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Markland

Jun 11, 2018

Currently listening to Northumbria’s Markland as one does while writing code and realized that it’s been a while since I’ve posted here. This has been a pretty busy year inside and outside of my work-a-day life and as a result my pointed writings have slowed to a dull crawl. I still try to write whenever possible, but my focus has been such that I’ve produced nothing worth publishing — or perhaps I have.

I’ve slowly working on a follow-up to my 2011 post on new and new-ish programming languages. A lot has happened in the world of #langdev and as it turns out the years 2007 – 2012 was a renaissance for non-mainstream AND mainstream programming languages. By the time I finish the follow-up it’ll be time to write the next. I’m literally dead.

For a while this year I was reading a pile of dreck, but this was by design. As someone who loves to read and reads a lot, I find it very difficult to constrain myself to only the best of the best. It’s not all literature and seminal computer science tracts. In order to maintain my love of reading I have to read piles of trash whenever my resolve starts to waiver. Between Kafka, Hesse, and Tolstoy I like to spread a thin layer of classic RPGs, stories about zombies, and Conan. Speaking of good trash, I recently discovered the author Barrington J. Bayley via his over the top sci-fi novel “The Zen Gun.” As far as I can tell he’s obscure even amongst people who enjoy that particular niche, but his writing was ahead of its time.

I have some malformed thoughts around tying together the idea of organic growth, hauntology, the new aesthetic, and programming languages, but every time I try to organize my thoughts it drives me to drink instead. Maybe one day.

This reminds me of a thing I’ve been tinkering with called Tori-Lisp. It’s a teeny tiny erstatz Lisp written in JavaScript with a screwball syntax reminiscent of Wisp, with a mix of mutable and persistent data types. The project stemmed from downloading and studying Little Lisp by the inimitable Mary Rose Clark. Let’s just say that I tinkered with her original code until a monster was formed. I’ve since gone to source and in an attempt to crystalize my thinking have taken to trying README-driven-development — with varying success.1

Yesterday I met a few pseudo friends at a restaurant and ordered a Guinness on a whim and liked it. I’m history NOT a “beer dude” but that was pretty good. Every day I turn more and more into my grandfather.

Chouser and I have started writing the 3rd edition of The Joy of Clojure in earnest. Trying to integrate Spec in a way that doesn’t feel bolted on has proven challenging. Indeed, Clojure programming in light of Spec has changed deeply and in all likelihood so will our book.

Stay Tuned.


  1. Most of my programming these days takes place either in the context of work of within private repositories. A while back I was contacted by someone who praised me for my diligent open source “work” and thanked me for the inspiration. However, it struck me that while I liked programming fun projects in my free time, I don’t want to be held up and praised in that way. As someone who’s interviewed dozens of potential candidates at my company and worked with many dozens of programmers as a contractor and co-worker, a growing realization of the insecurities around and biases against sparse extracurricular programming has changed my view on the topic. IME, there is no correlation between a plethora of commits on Github and the true quality of day to day production of high-quality code. Little green boxes on Github are an illusion of a particularly pernicious lot. 

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