About me

I’m making my living developing ‘tactical software’ with some associates for a large UK pensions provider. We’ve pretty much turned the conventional model of software development inside out, reversing the division of labour and bringing the whole development process to the users’ desks, where we might go through an entire analyse-specify-design-code-test cycle in 15 minutes. A key tool in this is the programming language APL, which lets me write business rules the users can read them for themselves.

The APLs (APL in several dialects, and J and K) are extraordinarily powerful and concise: see their homepage at Vector Online. This expressiveness permits great variation in writing style. Like legal English, APL programs can be impenetrable gibberish; they can also display a breathtaking clarity. My APL writing is guided by a strong æsthetic sense, from which a software poetics is emerging around concepts of semantic density and a metrics of distance. It might be possible from this to produce a formal metric of clarity.

A key inspiration is the work of the Agile Alliance. But Extreme Programmers struggle on chiefly in Java and C++, and haven’t seen how far they could take their ideas with APL. Everywhere I see programmers working in chains. So I’m active in the British APL Association and am editing its journal Vector for a year.

other lives

So often one’s true life is the life one does not lead. Oscar Wilde

You can live two lives, but not three. Nigella Lawson

Author, barrister, jazz singer, saxophonist, therapist, typographer & printer

Perhaps one day I’ll bring to a wider audience my Theory of Romance — why we fall in love with the people we do, and what it means for marriage — and other ideas in moral philosophy. A book perhaps, possibly a seminar, possibly as philosophical cabaret — a new genre.

formative education

fencing
Angelo de Sant’Angelo, Sydney University
Vivienne Watts, Manly Fencing Club
ki
Master Oh Soon-Tak, Chun Do Sun Bup
languages
Steen Christian Andersen, Københavns Intensiv Sprogskole
mathematics
Messrs Pring & Willis, Canford School
ontology
Norman Crowder, Canford School
Irmgard Schloegl (Myoko-ni)†, The Zen Centre
Jorge Rosner†, Gestalt Institute of Toronto
Anna Bernet & Yaro Starak, Sydney Gestalt Centre
Marie-Louise Makris, Alain Roth, Nicole Tremblay & David Ure, Landmark Education
philosophy
David Armstrong, Denise Gamble & Michael McDermott, University of Sydney
poetry
Andrew Davies, Canford School
Elizabeth Maslen, London University
Ed Simpson, Bonnie Shaljean and Alastair Howard Robertson†, Ignition Poets
programming
Mr Willis, Canford School
Ken Iverson† & Arthur Whitney, IP Sharp Associates
Paul Mansour, The Carlisle Group
John Scholes, Dyalog
Ray Cannon
science
Tony Ayres, Canford School
Cyril Latimer, Sydney University
singing
Ian Brown, Canford School
Barb Jungr, London

when I grow up I want to be like

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