I’ts been a long time

Once upon a time, I had a blog up here, and my software, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

I stopped doing that some years ago. It was a lot of hassle to maintain the mess, and absolutely soul-crushing at times to read the comments.

But — I still have things to say, even if it’s to an empty echo chamber. There are still techy things I want to talk about, ideas to pontificate on, and useful tips to share. So here we go again, with a brand-spanking-new version of WordPress, comments completely disabled, and an empty database of posts.

So let’s do a quick run-down of the most common questions from the last few years:

  • What happened to SpaceMonger and Sixty-Five? They’re gone. At least for now. Maybe someday SM will come back from the dead, but don’t plan on it. If you have a copy of SpaceMonger, you can still use it. But licenses are no longer being sold. The company is gone. And a lot of headaches went with it.
  • But SpaceMonger — Ahem. Next question.
  • What do you do for employment then? I work for HomeNet Automotive, a division of the AutoTrader Group, as a Principal Developer. I’ve been there a bit over four years now. I build UI code for the frontend and some of the weird complex algorithms that run in the backend of their flagship product, Inventory Online. I work with a great team of guys (and gals! Tech is egalitarian these days!), I’m properly compensated for my skills, and I build good stuff for people who really need it.
  • I bet InventoryOnline is cool! Can I get it? If you’re a car dealership, odds are pretty good you already use it. If you’re not a car dealership, it probably wouldn’t do much for you.
  • Anything else you’ve been doing that’s not software? I’m married. I have a house, and a dog, and two cars, and a baby on the way. I’m active in church stuff, and online. In short, I have a lot on my plate.
  • What software are you working on outside of work? In my off hours, I’ve been building a few small Visual Studio extensions to solve some annoyances with ASP.NET. But my really substantial project has been a new programming language, Smile, which I’ve been working on for years.
  • What about CMXpress? It’s in use on several websites right now, and works well for them, but it needs work before I open it up to the general public. The long-term plan is to open-source it. The short-term plan is to make the code less embarrassing before I open-source it. The longer longer term plan is to rewrite the whole thing in Smile and do it right this time.
  • What about NBBC? I used it in CMXpress, and it worked. I don’t plan to do much more with it unless additional bug reports come in.
  • What can you tell us about Smile? It’s different. Really different. It wouldn’t have taken the last decade or so to design it if it was yet another more-or-less C clone. Its strongest inspirations are from Lisp and Smalltalk, with bits of Ruby and Python and JavaScript and Ada and a dozen others mixed in, but it looks and reads like none of them. It’s intended to have an extremely solid theoretical foundation (à la Scheme), a level of purity and elegance that most languages don’t have, but to be incredibly easy to read and to program in for mere mortals.
  • Why another programming language? Why not just use language X? Because none of the others work the way I want them to work. Ruby and JavaScript come closest, but they’re still a long way from what I want. I’m not really building a language for anybody else; I’m finally building a language that I really want to code in, and if anybody else wants to join my party, they’re welcome to do so.
  • Anything else worth sharing? I built a gazebo on my back porch, and I’ve gotten back into building Quake levels after nearly 15 years of not doing it. I follow politics still, and for those who are curious, I’m a centrist who leans libertarian.

I’m hoping to post somewhat regularly like I once did many years ago, which means perhaps once a week if I get inspired enough. Future posts will mostly be about programming, Smile, politics, and whatever my dog’s doing that day.

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