THEY turn up in the oddest places

So, yesterday someone commented somewhat facetiously about using XSTL for grabbing a certain bit of information out of an XML file. I suggested that this would not be the biggest abuse of XSLT I’d ever seen, or even perpetrated, given that I wrote a Dia-to-SQL stylesheet that even handled referential integrity (which is harder than you’d think, because Dia is a drawing program, and regards those lines between boxes as just another element; it doesn’t understand what they mean).

I also mentioned that it was funny that I found XSLT so easy since, if you get down to it, XSLT turns out to be a very verbose expression of many of the same ideas that embody LISP, and at least certain aspects of LISP often confuse me.

So one of the people in the discussion–Eric Benson, the content of whose resume has been summarized to me as, “He used to work at Amazon”–says something like, “Oh, well, I did a lot of LISP hacking about 15 years ago.”

So I say, “Did you work for Symbolics or something?” Because that’s the only place that it occurs to me someone might have ended up doing a lot of LISP hacking.

“Well, yes I did work at Symbolics for a while, but really I spent a lot more time at Lucid. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of them.”

Heh. I’m sure he figured I was just a callow youngster, although the fact that I noticed that he was “the other Emacs user” might have been a clue.

Anyway, it turns out that Eric worked at Lucid on what is now known as XEmacs, but was, at the time, Lucid Emacs. He is apparently friends with JWZ, and was somewhat a party to the great Emacs/XEmacs fork.

He was also a very-low-numbered Amazon employee–he came on very shortly after one of the two original programmers, Paul Davis, left. If you doubt this, I suggest you go to the Amazon help page, and enter “Rufus” as your help topic.

Rufus is Eric’s dog.

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Michael Alan Dorman

Yogi, brigand, programmer, thief, musician, Republican, cook. I leave it to you figure out which ones are accurate.