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J | Chasing Men Who Stare at Arrays - Part 2

Archive for the 'J' Category

Page 2 of 2

An amazing occurrence of good sportsmanship

I’m completely exhausted and running late! But yesterday was so exciting I can barely sit still and I’m burning to share.

Last night, I had dinner with Morten Kromberg and Eric Iverson. Now I can boast that I witnessed everything good in the meeting of great minds.  Seriously.  It was such a special treat.

And here we have the tickler, these two camera-adverse gentlemen, played my game and let me tape with Flip!  Rock on!

P.S. I’m singing at the top of my lungs to early Fleetwood Mac playing on Youtube as my movie encodes.  Everything is just fine.

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The Jedi unite, brilliant misfits

Meeting new people and learning about what cool things are happening now in the array language community after my decade hiatus is completely awesome.

And this picture has it all.  Here you see Jordan Tirrell, an up and coming J programmer with veteran Jon McGrew, who I quote once and a while, especially when he makes a good joke about nothing.

Jordan is extra lucky, not to mention smart, because he gets to occupy the spot under Ken Lettow’s wing, after studying with Cliff Reiter at Lafayette College.  This must be great fun, because Ken, who I also just met on this trip to NYC, rocks! Here’s what he wrote me about 10 days ago:

BTW,  on Sunday I went to the bookstore and bought the book “The (mis)behavior of Markets, a fractal view of Financial Turbulence” by Benoit Mandelbrot & Richard L. Hudson.  If you get to interview Mandelbrot you should definitely read this book beforehand.  I could not put it down.

In addition to the main theme of the book, Mandelbrot drops little nuggets about his time at IBM which I think you might find interesting.  Example:

It was 1961.  I had been working a few years at IBM’s main laboratory up the Hudson River from Manhattan.  It was a  surprising place for a pure scientist.  The company had re-tooled itself from a manufacturer of mechanical tabulating machines to a pioneer of electronic computers; and for that task, it had staffed up a large laboratory by including a number of brilliant misfits who were allowed to pursue every imaginable topic.  Some were obviously related to computers, but many not.  I, a recent arrival from France, was working on a new use for computers: economics.

Brilliant misfits!  I love that description.  It is mind bending to think of the talent that resided at IBM at this time, Iverson, Mandelbrot, Brooks, Backus etc.

I’m glad I don’t have to give an award to the most helpful on my trip to NYC because it would be a three-way tie between APL, Q and J folks.  And this Totally Rocks!

And Ken, I love brilliant misfits too! The book arrived today! Hooray!

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NYC Rocks, of course

I’m still in New York and of course…  it rocks. Right at this minute, I’m in Bryant Park!

Who wouldn’t get great material and fresh ideas in this crazy-busy city? Between interviews, I’m exploring around almost everywhere: Manhattan, Queens & Brooklyn.   On the lucky days, I get personal tours from array language folks.

Yesterday’s tour with Devon McCormick, of the J-language Jedi, included searching for cool used computer science and math books. Of course, we were on the look-out for Iverson and company.

I have lots to report when I get home.  !!!

Thanks for reading.

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Remember green bar paper?

Remember green bar paper?  I’m not sure when it came in, but it did come in outside of the limits of my memory.  What I mean to say is that it was always there.  And then… poof!  It was gone.

My dad is now happily settled in Manitoulin and this morning I got around to looking through my box – which he has stuffed to the breaking point and dropped off at my house.

My box now contains collectibles spanning several decades including the APL character set type-balls,  listings on green bar from the 1970’s with hand written corrections, as well as the J Phrasebook, Phrases published by Iverson Software in 1996 authored by Chris Burke, Roger K. W. Hui, Kenneth E. Iverson, Eugene E. McDonnell & Donald B. McIntyre.

At the same time, I installed K on my PC this weekend.  I’m hoping my days of wishing I had access to APL are over.

I’m still reading about 4 computer history books at the same time.  It makes for slow progress, if you’re counting by completion.  I’m at the point in the Grace Hooper biography where they start talking about Grace’s struggle with Alcohol dependence.  I’ve learned also that Ada Lovelace had her own battle with alcohol.  Not all array programmers drink like fish, but some do.  Or have.  Hmmmm… Something to contemplate.

And while I’m throwing big names around, I also found the letter from the American Institute of Physics, dated May 31, 1973 informing my father, Mr. Richard H. Lathwell, that he, Roger D. Moore and Larry M. Breed would be presented with the Grace Murray Hopper award during the ACM Annual Conference in Atlanta Georgia that year in August.

And to close… While I have been remiss this month in the posting, you most certainly have held up your end of the bargain. You’re still reading! This is fantastic You make me proud.

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