[squeak-dev] Let more ar out of the balloon!

Kirk Fraser overcomer.man at gmail.com
Sat Dec 24 19:52:27 UTC 2016

Downloading the latest Squeak i noticed a fragment of documentation saying
there are lots of options to start Squeak on command line and view help to
see them.  Help provided nothing obvious, leaving all those options
unused.  So that provided an occasion to again shout for grounding the
balloon, from its long past lofty ascend over the ivory towers of other
software research by the power of hot air or hype.  Perhaps you white cat
petting experts should try starting over as beginners for a while to
understand what new programmers really want instead of announcing rich new
features then letting the programmer guess at how to use them.

>From my observation, I would guess there is a huge demand for Artificial
Intelligence especially integrating conceptual objects with high speed GPU
trained neural nets of varying depth capable of making a self driving car
and other robots see.  But all I've heard of in Smalltalk is an old
Digitalk Goodies floppy with a neural net that trains way too slow in
Smalltalk and suggestions to try FFI.  So in this case the balloon is still
under moat water, instead of above the ivory towers.  Developers interested
in attracting more beginners to Smalltalk should build things beginner's
appreciate and remove things they don't like the automatic double entry of
the closing bracket and parenthesis.

Squeak developers should also consider what application developers want'
 I've read most applications are written in Visual Basic.  Squeak has some
ability to drag and drop partially built objects to simplify applications
but there seems to be a certain crisp precision or quality missing.  Again
the documentation may hook you up to something but the link then says a
browser is not installed so you can't do X Y or Z.  Ok, but how does one
install a browser or even find the kind that Squeak accepts?  I would love
to use a browser that allows me to override certain commands of webpage
authors who make it impossible to copy a text without manually typing it
all in.

The reason I downloaded a new Squeak is to put it on a new used computer I
had to buy to run Fusion 360 which would not run on my other 6 computers.
And there I see another problem similar to the problem with Microsoft Word
developers - overdevelopment at the expense of simplicity.  A CAD program
should allow a user to toss in all kinds of objects, circles, likes, and
other shapes into the sandbox then move them around, hook them together,
and add precise measurements as needed then proceed on to the other steps
of surfacing, engineering the strains, and automatically shaving excess
material to make a design perfect for 3D printing and converting to G-codes
to do it.  Is Smalltalk up to that?  Yes as much as Fortran or Cobol I
suppose but is it ready and available to use?  Nope.

Yesterday I met a customer in the computer store who has a Ph.D. in EE so i
asked a question and immediately he backed away saying that's outside his
expertise instead of offering the slightest hint and a step to explore for
a solution.  I wondered where is the scientist in this Ph.D.?  Some people
get so niched by their specialty they are useless for everything else.
That brings me to the compiler package.  I have been working on my own
language I call Ruletalk and the parser is done, needing only its VM to
finish.  I thought maybe I would get some ideas from Squeak's compiler but
it is so complicated I failed to immediately see any parallels with what I
have been building.  So perhaps it is time to redevelop Squeak with a view
toward actually serving beginners who want to solve problems instead of
going for a ride on a balloon whose technology has fallen behind what the
ivory towers are teaching and industry is demanding these days.

Kirk Fraser
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.squeakfoundation.org/pipermail/squeak-dev/attachments/20161224/0411fc6a/attachment.html>

More information about the Squeak-dev mailing list