Friday, September 25, 2009

Switching to

I'm moving my personal blog to  They make it really easy to update via email (including pictures and videos).  They also can cross-post for you automatically to many other blogging and social web sites.  That make the new headquarters for my web empire!

From now on, look for me at

Posted via email from miner49r

McCarthy Presents Lisp (1959)
Just fifty years ago, John McCarthy circulated a notice that he would be giving an informal talk that he thought would be of interest. I drove up to MIT from New Jersey to attend this seminar of typical length in a typical classroom. But the seminar was anything but typical. It was a revelation. In one session at the blackboard, John introduced Lisp—all you could do with car, cdr, cons, cond, lambda, and recursion.

In the course of the lecture John introduced the usual basic list functions like copy, append and reverse (quadratic and linear), as well as tree manipulation. He went on to higher-level functions, demonstrating maplis and lambda. By the end of the hour he had put together a powerful little toolkit of functions which he used in his finale: symbolic differentiation of univariate expressions.

There it was—functional programming ex nihilo. McCarthy acknowledged IPL V and recursive function theory, but the elegant and practical face he put upon these antecedents was a work of genius.

Me: Attending seminars by John McCarthy was one of the highlights of my undergraduate years at Stanford. For more on JMC:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

St. Mary's in Edgefield

After our move to Mount Vintage, I started attending Mass at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Edgefield.  It's a beautiful old church, dating back to 1860.  I recently volunteered to start a web site for the parish.  There's only a temporary home page there now, but I'll be working on it during the weeks to come.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Learning Clojure with Project Euler

When getting started with a new language, I like to use a site that has excercises for programming practice. A great site for this is Project Euler; it gives you short problems to solve, and once a problem is correctly solved you are given access to the forum for that problem which contains hundreds of solutions written in different languages. Each of the problems are designed to be solved by some combination of mathematical insight and computer programming.

Google Has A Solution For Internet Explorer: Turn It Into Chrome

Chrome Frame is a new browser plug-in developed by Google to give you a Chrome browsing experience inside of Internet Explorer. Let me restate that slightly to make it more clear: Chrome Frame turns IE into Chrome.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bwana, Bwana

My friend, Paul, recently reminded me an old cheer that we used to do at Bellarmine.  When I was a freshman back in 1976, we all had to learn this cheer as part of our indoctrination.  If I remember correctly, a crazy cheerleader named Damien taught it to a group of us.  I never knew exactly what it meant, but it sounded African to me.  I assume it's one of those tribal traditions that's primarily intended to perplex outsiders.

Cheerleader: Bwana, Bwana 
Crowd: Simba 
Cheerleader: Bwana, Bwana 
Crowd: Simba 
All: Sooey, Sooey, uh uh uh. 

My father (class of '57) says he didn't remember it.  I asked Paul what if he knew the history of the cheer. He has some good theories, but he's going to do some more research and publish an article in the alumni magazine so I won't steal his thunder.

The important thing is that next time someone googles "Bwana, Bwana", they'll find something useful!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: the Ars Technica review

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: the Ars Technica review

Mac OS X 10.6, aka Snow Leopard has landed. This time around, Apple goes light on the glitz in favor of some heavy work under the hood. John Siracusa dives deep into Apple's new OS offering to see what's new, what's still the same, and whether it's worth upgrading.