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Apr. 18th, 2014


The week in CL

Babel2 — "Babel2 connects the implementations of our core technologies such as Fluid Construction Grammar (FCG) and Incremental Recruitment Language (IRL) with mechanisms for multi-agent interactions, robotic embodiment, cognitive processing and learning. An extensive monitoring system gives access to every detail of Babel2’s intermediate representations and dynamics and a high modularity ensures that the system can be used in a very wide variety of scenarios." I haven't tried it, but it sounds interesting.

cl-http2-protocol — "This is HTTP/2.0 draft-06 interopability test code written in Common Lisp. … The code offers a pure Common Lisp transport agnostic implementation of the HTTP 2.0 protocol at draft-06." This is not related to Mallery's CL-HTTP, but is based on a Ruby library, ported and updated by Akamai engineer Martin Flack.

emacs-cl — "Emacs Common Lisp is an implementation of Common Lisp, written in Emacs Lisp." A fun hack by Lars Brinkhoff.

{} descriptions — "… a meta level descriptions library for Common Lisp," inspired by Smalltalk Magritte and Lisp On Lines."

Multi-year SBCL uptime. 1000+ days, pretty cool.

Work-in-progress ASDF 3.1 has a feature that creates objects called package-systems. The name stems from its melding of the CL package system with ASDF system definition objects. As a name "package-system" seems to me to be ripe for confusion, since it's not the package system of CL, or a package system in the fetch-me-useful-software sense. Can you suggest a better name? Chime in. Before release is the proper time for a rename.

Apr. 15th, 2014


2014 - #33, "Iron daughter", Julie Kagawa

Previously unread.

This is the second book in a YA fantasy series. It continues off shortly after the events in the first book, dials the tension (and to some extent the romance) up a couple of notches.

If anything, the one thing that I noticed was that it was a really fast read (and by "really fast", I mean "I started it yesterday morning" and "I was finished well before I arrived in the office this morning"; if this was how fast things normally get read, I'd probably be looking at order 270 books per year).

Nonetheless, a good read. I may or may not buy the sequel right now, I haven't quite decided.

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Apr. 14th, 2014


I'm looking for work

I've been an enthusiastic Common Lisp implementor, developer and advocate for over 25 years, in particular with ten years at Harlequin and more recently as a consultant for Ravenbrook. I've worked with various lisps on a range of projects, from servers and GUI applications down to the LispWorks garbage collector. Most of the software I've written doesn't belong to me and so I can't publish it, but you'll find links to some of the libraries I've worked on here, along with a few papers that I've authored.

My full CV is here.

Working with Ravenbrook makes me part of a team. We're highly qualified mathematicians and computer scientists, we have a lot of lisp experience, and between us we can cover a lot of ground. So if what you need is (for instance) a temporary need for more weight on one of your projects, please come to us. If we can't help then we'll put you in touch with people who can.



2014 - #32, "The Apocalypse Codex", Charles Stross


So, this is the "slightly more cheerful" tale of doom, loss, horror and other depressing things that noetheless is a smidgen cheerier than Night & Demons.

I realised when I read this that I don't think I've read The Apocalypse Codex close in time to The Fuller Memorandum and, well, the implications implicate, as implications do.

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2014 - #31, "Nights & Demons", David Drake

Previously unread.

Assorted shorts by David Drake. None of them cheery, all of them well-written. May well be worth a read. I will probably re-read it in some sort of future, but right at the moment, I prefer cheerier things (which will probably show exactly how dark this collection is, when you see the next entry).

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2014 - #30, "1920: America's great war", Robert Conroy

Previously unread.

Hm. Well... This felt almost exactly like the previous Robert Conroy book I read. A slight twist to a historic large-scale conflict, leading to an alt-hist large conflict, with the plucky Americans winning the day and our primary Plucky American Viewpoint Character winning the woman.

So, yeah, no, I wouldn't recommend this, unless it is close to a core interest for you. It isn't, for me, so I only ever accidentally get them through book bundles. But, I guess expanding one's horizons isn't specifically a bad thing.

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Apr. 7th, 2014


Business is Business

In the April 7th 1987 issue of Red Rag: 150 officers, 20 vehicles and nine months of planning and undercover work go into a raid on Mandela Court which seizes a paltry amount of soft drugs; one local person comments that " the moment cannabis is virtually impossible to get hold of", but adds "almost every other drug is available". The Police and Criminal Evidence Act's authorisation of prolonged detention of up to 96 hours for questioning until the suspect breaks down is in flagrant contradiction of the right to silence; Reading students protest about government cuts in arts education, a block to any kind of education which encourages questioning, analytical thinking and curiosity; how handing out anti-fascist leaflets gets you branded a fascist yourself; and under the powers of the Public Order Act (only three weeks old) the police have can control the size and route of marches, and the CND footslog through London later this month will be their test case. What will happen?

On being challenged to reconcile his position as a trustee of the Vegetarian Society with the promotion of meat products he retorted that the Society's existing rules allow a butcher or even a slaughterman to serve on the Council.



Old versus new

For a side project at $WORK I need to plot some data.

In the past I used gnuplot but as I wanted to interactively investigate the data I wrote a GUI browser in Clojure. This was relatively easy and fast enough.

But I've been told that I'm not with the new hotness and that I should investigate doing this in the browser. So I found the pretty impressive dygraphs javascript library.

The plots look fantastic and are really what I need. So I make my first html5 like page and tried it.

At first I thought that something was wrong. If I do this plot with gnuplot I get:

$ time gnuplot plot.gnuplot

real	0m0.818s
user	0m0.608s
sys	0m0.209s

In Safari it took 22 minutes, while showing a beachball all the time, to plot this data. Chrome and Firefox do it quite a bit better at only two minutes, but still... not subsecond is it? Using the 'canvas' html5 terminal in gnuplot produces 14M html file which only takes something lik 20 seconds to get drawn in all browsers.

But I must admit that the default look and interactivity of dygraph is lightyears ahead of my gnuplot settings...

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Apr. 3rd, 2014


2014 - #29, "Vast", Linda Nagata

Partial Re-read.

I am sure I have read this bok before. I am also sure this is not the book I read before. There's an awful lot of things happening after where I recall things ending. There's also a primary character I could have sworn used to not exist. These changes, plus the extra background from The Bohr Maker and Deception Well make this a better, richer, more terrifying book.

Well played, Ms Nagata.

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[ bookmonth ] 2014-03

Book listCollapse )

Seems I polished off 12 books this month. Not bad, as they say. A
linear extrapolation to year's end says 112 books and right at the
moment, that actually seems feasible.

I'm actually not sure why this month had almost as many as January and
February had together.

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