Bitcoin, or How to Hammer in Nails with a Microscope.

“The enlightened, disciplined mind is the holiest of holies, a wonder among wonders. Upon the Earth – a grain of sand in the Universe, man is on the order of one-billionth of the smallest magnitude… And yet this particle in your mind’s eye, that lives but for sixty or so trips of [...]

To Lend is the Right of an Owner – That is, Not You.

Three years ago, I predicted that publishers will inevitably declare war on book-lending:
“Let’s pretend that a Nook book (or any similar DRM’d ebook) could be lent in exactly the same manner as a physical book: to whomever you like, whenever you like, for as long as you like – [...]

Engelbart’s Violin

Computing pioneer Alan Kay tells us that a computer is “an instrument whose music is ideas.” This seems like a beautiful metaphor, until you realize that we have somehow ended up in a world where the profession of musician is nearly unknown.  To continue with this analogy, let’s imagine that you were a [...]

May 2012 Update

At present, I have taken a break from the hardware aspects of Loper – to work on “Jupiter,” a Linux-based emulator of the system’s essential aspects.  (Think QEMU.)
Jupiter is unlikely to be of any practical use to anyone but myself.  However, at some point, I will make it public, so that interested persons [...]

Posted in: Cold Air, Computation, Hot Air, LoperOS, Progress by Stanislav 9 Comments

The curious incident of the Lisp in the night-time

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”
- “Silver Blaze” (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
Yesterday, I heard a lecture by David M. Baggett, a [...]

Posted in: Distractions, Hot Air, Lisp, NonLoper by Stanislav 11 Comments

March 2012 Update

Loper’s I2C controller is working.  The SPD ROM on the DDR2 RAM stick attached to the Xilinx ML-501 board is read correctly.  The video controller is working (though not feature-complete.)  The DDR2 SDRAM controller is still under testing, as is the cache SRAM controller.  The gigabit Ethernet controller is not yet complete.
I should probably say [...]

Programmer’s Editors, Illustrated.

Edit: The moral of the story, for those who didn’t get it, is that a serious programming environment ought to be an intimately-personalized affair, like eyeglasses or a hearing aid.  And that existing solutions fall laughably short of this goal.  Emacs, the supposed counter-example, is conceptually heavy and unbearably complex for everyday “civilian” use – [...]

Posted in: Hot Air, Photo, SoftwareSucks by Stanislav 11 Comments

For Your Eyes Only

Rumor has it that a well-known industrial giant will soon attempt to bring head-mounted displays back into fashion.
One ought to remember that, for a number of reasons, they were never really “in” fashion to begin with.  To my knowledge, every single one ever marketed fell into one of the following categories:

Military toy, priced somewhere in [...]

Why Hypercard Had to Die

Update: Click here if you would like to try HyperCard yourself.
I was a Hypercard child – though our friendship was brief.
Our seventh-grade class was led into a room full of brand-new Macintosh Performas.  The day’s lesson was a crash course in the use of an uncomplicated yet marvelous program. With it, one [...]

Roman Lisp

You’ve met the Steam Lisp.  Now meet vitrium flexile, the Roman Lisp:

“… there was an artificer once who made a glass goblet that would not break. So he was admitted to Caesar’s presence to offer him his invention; then, on receiving the cup back from Caesar’s hands, he dashed it down on [...]