Conference moment: Lisp certification?

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Kenny Tilton

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Nov 2, 2002, 12:05:42 PM11/2/02
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There was a fellow from MegaCorp (manager, not a programmer) who did the
conference to check out Lisp for a new $5m project. It's a C++ shop and
they are not in love with the overnight builds. One guy in his group has
been "playing with Lisp" and encouraged its use in the new project, so
this guy came to check us out. (Or get a week in Frisco on the company's
dime. <g>) Anyway, he was worried a lot about justifying Lisp to other
management, even if he concluded Lisp would be better.

One specific: he said the ALU should cook up a certification exam. He
understood that certification might be a joke in our domain, but that
nevertheless it was the kind of thing that would make Lisp look more
respectable to MegaCorp types.

He even seemed to think a simple timed on-line test would do the trick,
though how you stop cheating I do not know.

This was a new one on me, and was only one bloke's input. I scoff at
certification for programmers, but if it would be easy to implement and
if folks in tall buildings care (two big ifs) why not?

--

kenny tilton
clinisys, inc
---------------------------------------------------------------
""Well, I've wrestled with reality for thirty-five years, Doctor,
and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it.""
Elwood P. Dowd

Marc Spitzer

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Nov 2, 2002, 1:20:01 PM11/2/02
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Kenny Tilton <kti...@nyc.rr.com> wrote in news:3DC40755.3060803
@nyc.rr.com:

> There was a fellow from MegaCorp (manager, not a programmer) who did the
> conference to check out Lisp for a new $5m project. It's a C++ shop and
> they are not in love with the overnight builds. One guy in his group has
> been "playing with Lisp" and encouraged its use in the new project, so
> this guy came to check us out. (Or get a week in Frisco on the company's
> dime. <g>) Anyway, he was worried a lot about justifying Lisp to other
> management, even if he concluded Lisp would be better.
>
> One specific: he said the ALU should cook up a certification exam. He
> understood that certification might be a joke in our domain, but that
> nevertheless it was the kind of thing that would make Lisp look more
> respectable to MegaCorp types.
>
> He even seemed to think a simple timed on-line test would do the trick,
> though how you stop cheating I do not know.
>
> This was a new one on me, and was only one bloke's input. I scoff at
> certification for programmers, but if it would be easy to implement and
> if folks in tall buildings care (two big ifs) why not?
>

If it was done for real look at how www.giac.org does it. You need to
write a paper and pass before you get to sit for the test. Then your paper
is posted on the web so that people can review your work. It is a good
deal of work to get this done though. The brainbench type web tests are
things I would not put on my resumee.

marc

Erik Naggum

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Nov 2, 2002, 1:42:13 PM11/2/02
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* Kenny Tilton

| One specific: he said the ALU should cook up a certification exam.

How about just asking people to give a paper at a Lisp conference and
making sure that the quality standards are sufficiently high?

http://www.cs.ucsb.edu/~almeroth/conf/stats/

--
Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.

Marc Spitzer

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Nov 2, 2002, 4:03:23 PM11/2/02
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Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no> wrote in news:32452513...@naggum.no:

> * Kenny Tilton
>| One specific: he said the ALU should cook up a certification exam.
>
> How about just asking people to give a paper at a Lisp conference and
> making sure that the quality standards are sufficiently high?
>
> http://www.cs.ucsb.edu/~almeroth/conf/stats/
>

I do not know, a certifacation is suposed to demonstrate a certian min
level of mastery consistantly. Your way would allow the people who make
the cut to put it down, much as they do today, but what of the people who's
papers were good enough to be used but not used due to other issues?

I am not saying it is not a good metric, I think it is. But that it is too
subject to outside influences for this purpose.

marc

Erik Naggum

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Nov 2, 2002, 4:33:43 PM11/2/02
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* Marc Spitzer

| I am not saying it is not a good metric, I think it is. But that it is
| too subject to outside influences for this purpose.

I must admit to some ulterior motives. First, if this was the requirement,
I would get off the hook because I have given a paper at a Lisp conference.
But (more) importantly, it would make a lot of people submit papers to Lisp
conferences and thus would make the conferences more interesting and more
frequent. Fundamentally, I do not see the point with certification if it
is a "selfish" measure, i.e., one where the community benefit of having one
more certified programmer is negative, which it would be if the purpose was
to make it easier for managers to replace one Common Lisp programmer with
another or have more people compete for the same jobs. If managers want
that, they can have it, but giving it to them should benefit the community
more than the particular manager. Otherwise, managers get a strangle-hold
on the market and will work hard to /lower/ the certification requirements
so that they have more people to choose from and can lower their costs.
The entrance fee to the Certified Common Lisp Programmer market should be
that you have done something that clearly benefits the existing certified
programmers, not just something that benefits the /future/ candidates. The
same rationale underlies the requirements to grant professional degrees.

Kenny Tilton

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Nov 2, 2002, 5:19:14 PM11/2/02
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Erik Naggum wrote:
> * Kenny Tilton
> | One specific: he said the ALU should cook up a certification exam.
>
> How about just asking people to give a paper at a Lisp conference and
> making sure that the quality standards are sufficiently high?

If we are doing a sick form of the Turing Test in which Lisp tries to
fool suits into thinking we are Java, then our certfication process must
look like theirs. I know one criterion is that it must be something
Asians can pass by memorizing a book, so the original content required
of a paper might give us away as Not Java.

Is there a metacertification exam template? Do folks write code during
the exam (as in more than just a line or two)? It would be great fun
here on cll to brainstorm an exam if we knew what it should look like.

btw, the gent from the big company (i think it was a phone company) said
the certification thing itself might draw folks towards CL. A new exam
announced on SlashDot and to the IT press in general in and of itself
would make clear that the news of CL's death (in Wired?) was greatly
exagerated.

Marc Spitzer

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Nov 2, 2002, 6:40:10 PM11/2/02
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Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no> wrote in news:32452616...@naggum.no:

> * Marc Spitzer
>| I am not saying it is not a good metric, I think it is. But that it
>| is too subject to outside influences for this purpose.
>
> I must admit to some ulterior motives. First, if this was the
> requirement, I would get off the hook because I have given a paper
> at a Lisp conference. But (more) importantly, it would make a lot of
> people submit papers to Lisp conferences and thus would make the
> conferences more interesting and more frequent.

Yes that would be good. And being grandfathered is always nice.

> Fundamentally, I do not see the point with certification if it is a
> "selfish" measure, i.e., one where the community benefit of having
> one more certified programmer is negative, which it would be if the
> purpose was to make it easier for managers to replace one Common
> Lisp programmer with another or have more people compete for the
> same jobs. If managers want that, they can have it, but giving it
> to them should benefit the community more than the particular
> manager. Otherwise, managers get a strangle-hold on the market and
> will work hard to /lower/ the certification requirements so that
> they have more people to choose from and can lower their costs. The
> entrance fee to the Certified Common Lisp Programmer market should
> be that you have done something that clearly benefits the existing
> certified programmers, not just something that benefits the /future/
> candidates. The same rationale underlies the requirements to grant
> professional degrees.
>

Those are good points that I had not considdered, thanks for bringing
them up.

What would you think of a tiered approach, apprentice -> journeyman ->
master setup. Where the journeyman and master grades would have the
requirement to help current advanced members. I believe I am talking
about a guild or guildish thing.

Also there are certian certs out there that having makes you more money,
CCIE comes to mind. It is a very hard test, here is how it works:
1: take a written test
2: iff you pass then you go to cisco and:
a: day 1 build a network
b: if you built it right then day 2 fix it after they break it.
It is designed to fail people.

I guess the trick is not to let the managers have much, if any, say in
the matter.

marc

J L Russell

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Nov 2, 2002, 9:37:33 PM11/2/02
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"Kenny Tilton" <kti...@nyc.rr.com> wrote in message
news:3DC40755...@nyc.rr.com...

>
> This was a new one on me, and was only one bloke's input. I scoff at
> certification for programmers, but if it would be easy to implement and
> if folks in tall buildings care (two big ifs) why not?
>

Well, I (and probably many people smarter and more talented than me)
object to these sorts of tests on principle. They tend to measure whether
programmer X can do cookie-cutter task Y using language Z (and subsidiary
APIs),
not whether programmer X is any good at, say, problem solving or even, say,
programming.
Most corporations that judge competence and make hiring decisions based
on some third-party jokey-joke test are not the kinds of places that smart
and talented
people are going to enjoy working.
Certifications for other languages have reduced programming from a
profession
to a job, and changed most 'programmers' from engineers to mere technicians.
I would guess that many of the best programmers that choose Common Lisp
would
refuse, on priciple, to go down that road. So what would the test
accomplish?
I envision it inviting hordes of loathsome know-nothing jobbers into the
field,
and sullying the reputations of all serious programmers, making it even more
dificult to find a job, for lack of some idiotic certification.

Screw MegaCorp, I say, let them choke on their own vomit.

-James Russell

J L Russell

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Nov 2, 2002, 9:41:46 PM11/2/02
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"J L Russell" <j.ru...@alum.mit.edu> wrote in message news:NZ%w9.22531$VJ5.1...@bgtnsc05-news.ops.worldnet.att.net...
> loathsome

Speaking of loathsome, I apologize for the atrocious line breaking.

-James Russell


Kenny Tilton

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Nov 3, 2002, 12:49:28 AM11/3/02
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J L Russell wrote:
> "Kenny Tilton" <kti...@nyc.rr.com> wrote in message
> news:3DC40755...@nyc.rr.com...
>
>>This was a new one on me, and was only one bloke's input. I scoff at
>>certification for programmers, but if it would be easy to implement and
>>if folks in tall buildings care (two big ifs) why not?
>>

..snip...

> Screw MegaCorp, I say, let them choke on their own vomit.

The MegaCorp exec was attending a rare Lisper conference and hearing
endless discussion of how CL could expand its adoption. In that context
he suggested certification would grease the skids for adoption by
fortune 500. I agree with you about certficates, and told the guy as
much. he pointed out to me that he was just saying this might be the
price of the f5 acceptance we were after, so it does not matter what we
think of the process.

Marc Spitzer

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Nov 3, 2002, 2:15:58 AM11/3/02
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Kenny Tilton <kti...@nyc.rr.com> wrote in
news:3DC4B9CF...@nyc.rr.com:

>
>
> J L Russell wrote:
>> "Kenny Tilton" <kti...@nyc.rr.com> wrote in message
>> news:3DC40755...@nyc.rr.com...
>>
>>>This was a new one on me, and was only one bloke's input. I scoff at
>>>certification for programmers, but if it would be easy to implement
>>>and if folks in tall buildings care (two big ifs) why not?
>>>
> ..snip...
>
>> Screw MegaCorp, I say, let them choke on their own vomit.
>
> The MegaCorp exec was attending a rare Lisper conference and hearing
> endless discussion of how CL could expand its adoption. In that
> context he suggested certification would grease the skids for adoption
> by fortune 500. I agree with you about certficates, and told the guy
> as much. he pointed out to me that he was just saying this might be
> the price of the f5 acceptance we were after, so it does not matter
> what we think of the process.
>

F500 companys employ a lot of programmers, how do they transition them
to lisp? Also the learning curve to be a productive lisp programmer
apears to be about 2 years, from comments I have read here, and the avg
IT job lasts about 2 years in the US. So the IT manager can not justify
training or growing them to his boss. It is like giving the person a
masters degree and then he leave, not good.

And as Erik pointed out the idea of a Java type cert is a generaly bad
idea.

marc

Marc Spitzer

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Nov 3, 2002, 2:22:52 AM11/3/02
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Marc Spitzer <mspi...@optonline.net> wrote in
news:Xns92BB1718AAE18ms...@167.206.3.3:

>
> F500 companys employ a lot of programmers, how do they transition them
> to lisp? Also the learning curve to be a productive lisp programmer
> apears to be about 2 years, from comments I have read here, and the avg
> IT job lasts about 2 years in the US. So the IT manager can not justify
> training or growing them to his boss. It is like giving the person a
> masters degree and then he leave, not good.
>
> And as Erik pointed out the idea of a Java type cert is a generaly bad
> idea.
>
> marc
>

Between this post and my others on this topic I am arguing both sides of
the issue. Hopefully a working solution is some where in the middle.

marc

Tim Bradshaw

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Nov 3, 2002, 8:21:13 AM11/3/02
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* Erik Naggum wrote:

> How about just asking people to give a paper at a Lisp conference and
> making sure that the quality standards are sufficiently high?

I think the problem with this is that the skills needed to write
conference papers (typically dealing with some topic which can be
described well in a small number of pages read by a human - so little
confusions and vageuenesses are OK) are different than the skills
needed to write significant programs (typically dealing with a topic
which needs a much larger number of pages to describe, and which is
read by a machine, so must have no little confusions and vageuenesses
at all; however this machine readable description must *also* be
comprehensible to human readers!).

--tim


Christopher C. Stacy

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Nov 3, 2002, 11:05:00 AM11/3/02
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Fortune 500 companies were one of the primary users of Lisp,
back when Lisp (and AI) was popular. Also, I am highly skeptical
that certification is what's keeping Lisp from being used there now.
I haven't talked with any such companies lately, but one data point
does not make the case for me.

Kenny Tilton

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Nov 3, 2002, 11:56:17 AM11/3/02
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Christopher C. Stacy wrote:
> Fortune 500 companies were one of the primary users of Lisp,
> back when Lisp (and AI) was popular. Also, I am highly skeptical
> that certification is what's keeping Lisp from being used there now.

Right, I think it was understood to be a small matter we might want to
consider, just another brick in the wall. The key is, if it is a
no-brainer and we are looking for something to improve CL's adoption,
why not? Give 'em what they want.

As it stands, CL gets laughed out of the running in IT, because the
immune system identifies us as "not-ready-for-IT". Maybe if we adorn
ouselves with a few ITish proteins like certification the immune system
will think we are friend, not foe.

And yes, it was just one opinion from one IT exec who had come to the
Lisp conference ostensibly because one of his people was arguing for
Lisp on the next project. Come to think of it, if we won't listen to
him, who should we listen to, to get into F500? It would be nice to get
more suits into this thread, or at least input from folks here who have
worked in tall buildings.

I have, and I can't say I heard anyone talking about certification.
otoh, i did know one IT recruiter who thought some guy was a genius
because he had passed a wadge of MS exams in short order (an Asian!).

J L Russell

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Nov 3, 2002, 12:59:08 PM11/3/02
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"Kenny Tilton" <kti...@nyc.rr.com> wrote in message news:3DC5561...@nyc.rr.com...

>
>
> Christopher C. Stacy wrote:
> > Fortune 500 companies were one of the primary users of Lisp,
> > back when Lisp (and AI) was popular. Also, I am highly skeptical
> > that certification is what's keeping Lisp from being used there now.
>
> Right, I think it was understood to be a small matter we might want to
> consider, just another brick in the wall. The key is, if it is a
> no-brainer and we are looking for something to improve CL's adoption,
> why not? Give 'em what they want.
>

And all I'm saying is, do we really want to work for the forces of darkness?

Any company that has the expertise to determine their true needs and assess
programmer competence doesn't need these tests. Use of these tests is
an admission of managerial incompetence. Who wants to work for such a company?
I might do so only out of sheer desperation.

Is it possible that companies use these tests because they just happen to measure
exactly the skills that the company needs? No. I have taken many tests
in my life, and done quite well on most all of them, and I have never seen one that
measures much of anything other than the ability to do well on that particular test.
I know that this is a trite observance, but that doesn't make it any less true.

Programmer certification tests engender a situation akin to that created by "school
accountability" in the US. In an attempt to lift everyone up to a minimum standard of
competence, we tie funding to test results, and end up churning out droves of students that
have been taught nothing but how to pass the tests. It sucks for everyone in the end.

Don't cave in to immorality out of expediency.

-James Russell

Erik Naggum

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Nov 3, 2002, 1:03:22 PM11/3/02
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* Tim Bradshaw <t...@cley.com>

| I think the problem with this is that the skills needed to write
| conference papers are different than the skills needed to write
| significant programs.

The problem with all certifications is that the skills needed to get the
certification are different from the skills needed in the job requiring
the certification. The question we should ask "does this correlate with
what we actually need?" and allow ourselves to be surprised by the many
unexpected things that do correlate. The human brain is deficient in its
lack of capacity to see how many small things work together. We are very
good at singling out things that are important and focus on that one
thing, but lousy at keeping track of masses of smaller interests that
work together to make change. Usenet is an interesting experiment in
this regard. Some people are so unable to process more than one quality
at a time that they have to /invent/ aspects in order to retro-support
their favorite quality. This is not just the massive stupidity and lack
of intelligence it looks like, it is how people are naturally wired to
deal with the world if they do not consciously override it by thinking.

This is somewhat like voting for people to lead a country. The United
States is /really/ paying the price for its plurality system during this
presidential period. For some reason, how many people would like
something the most is regarded as a reason to choose it. I favor a
system where the number of people who like something the /least/ is
subtracted from the number of people who like it the most, or generally,
a system where each candidate is given positive and negative scores in
some small range (where the sum of the absolute value of all scores is
constant or has a fixed upper limit) and those you feel nothing about
gets zero or no vote at all. The scores are simply summed and whoever
gets the highest total score wins. The purpose of the negative votes is
to ensure that someone who may well be favored by the largest minority
but is loathed by a larger group, perhaps even a majority, not get into a
position where the majority would feel they were not heard and which
would destabilize the entire system. This would ensure that a candidate
would want to get backers on issues, not just fans of their person (or to
avenge their father), and would have to calculate the risk of offending
some groups, not just run over them.

Back to certification, the number of points at which you would have to
score well to be a good candidate for a job is attempted destilled into a
certification, which at best may be assumed to mean "above the baseline",
but the result may well be as undesirable as making George W. Bush the
Republican presidential candidate. In general, I want examinations and
tests to score negative for a wrong answer and zero for no answer, and if
it were up to me, "I don't know" would be far more socially acceptable
than "I guess". But no such luck. Even the business community favors
people who make wrong decisions over those who try to figure out what the
best thing is and effectively make a decision not to act. But you get
what you deserve when you operate that way. Unfortunately, people who
should not get a job in programming get one because of certification,
people who should be kept as far away from money as possible run both
Enron and WorldCom and Arthur Andersen into the ground, and people who
should be kept as far as away from Washington D.C. as possible get into
the White House instead of staying in Texas and lots and lots of people
suffer worldwide. Incompetence should be a criminal offence. The core
problem is that certification does not solve any big problems, only small
ones, just as book-keeping and auditing does not keep people from being
criminals.

Christopher Browne

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Nov 3, 2002, 2:34:42 PM11/3/02
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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, "J L Russell" <j.ru...@alum.mit.edu> wrote:
> And all I'm saying is, do we really want to work for the forces of
> darkness?
>
> Any company that has the expertise to determine their true needs and
> assess programmer competence doesn't need these tests. Use of these
> tests is an admission of managerial incompetence. Who wants to work
> for such a company? I might do so only out of sheer desperation.

I'd be game to say this in a somewhat "less hostile" manner.

> Is it possible that companies use these tests because they just
> happen to measure exactly the skills that the company needs? No. I
> have taken many tests in my life, and done quite well on most all of
> them, and I have never seen one that measures much of anything other
> than the ability to do well on that particular test. I know that
> this is a trite observance, but that doesn't make it any less true.

The /useful/ tests I have taken have been administrated by someone
competent that was looking to see if I understood things.

The latest example was actually a couple of weeks ago, relating to
starting a contract. I "punted" on a couple questions, hacking a
timestamp into UTC because I never can remember without consulting
manuals how to do date computations in SQL. What was particularly
interesting was that the fellow reviewing the results commented that
some of the answers were unconventional, but that people usually got
the questions downright /wrong/.

And there probably lies the other piece: A /good/ test is one where
you'll get some answers wrong, because it has some questions tough
enough to challenge everyone. Which may be nicely contrasted with the
"certification" thing where 'it isn't a good certification unless
typical Asian "memorize 'til you drop" techniques can be used.'

> Don't cave in to immorality out of expediency.

.. But remember that by not being thusly expedient, you'll be largely
excluded from F500 environs. That's not necessarily a /bad/ thing,
but it's something to keep in mind.
--
(reverse (concatenate 'string "moc.enworbbc@" "sirhc"))
http://cbbrowne.com/info/unix.html
Rules of the Evil Overlord #64. "I will see a competent psychiatrist
and get cured of all extremely unusual phobias and bizarre compulsive
habits which could prove to be a disadvantage."
<http://www.eviloverlord.com/>

Erik Naggum

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Nov 3, 2002, 2:45:51 PM11/3/02
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* J L Russell

| And all I'm saying is, do we really want to work for the forces of darkness?

I think that should be a personal decision. It would be better for all
of us if we did not have to check with what "we" want before each of us
can make a personal decision, and consequently it would be nice if those
who do not want something at least do not block the way for those who do.

| I have taken many tests in my life, and done quite well on most all of
| them, and I have never seen one that measures much of anything other than
| the ability to do well on that particular test. I know that this is a
| trite observance, but that doesn't make it any less true.

Tests are not useful for what they measure, but for how what they measure
correlates with other things. If some foot size happened to correlate
well with programmer proficiency, one could measure foot size and get
high programmer proficiency for no better reason than that other people
with the same foot size had high proficiency as programmers; one would
not measure proficiency as such. Even if foot size correlated weakly
with programmer proficiency, like 75% chance of getting a good programmer
with some foot size, it could still be more valuable than anything else
that had a lower correlation coefficient.

J L Russell

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Nov 3, 2002, 3:38:13 PM11/3/02
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"Erik Naggum" <er...@naggum.no> wrote in message news:32453415...@naggum.no...

> * J L Russell
> | And all I'm saying is, do we really want to work for the forces of darkness?
>
> I think that should be a personal decision. It would be better for all
> of us if we did not have to check with what "we" want before each of us
> can make a personal decision, and consequently it would be nice if those
> who do not want something at least do not block the way for those who do.
>
Of course. I just phrased that poorly. Anyway, it's a rhetorical
exhortation, not a suggestion for prescriptive injunction.

> | I have taken many tests in my life, and done quite well on most all of
> | them, and I have never seen one that measures much of anything other than
> | the ability to do well on that particular test. I know that this is a
> | trite observance, but that doesn't make it any less true.
>
> Tests are not useful for what they measure, but for how what they measure
> correlates with other things. If some foot size happened to correlate
> well with programmer proficiency, one could measure foot size and get
> high programmer proficiency for no better reason than that other people
> with the same foot size had high proficiency as programmers; one would
> not measure proficiency as such. Even if foot size correlated weakly
> with programmer proficiency, like 75% chance of getting a good programmer
> with some foot size, it could still be more valuable than anything else
> that had a lower correlation coefficient.
>

Nor do I disagree with this. Of course there is a weak correlation between, say,
SAT scores and 'scholastic aptitude', and such a test might have utility when you
are trying to screen thousands of people for thousands of openings.

Others have pointed out that Lisp projects tend toward small numbers of
programmers as opposed to cadres of mercenaries that Java encourages.

I would argue that no arbitrary third-party certification test is going to give you
as high a correlation to the skills that you are looking for as a small panel of
competent people asking questions, face-to-face, that they think are relevant to
their needs.
Reliance on such a test simply shows that there is no one of suitable competence
in an organization to either judge the worth (or lack thereof) of such a test or
devise their own test that correlates better to their own needs.
It seems to me that reliance on mass statistical analysis in this case is losing
vis-a-vis common-sense interpersonal judgement and intuition.
But that's just my intuition.

-James Russell


Christopher C. Stacy

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Nov 3, 2002, 4:20:26 PM11/3/02
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>>>>> On Sun, 03 Nov 2002 16:56:17 GMT, Kenny Tilton ("Kenny") writes:
Kenny> As it stands, CL gets laughed out of the running in IT, because the
Kenny> immune system identifies us as "not-ready-for-IT".

Thing is, I am not at all sure that I believe this claim.

Harald Hanche-Olsen

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Nov 3, 2002, 4:23:37 PM11/3/02
to
+ Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no>:

| This is somewhat like voting for people to lead a country. The
| United States is /really/ paying the price for its plurality
| system during this presidential period. For some reason, how many
| people would like something the most is regarded as a reason to
| choose it. I favor a system where the number of people who like
| something the /least/ is subtracted from the number of people who
| like it the most, or generally, a system where each candidate is
| given positive and negative scores in some small range (where the
| sum of the absolute value of all scores is constant or has a fixed
| upper limit) and those you feel nothing about gets zero or no vote
| at all. The scores are simply summed and whoever gets the highest
| total score wins.

This is probably equivalent to a system in which every voter has a
fixed number of (positive) points to distribute among candidates as he
wishes: Just add a constant to the points awarded by each voter in
your system to see this. Such systems are prone the same kind of
paradoxes that plague all the more conventional systems in
existence. These paradoxes are similar to, but not the same as,
Arrow's theorem, which is often interpreted as saying that perfect
democracy is impossible.

Anyway, I think a better way to achieve what you want (though not
paradox free - no fair voting system can be paradox free) is the
single transferrable vote. Each voter ranks all candidates. If one
candidates is ranked first on more than half of the ballots, he
wins. Otherwise, the candidate who is ranked first on the smallest
number of ballots is thrown out of the race, all the ballots are
adjusted accordingly, and the procedure starts from the top. (If N
candidates are to be elected, the requirement for being elected is to
have at least a proportion 1/(N+1) of the votes. Also, the ballots
that helped elect a winning candidate are put back in the pile of
ballots, albeit with a reduced weight. This case gets a bit more
complex.) If the latest US presidential election had been run this
way, one can imagine many voters ranking the candidates Nader, Gore,
Bush. Presumably there would be enough Nader+Gore votes to stop Bush
from winning outright; then since Nader would probably have the
smallest set of votes, he would be out of the race, most of his votes
would have gone for Gore instead, and Gore would win.

With an election system like this, it would be impossible for the
candidate of the largest minority to win, if he is uniformly loathed
by all the other minorities.

To get this if not back on topic, or at least a bit less off topic,
some of the problems underlying the difficulties of designing good
voting systems could equally well apply to the case of selecting one
of three job applicants A, B, and C, where after a careful evaluation
one finds that A is better than B, B better than C, and C better than
A - if what you're doing is ranking them according to at least three
different criteria, then just counting by how many criteria each
applicant is ranked higher than each of the others. Say, by their
intelligence (to the extent that you can gauge it) you rank them
A-B-C; but by their knowledge you rank them B-C-A, while by their
reliability you rank them C-A-B. Now A beats B in two of the three
criteria, while B beats C and C beats A in the same way.

--
* Harald Hanche-Olsen <URL:http://www.math.ntnu.no/~hanche/>
- Yes it works in practice - but does it work in theory?

Craig Brozefsky

unread,
Nov 3, 2002, 6:28:06 PM11/3/02
to
Kenny Tilton <kti...@nyc.rr.com> writes:

> I have, and I can't say I heard anyone talking about
> certification. otoh, i did know one IT recruiter who thought some guy
> was a genius because he had passed a wadge of MS exams in short order
> (an Asian!).

I don't quite understand this repeated reference to "Asians" with
regards to certification. What is the significance? I have worked
with "Asians" of various backgrounds and nationalities, both within
the U.S. and abroad, and I'm unable to discern this connection that
keeps popping up here.

--
Sincerely,
Craig Brozefsky <cr...@red-bean.com>
Free Scheme/Lisp Software http://www.red-bean.com/~craig

Erik Naggum

unread,
Nov 3, 2002, 6:32:52 PM11/3/02
to
* J L Russell

| Others have pointed out that Lisp projects tend toward small numbers of
| programmers as opposed to cadres of mercenaries that Java encourages.

This means that you need a lot more than your regular certification.
Which is why I think giving a paper at a conference is a good start.

Erik Naggum

unread,
Nov 3, 2002, 6:48:25 PM11/3/02
to
* Harald Hanche-Olsen

| This is probably equivalent to a system in which every voter has a fixed
| number of (positive) points to distribute among candidates as he wishes:
| Just add a constant to the points awarded by each voter in your system to
| see this.

Not quite. There are two differences. The first is what the absence of
a vote means. In a system with negative scores, absence means zero. In
a system with a skewed scale, absence of votes is generally not tolerated
and voters have to give scores to every candidate. This is known to fail
miserably because once you ask people to rate things below the "don't
care" limit, their score values are completely random. It is therefore
important to let voters decide not to score a particular candidate, and
that the system give such a zero value, which is the second difference.
The Borda system, which gives more points to the most values and zero to
the least valued specifically requires that each candidate gets scored.

| Such systems are prone the same kind of paradoxes that plague all the
| more conventional systems in existence.

The no-vote-means-zero-score rule removes a significant number of
problems, but not all.

| Anyway, I think a better way to achieve what you want (though not paradox
| free - no fair voting system can be paradox free) is the single
| transferrable vote. Each voter ranks all candidates.

This is a huge problem. Voters must be allowed /not to care/ about the
relative ranking of candidates on whom they have no opinion. Forcing
voters to care about these candidates is known to produce lots of noise.

Is this article you have read? http://www.sciencenews.org/20021102/bob8.asp

Kenny Tilton

unread,
Nov 3, 2002, 8:11:44 PM11/3/02
to
Craig Brozefsky wrote:
> Kenny Tilton <kti...@nyc.rr.com> writes:
>
>
>>I have, and I can't say I heard anyone talking about
>>certification. otoh, i did know one IT recruiter who thought some guy
>>was a genius because he had passed a wadge of MS exams in short order
>>(an Asian!).
>
>
> I don't quite understand this repeated reference to "Asians" with
> regards to certification. What is the significance? I have worked
> with "Asians" of various backgrounds and nationalities, both within
> the U.S. and abroad, and I'm unable to discern this connection that
> keeps popping up here.
>

It's a deliberately politically incorrect joke derived from a laughing
assertion by -- you guessed it -- one of my best friends, an Asian, viz,
"We just memorize the book!"

Did you hear the one about the Ebonics spelling contest?

Tim Bradshaw

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 6:13:22 AM11/4/02
to
* J L Russell wrote:
> And all I'm saying is, do we really want to work for the forces of
> darkness?

We'd like to get paid, yes.

--tim

Tim Bradshaw

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 6:12:51 AM11/4/02
to
* Kenny Tilton wrote:
> As it stands, CL gets laughed out of the running in IT, because the
> immune system identifies us as "not-ready-for-IT". Maybe if we adorn
> ouselves with a few ITish proteins like certification the immune
> system will think we are friend, not foe.

You are right. However I think the reason CL gets laughed about is
not really lack of certification, it's a deeper malaise. The problem
is that there is a huge gap between the way Lisp is typically
presented and what CL is actually like:

CL: advanced but industrial language, designed by people with
experience of large real-world systems (like operating systems
deployed outside academia &c). Has rejected many `research
language' ideas in favour of clear implementability (hence: no
call/cc, no mandatory TRO, no standard MOP), and so on. Has left
in plenty of `hacky old' stuff so that existing programs could be
got to run. Has GO TO. Language purity a non-goal. CL is an
enormous compromise with the aim being an implementable system
which will support large programs. And it does *really well* at
this: better than any other language I know. CL is the Java of
Lisp. Programming language purists almost universally hate CL.

Lisp presentation: random AI academic who once knew a little bit
of maclisp waves their arms about Lisp and says a bunch of random
stuff, about 80% of which is wrong, and the other 40% is bogus AI
crap[1]. In the advanced course, students are shown a large
program written by this academic. The only data types it uses are
lists and symbols (except he (it is always a he) explains that
they are lists and atoms). It implements it's own rational number
package because sponge lisp didn't have rationals in 1979. It's
all in one package (if the package is mentioned it is called USER
not CL-USER). Error handling is done by writing the form to be
evaluated to a file, cranking up the system to load the file and
write output to another file, and checking this second file for
the string `Err'. The program is loaded by catting all the source
files together and loading that file. It can not be run compiled
(lisp has no compiler, after all), and makes prolific use of EVAL.
It runs on an old version of kcl, breaking on akcl or any more
recent Lisp. The indentation style is unconventional but is
presented as the correct way of indenting programs. Comments are
in Latin and bad Urdu.

After presenting this system, the academic goes on to present his
new system which has been written in C++ by some spare PhD
students he had lying around. Unfortunately although this system
is far better, it isn't quite finished yet and it tends to core
dump a lot (like: core dump is all it will actually do). Some
small soon-to-be-solved issues to do with memory allocation mean
that it currently uses rather more memory than the old system.
It's currently being reimplemented in Java, and the parts of it
which rely on cranking up the old system every time it needs to
actually do anything are being redone in perl. Comments are now
in middle english.

After the presentation of the new system, students who hang around
will be accosted by a particularly haggard looking PhD student,
who explains that the demo they actually saw was done by a
reimplementation of the system in a few hundred lines of modern CL
that a couple of the PhD students cooked up over a weekend. Over
half of this new, working, system consists of code to replicate
the idiosyncratic messages from the old system, in particular the
incorrect printing of numbers in English (they tried using ~R, but
it got things right). One of the students who implemented this new
system tried to present it to the academic, but emerged white &
shaking from his office, and left the university shortly
afterwards without completing a PhD. No one else has dared raise
the issue, so instead they struggle on with the Java/Perl version,
which is now 35,000 lines, and in the process of being converted
(again) to work in the current Java version.

You think I'm joking, don't you? I wish I was. If I'm a random
manager who might consider using Lisp, I'm likely either to remember
something like the above, or ask some minion who will. Because, like
it or not, this *is* how Lisp is presented in academia. Is it
surprising that it doesn't get used as much as it might do? We need
to do something about this.

I don't think certification is the answer, and neither do I think
giving papers (the academic has *lots* of published papers on his
system!) helps much. We need to change how CL is taught, and if we
can't do that (and I can't see a way other than killing most of the
current AI academics) we need to do a huge amount of work to present
CL as a serious, industrial system, so that it is easy to point people
at examples of Lisp being used industrially, and so they can find
books and web pages describing how well it supports this. *Then*
certification might help.

--tim

Footnotes:
[1] You think this doesn't add up? Read on...

Pascal Costanza

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 8:09:07 AM11/4/02
to
Tim Bradshaw wrote:

> I don't think certification is the answer, and neither do I think
> giving papers (the academic has *lots* of published papers on his
> system!) helps much. We need to change how CL is taught, and if we
> can't do that (and I can't see a way other than killing most of the
> current AI academics) we need to do a huge amount of work to present
> CL as a serious, industrial system, so that it is easy to point people
> at examples of Lisp being used industrially, and so they can find
> books and web pages describing how well it supports this. *Then*
> certification might help.

I don't if this could be relevant but you may check out
http://www.cs.unca.edu/~manns/intropatterns.html for some food for thought.


Pascal

--
Pascal Costanza University of Bonn
mailto:cost...@web.de Institute of Computer Science III
http://www.pascalcostanza.de Römerstr. 164, D-53117 Bonn (Germany)

J L Russell

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 9:59:30 AM11/4/02
to

"Tim Bradshaw" <t...@cley.com> wrote in message news:ey365vd...@cley.com...

So, Philip Morris, RJR, BAT, etc. approaches you (pl.) and says,
"Look, we know that lisp is the most effective tool around.
We want you to design a system that consolidates all our
research on increasing addictiveness of cigarettes and
marketing them to children in order to help us design
a more effective strategy."
You think, wow, we're so desperate, we'll take anything.

I don't know about you (pl.), but I'd rather go on the dole.
My utility to society would be _increased_ that way.

-James Russell


Tim Bradshaw

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 10:11:34 AM11/4/02
to
* J L Russell wrote:

> So, Philip Morris, RJR, BAT, etc. approaches you (pl.) and says,
> "Look, we know that lisp is the most effective tool around.
> We want you to design a system that consolidates all our
> research on increasing addictiveness of cigarettes and
> marketing them to children in order to help us design
> a more effective strategy."
> You think, wow, we're so desperate, we'll take anything.

So, IBM, Sun, Cisco etc. approaches you (pl.) and says,


"Look, we know that lisp is the most effective tool around.
We want you to design a system that consolidates all our

research on increasing reliability of systems and
marketing them to professionals in order to help us design
a more effective strategy."
You think, wow, how cool is that, we'll definitely take that.

Or, I guess, in your case `whoa, evil capitalist scum, stay back!'.

Marc Spitzer

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 10:25:50 AM11/4/02
to
"J L Russell" <j.ru...@alum.mit.edu> wrote in
news:mXvx9.45038$Mb3.2...@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net:

Many people I know would call working fo a goverment the "forces of
darkness", for example working for the NSA, or Exxon. You had to find
the worst possable interpitation( it is illegal) of this and then use it
as a public insult. What inspired you to behave as such an ass?

marc

J L Russell

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 10:40:20 AM11/4/02
to

"Tim Bradshaw" <t...@cley.com> wrote in message news:ey3heex...@cley.com...
Point. Well, sure, it goes both ways. I'm not going to argue that.
On the other hand, I would want to ask what are the ultimate goals
of this company, at what cost, and how much would I be helping to
further them. Do they want to make a profit by selling useful
goods and services, or by poisoning people? Do they sell latter-day
Hollerith tabulators to latter-day Nazis? Do they aim to become a
monopoly and subvert the good aspects of capitalism? Do they
aim to buy the organs of education and government and hold humanity
in thrall in their furturistic dystopia?
Sure, they haven't done a good job so far, but do I want to help them?

-James Russell


J L Russell

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 10:54:14 AM11/4/02
to

"Marc Spitzer" <mspi...@optonline.net> wrote in message news:Xns92BC6A31F585Cms...@167.206.3.3...

I'm not sure what your point is about the government and Exxon.
Change 'children' to 'adult' if you like, no longer illegal, not much less immoral.
Who did I insult?
Tim answered my trite, non-specific rhetorical question with what I saw as a non-serious,
non-specific answer.
I responded with another example, not aimed at anyone in particular,
which Tim admirably countered.
If you took it personally, that's not my problem.
If you happen to market cigarettes to children, I stand by what I said.

I apparently underestimated how seriously people take this.
I thought we were debating philosophy here, not flinging insults.
You were the first to call anyone in particular a name.

-James


Nicholas Geovanis

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 11:48:02 AM11/4/02
to
On Sat, 2 Nov 2002, Kenny Tilton wrote:

> If we are doing a sick form of the Turing Test in which Lisp tries to
> fool suits into thinking we are Java, then our certfication process must
> look like theirs.

I hate to advertise my age, but once upon a time, that "sick form of the
Turing Test" was called a "computer science degree". Doesn't that suffice
for certification anymore? Or does no university teach lisp anymore?
Or does noone get computer science degrees anymore?

> I know one criterion is that it must be something
> Asians can pass by memorizing a book, so the original content required
> of a paper might give us away as Not Java.

Whether or not this insult came from an Asian as you have said elsewhere,
other Asians reading this newsgroup don't know that, and do indeed find
it insulting. Why not err on the side of politeness? Or does that violate
your right to be a moron? Oh gosh, I've gone and said something
politically incorrect again.....

> kenny tilton
> clinisys, inc

* Nick Geovanis
| IT Computing Svcs Computing's central challenge:
| Northwestern Univ How not to make a mess of it.
| n-geo...@nwu.edu -- Edsger Dijkstra
+------------------->

Marc Spitzer

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 11:56:21 AM11/4/02
to
"J L Russell" <j.ru...@alum.mit.edu> wrote in
news:GKwx9.45184$Mb3.2...@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net:

Tim specificly and everyone else by implacation. The "I am too good for
this but I do not know about the rest of you" in insulting.

> Tim answered my trite, non-specific rhetorical question with what I
> saw as a non-serious, non-specific answer.
> I responded with another example, not aimed at anyone in particular,
> which Tim admirably countered.
> If you took it personally, that's not my problem.
> If you happen to market cigarettes to children, I stand by what I
> said.

Now you are saying I market death to children, well *FUCK YOU*. If you
are too much of a childish dolt to be able to figure out that I was
commenting on your actions, by reading the text I wrote you twit, go take
a remedial reading class at the local jr college.

Since you stand by the crap you said you must be an asshole.

>
> I apparently underestimated how seriously people take this.
> I thought we were debating philosophy here, not flinging insults.
> You were the first to call anyone in particular a name.

You set the tone with your "market death to kids" example you waste of
space. Then you follow it up with an accusation that I market death to
kids. My father died when I was 11 from his 3rd heart attack and he
smoked. He was sick for almost all the time I remember him. I do not
need the dole not to work for a tobacco company.

marc

>
> -James
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

J L Russell

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 12:22:37 PM11/4/02
to

"J L Russell" <j.ru...@alum.mit.edu> wrote in message news:Exwx9.45142$Mb3.2...@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net...
Listen, I don't want to be a hypocrite here, and I'm not trying to be or
accusing anyone else of it. I'm just using exaggerated examples for the
sake of argument, and I no longer have the time or will to argue.

My real life example:
I often, out of convenience, go to Burger King and get a veggie burger.
I'm not directly contributing to the death of any animals, but of course I'm
increasing the profits of a company that regularly traffics in dead animals.
I'm helping them expand their capital base and increase the traffic in dead
animals. I'm not in a position to grow my own vegetables on any meaningful
scale. I'm not willing to restructure my life to buy and eat food from
completely vegetarian companies.

We all make compromises, and I don't mean to impugn anyone.

Anyway, I guess I really don't have a point that is worth shedding any more
virtual ink over, so I'll shut up now.

My apologies for wasting everyone's time.

-James Russell


Marc Spitzer

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 12:25:56 PM11/4/02
to
Nicholas Geovanis <nic...@merle.acns.nwu.edu> wrote in
news:Pine.HPX.4.10.102110...@merle.acns.nwu.edu:

> On Sat, 2 Nov 2002, Kenny Tilton wrote:
>
>> If we are doing a sick form of the Turing Test in which Lisp tries to
>> fool suits into thinking we are Java, then our certfication process
>> must look like theirs.
>
> I hate to advertise my age, but once upon a time, that "sick form of
> the Turing Test" was called a "computer science degree". Doesn't that
> suffice for certification anymore? Or does no university teach lisp
> anymore? Or does noone get computer science degrees anymore?

It used to be you hired a person and you trained them in what you needed
that they did not know, within certian limits. The reason why this made
sence is that you would keep this person for 5-20+ years. Now the
average IT job lasts around 2 years in my part of the US at least. This
means that dumb managers hire employees by skills not as people. Java
certification get you through the first pass of resume screening, the OCR
phase.

>
>> I know one criterion is that it must be something
>> Asians can pass by memorizing a book, so the original content
>> required of a paper might give us away as Not Java.
>
> Whether or not this insult came from an Asian as you have said
> elsewhere, other Asians reading this newsgroup don't know that, and do
> indeed find it insulting. Why not err on the side of politeness? Or
> does that violate your right to be a moron? Oh gosh, I've gone and
> said something politically incorrect again.....

I think the memorize thing comes from 2 things that I am cable TV(history
channel, the learning channel and discover type education) knoledgable
about. The first is the work needed to be literate in Chinese, you must
memorize each word. And second a some what different view on knowledge,
different views were allowed to coexist and were recorded and referenced.
Also for a very long time the Chinese civil service test were based on
memorization and applacation of certian classics, Confusious and others I
dont know about. It was like passing the bar, but the test lasted 3
straight days.

marc

Kenny Tilton

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 12:32:36 PM11/4/02
to

Nicholas Geovanis wrote:
> On Sat, 2 Nov 2002, Kenny Tilton wrote:
>
>
>>If we are doing a sick form of the Turing Test in which Lisp tries to
>>fool suits into thinking we are Java, then our certfication process must
>>look like theirs.
>
>
> I hate to advertise my age, but once upon a time, that "sick form of the
> Turing Test" was called a "computer science degree". Doesn't that suffice
> for certification anymore?

I think the key was that it be language-specific, so a degree by itself
would not serve. Lisp on the transcript? Well, do employers get
transcripts? And from what I hear, in other professions it is one thing
to get the degree, quite another to pass the professional certification
exams, so mebbe the certification is a higher standard?

>
>>I know one criterion is that it must be something
>>Asians can pass by memorizing a book, so the original content required
>>of a paper might give us away as Not Java.
>
>
> Whether or not this insult came from an Asian as you have said elsewhere,
> other Asians reading this newsgroup don't know that, and do indeed find
> it insulting.

And they all asked you to tell me so? Speaking of which, the first
person to whine about my remark suggested the "Asians" he knew did /not/
have excellent study habits. Right. Some folks don't like immigration, I
think it's the only thing keeping the US competitive; I sure wouldn't
want to count on American students to keep us ahead intellectually.

I heard once that some top school was placing inverse quotas on asian
enrollment, because us honkies could not get in on merit. I say, screw us.

btw, it is hard to imagine study habits being a racial outcome. Clearly
there is simply tremendous scholastic competitiveness in many Asian
countries and kids just tend to end up with that work ethic.

It's like Philadelphia fighters. Why are they so tough? Because in
Philadelphia gyms an ethic has developed in which sparring is as intense
as a title fight.

I can see how some might think I was saying that the /only/ thing Asians
bring to the table is a work ethic, but in truth I was just harking back
to my Asian friend's laughing, "We just memorize the book!"

You questioned the existence of my alleged friend. Does it matter? Is it
OK if the observation behind the joke came from an Asian? It's true that
when it comes to racial/ethnic/religious stuff there are jokes the group
targeted by the joke can make which others cannot, and I knew I was
flirting with that limitation when I made my remark.

To a degree my larger agenda is to stand up to humorless, knee-jerk PC
bores. It's a fine line between racism and , and maybe an NG is an
especially dangerous place to do that. I mean, some folks here know I am
rarely serious for more than a sentence or two in a row, but what about
newcomers?

What I finally decided was not to censor myself on behalf of the PCers,
rather to go ahead and make the quip and deal with the expected heat.

> Why not err on the side of politeness?

Where is Eminem when I need him?

> Or does that violate
> your right to be a moron? Oh gosh, I've gone and said something
> politically incorrect again.....

That's not politically incorrect, that's a personal characterization.
Show some balls, man, take on an entire ethnic group!

Nils Goesche

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 12:36:51 PM11/4/02
to
Kenny Tilton <kti...@nyc.rr.com> writes:

> Nicholas Geovanis wrote:

> > Or does that violate your right to be a moron? Oh gosh, I've gone
> > and said something politically incorrect again.....
>
> That's not politically incorrect, that's a personal
> characterization. Show some balls, man, take on an entire ethnic
> group!

According to the mentally challenged PC adepts you have to say
``mentally challenged´´ AFAIR.

Regards,
--
Nils Gösche
"Don't ask for whom the <CTRL-G> tolls."

PGP key ID 0x0655CFA0

Kenny Tilton

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 12:39:14 PM11/4/02
to

Kenny Tilton wrote:
>
> To a degree my larger agenda is to stand up to humorless, knee-jerk PC

> bores. It's a fine line between racism and [oops. insert "Don-Ricklesian pan-ethnic humor"], and maybe an NG is an

> especially dangerous place to do that.

Steven E. Harris

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 12:48:06 PM11/4/02
to
"J L Russell" <j.ru...@alum.mit.edu> writes:

> I don't know about you (pl.), but I'd rather go on the dole.
> My utility to society would be _increased_ that way.

Would your landlord or mortgage lender reward you for this increase?
"Society" is not so appreciative of such individual sacrifice.

--
Steven E. Harris :: seha...@raytheon.com
Raytheon :: http://www.raytheon.com

Kenny Tilton

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 1:02:18 PM11/4/02
to

Nils Goesche wrote:
> Kenny Tilton <kti...@nyc.rr.com> writes:
>
>
>>Nicholas Geovanis wrote:
>
>
>>>Or does that violate your right to be a moron? Oh gosh, I've gone
>>>and said something politically incorrect again.....
>>
>>That's not politically incorrect, that's a personal
>>characterization. Show some balls, man, take on an entire ethnic
>>group!
>
>
> According to the mentally challenged PC adepts you have to say

> ``mentally challenged创 AFAIR.

Well, I was playing dumb. Moron, idiot, and spastic are all technical
terms for folks with various handicaps (oops), so mebbe Nicholas /was/
taking on a group.

Tim Bradshaw

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 1:10:28 PM11/4/02
to
* J L Russell wrote:
> Point. Well, sure, it goes both ways. I'm not going to argue that.
> On the other hand, I would want to ask what are the ultimate goals
> of this company, at what cost, and how much would I be helping to
> further them. [...]

Well, yes we all want to do that. But that's kind of orthogonal to
the issue about Lisp I think. If Lisp becomes more widely used
(though, of course, it's more widely used than lots of people think
already), then big companies use it, and our choices are now bigger.
Right now (again, parodying a bit), the situation is that you can work
for a big company, or a small company, or a good company or a bad
company (those are meant to be two independent bits of information),
and you can get a job writing Java or C++. We want it to be the case
that you can work for good/bad & big/small, using x/y/CL/z/... This
is just an increase in the choice you have - you *already* need to
decide if you want to work for scum or the good guys, but I want it to
be the case that you can work for scum or the good guys *in Lisp*.
Ideally of course, I'd like it to be the case that you only get to
write Lisp if you work for the good guys, but I don't think that can
be arranged...

--tim

Kenny Tilton

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 1:55:15 PM11/4/02
to

Tim Bradshaw wrote:
> * J L Russell wrote:
>
>>Point. Well, sure, it goes both ways. I'm not going to argue that.
>>On the other hand, I would want to ask what are the ultimate goals
>>of this company, at what cost, and how much would I be helping to
>>further them. [...]
>
>
> Well, yes we all want to do that. But that's kind of orthogonal to
> the issue about Lisp I think. If Lisp becomes more widely used
> (though, of course, it's more widely used than lots of people think
> already), then big companies use it, and our choices are now bigger.

Yeah. I am jumping in here just to remind everyone that this came up at
a conference during which the issue of Lisp's popularity came up again
and again. And again. Then there was a fishbowl on it. Then we broke for
snacks and talked about it.

So "do we want F500 acceptance" was a given, we do not need to bat that
around. This is not to say that some of us would rather starve than work
for f500 (or get certified or take a lie-detector test or give a urine
sample or whatever), just that enough Lispers want f500 acceptance that
we can now look at a second question: how much would certification
matter? We have one data point from Mr. megaCorp. Any others?

At the same time, i suddenly find myself intrigued by the question of
what would we want on a Lisp certfication exam?

(without-mush-thought...
(with-overlap...

-- destructively resplice this list to sort in place

-- (lambda ...

-- macrology

-- special variables

-- closures

-- CLOS

-- &key &rest &aux

-- not loop :)

-- lexical vs dynamic scope

-- some traps for those who would over-cons (append when nconc would do)

-- unwind-protect

-- exceptions))

OK, that looks like a TOC for any of the Lisp books out there, but I
guess the fun starts when we start writing the actual exam questions and
set out to make them really really nasty.

The neat things is that this might tie in nicely with someone's "to hell
with certification, let's work out how to teach Lisp".

aside: wasn't "The C Puzzle Book" by feuer great?

Brian Palmer

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 3:02:45 PM11/4/02
to
Kenny Tilton wrote:
>
> > Why not err on the side of politeness?
>
> Where is Eminem when I need him?

I think he's sorry he hurt his mama (she slipped on one of his toys) so
tonight he's cleaning up his bedroom.

Duane Rettig

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 5:00:01 PM11/4/02
to
Kenny Tilton <kti...@nyc.rr.com> writes:

> Tim Bradshaw wrote:
> > * J L Russell wrote:
> >
>
> >>Point. Well, sure, it goes both ways. I'm not going to argue that.
> >>On the other hand, I would want to ask what are the ultimate goals
> >>of this company, at what cost, and how much would I be helping to
> >>further them. [...]
> > Well, yes we all want to do that. But that's kind of orthogonal to
>
> > the issue about Lisp I think. If Lisp becomes more widely used
> > (though, of course, it's more widely used than lots of people think
> > already), then big companies use it, and our choices are now bigger.
>
> Yeah. I am jumping in here just to remind everyone that this came up
> at a conference during which the issue of Lisp's popularity came up
> again and again. And again. Then there was a fishbowl on it. Then we
> broke for snacks and talked about it.

This looks like a classic case; it seems Lisp has a self-esteem problem.
Why do we tend to beat ourselves up for what we think we are not? I
will take a chance on being called sexist, and say that many of the
women I know (including my wife and daughters) don't think highly of
their own appearence. Why is that? I believe it is because of the
standard they and the rest of society hold themselves up to, namely
the advertising media. What is more ironic is that many of the models
that are put up on the TV screen lead even more desparate lives,
not even living up to the standard their personae set when up on
the tube, with all of its touch-ups and tricks of photography.

How does this relate to Lisp? Lisp is a beautiful woman, secretly
adored by many F500 companies (but which some despise for whoring
with 1980's AI hype, and so which none of the F500 companies would
dare to admire openly). Does she get a bad rep from such past mistakes?
Absolutely. Would certification make any difference in her reputation?
I doubt it.

> So "do we want F500 acceptance" was a given, we do not need to bat
> that around. This is not to say that some of us would rather starve
> than work for f500 (or get certified or take a lie-detector test or
> give a urine sample or whatever), just that enough Lispers want f500
> acceptance that we can now look at a second question: how much would
> certification matter? We have one data point from Mr. megaCorp. Any
> others?

I think Lisp should stop looking to external sources to find her
self-acceptance, and instead look inward for what she knows is there.
She should find things that really do need improving, and improved
them, taking comfort even during that change in the knowledge that
she is beautiful in spite of her imperfections.

Self improvement is important. But without self-esteem, self-improvement
will never follow.

--
Duane Rettig du...@franz.com Franz Inc. http://www.franz.com/
555 12th St., Suite 1450 http://www.555citycenter.com/
Oakland, Ca. 94607 Phone: (510) 452-2000; Fax: (510) 452-0182

Kenny Tilton

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 5:39:42 PM11/4/02
to

Duane Rettig wrote:
> Kenny Tilton <kti...@nyc.rr.com> writes:

>>Yeah. I am jumping in here just to remind everyone that this came up
>>at a conference during which the issue of Lisp's popularity came up
>>again and again. And again. Then there was a fishbowl on it. Then we
>>broke for snacks and talked about it.
>
>
> This looks like a classic case; it seems Lisp has a self-esteem problem.

Check. I wish you'd been there for the later "liquor bowl" where I got
that off my chest.

> Would certification make any difference in her reputation?
> I doubt it.

Well, I am guessing you would know as part of an organization that must
get a lot of feedback along these lines. otoh, if (if!) it is a
no-brainer to put cert process together, why not knock off one more
objection? but if it was just one (or a few) manager's insight,
fuggedaboutit.

> I think Lisp should stop looking to external sources to find her
> self-acceptance, and instead look inward for what she knows is there.
> She should find things that really do need improving, and improved

> them, ...

Right. At ALU 2003 it should be cream pies in the face for anyone
whining about Lisp not being popular, or suggesting we all switch to
JavaScript since it's pretty close to Lisp.

I told my Franz rep y'all should send a thick-skinned, genial,
proficient Lisper who is also Python-proficient into c.l.python to
harrass them regularly with "why don't you use Lisp?". Anytime they lose
the argument, Franz knows what to build next.

Popularity is great since it means more Lisp jobs, more Lisp open source
projects, more revenue for Lisp vendors to reinvest. But Lisp won't get
more popular running around with its tail between its legs, such as by
running away from the syntax a la Dylan. That just makes us look pathetic.

Ever see an objectively homely person surrounded by adoring admirers?
The key is confidence, geniality, wit, good humor, etc etc.

Build it and they will come.(tm) Hell, considering Python and Ruby and
even Java, they are already on the way, they just don't know it. When
they get to our doors we should turn them away three times before
letting them in.

And when someone asks what language we use, the answer should be, "Lisp.
What else?" or "Lisp. Don't you?"

"I am Lisper, hear me roar,
With productivity too great to ignore..."

Prior art: Erik tried to whip up (paraphrasing) a "say it loud, say it
proud" mentality many moons ago. What he said.

Harald Hanche-Olsen

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 6:06:32 PM11/4/02
to
+ Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no>:

| * Harald Hanche-Olsen
| | This is probably equivalent to a system in which every voter has a
| | fixed number of (positive) points to distribute among candidates
| | as he wishes: Just add a constant to the points awarded by each
| | voter in your system to see this.
|
| Not quite. There are two differences. The first is what the
| absence of a vote means. In a system with negative scores,
| absence means zero. In a system with a skewed scale, absence of
| votes is generally not tolerated and voters have to give scores to
| every candidate. This is known to fail miserably because once you
| ask people to rate things below the "don't care" limit, their
| score values are completely random.

That's a good point, but I am not sure if the difference is merely
psychological or substantial. I guess it depends on the exact rules
by which scores may be assigned by the voter.


| | Such systems are prone the same kind of paradoxes that plague all the
| | more conventional systems in existence.
|
| The no-vote-means-zero-score rule removes a significant number of
| problems, but not all.

Is this rule (or family of rules?) known by any other names? Do you
know where I can learn more about them?

| | Anyway, I think a better way to achieve what you want (though not
| | paradox free - no fair voting system can be paradox free) is the
| | single transferrable vote. Each voter ranks all candidates.
|
| This is a huge problem. Voters must be allowed /not to care/
| about the relative ranking of candidates on whom they have no
| opinion. Forcing voters to care about these candidates is known
| to produce lots of noise.

I have been worried about this problem. I wonder what would happen to
this system if you simply allowed voters to not rank all candidates?
A ballot on which all the ranked candidates have been removed from the
race might either not be counted anymore, or it could be counted as
1/Nth of a vote for each remaining candidate.

| Is this article you have read?
| http://www.sciencenews.org/20021102/bob8.asp

No, but thanks for the reference. My reading includes a small paper
by Aanund Hylland, "Proportional representation without party lists"
from 1991, and the book "Chaotic elections: A mathematician looks at
voting" by Donald G. Saari, 2000; ISBN 0821828479. Saari is clearly a
big fan of the Borda count, as it is the unique system that minimizes
paradoxes in some sense. But his book does not compare the Borda
count with the single transferable vote (aka instant runoff). From
the reference you just provided, it seems he will do just that in an
upcoming paper. I'll look at it as soon as I can.

My interest in this is not purely theoretical: At my university all
elections are run on a point based system, whereby ranks assigned by
voters are translated into weights 1, 1/3, 1/5, 1/7, ... This seems
to me just a minor perturbation of a simple plurality system. After
each election there is a lot of grumbling by the losers, by nobody
ever suggests a different system. I'd like to do something about
that.

We could go on to talk about this at length, but this is c.l.LISP
after all, so maybe this is a good place to stop (I'll let you have
the last word if you wish).

--
* Harald Hanche-Olsen <URL:http://www.math.ntnu.no/~hanche/>
- Yes it works in practice - but does it work in theory?

Fred Gilham

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 7:22:28 PM11/4/02
to

Well, now that Franz in the person of Duane Rettig has jumped into the
fray, I should say that I talked to the telephone guy at the
conference, not just once, but 3 or 4 times. My feeling was that he
was exactly the kind of customer Franz wants. Why? He didn't just
want to go to some software shop and get a shrink-wrapped package. He
wanted training, hand-holding and support.

The problem was that when I pointed out to him that he should just
*talk* to someone from Franz, he was very resistant. He knew what he
wanted, and nothing we had was it. Eventually I decided that he
lacked imagination. He kept repeating that he didn't know how to
program; my thought was that he should have brought a programmer with
him --- either the guy who was interested in Lisp, or, perhaps better,
someone else who didn't know anything about it but who knew
programming....I know that's not REALLY possible but we must make
allowances.... :-)

Anyway I wasn't quite ready to label him as pointy-haired, but close
to it. So perhaps we can't judge everything by him.

--
Fred Gilham gil...@csl.sri.com
Jordan Hubbard: We have a crash bug. It needs to be fixed. We DO NOT
need to know how to print 3000 spaces in 11 different languages! :-)
Daniel Sobral: I concur. But if anyone wants to do it with loader,
: 3kbl 3000 0 do bl emit loop ; 3kbl will do the trick.

Greg Menke

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 8:51:04 PM11/4/02
to

Fred Gilham <gil...@snapdragon.csl.sri.com> writes:

>
> The problem was that when I pointed out to him that he should just
> *talk* to someone from Franz, he was very resistant. He knew what he
> wanted, and nothing we had was it. Eventually I decided that he
> lacked imagination. He kept repeating that he didn't know how to
> program; my thought was that he should have brought a programmer with
> him --- either the guy who was interested in Lisp, or, perhaps better,
> someone else who didn't know anything about it but who knew
> programming....I know that's not REALLY possible but we must make
> allowances.... :-)

I spoke with him too. He seemed to have some particularly fixed ideas
about what the Lisp Community should do as far as making Lisp more
marketable to "Fortune 500" people. I think he wants Lisp community
action as opposed to talking to a vendor- but I'm not sure why he
wasn't interested hooking up with a vendor.

I do give him credit for going to the trouble of showing up though.

> Anyway I wasn't quite ready to label him as pointy-haired, but close
> to it. So perhaps we can't judge everything by him.

He does believe in the management fads; 6 Sigma being one he mentioned
as "up and coming".

Gregm

Erann Gat

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 9:14:59 PM11/4/02
to
In article <465vdd...@beta.franz.com>, Duane Rettig <du...@franz.com> wrote:

> Lisp is a beautiful woman,

Interesting metaphor.

> secretly adored by many F500 companies

I'd say not-so-secretly adored by a few individuals who happen to be
working at F500 companies, but the companies themselves (whith is to say
the people who actually run the companies) treat her with attitudes
ranging from indifference to contempt. (Which attitudes are not wholly
unjustifiable IMO.)

> Would certification make any difference in her reputation?
> I doubt it.

I agree with that.

> She should find things that really do need improving, and improve them

In my experience, people who try to point out things that need improving
are not well received by the Lisp community (at least not as represented
by this newsgroup).

> she is beautiful in spite of her imperfections.

Yes, indeed.

> Self improvement is important. But without self-esteem, self-improvement
> will never follow.

Yes, I think that is really the nub of the matter.

E.

Christopher C. Stacy

unread,
Nov 5, 2002, 1:11:22 AM11/5/02
to
>>>>> On 04 Nov 2002 11:12:51 +0000, Tim Bradshaw ("Tim") writes:
Tim> You are right. However I think the reason CL gets laughed about is
Tim> not really lack of certification, it's a deeper malaise.

I would be surprised if people laugh about Lisp, because I
am sure they do not think about Lisp at all!

>>>>> On Mon, 04 Nov 2002 18:55:15 GMT, Kenny Tilton ("Kenny") writes:
Kenny> Yeah. I am jumping in here just to remind everyone that this came up
Kenny> at a conference during which the issue of Lisp's popularity came up

I wasn't there, but the impression I've gotten is that some fellow
who claimed to have some particular role in a Fortune 500 company
made a random remark about certification.

Given that major companies have used Lisp in the past, and are still
using it today, I am left wondering how seriously to take that remark,
especially as a key point in a larger context.

I am pretty sure that every Fortune 500 company uses Lisp in some
places in their IT organization. For example, they use Emacs.
We're trying to talk about Lisp's use as a principal technology,
but I bring up Emacs to illustrate that the question is one of context.
(Other "tool" context examples would be AutoCAD, or even Gensym.)
The main IT context of most Fortune 500 companies is absolutely not
based around technical aesthetics or the power that can come from there.
Large companies are usually trying to "solve" rather simple problems,
and the technology that they are interested in is one of plug-compatibility.
This means that the software, hardware, and personnel are all plug-compatible.

Just as a side note, there are major companies that use Lisp as a
core technology. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the big success
stories for Lisp were all about Fortune 500 companies, especially
in the transportation and communications sectors. For example,
major phone companies used Lisp for fraud detection and other
applications. At one point, every American Express green card
transaction was approved by a Symbolics computer. The military has
also been a major user of Lisp, especially for scheduling.
Then there are all the proptietary AI applications,
some of which are still in use, and some passed.

At least one of the major airlines (but I think there were two)
uses Lisp for their flight planning (from strategic research, at the
real-time flight operations desks, all the way to the schedules the
passangers see on the monitors in the airport). I haven't checked
on this last example in three or four years, though, so it might
have been replaced. I know that the airline was about to do a major
upgrade of their system and was concerned that since Lisp was no
longer popular, they might not be able to find any programmers!

Notice that in the places where Lisp has been most successful, the
programmers have been experts and the problems have been "impossible".

Kenny> So "do we want F500 acceptance" was a given,
Kenny> we do not need to bat that around

The kind of acceptance from large companies that you are talking
about does not come as a result of the existance of some stupid
(or wonderful) certification test.

The acceptance criteria is whether every single school produces plenty
of graduates who actually program in Lisp. The company's requirement
is not that the programmer's be certified in a particular technology.
Rather, the company must be able to freely replace its programmers
with new hires who are knowledgable about the programming environment.
The other side of the requirement is that the company should not be
doing anything risky with their IT -- they need to be doing the same
standard thing as everybody else.

The purpose of the certification is to have some kind of filter,
even though it's very low grade, because there are hundreds of
thousands of programmers who claim to be replacement-able workers.

Most large companies are not doing anything interesting: they are
solving simple problems for which there are well-known solutions.
There isn't much creativity, and they are certainly not doing
research. What they are interested in is deploying the standard
solution, using the standard tools from the standard vendors,
and hiring the standard people.

Companies that actually have difficult problems (and realize that),
or ones that are doing research, are already willing to look at
"alternative" technologies, and they can generally be convinced to
try things like some of the newer functional languages, Smalltalk,
and even Lisp. But that's not the mainstream of industry.

Of course we would all like there to be lots of jobs where we can use
our skills, and we know that our programming language can solve even
pedestrian problems in a way that is often simpler and that scales
better for increasing complexity and evolutionary requirements.
We are frustrated at being forced to do projects in a slow and
painful way.

Establishing a filter, especially one that can be overcome by
memorizing some answers, isn't going to solve the problem that
there are not enough Lisp programmers to filter.

Making Lisp popular is a marketing problem, so thinking like a
technical person isn't going to get very far. You need to think
about the corporate requirements, which drive that market, and
then work back from there. (If you have a half-billion dollars
and some clout to spend on inflicting Lisp on the market, that's
another approach.)

The success of Java is about the success of having a zillion people
learning it in school, because it was shoved down people's throats
and hyped with a killer app (even though it wasn't much used for it),
and it was all about creating the conditions for the feedback that
brings up an environment "Learn To Be a Java Idiot In 2 Weeks".
Because that's what addresses the context of the corporate requirements.

Carl Shapiro

unread,
Nov 5, 2002, 1:21:17 AM11/5/02
to
cst...@dtpq.com (Christopher C. Stacy) writes:

> I am pretty sure that every Fortune 500 company uses Lisp in some
> places in their IT organization. For example, they use Emacs.
> We're trying to talk about Lisp's use as a principal technology,
> but I bring up Emacs to illustrate that the question is one of context.
> (Other "tool" context examples would be AutoCAD, or even Gensym.)

The primary consumers of Gensym's G2 are Fortune 50 companies.

So there.

:-)

Tim Bradshaw

unread,
Nov 5, 2002, 2:53:18 AM11/5/02
to
* Christopher C Stacy wrote:
> At least one of the major airlines (but I think there were two)
> uses Lisp for their flight planning (from strategic research, at the
> real-time flight operations desks, all the way to the schedules the
> passangers see on the monitors in the airport). I haven't checked
> on this last example in three or four years, though, so it might
> have been replaced. I know that the airline was about to do a major
> upgrade of their system and was concerned that since Lisp was no
> longer popular, they might not be able to find any programmers!

One of the airlines that did was swissair, I think. Oh, look what
happened to them!

(*not* because of Lisp of course, but I thought it was amusing)

--tim

Jacek Generowicz

unread,
Nov 5, 2002, 3:27:04 AM11/5/02
to
Kenny Tilton <kti...@nyc.rr.com> writes:

[...]

> -- unwind-protect
>
> -- exceptions))
>
> OK, that looks like a TOC for any of the Lisp books out there,

[...]

Could you point me at some decent Lisp books that cover Lisp error
(sorry, condition) handling ? In my personal library the only one at
the moment is CLtL2 (... and KMPs' paper:
http://world.std.com/~pitman/Papers/Condition-Handling-2001.html).
I'd be interested in something that is a bit more turorial-like, a bit
less abstract than the coverage in the above. Admittedly, my problem
is largely, finding enough uniterrupted time to concentrate on the
material, but I can't help feeling that a different approach to the
subject could help me overcome the initial barrier more easily.

Any suggestions ?

Thanks,

Jacek

Tim Bradshaw

unread,
Nov 5, 2002, 4:35:37 AM11/5/02
to
* Christopher C Stacy wrote:

> The acceptance criteria is whether every single school produces plenty
> of graduates who actually program in Lisp. The company's requirement
> is not that the programmer's be certified in a particular technology.
> Rather, the company must be able to freely replace its programmers
> with new hires who are knowledgable about the programming environment.
> The other side of the requirement is that the company should not be
> doing anything risky with their IT -- they need to be doing the same
> standard thing as everybody else.

> [...]

> Establishing a filter, especially one that can be overcome by
> memorizing some answers, isn't going to solve the problem that
> there are not enough Lisp programmers to filter.

However, we need something to ensure that the people the schools (this
is USAan for `universities' isn't it?) produce who say they can write
Lisp actually *can* write Lisp. Right now, a lot of people who claim
to know Lisp come from academic AI backgrounds where they have been
taught what little they know by my `knew a little maclisp once'
academic, and combine the kind of breathtaking arrogance which is
unfortunately common in AI with the ability to write completely
incomprehensible and inefficient code. The results of these kind of
people working in industry are a lot of bad feelings about Lisp.

I'm not making this up, by the way. I spent nearly a year from late
2000 working on a deployed system in a telco where one or more of
these people had worked. It took me most of that year to convince
people that Lisp didn't have to be this bad and that not all Lisp
people were arrogant shits.

I don't think a filter, in the certification sense, would help much
(though I can think of some nice questions which would detect many of
the more bogus people!). I *do* think a more engineering-based and
less AI-academic approach to teaching Lisp would help a lot.

--tim

Petr Swedock

unread,
Nov 5, 2002, 6:41:10 AM11/5/02
to
"J L Russell" <j.ru...@alum.mit.edu> writes:

;;
;; And all I'm saying is, do we really want to work for the
;; forces of darkness?
;;
;; Any company that has the expertise to determine their true
;; needs and assess programmer competence doesn't need these tests.
;; Use of these tests is an admission of managerial incompetence.
;; Who wants to work for such a company?

That is not at all the case. There is incompetent management and there
is competent management that knows nothing about Lisp. Furthermore,
management that is competent would like to go about it's job without
having to learn anything about Lisp. That's what would make them
competent (or do you think Jack Welch knows anything about building
jet engines or MRI equipment????)

Certification is merely a means for one authority to trust another.

The OP mentions anecdotal evidence that adoption of Lisp as a problem
solving tool is hindered by lack of such certification... and hints
that lack of such tool is perceived as non-existance of authority.
What is your response to that??

;; I might do so only out of sheer desperation.

You may whine about how non-Lispers don't 'get it'. and how management
misses out on such rapturous experience as Lisp coding... but from
where they sit it might just look like an un-disciplined free-for-all
lacking adult supervision.

;; Is it possible that companies use these tests because they just
;; happen to measure exactly the skills that the company needs?
;; No. I have taken many tests in my life, and done quite well
;; on most all of them, and I have never seen one that
;; measures much of anything other than the ability to do well
;; on that particular test. I know that this is a trite
;; observance, but that doesn't make it any less true.

It's not trite. It's naive. And certification doesn't map directly
to a test.

Peace,

Petr


Tim Bradshaw

unread,
Nov 5, 2002, 6:49:39 AM11/5/02
to
* Petr Swedock wrote:

> Certification is merely a means for one authority to trust another.

This is a good point. A certificate doesn't have to be some kind of
trivial thing. Many of us have a certificate that says something like
`this person went to such and such a university and was there for so
and so years and did these courses and passed some exams at the end of
it all, and we think they did OK' - a degree in other words. These
things are pretty widely used when deciding whether to employ people.

--tim

Michael Hudson

unread,
Nov 5, 2002, 8:24:42 AM11/5/02
to
Kenny Tilton <kti...@nyc.rr.com> writes:

> I told my Franz rep y'all should send a thick-skinned, genial,
> proficient Lisper who is also Python-proficient into c.l.python to
> harrass them regularly with "why don't you use Lisp?".

All that would do is fuck people off, I'd be willing to bet. People
don't like to be told they're doing things wrong, even if they are.

Cheers,
M.

--
> It might get my attention if you'd spin around in your chair,
> spoke in tongues, and puked jets of green goblin goo.
I can arrange for this. ;-) -- Barry Warsaw & Fred Drake

Paul F. Dietz

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Nov 5, 2002, 8:47:44 AM11/5/02
to
Michael Hudson wrote:

> All that would do is fuck people off, I'd be willing to bet. People
> don't like to be told they're doing things wrong, even if they are.

They might appreciate a Python-the-language implementation on Lisp,
though. It would be interesting to compare performance.

Paul

Petr Swedock

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Nov 5, 2002, 10:30:45 AM11/5/02
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Kenny Tilton <kti...@nyc.rr.com> writes:


;; > already), then big companies use it, and our choices are now bigger.


;;
;; Yeah. I am jumping in here just to remind everyone that this came up
;; at a conference during which the issue of Lisp's popularity came up
;; again and again. And again. Then there was a fishbowl on it. Then we
;; broke for snacks and talked about it.
;;
;; So "do we want F500 acceptance" was a given, we do not need to bat
;; that around. This is not to say that some of us would rather starve
;; than work for f500 (or get certified or take a lie-detector test
;; or

I wouldn't spend a farts worth of time or effort for Microsoft
certification. It's a lousy product and the certification is bound
t