusetts (Reuters) -- A U.S. robot manufacturer Monday hailed the destruction of one of its units in Iraq and said it showed how valuable the machines have become for the U.S. military.

iRobot Corporation learned last week from the Pentagon that one of its units, called a PackBot, was "destroyed in action" for the first time. Its destruction meant the life of a U.S. soldier may well have been saved, the company said.

"It was a special moment -- a robot got blown up instead of a person," said iRobot CEO Colin Angle.

The company, based in Burlington, Massachusetts, declined to provide further details on how the PackBot was destroyed in Iraq.

"The U.S. military is ... concerned that if they release too many details, insurgents will be able to take action (against the robots)," said Osa Fitch, program executive at iRobot's Government and Industrial Robotics division.

Between 50 and 100 PackBots are now being used in Iraq and Afghanistan for battlefield reconnaissance, search-and-destroy missions of explosives and ordnance disposal, while the soldiers who control them keep out of harm's way.

The 42-pound base unit, known as the PackBot Scout, costs around $50,000 and operates in adverse conditions such as navigating steep terrain, exploring mountain caves, falling off cliffs and fording streams.

When fitted with a special arm, a PackBot can reach and disrupt booby traps that have emerged as a weapon of choice among Iraqi insurgents.

On Monday, iRobot signed a contract worth an estimated $32 million to develop a smaller, more advanced form of the PackBot for the U.S. military.

The company will develop the robot as part of the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems program.

Posted by jjwiseman at 05:09 PM | Comments (0)

Back Again

If I really cared about reliable hosting, I would, of course, pay money for it.

Sorry about that.

Posted by jjwiseman at 11:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 06, 2004

Normal Lisp

quake models in lisp

Xach Beane shows off some of Timo Tossavainen's OpenGL code for loading Quake models.

Posted by jjwiseman at 01:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 04, 2004

OK, Just One More

Via Boing Boing, Rupert Scammell is a “volunteer in the video editing and media production center at the recent DARPA Grand Challenge”, and he has pictures.

Posted by jjwiseman at 06:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 02, 2004


Randall Beer has released version 0.2 of FPC-PPC, which “compiles Lisp double-float functions and expressions directly into PPC assembly language for faster execution and considerably less consing.”

There's a bugfix, and it now works in OpenMCL as well as MCL.

Posted by jjwiseman at 06:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 01, 2004

Baby's first gold tooth initials inscribed S-E-X-X-Y

The day after I got back from Chicago I went to the dentist. A couple of my teeth had been bothering me for a few weeks, and it finally got so bad that I could no longer put off finding a dentist in LA.

What I thought was going to be just an exam turned into a three and a half hour procedure when Dr. Abe saw that I had a big crack in one of my molars. “This is like the old west, we're shooting first and asking questions later!” he said. I'm not so keen on the analogy's implications of reckless action, but I was really glad that he was concerned enough to fit me into the schedule right then and there.

Actually I was pretty freaked out, because an artifact in the x-ray film developing made it look like I had a GIANT cavity, and a couple other teeth have smaller cracks, so for a while they were talking root canal and two crowns. “Show him the root canal DVD, these Idealab people have analytical minds, they like to see that stuff.” Yeah, I didn't even know what a root canal was, or a crown. I was pretty freaked out. Luckily, a second x-ray film developed by machine instead of by hand showed that the situation was better than we first thought.

my molar
my tooth, with a little cavity and a big crack

my molar
no more cavity, but the crack is deep

This entire post is an excuse to show these fun pictures. I'd never had a dentacam used on me before.

Having three cracked teeth seems kind of weird. A couple years ago I used to grind my teeth pretty badly at night, I think that probably has something to do with it. Dr. Abe said the big crack had been there for a while.

My gold tooth will be ready in two weeks.

Posted by jjwiseman at 12:42 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


fannypack on stage

Fannypack did their thing at the Knitting Factory two nights ago. This native Brooklyn-ite found it entertaining, but not quite the blowout experience he was hoping for.

The previous “vocal focal point” of the group, Belinda, has apparently quit and is trying to go solo. So the night I saw them they had a new girl, 16 years old and cute and all, but it was only her second time ever on stage and she lacked Fannypack-level confidence and attitude. And their manager/DJ was a dork. A creepy Svengali dork who kept talking about “[his] girls, [his] favorite girls.”

He writes their songs by trying to imagine what a 17 year old Brooklyn girl's life might be like and what she might say, and if he's kind of dorky and creepy at least he has a slightly funny quote in this article: “I don't want to write songs that are written from my point of view, because if I was to write songs about my life it would be, 'Me and my girlfriend watched four hours of Law & Order on Saturday night,'”

I did kind of love one of the opening acts though, Explogasm. They were dorks, but they weren't trying to be serious.

Posted by jjwiseman at 12:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack