David Lynch, Bob's Big Boy, and Me

November 21, 2007

I used to go to Bob’s Big Boy restaurant just about every day from the mid-seventies until the early eighties. I’d have a milk shake and sit and think. There’s a safety in thinking in a diner. You can have your coffee or your milk shake, and you can go off into strange dark areas, and always come back to the safety of the diner.

So wrote David Lynch in a brief book titled Catching the Big Fish. Subtitled Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, its purported theme is how Lynch’s twenty years of Transcendental Meditation have helped him think creatively. But it’s both less and more than that. It is less in its lightness on details about meditation and it is more in the insight it gives of Lynch’s creative career.


On Pyramids and Creativity

October 22, 2007

Quoting A Conversation with Alan Kay:

If you look at software today, through the lens of the history of engineering, it’s certainly engineering of a sort – but it’s the kind of engineering that people without the concept of the arch did. Most software today is very much like an Egyptian pyramid with millions of bricks piled on top of each other, with no structural integrity, but just done by brute force and thousands of slaves.


Programming Nu

September 30, 2007

It is time to unleash Nu on the world. You can download Nu and read all about it at my new web site, Programming Nu. To all who waited, thanks for your patience.


What's Nu?

August 11, 2007

recycling symbol

Ask a physicist and you’ll get the answer to a well-known riddle. “What’s Nu?,” it’s “c over lambda”. Physicists use the Greek letter nu to represent the frequency of light, which can be expressed as its speed c divided by its wavelength lambda.

Nu also is the name I chose for a project that relates a different C to a different lambda. Nu is a new programming language that binds the expressive power of Lisp to the pervasiveness and machine-level efficiency of C by building on the power and flexibility of Objective-C.

A major goal of Nu was to make it easier to build and reuse software components. Consistently with that, Nu was built from many preexisting components and many well-developed ideas. There’s not much that’s new about Nu except for its particular combination of recycled parts.


Finding the Software Industrial Revolution

August 6, 2007

In November of 1990, IEEE Software published an article by Brad Cox titled “Planning the Software Industrial Revolution.” Early this year, I rediscovered it and carried a copy around with me for weeks. As I read and reread it, my copy grew tattered and thoroughly marked up. It’s an essay worth revisiting.

The first industrial revolution was envisioned long before it took place. Its influence on gunsmithing was foreseen by Thomas Jefferson in 1785, but it took fifty years for armory practice to change from cut-to-fit production to the assembly of guns from standardized parts.

The change was driven by consumers and not producers. The experts of the day kept to their ways until the world superceded them.

Is that happening in software today?


The More Loving One

June 26, 2007

The Perseus Cluster, Astronomy Picture of the Day for December 30, 2005.

The More Loving One


Meeting Eric Hoffer

January 30, 2007

In the unfolding of the individual’s life, chance is everything. In a vigorous society, chance and example have full play, and in such a society the talented are likely to be lucky. - Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition

In the last few weeks, I’ve had the luck of meeting Eric Hoffer.