Neil Schemenauer's Web Log


July 24, 2003

Bootstrapping an infrastructure

No time to read this paper now but it looks interesting.

July 23, 2003

Time was invented by the gods to confuse man

Python 2.3 is getting a new datetime library for dealing with dates and times. Dealing with time is surprisingly tricky. Erik Naggum wrote a nice paper on the subject.

July 16, 2003

Who do you want to spam/DoS today?

Microsoft's RPC implementation contains a buffer overflow. If people can connect to port 135 of a Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003 machine then they can run arbitrary programs with administer privileges.

Good news for script kiddies, spammers and porn distributors. Bad news for the average person. I expect a large number of machines will remain unpatched for a long time.

July 05, 2003

SICP reviews

It's amusing to read the negative reviews of Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs on Amazon's site. Some examples:


There's no useful material here, whatever your level of sophistication. Beginners will find that Scheme, and the book's approach in general are confusing. Those who are advanced will find the text is full of bull

From what I've read, I get the impression this book was written in a rush, and with the purpose of cramming tons of nonsense and filler in just to have an excuse to present Scheme (a pathetic language).

Try my SICP simulator. Close your eyes and have someone kick you in the teeth. This will be a good approximation to how you'll feel when readint this book.

I read SICP years ago while I was an undergrad (on my own, not part of a course). I think it improved my skills as a programmer more than any other book I've read. Maybe it's time to read it again.