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|Thursday, March 9th, 2017|
My domain lisp-book.org expires in two months (on 2017-05-07). I do not intend to renew it. The material which it serves will remain available via http://nicklevine.org/lisp-book/
If anyone wishes to inherit the domain from me and put it to better use, they should get in touch.
|Saturday, December 5th, 2015|
Does anyone know of a portable code walker that works across all the popular implementations? (I know more or less all of them have a walker buried inside their CLOS, but the interfaces to these aren't all the same. I looked at ql's hu.dwim.walker but it's not in theory available on very many implementations, and when I tried it on LW it just Didn't Work.)
|Saturday, October 17th, 2015|
|Wednesday, April 29th, 2015|
|Cold Comfort - for adults only
Browsing through my old LJ entries, I came across this:
Clicking on the link took me to age verification stuff. What was going on? Had someone hacked my account and dumped porn in it? Nope — nothing that sinister — it was just that I had forgotten to log in. OK, so now shall we take a look at the adult-only material that's found its way into my blog?
That's better. I always knew Red Rag was beyond the pale.
|Sunday, March 8th, 2015|
|Saturday, January 3rd, 2015|
|Red Rag Reunion
The denizens of Reading's Only
Newspaper are going to hold a reunion. How splendid.
It's next Saturday afternoon (Jan 10th), at the Rising Sun Arts
Centre in Reading, and all the details are here (or on Facebook).
If you ever helped produce, distribute, raise money for, or consume
the Rag: please come along. If you are, or ever have been (or maybe
know someone who once was) living in or near Reading, or an anarchist,
or alive in the 1980s, or a historian, or any combination of the
above, then this is an event you won't want to miss.
Come and meet the team, before we all go off to collect our bus
|Wednesday, August 20th, 2014|
|Brief teaching gig
If anyone knows anyone who'd be qualified and available to give a one day tutorial, in the Barcelona region, on the LispWorks development environment and in particular the debugger, could they get it touch? Thanks.
|Tuesday, August 19th, 2014|
I counted about sixty people in the hall — really not very
many for an ILC where one might typically hope for twice that. I
didn't see anyone from the CL vendors, hardly anyone from any of the
other CL implementations, few people I knew from previous outings,
indeed really not many of the "usual suspects" at all. But note that some of
this works two ways: I could equally be upbeat and say there wasn't
much overlap between Montreal and the recent ELS in Paris: this
conference had netted a different audience, which is fine.
My only fault with the program was that there wasn't enough of it.
For an ILC there really should be enough material to fill four days.
At two and a half, this gig felt like one of the European local
As for the presentations: the one that left me totally gaping in
amazement was the lightning talk from a 14 year old (sorry kid, I
didn't make a note of your name) who'd implemented his own lisp
dialect along with embedded image processing and all manner of other
bells and whistles. Of the named speakers, I should mention: Dave
Cooper's hands-on Gendl tutorial; Christian Queinnec's Small (but
Massive) Open Online Course; François-René Rideau's CL
scripting; Dave Penkler's amalgam of LISP 1.5 and APL\360; and Robert
Strandh's SICL implementation notes. All that time we spent building
bigger and better caches is now just history.
My own (co-)talk about
work on an NLP project went OK (I think). Judging by the questions,
the audience found Michael Young's social science side much more
interesting than my comments about the lisp, and I'm not going to
disagree with them.
So for two and a half days, some part of the lisp community had
come face-to-face. We presented and listened to the talks, we drank
the coffee and ate the food, we explored Montreal from below. And when
it was all over we all went away again, back to our separate corners.
I think the next "lisp community" meet will be European Lisp Symposium
2015, in London next April / May. I mention this "community" idea,
because it came up in the panel on the last day, and it's an
interesting thought to mull over: is there one? (or more than one?)
should there be one? and if you had it in front of you what would
you do with it?
|Wednesday, August 6th, 2014|
I'm arriving on Tuesday. Will anyone else be around before the lisp conference starts, and are they interested in a little touristing / dining experiences?
|Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014|
|Our Sad Duty
Letter dated July
It is our sad duty to inform you of the demise of Red Rag. After many
tribulations (but no trials), it finally faded from insignificance
into non-existence sometime early this summer. Owing to the absence of
any corpse, there will be no post-mortem.
The relieved collective met last night to wind up loose ends.
Despite a long tradition, Red Rag was not in debt (we think). So the
collective decided to return a portion of subscribers recent money
(if you find a cheque enclosed, this applies to you).
For those of you with standing orders, please cancel them immediately
unless you wish to become an unrecognised subsidiser of the Co-op
After outstanding bills are paid, any money left over will be spent on
a wake for any friends or relatives of the deceased. It will be
sometime in the Autumn, probably the first weekend in October.
As complete an archive as possible is being assembled by James, so
deluge him with any old copies, minutes or memorabilia... "Box 79" is
to be recycled and the bank account closed.
There will of course still be collective meetings, the next one is on
August the 5th, but we do promise that we will not produce any more
issues of Red Rag.
On behalf of the collective,
Genghis and Diogenes
|Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014|
|Tuesday, June 10th, 2014|
|Moving to Spain
I've taken up a position with RavenPack, and so my 14 years at Ravenbrook come to an end. I'm sorry to be leaving, but I hadn't been able to generate anywhere enough income recently and something had to change. I've never worked anywhere for so long, and although the dips in available work sometimes made life very stressy I've also been very happy there. If you ever need someone to help you increase the value of the software industry to society, this is the place to look.
A job! Lisp! The lean times are over! This is all very exciting.
RavenPack are based in Marbella. We'd been wondering for some time whether we would ever get around to leaving Cambridge, and it turns out now that the answer is "yes". But it's all going to be very strange. My name badge might not be changing by very much, but there's no mistaking either consulting for full-time employment, or the Fens for the Costa del Sol.
We'll be staying somewhere temporary over the summer, and then when the tourists have gone home we'll find somewhere to live which has space for visitors. Enough said.
PS: leaving do probably Saturday July 12th
|Monday, June 2nd, 2014|
|Was it any good?
In the June
2nd 1987 issue of Red
Thatcher's second term draws to a close. So prepare for the "Festival
Season", highpoint of which is the solstice bash at Stonehenge, as
seen on TV. Or for National "Marking The Routes Day", when people all
over the country will mark the routes of nuclear convoys. Help Reading
Community Farm Project establish a city farm. Go watch films at the
Hexagon, which boasts Dolby sound and Reading's biggest screen. Or
maybe you could write a piece for the Rag?
No copy means no Red Rag, so it's up to you.
There are lots of people who claim to work in a collective way, so
it's startling that so few seem to apply this to their fortnightly
|Monday, May 26th, 2014|
|Wukix? I think this one's for you.
From: "Daniel" <email@example.com>
Subject: Planet Lisp
Date: Mon, 26 May 2014 15:21:37 +0200
Hello Wukix, Inc.,
I would very much like to work with you on your app Planet Lisp.
Lots of developers have worked with me before on a wide range of
projects. Better rankings can be achieved for almost any app.
|Monday, May 19th, 2014|
|Trash The Claimants
In the May
19th 1987 issue of Red
Not much news this time, but a vacancy for a Red Rag co-ordinator. How
long can they keep this up? Bosses in Bracknell for example are
refusing to touch the MSC's new "Job Training Scheme" with a
bargepole, partly because they're no doubt afraid of catching
something nasty off the town's 3000-strong mob of claimants; the
Anti-Apartheid organises a National Sponsored Cycle Ride for Nelson
Mandela's 69th birthday; the Conspiracy Tape hits the streets; and
what are the chances of Mrs Thatcher not winning next month's general
|Monday, May 5th, 2014|
|CLAUDE and CLAUDE-SETUP
CLAUDE (the Common Lisp Library Audience
Expansion Toolkit) exports libraries written in Common Lisp, so
that applications being developed in other languages can access them.
CLAUDE co-operates with foreign runtimes in the management of CLOS
objects, records, arrays and more primitive types. Lisp macros make
the task of exporting a library simple and elegant; template
documentation along with C headers and sample code files relieve some
of the burden of explaining such exports to the application
CLAUDE-SETUP configures CLAUDE for your
(defclass-external frob ()
(defun-external (new-frob :result-type object) ()
and then in Python...
<Claude Frob handle=0x200538b0>
Take a Closer Look
|Live and Direct
In the May
5th 1987 issue of Red
the only independent telephone system in Britain other than British
Telecom is in Hull, where the telephones are run by the local council;
while BP lost 50,000 jobs, Hull has a policy of retraining employees
displaced by new technology; it is cheaper to subscribe to than BT and
far more efficient in its service. Radio 210 reports that local
anarchists have prepared posters, leaflets and stickers as part of a
"Don't Vote" campaign; but you should vote for the SDP-Liberal Alliance
because David Owen wants power and if we help him, perhaps he will
throw us a few crumbs once he has leapt into partnership with the
Tories; and the Rag has a recurring inability to decide exactly what
is or isn't folk music.
|Monday, April 21st, 2014|
|Worked To Death
In the April
21st 1987 issue of Red
a spate of suicides hits defence trade computer experts in the Reading
area; a new pressure group encourages councils to enforce the laws
concerning estate agents boards advertising houses for sale; the
Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency has kept secret more
than 250 reports of breakdowns at nuclear power stations; it takes
twelve people to hold a riot, three for violent disorder, but only one
for affray; along with Yuppies, Young Upwardly Mobile Persons and
Dinkies, Dual Income No Kids there are now Yummies, the Young Upwardly
Mobile Marxists; and Caversham has a plague of rhinoceroses.
|Monday, April 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.
|Monday, April 7th, 2014|
|Business is Business
In the April
7th 1987 issue of Red
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 "...at 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
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