Recent blog entries for gch

Regarding compiler books...

The Dragon is the standard introductory text fifteen odd years after it was published because no good replacement has arisen, not because it is awesomely good. Andrew Appel's more recent attempt, for example, was riddled with various flaws, and while I find it useful for register allocation issues and the like I think I would be better served with more hard core books and research papers.

The Dragon is not without its own flaws, mind; the material is dated and doesn't address anything but a straight up imperative language like C or Pascal. There is no garbage collection, for example (although thankfully Jones & Lin comes to the rescue here--a useful book both because it is the only such survey I know of and because it's incredible), and nothing discussing multiple inheritance or optimization of method dispatch in object oriented languages, both of which can be surprisingly subtle.

My standard reference has been a bundle of research papers collected for a grad course I took a year ago, including things like Ian Piamuerta's interpreter and reports from the Self project, but I'm not sure it could be easily duplicated.

Regarding the cat declawing: My parents have a darling little psychopathic cat, who I love dearly despite his tendency to play really violently. He was apparently being a little too psychopathic for their tastes, plus he decided the furniture was more fun than the scratching post, and in time they had his front claws removed.

They will never do it again. I will lobby intensely against it if I ever hear of a friend thinking about it. There is something just completely heart wrenching about looking at a cat obviously in pain, and not quite smart enough to realize his front claws are gone... or to have him sitting in your lap, months later, kneading away, and unable to get the feedback he wants.

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