Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Bipolar Lisp Programmer

Have you ever wondered how it could be that Lisp is so powerful, and yet C is so much more successful and ubiquitous? How is it that so many brilliant coders know Lisp, and yet we so rarely hear from any of them other than Paul Graham? This is a great article that tries to explain it: the bipolar Lisp programmer.

10 comments:

Manuel said...

If the author of this essay was going to do something so rude as to reach inside my head, you would think he would have the decency to ask me for permission first.

Shannon -jj Behrens said...

hahaha

Anonymous said...

This essay was upsetting for me, if for no other reason than confirming my worst fears about where I'll end up.

Shannon -jj Behrens said...

Hahahaha. Yep--I know *exactly* how you feel!

Shannon -jj Behrens said...

It reminds me of a company I ran into one time at Linux Expo. Some guy had written his own point-and-click application creator that would create CORBA-enabled applications. I asked him what he wrote it in. Lisp. Which version? My own. What widget toolkit do you use? My own. What protocol do you use between server and client? My own. Brilliant guy. I never heard about that company again.

Anonymous said...

>Yep--I know *exactly* how you feel!

At least I'm not alone.

Shannon -jj Behrens said...

> At least I'm not alone.

Nope, you're not. If you (or anyone else reading this) ever really gets down, give me a call. On of my friends recently committed suicide. He never gave me a chance to help him out. I don't want that to ever happen again. (925) 209-6439.

Anonymous said...

I know it's been a while, but I'm the same "Anonymous" who posted above.

I appreciate you posting your number, and will probably be adding it and the suicide prevention hotline to my phone contacts tomorrow.

College has turned out to be a huge disappointment, and I've hit quite a few low points this past year. I don't want you to feel like you have to wait around for a call that will never come, so I was hesitant to tell you this, but if nothing else I appreciate your kindness.

Take care.

Shannon -jj Behrens said...

> I know it's been a while, but I'm the same "Anonymous" who posted above.

Welcome back!

> I appreciate you posting your number, and will probably be adding it and the suicide prevention hotline to my phone contacts tomorrow.

Good. I was thinking of my friend just yesterday, and I was really angry. People who commit suicide don't realize how much the rest of us really do care about them and how much it hurts the rest of us when they leave on such vicious terms.

> College has turned out to be a huge disappointment,

Here are a couple points of advice: 1) Don't expect your professors to be amazing and intelligent. College has more to do with determination than with actually learning anything. When the world hires a college graduate, they're hiring him because he was able to finish something, not because he learned anything in particular. That's especially true of Ph.D's. 2) Find friends. Do whatever you need to do to enjoy being on campus. If you enjoy being on campus, hanging out with friends, you'll do better in your classes. 3) College is a great time to exercise. You probably have some free time, and the gym on campus is probably free.

> and I've hit quite a few low points this past year. I don't want you to feel like you have to wait around for a call that will never come, so I was hesitant to tell you this, but if nothing else I appreciate your kindness.

Glad to hear from you.

Best of Luck,
-jj

Anonymous said...

Depressing. I identify with the personality described in the article, after subtracting the 'brilliant' part, heh. I think that eventually I will finish this little clojure project of mine, though. In fact, I think a huge amount of personal hesitation comes from me thinking I am not able to match the brilliant legacy of lisp. That feeling is totally absent when writing in any other language I know well enough, except Haskell...

But yeah, the writer of that article is a skillful pusher of buttons in people as well as machines.