De' fliengde Vuogtlänn'r

Observations, rants, etc. from a guy who really gets around.


Selecting A Programming Language

Every craftsman knows that the secret to success lies in using the right tools. This is no less true for computer programmers. However, with such a large selection of programming languages, it can be difficult to choose the best one for a particular project. Reading the manuals to evaluate languages is a time-consuming process. On the other hand, most people already have a fairly good idea of how various automobiles compare. So, in order to assist those trying to choose a programming language, we have prepared a list that matches programming languages with automobiles.

Assembler: A Formula 1 race car. Very fast, but difficult to drive and expensive to maintain.

FORTRAN II: A Model T Ford. Once, it was king of the road.

FORTRAN IV: A Model A Ford.

COBOL: A delivery van. It's bulky and ugly, but it gets the job done.

BASIC: A second-hand Rambler with a rebuilt engine and patched upholstery. Your Dad bought it for you to learn to drive. You'll ditch it as soon as you can afford a new one.

PL/1: A Cadillac convertible with automatic transmission, a two-tone paint job, whitewall tires, chrome exhaust pipes, and fuzzy dice hanging from the rear-view mirror.

C: A black Firebird -- the all-macho car. Comes with optional seat belts (lint) and optional fuzz-buster (escape to Assembler).

ALGOL 60: An Austin Mini. Boy, that's a small car!

ALGOL 68: An Astin Martin. An impressive car, but not just anyone can drive it.

Pascal: A Volkswagen Beetle (old style). It's small, but sturdy. Was once popular with pseudo-intellectuals.

Modula II: A Volkswagen Rabbit with a trailer hitch.

LISP: An electric car. It's simple, but it's slow. Seat belts are not available.

PROLOG/LUCID: Prototype "concept" cars.

Maple/MACSYMA: All-terrain vehicles.

FORTH: A go-cart.

LOGO: A kiddie car replica of a Rolls-Royce. Comes with a real engine and working horn.

APL: A double-decker bus. It takes rows and columns of passengers to the same place, all at the same time. But it drives only in reverse gear, and is instrumented in Greek.

Ada: An Army-green Mercedes-Benz staff car. Power steering, power brakes, and automatic transmission are all standard. No other colors or options are available. If it's good enough for the generals, it's good enough for you. Manufacturing delays due to difficulties reading the design specs are starting to clear up.

RPG II: An old school bus parked in the back yard. The head gasket is blown, the tranny slips, the carburetor needs rebuilding, and two tires are flat.

RPG III: The same as RPG II, except that the two flat tires are white walls.

Happy Motoring!


True Charity

For about the last year and a half, I've thought from time to time on the subject of charity. For the record, I'll stipulate that there's a difference between Charity and "charity" -- the former being helpful; the latter being largely destructive (at least in the long run).

Paul tells us that Charity "never fails" (i.e. never ceases). Experience has shown us that "charity" usually does fail, leastwise in the long run. There's an old saying: Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he can eat every day. The problem is getting from one day to every day.

True Charity helps a person fulfill his divine destiny. "Charity" keeps people from that goal. Oddly enough, we sometimes confuse the two. We seem to think that Charity consists only of teaching people to fish, possibly because we've seen the destructive, corrosive effects of simply feeding people without teaching them to feed themselves. Some people think that once they've taught a guy to fish, he's on his own and no longer a worry. They've "fulfilled a higher law" and the "lesser law" is irrelevant. But this flies in the face of what Scripture tells us (James 2:15-16 comes to mind).

When the crowd followed the Savior out into the wilderness and He preached to them, some of the disciples pointed out after a while that the people had no food. And what did He do at that point?

He fed them.

Did He lecture them about personal preparedness? No.

Did He chastise them for not having brought food with them? No.

Did He tell them that it was just a short walk back into town and they'd make it easily? No.

He fed them.

Never confuse the important with the immediate. Yes, it was -- and still is -- extremely important for people to be prepared and self-reliant. But it's rarely an immediate need; and, as important as it is, it doesn't happen overnight. While we're teaching people all these high-minded principles, we need to make sure that they eat. Spiritual food has no physical nutrition.