Tuesday, July 2, 2013

News from the Blogocalypse

So Google shut down Reader. When it happened all my news feeds went dead. I looked through the settings in my news reader, NetNewsWire 3.3.2, found the checkbox for "sync with Google Reader". Unchecked it.

It started syncing again, I did a "mark all as read" and things were back to normal. Now about that Snowden fellow...

Monday, July 1, 2013

What language Y is to LISP as Mac OS X is to Unix?

In his Rarely Asked Questions, Paul Graham once more espouses LISP as the ultimate, untoppable programming language (and yes, autocomplete wants to approriately turn that into "unstoppable").

One of the points he makes to support this, is that for any language to become as good as LISP, it would actually need to become LISP. While it is a cogent point and well argued, I don't buy it. More precisely, this is what he writes on what it would take to add the equivalent of LISP macros to another language:

But it would be hard to do that without creating a notation for parse trees; and once you do, your language has become a skin on Lisp, in much the same way that in OS X, the Mac OS became a skin on Unix.
Hmmm...I am not sure that this analogy is making his point, because Mac OS X is far, far superior to raw Unix for most people, and preferred by hackers, as he himself writes in Return of the Mac:
All the best hackers I know are gradually switching to Macs.
Of course, I may be stretching the analogy too far, but it seems to me that it doesn't support Paul's thesis of LISP superiority, but rather clearly points to some language Y that delivers LISP's power in a much more useful and usable form.

Any ideas what this language Y might be?