Sol and Computers

Okay, I'm a computer geek. Here's a bunch of useful links and not-so-useful opinions.

My programming languages of choice are C++ and Perl. C++ is powerful and expressive; like good old Forth, you can extend the language in the direction you want to take it. Anyone who tries to tell you that operator overloading isn't needed has obviously never written a class to express a mathematical object. Likewise templates, which allow you to cut back drastically on the amount of code you write without suffering a run-time penalty. While you're waiting for the new ANSI/ISO standard to become official, you can look at the Last C++ Standard Draft, C++ FAQ, or Plauger's library documentation.

While Perl is also extremely extensible, I find it very clumsy to extend. But the basic set of operations Perl provides is extremely powerful, and well suited for lots of useful tasks. I rely on it for short text-manipulation programs, including a bunch I've used to whip this web site into shape.

Of course, all decent programmers aspire to be hackers. Here's the online Jargon File, which the very cool Eric S. Raymond turned into the New Hacker's Dictionary. A great piece found at both the book and web site is The Story of Mel, a Real Programmer a fine example for we degenerate modern types.

On the net, the two serach engines I primarily use are Alta Vista and Excite. Sometimes I try Google.

I have a definite love/hate relationship with computer games. I love to play them, but I hate all the time I lose when I do play them. (Losing an entire week's worth of free time to one game of Civ II sucks.) The grand champ game is Quake (okay, Quake 2 these days). I was really into X-Wing vs TIE Fighter when it came out, but Wing Commander Prophecy blew it away.

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