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Thursday, January 05, 2006

The View is Better from Here

Unsurprisingly, I'm not the only person who noticed the similarities between Windows Vista and Mac OS X (alternate registration-free link). Overall, it's been a good week to use a Mac. I have to give MS some credit for patching the problem relatively quickly, though.

To reiterate my response to a comment from Wednesday's post in case any interested parties missed it: I'm using "Lisp" as a shorthand for "some Lisp variant." I used Scheme in several college courses, so I'm familiar with the syntax, basic usage, and available flavors.

I think that potential confusion actually highlights one of the flaws the Reddit guys found with Lisp. If you want to get started with Ruby, your only choice is the one and only Ruby. If you want to get started with Smalltalk, then Squeak and VisualWorks are the most obvious and easily accessible choices. If you want to get started with Lisp, is it CLisp? Scheme? Something else? Which version?

With Ruby and Smalltalk, it's relatively easy for someone who's an outsider to the language to figure out what to use, and to get up and running quickly. Choice is good after you understand what you're choosing between, but having too many entry points is confusing to beginners. Would Rails be as accessible if new users had to find the correct combination of OS/Ruby/Rails for their platform?

Finally, for my friends who've asked, in this year's NaNoWriMo, I failed even more spectacularly than usual. The combination of homecoming, birthday parties, and two weeks of illness doomed my attempt long before Thanksgiving came along and finished it off. When I finished my turkey dinner and pumpkin pie, and realized that I only needed to write 9000 or so words that night to get back on pace, I knew it was over. I think I need to just hold my own some time. Maybe in March, April, or September when there's less to interfere.


Blogger Sassy said...

I'll do a private NaNoWrMo with you.

1/06/2006 8:52 AM  

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