Archive for January, 2007

Trouble in Paradise

January 26, 2007

A long time ago, Reddit (reddit.com) used to be awesome. Not anymore.

A little while ago, someone posted a link to a picture of the old Reddit; the way Reddit used to look before it got popular. Pretty much every link on the Hot page was something tech related, or something else interesting. Sure, everyone one of those links was submitted by Paul Graham, but they were all good links. Even when I joined Reddit a few months ago, there was still an influx of good news stories. Reddit was awesome.

Now, you have to go to programming if you want to see anything mildly stimulating; and those links are only good half the time. Take a look at the Reddit Hot page right now, and it will probably look something like this:

1 ) George Bush is stupid
2 ) Today’s XKCD comic
3 ) Why all the cool kids are converting to atheism
4 ) Bush is still stupid
5 ) BEST PIC EVAR LOLZ
6 ) Lisp programmers have higher IQs than Java programmers
7 ) You should move to Canada!
8 ) Guy talks with a bug [video, funny]
9 ) He’s still stupid

And so on and so forth. That’s not awesome. Not by a long shot.

I can only assume this is the price a social bookmarking site must pay for popularity. Reddit is about what the community likes, not what an individual likes; and now the community consists primarily of 20-year-old ultra-liberal Python programmers.

At least I know I’m not the only one who has a problem with the new Reddit. Unfortunately, meta-links of the “Guys, we need to vote up cooler links” variety are overshadowed by meta-links of the “CONDE NAST IS TAKING OUR FREEDOMS!!!1” variety.

So, consider this a call to all Redditors: vote interesting, fresh links up and boring, repetitive links down. Save your site before it goes even further down the toilet.

I used to think Reddit was better than Digg. It used to have links to articles that were truly interesting; now, we get the same old stories, the same old pictures, day in and day out. I suppose the only solution is to build a news site that has an IQ test its users must complete before they can register:

“Would you rather see a story about Bush making a monkey face, or a story about concurrency in Haskell?” “TEH FIRST 1!” “No, you fail.”

That could work.

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Installation is Addictive

January 20, 2007

Well, I haven’t posted here in a while. Not that anyone cares.

I have a great number of language compilers/interpreters installed on my computer; too many for my own good. The current list includes C, C++, C#, Java, Common Lisp, two implementations of Scheme, Python, Assembly, Ocaml, F#, Ruby, Prolog, Haskell, Tcl, and Perl, roughly in the order their program folders appear on the All Programs list. I’ve also worked with languages that I currently don’t have installed, such as J and Visual Basic. You might attribute this polyglotism to curiosity. I attribute it to laziness.

I haven’t done anything major since I finished my Tetris clone last summer; not a thing (of course, Tetris isn’t really a “major” project, what I mean is anything that you might have to actually think about for a little while). I’m much more concerned with using languages for my own amusement, rather than building anything useful with them. Perhaps it’s because the Windows installers feel so magical; there’s a certain indescribable pleasure to watching a program copy a zillion little configuration files, or uninstalling a program I no longer need.

At least there’s hope on the horizon. I’m currently writing an interpreter for a small language for writing text adventures in Common Lisp. The interesting thing about this project is that I’m actually writing code, and this code is actually working, and it’s actually doing something that’s actually interesting. Thanks, Lisp, for getting me out of a slump.

Now, I’ve heard of this new language called Epigram that’s supposed to have a really cool type system…

Erlang

January 2, 2007

I just spent the last half hour or so trying out Erlang; which isn’t enough time at all to seriously evaluate a language, but it’s enough time in my world. I stumbled upon it quite a while ago, but the ugly syntax scared me away. After learning Prolog, the syntax didn’t seem so ugly (Erlang began life as a modified Prolog), but nothing about the language particular jumped out an said “LEARN ME!”. I’m not too interested in writing “real-time distributed systems”.

I’m going to be using this space to rant about all of the new languages I try out. It’s all part of my quest to find the One True Language.  Wish me luck.