Warning: Missing argument 1 for WP_Widget::__construct(), called in /home/lathprod/public_html/wordpress/wp-includes/class-wp-widget-factory.php on line 106 and defined in /home/lathprod/public_html/wordpress/wp-includes/class-wp-widget.php on line 175

Warning: Missing argument 2 for WP_Widget::__construct(), called in /home/lathprod/public_html/wordpress/wp-includes/class-wp-widget-factory.php on line 106 and defined in /home/lathprod/public_html/wordpress/wp-includes/class-wp-widget.php on line 175
Travel | Chasing Men Who Stare at Arrays

Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Happy New Year! 2013!

I’m a bit tired from last night’s festivities, but I didn’t want to let another day pass by without a quick hello and a brief update.  Right now marks the midway point for this epic filmmaking journey, which puts us on target for our intended 2016 release of the documentary.   Yes.  This is long range planning and there are some important and exciting milestones planned for 2014.  Are you ready?

NewYear1As for 2012, we talked to a lot of people in the community and did many research interviews. Everyone is doing a wonderful job working with us in what is a completely intrusive process.  Thank you, thank you.

I confess to being a particularly poor commentator this year and a few people are still waiting to hear about my trip to Florida to visit Ian and Audrey Sharp way back in August. So, to ring in the new year,  here are a few images from the trip.NewYear7

Ian and Audrey welcomed me into their home and graciously let me root through their collection of  I. P. Sharp Associates memorabilia and turn their otherwise pristine living room into a movie set.  This is where the news clipping from Olive’s 1965 diary came from.

It was a pleasure to spend a week with the Sharps.  They have a beautiful place near the water and interrupted their busy schedule of tenis and volunteering to show me around.  Ian does Meals on Wheels and Audrey performs hearing tests on new born babies.  And it was hot, hot, hot… They live in a hot place! Hot, it is almost impossible to imagine in snowy Toronto January!

And there is a whole other thesis lurking under all of this about Canadian technology entrepreneurialship. But that is a story for a different day.

NewYear2

Back in the APL FILMS office, we are poised and ready to launch a big publicity campaign in 2014. We’ve been working hard coming up with the concept and final designs for the logo.  It’s now down to choosing between two versions.  We’re stumped so we’ll put it to a vote.   The voting poll is all set-up and waiting for us to pull the tigger on Monday.  Stay tuned.  We need your help. This is the first of a few important steps moving forward.

Happy New Year, everyone!

 

 

Share

Going nova: Kx princess denouement 

The  intricacies of this APL story, a story of epic proportions, with richness, contradictions, irony, paradox and most importantly brilliant characters provides everything a storyteller could hope for.  This is the perfect story.  Except…well, a slightly less ephemeral subject would be easier to visualize, but never mind.

The dashing Pierre Kovalev and Oleg Finkelshteyn (left) take after their mentor, Arthur Whitney and are men of few words, big brains and deep hearts.  They are working on performance optimization, a field where those trained in Array Programming Language thinking have an advantage, a mental edge.  Seriously, Professor, take note.

The up and coming Peter Bell, Carlos Butler and Tisean Jeffers (right) from Loughborough University are all bright stars ready for action with poise and affability which indicates there are great things in their future reminiscent of APL’s Brat Pack. Peter, by the way, gets extra points for recognizing me from YouTube, which means, folks, he is out there exploring and paying attention.  Go easy and think about what this says about him, rather than me.

Fintan Quill (left) radiates a calm competence with just a hint of characteristically Irish charm. He’s a bit like Simon, although Simon isn’t Irish.  Fintan has a long history with Array Programming and recently joined the Kx team in New York. Lucky Kx!

And if I really WERE a Princess, and to be candid, I’m certainly not. And in actuality, I get along better with Queens than Princesses, but if I were a Princess, I would give David Katz (below) my scarf, any day.

He has the ultimate, you just never know with APL, story. Having written his Master’s thesis on APL a relatively long time ago, and then finding not much APL action in Michigan back in the day, he went on to more mainstream  Software Engineering.  And then, several years later his resume was plucked out of the pile because of that APL thesis.  AND that’s why I had the pleasure of meeting him in Ireland.  Incidentally, he half volunteered and was half drafted to help me with the next phase of this project, which is getting it financed.

Where are all the women?  Well, it turns out that Janet, Victoria, Alla and Holly are all running around faster than the speed of light keeping everyone in business.   So far, I haven’t caught them sitting still long enough to grab a picture.  But they’re there.  You can bet on it.  And guess what I’m learning?  If they weren’t, these guys wouldn’t be here either.

In  conclusion, the support, encouragement and congeniality from all the people I met in Ireland, pictured and not pictured, have left me burning a little brighter. The realization of a documentary about APL is far from a sure thing, but these folks just nudged it one step further along.

Thank you.

(PS I’m still showing everyone who will tolerate listening to me, J on my iPhone.  I mean everyone. ) 

Share

Kx Princess Report #2

Where were we? Oh, yes, my commitment to Simon to find the K-Club in Straffan just outside of Dublin. And to arrive with something to show.

I flew in a day early to relax and see the city. This was enough time to learn that the Irish can give uncomfortably vague directions that miraculously work. For example, “It’s across the road,” did in fact turn out to be true.

The event was a Kx International Users conference. The tricky business about these conferences is that they are TOP SECRET. In fact, one of my new found friends revealed to me all kinds of interesting details about his personal life and when I asked if they were a secret, because… er… I am making a documentary… He said, no. BUT! What he had just explained to me about his work, now THAT, was absolutely secret.

Don’t get too excited. The only people who would understand any possible trade secret I may have learned, are the ultra-geek of geeks. I don’t expect to be kidnapped and held for ransom anytime soon. So, no kiss and tell. That’s how it goes. I can say that the spirit of innovation which began in the 1950’s with Dr Iverson at Harvard carries on. And simple is still the more difficult and best route. Even after all these years.

It was a real treat to finally meet Arthur Whitney. I expect that if I say too much right now, he’ll never talk to me again, which would be tragic. BUT! It was great. And Janet Lustgarten is the sharpest executive I’ve ever met. She’s an awesome role model for anyone, and is especially inspiring for women in tech. It was a pleasure to spend time with these folks.

Next time I’ll tell you about Carlos, Oleg, Peter, Pierre and Tisean. They share first prize for inspiring super ultra-core fans. What I mean by that, is when I ask myself, Why the heck am I doing this anyway? I just need to see their smiling faces and my batteries re-charge.

Share

The Princess goes to Straffan part 1

Perhaps ironically, the competition and barriers I am setting out to tackle make working on Wall Street look like summer camp. The stakes are much higher too because the currency is soul.

Documentary filmmaking is an uncertain, messy, un-businessy business and that’s why so many documentaries never get made. The sheer impossibility of the endeavor can grind a person down. And I was feeling it at the end of March; a little worn down; a little tired from the countless hours that have gone into this project since 2009; a little scared at the opportunity cost of my own labour gone; a little bit doubtful that I had anything to say.

It sounds like self-pity, but it’s actually just exhaustion.

Those of you who know me or have worked with me know that in the parlance of business, I’m a finisher. What this means is, that since I made a commitment to Simon Garland last summer, it doesn’t matter what obstacles were in the way. I would find the K Club, a castle in Ireland. And I would bring a show.

Now, I’m really glad and so I will tell you about why over the next couple of posts.

Thank you, everyone, for tuning in.  And may the Force be with you always.

Share

Brooks on Iverson

In October of 2011, Dr Fred Brooks agreed to talk to me about when he and Dr Kenneth E Iverson, the father of APL, shared an office at Harvard University in the 1950s.  So, I went to Chapel Hill in North Carolina, USA to speak with him.

Professor Dr Jan Prins, also from The University of North Carolina, assisted with the interview and he thought it would be interesting to know what it was like for Dr Iverson to receive the Turing award in 1979, 17 years after the publication of A Programming Language.  Here is the answer:

– corrected (Thank you Roger.  Again. )

Share

Happy New Year! The 2011 Photo Array!

I’m looking forward to a 2012 that is just as fast paced as 2011. And for whatever it’s worth, I didn’t blog as much as I did last year which is something you will notice in this post of photos. Yes indeed, a picture is worth 1000 words.

In fact, we only made 12 posts for 2011 and in spite of this low showing, my faithful readers, according to a report WordPress sent me last night:

This blog was viewed about 9,700 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

I’m thrilled! Rock on!

Happy New Year Everyone! Let’s kick some more ass in 2012.

Share

Lettow on Brooks honouring the 90th anniversary of KEI’s birth

As they say in rock and roll, “You can’t always get what you want… but you just might find you get what you need…”

When Ken Lettow asked me if he could swing down to North Carolina for my interview with Professor Fred Brooks,  I answered with a resounding and emphatic, “NO!”

You gotta love Ken.  Persistence is his middle name.  He then proceeded to convince me that he would not bring havoc to my film set and in fact, he would make himself useful.  And a short training session later…   I have a  sound engineer and set photographer all in one enthusiastic bundle  of a subject matter expertise.   In short, a much appreciated helping hand.

In honour of the 90th anniversary of Ken Iverson’s birth Ken Lettow sent out a wonderful account of our adventure to North Carolina to the J-Chat forum:

As [KEI and Prof Brooks] developed course material for the class,  Ken began to formalize the notation that came to be known as APL, the “the blackboard version” as Eugene McDonnell once so aptly put it.  Their collaboration ultimately resulted in the publication of two books, Ken Iverson’s “A Programming Language”,  in 1962 and “Automatic Data Processing” by Iverson and Brooks, published in 1963.  They also became lifelong friends during this period.

You can read Ken’s  full text here.  He’s also posted a great set of photos.

Happy holidays everyone.  May the Force be with you always.

Share

J, K & NC (+ J Conference 2012)

I have a Stats exam next week and because I really should be studying, I thought I’d drop you a quick note.

First, a special announcement: the J folks are planning a conference RIGHT HERE in Toronto July 23rd  &24th 2012.  Come one! Come all!

The J-community has really stepped up to the plate in terms of financial and in-kind labour for this documentary project.  Let’s face it folks, unless you’re Fred Brooks, Arthur Whitney or Eric Iverson, or a dozen or so other stars, wanting to be in the documentary doesn’t do much for me.  

I expect you noticed I was in Chapel Hill last month.  Luckily, Roger Hui alerted me to the fact that The University of North Carolina has a programming gem in their freshman class who, at all of 18, has already made a splash in the J programming forums. Welcome Marshall Lochbaum, and his former high school math teacher Henry Rich (pictured above).

And of course, less obvious was my visit to NYC to see for myself what amazing work is going on at Kx.  If you haven’t watched the video of our Simon Garland in action (with moderator Tom Groenfeldt) you’re missing the cutting edge.

 

OK!  Off I go… Exam prep is really not that bad… or so I keep telling myself…

Share

One for the road

Share

Country thievery and small arrays

Ken Iverson's copy of ALGOL 68

Klout reminds me this morning that my “influence”  has dropped 50%.  I guess this is what happens when one doesn’t participate in cyberspace these days, you get an automated email: “Hey!  YOU’RE not the cool kid!” Yikes.

The truth is I’m so busy, I can’t believe it. I got into that Statistics class I was hoping to avoid because last week it was full.  It’s still full, but now with me in it.  Damn. That’s good.  Right?

Fortunately, I had the foresight to hike up to Manitoulin Island to visit my dad on his new farm before it all began. The farm is not actually new, he moved up there two years ago, but this was my first venture.  If you’re wondering why it took me so long look at the map.

So, while I was there, dad worked.  I did nothing except wander around and photograph small and wild things.  And try to capture the moon and clouds. And poke around in his private business.  I brought back his journals from 1966 to 1977 among other bits and bobs.  And it turns out that my dad is perhaps a bit of a book thief, so I now own a couple books which previously graced the libraries of Ken Iverson and Adin Falkoff.

Incidentally, Sage, the infamous cat in the box loves country life and slept at my feet while I was visiting.

Now it’s back to the rate race.  Hey! Up my Klout!  I wanna be the cool kid again!

(Just kidding. I know it’s not Klout that makes me cool.  To borrow from Manuel Simone, it’s intellectual badassness.)

 

 

Share



Analytics Plugin created by Jake Ruston's Wordpress Plugins - Powered by Laptop Cases and r4.