Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Monday, August 13, 2007

Elegant weapons for a more civilised age

This struck me as funny.

OK, maybe I'm weird. I learned the basics of LISP (if one is allowed to use the word BASIC in the same sentence as LISP) from a housemate during my abortive teacher training year (not really abortive: it trained me that teaching and I were mutually unsuited) who played Kwai-Gon Jin to my Obi-Wan Kenobi, instructing me in the ways of LISP and ALGOL before I took my training and prostituted it in the land of COBOL (viz. London). While I wouldn't say that my "Jedi training" was the most important influence on my programming style (that would be my exposure to the work of Michael Jackson)(no, not that Michael Jackson) it had the lasting effect of making me aware that style is not just an optional extra but something integral to the success of a program. Even after all the lessons of real life, not to mention all the refinements of my priorities that go with the shift from amateur to professional, that's still valid.


At 15 August, 2007 16:57, Blogger JoeinVegas said...

I've never met anyone that's actually programmed in Lisp - congratulations.

At 16 August, 2007 01:29, Blogger Rob said...

Oh, I think the word "dabbled" is more aporopriate than "programmed", in my case at least (my housemate wrote something substantial for his degree - I have a feeling it was in fact a LISP interpreter). I can't remember whether I went beyond paper exercises and actually ran anything or not. I may have done, but nothing much.

But yes, like Algol 68 (which I admired from a distance) LISP has a nostalgia-filtered image probably out of proportion to its actual significance.


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