TITLE: Strange Loop Redux
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: October 21, 2010 8:50 AM
I am back home from St. Louis and Des Moines, up to my
next in regular life. I recorded some of my thoughts
and experiences from
in a set of entries here:
Unlike most of the academic conferences I attend, Strange
Loop was not held in a convention center or in a massive
conference hotel. The primary venue for the conference
a concert nightclub in the
This setting gave the conference's keynotes something of
an edgy feel. The main conference lodging was the
a couple of doors down:
Conference session were also held in the Moonrise and
in the Regional Arts Commission building across the
street. The meeting rooms in the Moonrise and the
RAC were ordinary, but I liked being in human-scale
buildings that had some life to them. It was a
refreshing change from my usual conference venues.
It's hard to summarize the conference in only a few
words, other than perhaps to say, "Two thumbs up!"
I do think, though, that one of the subliminal
messages in Guy Steele's keynote is also a subliminal
message of the conference. Steele talked for half an
hour about a couple of his old programs and all of
his machinations twenty-five or forty years to make
them run in the limited computing environments of
those days. As he went to all the effort to
reconstruct the laborious effort that went into those
programs in the first place, the viewer can't help
but feel that the joke's on him. He was programming
in the Stone Age!
But then he gets to the meat of his talk and shows us
that how we program now is the relic of a passing age.
For all the advances we have made, we still write code
that transitions from state to state to state, one
command at a time, just like our cave-dwelling ancestors
in the 1950s.
It turns out that the joke is on us.
The talks and conversations at Strange Loop were
evidence that one relatively small group of programmers
in the midwestern US are ready to move into the