Joe Ganley
Writing code since 1979
I have been a professional software engineer for over 10 years. I have written many kinds of software, but my particular strengths are interactive graphics applications, compilers and interpreters, and algorithms.

I also enjoy writing, woodworking, and home improvement. Also this.


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Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Pardon the Slashdot regurgitation, but
this article about the use of Lisp in the Orbitz travel site's servers is very cool. I was a pretty serious Lisp geek back in school, before the realities of the world forced me into less elegant languages, and I'm surprised and delighted to see that Lisp is in serious commercial use. I was also amused by the assertion that finding a minimum-cost flight (with no restriction on number of hops) might be computationally intractable. It would be fun to play around with a system like this, without the restrictions a commercial site like Orbitz places on reasonable numbers of stops, to see how cheaply you can get from IAD to LAX (for example) if you're willing to stop eight times.

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Monday, January 14, 2002

I've come to realize that I never actually enter data on my PalmPilot; essentially, it's just a compact way for me to carry around my datebook, address book, etc., which I keep and maintain on my desktop machine. However, it's not really very well suited to this purpose; it's too big and too fragile, so that if I'm not wearing a jacket or carrying a bag, I leave it at home. What I'd like to see is a device that is smaller than a Palm, cheap, and indestructible -- I want to be able to put it in the back pocket of my jeans and sit on it, or put it on my keychain. I'd be able to read my data on it -- datebook, addresses, memos, and to-do lists -- but need not be able to enter data on it. The Xircom REX -- you know, the little credit-card sized gizmo -- has the right form factor, but it's not cheap, and it doesn't look terribly rugged. The Magic-I keychain PDA is a little too small; I'd like to be able to see 6 or 8 lines of data (e.g. an entire address) at once. There are a few truly rugged PDAs out there, but they're both expensive and bulky. What I want is something about the size of the REX (not necessarily as thin), only tougher. I wonder if any such device exists?

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I just finished The Big U, Neal Stephenson's first novel. It's okay -- worth a read, but if you like that sort of satire, I can recommend at least two better books: Sewer, Gas, and Electric by Matt Ruff, and (if you can find it) The Chronicles of Doodah by George Lee Walker.

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