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.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Vyatta: Open Source Routing 

Over the past few months, I have been doing some consulting for a new startup company named Vyatta (vee-AHT-tah, rhymes with Mazda Miata). We just came out of stealth-mode today.

Vyatta is an open source network equipment company. Basically, we're building an open source router, based on Linux and XORP, that runs on standard x86 commodity hardware. The simple analogy is, as Red Hat is to Sun/Microsoft, so Vyatta hopes to be to Cisco/Nortel/Alcatel.

If you're interested, come check it out.

Friday, February 17, 2006

God writes in Lisp 

I love Google. You find the most interesting things. I always had a hankering that if God were a programmer, he'd write in Lisp. Goncha explains in his Eternal Flame (Song of Lisp).

(As a side note, when you look at the information content in DNA, it's actually pretty clear that God is a programmer, if you'll allow for a bit of redundancy and unreachable code.)

Lisp in 10 Bullets 

The other day I made the claim that Lisp is the simplest programming language I have ever learned (for the record, the second simplest is probably Forth, which shares a lot of Lisp's elegance, albeit in a very different way). Well, to help bolster my claim, I present Vishnu Vyas's Tiny Lisp course - Lisp in 10 bullets. Not bad. I could quibble with a few things in there, but he summarizes it pretty well. The only thing I'd like to know is whether his project mate Venky needed any more than that to get going with Lisp?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Kensington gets it right 

A couple months ago, I wrote about my experience with HP and printer drivers. A couple weeks ago, I had another experience with a different company and it was altogether better. Here's the background.

About eight years ago, I bought a Kensington computer bag. It's a ballistic nylon bag, ultra tough and light. I have carried it around the world a couple of times while working for at least three different companies during the period. It's great because it holds my PC and all sorts of junk that I invariably cart around with me, both to work and when traveling (cords, mouse, books, papers, MP3 players, noise canceling headphones for the plane, pens, business cards, you name it).

Well, as you might imagine, it has finally started to show some wear after all that time. As I was thinking that I'd need to buy another one, I happened to bump into a complete stranger at the BART station who said, "Hey, is that a Kensington bag? Those things are great. They have a lifetime warranty! I have been through three of them!" In the past, I have thought that "lifetime warranties" are gimmicks because I assumed that the company would require you to produce some form of documentation after years and years, which you wouldn't be able to do. After this guy's comments, I decided to test Kensington.

I opened up a support case on their web site. They answered me promptly and asked me for a few details such as the bag model number and the serial number. Once that was done, they informed me that the old bag was no longer being produced, but they suggested a replacement model that they make today. Finally, they asked for my shipping address. I got to approve the replacement as being in the same league as what I had owned previously. After supplying my address, the new bag arrived in about a week and a half.

I'm tremendously satisfied with my encounter. They didn't give me any hassle. They didn't ask for photocopies of receipts that I no longer have, didn't ask me whether I had "registered" the bag after I bought it, etc. They simply asked for a couple details that proved that I was indeed a customer and then sent me the new bag. Wow!

So, if you're looking for quality products and a good company that stands behind what they make, I can heartily recommend Kensington. I also have a great little Kensington travel mouse with a retractable USB cable. It has been working great for years and is very convenient.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Support Denmark 

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

SBCL 0.9.9 RPMs released 

The latest SBCL RPMs are up on SourceForge and at Also a recent SLIME build on As always, enjoy!

Have I mentioned recently that while I like the new look of SourceForge, the file management interface still sux. Grumble. One of these days I'm going to be apologizing to William for accidentally blowing away every file in the SBCL project inadvertantly. Until that time, I just try to proceed very slowly, exhaling frequently, while resisting the temptation to imagine the interface designer being tarred and feathered.

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