Books of Note

Practical Common
LispThe best intro to start your journey. Excellent coverage of CLOS.

ANSI Common
LispAnother great starting point with a different focus.

Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence
ProgrammingA superb set of Lisp examples. Not just for the AI crowd.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Juho Snellman rocks my world 

'Nuff said.

SBCL 0.9.6 RPMs released 

I built and uploaded the SBCL 0.9.6 RPMs today. You can find them up on SourceForge or at via Yum.

I was on a roll today, so I also built the RPM for the latest version of SLIME CVS. You can grab it at


Friday, October 28, 2005

Lisp stereotypes 

I finally ended up having the standard conversation about Lisp stereotypes the other day. Typically, when people find out that I program things in Lisp, they either say "that's cool" in an I-don't-really-get-it-but-I'll-say-it's-cool-to-be-courteous sort of way, or their eyes glaze over and they just don't get it at all.

This time, I was setting up a demo for a company that I'm consulting for. We did the demo for a group of people in a VC's office. The demo didn't involve Lisp at all, but one of the VCs, an otherwise very intelligent guy who I like a lot, was looking over my shoulder when he noticed that I had an Emacs window open with some Lisp code in it than I had been hacking on previously. He said, "Hey, that looks like Lisp!" I told him that it was and he replied, "Really? A marketing guy hacking Lisp? Why would you want to do THAT?" I said that Lisp was the most amazing programming language ever created, with features that still aren't available in any other mainstream language. He mumbled something about Lisp being dead since 1985 and then said, "Sheesh, I remember programming in Lisp back in my undergrad days. It's all interpreted, without a compiler, and all those parenthesis! Yikes!" I did one of those slow counts to 10 before I replied that Lisp has had compiler support since the 1960s and that modern editors now make all the parenthesis a virtue, not a vice. I still don't think he quite believed me (I think I got more techie cred from the fact that I was running Emacs than from the Lisp code contained within it), but at least I had the conversation.

This morning I was out to breakfast with this same VC and somebody from another company. Somehow, the conversation turned to Lisp, with him razzing me about it again. He turned to the guy from the other company who chimed in with, "Yea, Lisp is really cool." Ha! Made my day. ;-)

Friday, October 21, 2005

XP in Common Lisp 

Bill Clementson just blogged about the recent Lispvan (Vancouver Lisp users group), October 2005, meeting. The meeting was centered around Ken Dickey's presentation detailing his use of Common Lisp combined with an XP programming methodology. You can read more about Ken's experience at this web site. Bill has also posted a copy of Ken's slides from the Lispvan meeting.

This is a great case study for those seeking to understand the advantages of Common Lisp.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Printing to the HP 7210 as a non-admin 

Gah! After my frustrating attempt to bypass HP's printer driver installation the other day, I installed the drivers on my kids' computer. I have a 3-year-old who likes to use that computer and I wanted to restrict his ability to print (to save myself the dollars associate with print cartridges as he dumps everything from Nick Jr. to the printer). Of course, his account on that computer is not an admin account and I quickly ran into problems with HP's setup not working in this configuration. I finally bumped into this blog post of Joshua Street's where he describes the workaround (ironically, referencing my original post on the subject of HP's tech support). Looks like you basically have to junk the default install and use HP's JetDirect protocol for everything, similar to what the tech guy told me in the previous transcript. I haven't tried this yet, but I'm guessing it'll work.

Now, here's my rant: HP, you stupid dorks, please stop inventing technology where none is required! Please use the dumb Windows printer architecture as every other printer does so we don't have to suffer with random incompatibilities just because you want to do things differently!

What does this have to do with Lisp? Well, nothing, I guess, other than I sometimes dump a Lisp listing to that printer, but this is my only blog and I had to vent. ;-)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Updated SLIME build on 

I rebuilt the version of SLIME on It's the same version from CVS as previously, but I updated the build to byte-compile the elisp files and I updated the RPM spec file with a few build dependencies. Not that it makes that much difference, but the SLIME starting animation runs a bit more smoothly with things byte-compiled.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

SBCL RPM available on 

I just built and updated the SBCL version to This is an intermediate build that has (among other things) a fix in ASDF-INSTALL for a hang with certain web servers. The bug was that ASDF-INSTALL previously send just a LF after an HTTP GET request, rather than a CRLF pair, as it should have. In most cases, web servers just ignored the missing character and treated a LF as an end-of-line terminator. In some cases, however, the web server would hang, waiting for an official CRLF sequence. I had just encountered this bug the other day when trying to use ASDF-INSTALL to download some of Kevin Rosenberg's Lisp packages (things like UFFI, for instance). Given the wide-spread usage of Kevin's various packages, I thought it was important to get this fix out there. Thus, I made the call to release an intermediate build rather than wait for 0.9.6.

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