Never programmed before - want to learn

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Jake Myers

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Nov 19, 2006, 7:08:29 PM11/19/06
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From what I've been reading online, Lisp sounds like a good language for
someone who's never written a line of code before.
I've been having a good look at the SICP book (I know it uses Scheme, but I
understand the two languages are related), and it seems to teach a lot of
concepts rather than language syntax.
I only want to learn as a hobbyist, so I 'd like a language thats fun as
well as interesting.
So do you think Lisp and SICP are good for total newbies like me?

Thanks.
Jake


sticky_keys

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Nov 19, 2006, 7:29:49 PM11/19/06
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Jake Myers wrote:
> From what I've been reading online, Lisp sounds like a good language for
> someone who's never written a line of code before.

I'd agree with that. Others would say the same about Python. (Sadists
would say the same about C/C++/Java).

> I've been having a good look at the SICP book (I know it uses Scheme, but I
> understand the two languages are related), and it seems to teach a lot of
> concepts rather than language syntax.

It also teaches you what SHIFT-9 and SHIFT-10 are.

> I only want to learn as a hobbyist, so I 'd like a language thats fun as
> well as interesting.

Fun? Well most languages can be fun.
Interesting? Well most languages can be intersting.

> So do you think Lisp and SICP are good for total newbies like me?

SICP might bend your brain a little (that's a good thing). Just stay
away from anything like 'Teach Yourself in' or Dummies or 'Idiots
Guide'.
You probably know about the videos
http://swiss.csail.mit.edu/classes/6.001/abelson-sussman-lectures/
As your on your own you may struggle. Expect much flaming from certain
species around c.l.l if you get stuck.

> Thanks.
> Jake

Good luck Jake.

John Thingstad

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Nov 19, 2006, 8:08:15 PM11/19/06
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On Mon, 20 Nov 2006 01:08:29 +0100, Jake Myers <jake_m...@yahoo.co.uk>
wrote:

Thought I might mention
Common Lisp: A Gentle Introduction to Symbolic Computation
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/LispBook/index.html

Might come in handy if you find SICP too difficult.
It uses Common Lisp for examples which might cause some confusion,
but it should be manageable. Though SICP can be read by people with
no programming experience it is pretty tough going.
Touretzky's book is aimed at absolute beginners and has a slower pace.

--
Using Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/mail/

Lars Rune Nøstdal

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Nov 19, 2006, 8:31:25 PM11/19/06
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Yep; Lisp is good and SICP is good - but try PCL also:
http://www.gigamonkeys.com/book/

If I could start over I'd somehow have the "current me" tell the "previous
me" to jump on Lisp as soon as possible and skip hybrids like C++. I'd
focus on a strong low-level understanding(#1) combined with Lisp.

I especially regret wasting time on the wannabe "high-level" and meta'ish
parts of C++. `Modern C++ Design' (a book) started out very cool but most
of its ideas turned out to be major tar pit traps of pain and bitterness
in the long run.

I didn't understand Lisp at the time, but after seeing some of the rants
here at c.l.l., rants by Paul Grahams etc.; Lisp turned out to be what
everyone is reaching for - many without even knowing, understanding or
seeing it.

Yes, it's a downright fun language to use. Lisp is what I imagined
programming computers would be like before and while hammering Pascal as
a kid - constantly wondering "why?" or "why not?" without finding real
reasons for either. Discovering Lisp was fun and interesting, and using it
is always as fun and interesting as the thing you're using it for; not
almost constantly the other way around.

Lisp is the programmable programming language. It's an animal well beyond
the threshold of not recognizing itself in a mirror. It is a liquid
living thing giving you the ability to form new words and concepts with
it.
(I think I'll stop here..)

#1: http://download.savannah.gnu.org/releases/pgubook/
..might be good - combined with `The C Programming Language'. But note
that I say "understanding".

--
Lars Rune Nøstdal
http://lars.nostdal.org/

Kaz Kylheku

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Nov 19, 2006, 9:10:42 PM11/19/06
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Jake Myers wrote:
> From what I've been reading online, Lisp sounds like a good language for
> someone who's never written a line of code before.
> I've been having a good look at the SICP book (I know it uses Scheme, but I
> understand the two languages are related), and it seems to teach a lot of
> concepts rather than language syntax.

I got into Lisp because of a book that was lying around, inherited from
someone. That book was Stuart Shapiro's _Common Lisp: an Interactive
Approach_.

Well lookie here; this 1992 book is out of print, the publisher has
returned the rights to the author, who made it available for download:

http://www.cse.buffalo.edu/~shapiro/Commonlisp/

The page was last modified in August 2004, so this has been available
for more than two years now, at least.

Ray

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Nov 19, 2006, 10:13:53 PM11/19/06
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Jake Myers wrote:

> From what I've been reading online, Lisp sounds like a good language for
> someone who's never written a line of code before.

I'm just starting with Lisp, but I'm not new at programming. What I
found is that Lisp is so different from the mainstream languages like
C++/C#/Java, so learning Lisp requires me to see things differently, a
bit difficult sometimes because I've been thinking in those 3 languages
for a long time. If you've never written any code before, maybe you'll
have an easier time unlearning because there is less (or nothing) to
unlearn :)

> I've been having a good look at the SICP book (I know it uses Scheme, but I
> understand the two languages are related), and it seems to teach a lot of
> concepts rather than language syntax.

Yes, it's interesting to know though. I'm going through this book as
well.

> I only want to learn as a hobbyist, so I 'd like a language thats fun as
> well as interesting.
> So do you think Lisp and SICP are good for total newbies like me?

I've been reading a lot of Lisp books lately. I find that for
introduction, this book is very good ("Successful Lisp"):

http://psg.com/~dlamkins/sl/contents.html

> Thanks.
> Jake

Rainer Joswig

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Nov 19, 2006, 10:20:15 PM11/19/06
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Am 20.11.2006 4:13 Uhr schrieb "Ray" unter <ray_u...@yahoo.com> in
1163992433.1...@h48g2000cwc.googlegroups.com:

> Jake Myers wrote:
>
>> From what I've been reading online, Lisp sounds like a good language for
>> someone who's never written a line of code before.
>
> I'm just starting with Lisp, but I'm not new at programming. What I
> found is that Lisp is so different from the mainstream languages like
> C++/C#/Java, so learning Lisp requires me to see things differently, a
> bit difficult sometimes because I've been thinking in those 3 languages
> for a long time. If you've never written any code before, maybe you'll
> have an easier time unlearning because there is less (or nothing) to
> unlearn :)

C++ is definitely different. The memory model of Java is a bit Lisp-like
(garbage collection, ...). C# lately had some influence from FP
(Functional Programming). So some Lisp knowledge can be applied
back atleast to C#.

Rob Warnock

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Nov 20, 2006, 6:15:41 AM11/20/06
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Jake Myers <jake_m...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
+---------------

| From what I've been reading online, Lisp sounds like a good
| language for someone who's never written a line of code before.
+---------------

Yes, indeed! And you'll have fewer preconceptions about Lisp
if you *don't* already know some other programming language
[though you will have to learn programming itself from scratch]...

+---------------


| I've been having a good look at the SICP book (I know it uses
| Scheme, but I understand the two languages are related), and it
| seems to teach a lot of concepts rather than language syntax.

+---------------

Others have mentioned various useful books & on-line tutorials;
here's another good one:

http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/dorai/t-y-scheme/t-y-scheme.html
"Teach Yourself Scheme in Fixnum Days", by Dorai Sitaram

[Note: While it is true that fixnums are smaller than bignums,
"Fixnum Days" might easily be several orders of magnitude longer
than your life expectancy. That is, this *isn't* any kind of
"quick" or "for dummies" text.]


-Rob

-----
Rob Warnock <rp...@rpw3.org>
627 26th Avenue <URL:http://rpw3.org/>
San Mateo, CA 94403 (650)572-2607

Alex Mizrahi

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Nov 20, 2006, 7:51:37 AM11/20/06
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(message (Hello 'Jake)
(you :wrote :on '(Mon, 20 Nov 2006 00:08:29 -0000))
(

JM> So do you think Lisp and SICP are good for total newbies like me?

if you are interested in math stuff (i.e. it matters to you that Scheme and
Lisp are conceptually clean, etc) it would be very good. (Practical Common
Lisp book can show you something practical).

however if you want more visual effect with less hassle, consider learning
Python instead. with Python you can get some graphical stuff working almost
out-of-the box, while with Lisp it's matter of luck if particular thing will
work on your system :).

i would never recommend learning Python as first language to somebody who
wants to be a top programmer, but for hobbyst it can have sense, unless he's
interested in language design.

for example, in Python "if" is clearly a special language construct. i bet
most Python programmers in case of question "can 'if' be defined as
function?" will think it's a silly question.
however, it's discussed in first chapter of SICP -- even if "if" looks like
a function call it cannot be implemented as function. so learning Scheme is
much more deep and interesting in that sense.

)
(With-best-regards '(Alex Mizrahi) :aka 'killer_storm)
"People who lust for the Feel of keys on their fingertips (c) Inity")


Pascal Bourguignon

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Nov 20, 2006, 10:17:42 AM11/20/06
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"Jake Myers" <jake_m...@yahoo.co.uk> writes:

If you're new to programming, SICP (and even PCL), might be a steep step.
You might like better:

Common Lisp: A Gentle Introduction to Symbolic Computation

David S. Touretzky
http://www-cgi.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/dst/www/LispBook/index.html
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/LispBook/


My advice would be to browse a lisp bibliography and see by yourself
what tutorial or book you fancy most.

http://www.cliki.net/Online%20Tutorial
http://www.lispmachine.net/
http://alu.org/alu/res-lisp-education


--
__Pascal Bourguignon__ http://www.informatimago.com/

HANDLE WITH EXTREME CARE: This product contains minute electrically
charged particles moving at velocities in excess of five hundred
million miles per hour.

Ralph Allan Rice

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Nov 20, 2006, 10:31:17 AM11/20/06
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Hi Jake,

> From what I've been reading online, Lisp sounds like a good language for
> someone who's never written a line of code before.

I honestly do think that Lisp is a great language to learn as your
first high-level language. Lisp was my second programming language
that I learned back in late 80's; the first was x86 assembler, which is
not a high-level language. This was way before Common Lisp was
standardized (c. 1994) and before the Web. Your opportunity is better
much because Common Lisp is standardized and there are a tremendous
amount of resources to get you on your way.

> I've been having a good look at the SICP book (I know it uses Scheme, but I
> understand the two languages are related), and it seems to teach a lot of
> concepts rather than language syntax.

Spot-on. It is great that you recognize the difference between Scheme
and Common Lisp, and able to adapt between them on the conceptual
level. I am currently re-reading SICP. The first time I read SICP a few
years back, it was not clear to me at that time that Scheme was really
a different language and not an implementation of Common Lisp. The
authors used the term "Lisp", which further contributed to my
confusion. To get past it, I used a Scheme implementation while reading
SICP the first time, then I switch to a Common Lisp implementation. It
was not the best method, but it worked. If I were to do this all over,
I would find a Scheme compatibility-layer to use in Common Lisp instead
of switching back and forth.

> I only want to learn as a hobbyist, so I 'd like a language thats fun as
> well as interesting.
> So do you think Lisp and SICP are good for total newbies like me?

SICP is a good resource. It is very good about teaching concepts
(procedural abstraction, recursion, etc), but it has a lot of
mathematical programming examples (testing for prime numbers, finding
derivatives of functions, etc). If you have a good understanding of
math, then I think that this book would be perfect you.

Some people have suggested "Practical Common Lisp (PCL)". I think this
is a good book also. It moves away from the academic and mathematical
examples in favor of more, ahem, practical real-life work that you
might be interested in doing, like parsing files, filtering spam, or
generating HTML. This book frequently shows differences between Common
Lisp and other mainstream languages like Java , Python or Perl. I think
was intended to pacify experienced programmers from these other
languages. For a person who is learning programming for the first
time, I think this is a distraction. You do not seem to be clouded with
the mainstream programmer's mindset that Lisp is ugly, academic, and
not useful. So, I personally think that PCL may leave you on a wild
tangent toward those other languages to see what they are missing.
Please, resist that urge.

Good luck in your learning experience.

--
Ralph

Bill Atkins

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Nov 20, 2006, 10:51:04 AM11/20/06
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"Ralph Allan Rice" <ralph...@gmail.com> writes:

> Some people have suggested "Practical Common Lisp (PCL)". I think this
> is a good book also. It moves away from the academic and mathematical
> examples in favor of more, ahem, practical real-life work that you
> might be interested in doing, like parsing files, filtering spam, or
> generating HTML. This book frequently shows differences between Common
> Lisp and other mainstream languages like Java , Python or Perl. I think
> was intended to pacify experienced programmers from these other
> languages. For a person who is learning programming for the first
> time, I think this is a distraction. You do not seem to be clouded with
> the mainstream programmer's mindset that Lisp is ugly, academic, and
> not useful. So, I personally think that PCL may leave you on a wild
> tangent toward those other languages to see what they are missing.
> Please, resist that urge.

I don't think this is a particularly fair caricature of PCL. While it
_does_ include practicals, I don't think this detracts from its
usefulness as an introduction to CL (quite the opposite, really).

One of Seibel's goals was to show that Lisp is not merely academic and
can be used in the real world, but you make it seem as if the book
does nothing more than try to convince you of this. I'm not sure how
anyone you could get that impression short of putting the book down
after reading the back cover. PCL does a better job than any other
Lisp book I've seen of introducing the language and showing readers
how real Lisp programming is done. This is very different from most
Lisp books, which either stress symbols and cons cells and lists far
too much, or use an un-realistic and/or CLOS-averse coding style (a la
Mr. Graham's books). PCL covers the whole language and focuses on
things that really matter, like CLOS and the mechanics of a Lisp
environment. Symbols and cons cells are rightfully given only a
chapter or two.

PCL is a very good introduction to CL - the best available, IMO. You
could certainly do worse. I'm not suggesting that the OP shouldn't
bother with SICP, but SICP and PCL fill very different niches. Once
you finish PCL, PAIP is a nice follow-up (OK, OK, a *great*
follow-up).

sticky_keys

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Nov 20, 2006, 12:00:10 PM11/20/06
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Alex Mizrahi wrote:

> i would never recommend learning Python as first language to somebody who
> wants to be a top programmer

I'd like to know what you would recommend and why.

Kaz Kylheku

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Nov 20, 2006, 12:56:22 PM11/20/06
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sticky_keys wrote:
> Just stay away from anything like 'Teach Yourself in' or Dummies or 'Idiots
> Guide'.

Huh? Where have you seen such a book about Lisp?

sticky_keys

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Nov 20, 2006, 1:40:55 PM11/20/06
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Oh for goodness sake.
I was generalising to *any* book on programming.
Hobbyists often meddle in several languages. Avoiding such books is
good advice (with the exception of 'Teach Yourself Scheme in Fixnum
Days', although that may be a little terse for a total noob).

Kaz Kylheku

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Nov 20, 2006, 2:00:03 PM11/20/06
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sticky_keys wrote:
> Kaz Kylheku wrote:
> > sticky_keys wrote:
> > > Just stay away from anything like 'Teach Yourself in' or Dummies or 'Idiots
> > > Guide'.
> >
> > Huh? Where have you seen such a book about Lisp?
>
> Oh for goodness sake.

Indeed, oh for goodness sake.

> I was generalising to *any* book on programming.

The guy is asking about learning Lisp in a Lisp newsgroup.

How do you know that if a "Lisp for Dummies" or "T. Y. Lisp in X Days"
or "Idiot's Guide to Lisp" was published, it would automatically be no
good? Would you just assume that it's crap without looking between the
covers?

Probably, since a book doesn't even apparently have to /exist/ for you
to criticize it.

sticky_keys

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Nov 20, 2006, 2:11:48 PM11/20/06
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Kaz Kylheku wrote:
> sticky_keys wrote:
> > Kaz Kylheku wrote:
> > > sticky_keys wrote:
> > > > Just stay away from anything like 'Teach Yourself in' or Dummies or 'Idiots
> > > > Guide'.
> > >
> > > Huh? Where have you seen such a book about Lisp?
> >
> > Oh for goodness sake.
>
> Indeed, oh for goodness sake.
>
> > I was generalising to *any* book on programming.
>
> The guy is asking about learning Lisp in a Lisp newsgroup.

Well in that case go flame Alex Mizrahi for suggesting the OP learn
Python.

> How do you know that if a "Lisp for Dummies" or "T. Y. Lisp in X Days"
> or "Idiot's Guide to Lisp" was published, it would automatically be no
> good? Would you just assume that it's crap without looking between the
> covers?

Hmm, lets see. Have you ever read a Dummies book?

> Probably, since a book doesn't even apparently have to /exist/ for you
> to criticize it.

Books like those follow the same pattern. You know exactly what you
will get before you open the cover. If I'm wrong, then I await your
counter-example(s).

Alex Mizrahi

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Nov 20, 2006, 2:24:59 PM11/20/06
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(message (Hello 'sticky_keys)
(you :wrote :on '(20 Nov 2006 09:00:10 -0800))
(

??>> i would never recommend learning Python as first language to somebody
??>> who wants to be a top programmer

sk> I'd like to know what you would recommend and why.

actually it depends on age of person being taught.

for child BASIC would be ok, i think. one can argue that Python is simple
too, but it's not. there is lot of bullshit in Python, and it's
object-dezoriented.

for more adult one, Scheme, i think.

i cannot recommend any book, since i didn't read any book on programming
except book about Pascal in childhood :).

as for myself, i was programming BASIC in childhood, then Pascal + some
assembler, then Object Pascal/Delphi, then C++ -- and after programming C++
for some time, i've invented some kind of Lisp -- however with weird
xml-style syntax and without list-processing and self-modifications
features. i was near to invent those features too (however, not that
orthogonal as in real Lisp), but luckily i've found a real Lisp then.

John Thingstad

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Nov 20, 2006, 4:54:48 PM11/20/06
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I recomend you just try Python and make up your own opinion if
you want to.
The basic tutorial can be got through in a day/night
and gives you a basic idea.
Personally I like Python just fine. It's fairly simple to learn
yet has enough power to do real work. Good libraries.
Python is slow compared to Scheme/CL. If you get into serious algorithms
with a lot of integer calculations Python might be to slow.
As a scripting language it works just fine. Much better than Perl,
way better than shell scripts..

TMH

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Nov 20, 2006, 9:36:36 PM11/20/06
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Jake Myers wrote:
> So do you think Lisp and SICP are good for total newbies like me?

Absolutely. If you are more interested in programming in the abstract
versus programming specifically in common lisp, I recommend

How to Design Programs
http://www.htdp.org/

It presents programming using Scheme. You'll also need

DrScheme
http://www.drscheme.org/

a Scheme environment.

If you are focused on common lisp in particular, you can still work
through HTDP, just perform the examples and exercises in CL. A good
progression would be HTDP->SICP then some language specific material
for whatever language you are using.

Good luck,

Tom

Asbjørn Bjørnstad

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Nov 21, 2006, 2:14:45 AM11/21/06
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On Nov 20, 11:51 pm, Bill Atkins <atk...@rpi.edu> wrote:


> "Ralph Allan Rice" <ralph.r...@gmail.com> writes:
>
> > Some people have suggested "Practical Common Lisp (PCL)". I think this
> > is a good book also. It moves away from the academic and mathematical
> > examples in favor of more, ahem, practical real-life work that you
> > might be interested in doing, like parsing files, filtering spam, or
> > generating HTML. This book frequently shows differences between Common
> > Lisp and other mainstream languages like Java , Python or Perl. I think
> > was intended to pacify experienced programmers from these other
> > languages. For a person who is learning programming for the first
> > time, I think this is a distraction. You do not seem to be clouded with
> > the mainstream programmer's mindset that Lisp is ugly, academic, and
> > not useful. So, I personally think that PCL may leave you on a wild
> > tangent toward those other languages to see what they are missing.
> > Please, resist that urge.

> I don't think this is a particularly fair caricature of PCL. While it
> _does_ include practicals, I don't think this detracts from its
> usefulness as an introduction to CL (quite the opposite, really).

One of us misunderstood what Mr. Rice wrote.
I didn't get the feeling he thought the practicals detracted from the
usefulness, but the comparison with other languages. (And only in
the context of someone who is learning programming for the first
time.)

--
-asbjxrn

André Thieme

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Nov 21, 2006, 11:29:56 AM11/21/06
to
sticky_keys schrieb:
> Kaz Kylheku wrote:

>> How do you know that if a "Lisp for Dummies" or "T. Y. Lisp in X Days"
>> or "Idiot's Guide to Lisp" was published, it would automatically be no
>> good? Would you just assume that it's crap without looking between the
>> covers?
>
> Hmm, lets see. Have you ever read a Dummies book?

Even if he had, he could not deduce how other Dummies books are.
What you try to do is induction which does not work here.
I flew in an airplane that did not crash. So airplanes don't crash.
(not correct)


>> Probably, since a book doesn't even apparently have to /exist/ for you
>> to criticize it.
>
> Books like those follow the same pattern. You know exactly what you
> will get before you open the cover. If I'm wrong, then I await your
> counter-example(s).

Science does not work like this.
You stated something, so it is your task to prove it.


André
--

sticky_keys

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Nov 21, 2006, 12:43:46 PM11/21/06
to

André Thieme wrote:
> sticky_keys schrieb:
> > Kaz Kylheku wrote:
>
> >> How do you know that if a "Lisp for Dummies" or "T. Y. Lisp in X Days"
> >> or "Idiot's Guide to Lisp" was published, it would automatically be no
> >> good? Would you just assume that it's crap without looking between the
> >> covers?
> >
> > Hmm, lets see. Have you ever read a Dummies book?
>
> Even if he had, he could not deduce how other Dummies books are.
> What you try to do is induction which does not work here.
> I flew in an airplane that did not crash. So airplanes don't crash.
> (not correct)

It's not induction, more like extrapolation.
Induction obviously doesn't work as this ng shows.
A few good replies may lead an OP into a false sense of security.

>
> >> Probably, since a book doesn't even apparently have to /exist/ for you
> >> to criticize it.
> >
> > Books like those follow the same pattern. You know exactly what you
> > will get before you open the cover. If I'm wrong, then I await your
> > counter-example(s).
>
> Science does not work like this.
> You stated something, so it is your task to prove it.

What are you talking about?
This has nothing to do with science.
This is about a series of books which have been heavily criticised by
many experienced programmers.
This generalises the problem
http://www.norvig.com/21-days.html
Actually it's not really about that at all.
It's about some guy named 'Jake Myers' who asked for advice. Much
advice was given before someone flamed me for no real reason (I dunno
maybe his SO left him).
Now you've jumped in all guns blazing to.
Perhaps instead flaming me and looking to stir up more trouble, you
could offer Jake (the OP) some advice.
Although after seeing what happens to people who try to help, perhaps
Jake has decided that he's better off a mile away from c.l.l.
Now, don't we all have better things to do than recreate primary school?

Pillsy

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Nov 21, 2006, 1:05:27 PM11/21/06
to
John Thingstad wrote:

> Thought I might mention
> Common Lisp: A Gentle Introduction to Symbolic Computation
> http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/LispBook/index.html

I'm going to second this recommendation. When I started learning CL, I
was in essentially the same boat as the OP---I was looking for a
"hobby" language, and I had limited knowledge of other general purpose
languages.

Touretzky's was the first book I looked into after finding PCL online,
and I found that working through (and its exercises) it made me
confident enough in dealing with the language basics and the Lisp
environment I'd chosen (SLIME + SBCL) to tackle more demanding books
and ultimately a real (though simple-ish) project in CL.

Cheers,
Pillsbury

Ben

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Nov 22, 2006, 2:06:18 PM11/22/06
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On Nov 21, 12:43 pm, "sticky_keys" <sticky_k...@hotmail.co.uk> wrote:

> André Thieme wrote:
> This is about a series of books which have been heavily criticised by
> many experienced programmers.

I read the very first Dummies book when it came out (DOS for Dummies?)
and found it handy. I haven't read any others though. Still, if I see
Lisp for Dummies on the shelf, I am definitely picking it up! That'd
be a fun read.

If you use bookmooch, you can get the "Gentle Introduction" book for
free:
http://www.bookmooch.com/m/detail/0805304924

(I'm not associated with bookmooch other than as a user - which I guess
means I benefit from the growth of an economy I participate in, but I
also lose out because other people will be looking for Lisp books.)

lurker

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Nov 22, 2006, 3:14:07 PM11/22/06
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> This is about a series of books which have been heavily criticised by
> many experienced programmers.

Not everyone can digest technical docs like man pages.
I think the Dummies books try to cater for those people.
Sure their chatty style can p*ss you off at times, and the end of section
questions are a bit pointless.
Also, as usenet shows, even experienced programmers can disagree on things.
Who's opinion can you really trust?

> This generalises the problem
> http://www.norvig.com/21-days.html

He makes good points, but not everyone wants to, or has time to
"Learn at least a half dozen programming languages."
I suppose these books are fine for those who want to get from idea to
working code in the shortest time possible, without caring about
aesthetics.

> Actually it's not really about that at all.
> It's about some guy named 'Jake Myers' who asked for advice. Much
> advice was given before someone flamed me for no real reason (I dunno
> maybe his SO left him).
> Now you've jumped in all guns blazing to.
> Perhaps instead flaming me and looking to stir up more trouble, you
> could offer Jake (the OP) some advice.
> Although after seeing what happens to people who try to help, perhaps
> Jake has decided that he's better off a mile away from c.l.l.
> Now, don't we all have better things to do than recreate primary school?

Dude...Karma!
Seriously, killfile this thread, go spend some time with nature, think about
the bigger things. Relax :)

Ralph Allan Rice

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Nov 24, 2006, 6:51:32 PM11/24/06
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Thank you. That is exactly how I meant in the post. I am sorry any
misunderstandings. PCL is a very good book. It is one of the books
that I would recommend in a heartbeat if asked. What I did not say in
the original post is that my comments come from observing the
experiences of an associate of mine.

He was definitely not a programmer and wanted to learn something. He
saw one of my Lisp books and inquired about the language. I pointed him
to PCL. He read it thoughly, but got stuck in many of the conceptual
pieces (I had to explain what recursion was). One of the feedback items
that I heard from him was about the references to other languages.
IIRC, he called it "noise". I remember this because it was the only
honest criticism that I heard about PCL, so it would be something to
remember.

Sorry for any confusion,

--
Ralph

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