August 09, 2006

  The myth of the super-weapon.

  Everyone wants to pilot
  the Skylark of Space.        Every programmer wants
                               to write code in the
                               computer-equivalent of   DELANY
  They want the technical      Babel-17.
  fix to end all technical
                               The language that
                               empowers thought,
                               transforming you
  The technology that          into a super-being.    ENGLEBARTS_BARD
  transcends mere
  technology, the                   THE_SECRET_MASTERS_OF_DESTINY
  mystical all
  powerful tool, the
  glistening shiney                    "All you engineers
  silver bullet whose                   are mystics."
  existance is always
  promised, and then
  rhetorically denied.

      We're supposed to be as
      gods, so why do we keep
      getting tripped up on
      fence post counting errors
      and unit conversions?
                                            (April 11, 2007)
 "Business types prefer the most
 popular languages because they
 view languages as standards.
 They don't want to bet the company                EXCEPTION
 on Betamax.  The thing about
 languages, though, is that they're      "That language is an
 not just standards.  ...                instrument of human
 But a programming language isn't        reason, and not merely a
 just a format. A programming            medium for the expression
 language is a medium of expression."    of thought, is a truth
                                         generally admitted."
 -- Paul Graham on "Great Hackers"
 [ref]                                       -- George Boole, quoted in
                                             Iverson's Turing Award Lecture,
                                             And again by Paul Graham,
                                             in his "Lisp Quotes".


                                                 Got lost on that curve?
                                                 Graham and Boole-quoted-
                                                 by-Graham are using
                                                 "medium of expression"
Computer languages are                           to mean different things.
supposed to be tools
that mold your thinking                            WORDS_WORTH
into Holmseian
supriority, beyond the
dreams of Korzybski and

The notion that you can have
languages with funky,
irrational corners to them --
like, say the rules of
spelling in English -- and
still have a useful language:     THE_PERL_AFFAIR
that's abhorrent, it's

Steve Yegge:
  Languages matter!               CSG

  They *have* to matter!

And of course they matter --
but does he really grasp the
ways that they matter?

All of the ways?

   "When you decide what infrastructure to
   use for a project, you're not just making
   a technical decision. You're also making a
   social decision, and this may be the more
   important of the two."

                 -- Paul Graham on "Great Hackers"