For what it's worth, this impacts me enough that I've looked, and I couldn't find it. If I had, I likely would have already been fast at work trying to put up a replacement, if only to have something to link to the people who are sure to ask me what happened to it.
My wife actually noticed yesterday that it was gone before I got around to reading all the comments on HN about Why's departure. I eventually told her that he was basically dead. Her response? "How am I going to learn Ruby now?"
I of course have installed a local interpreter, but she really liked the lessons.
I think it's exactly the right place to discuss it. This is Hacker News, _why is a great hacker. This is the one place in the web where him disappearing is considered important. Those who prefer to read what Julia heard that Scoble said to Arrington about Twitter have the whole Hyposphere for that.
Tall Fox: -Have you noticed that this book is basically written by a _lunatic_?
Short Fox: -Yup
Tall Fox: -Seriously, he's way too hyperactive. If he keeps at this frantic pace he's gonna burn out quick.
Short Fox: -Burn out? He's gonna shoot himself in the head by the time he hits 30.
From that kind of comment and the pace of his work (bouts of rabid coding interspersed with AWOL periods), I'm afraid he's bipolar. His only output (code, writing, mailing list contributions) in june was a single tweet saying that he was trapped in a labyrinth of his own design.
"Ha! I was right! He flipped his lid! He's all burned out and he's going to shoot himself in the head!"
On the bright side, from the little psychology and the little about _why's author that I know, he doesn't seem to fit a psychological profile of someone who would kill himself. I'm sure he works a lot, and his work is curiously personal and I'd imagine exhausting, but his work is also well recognized and celebrated. Many artists don't have that luxury in their lifetimes.
I read his original blog on advogado today. There's a mention of his father undergoing a mental breakdown, and of his sister having drugs and alcohol problems. It ends like this:
"and i go home and draw cats and doctors in space. without the medication. i'm a stiff. an upright. i'll never pass a joint. maybe mj works, maybe mj's death. i have too much mental illness in my blood to find out. narco+alco have turned kooky people i love into obliterated people i love. god, god, god, please keep her alive. (if i'm lucky maybe god will let a horse run by.)
families are a network of lost packets and bad routing.
cause you got spouses on the vpn. it's not all that bad,
but it's fun to moan, ya know."
While there are some errements, these themes are far too recurrent to just be whimsical.
He wrote a graphical toolkit, a sound synthesiser, an HTML parser, html template language, a language (grammar, parser, vm and jit, gc, ...), and many other software projects on his own.
All of these are a joy to use. They are not only well though out technically (and it's an euphemisim), their APIs are excellent and often fun to use, and they are wonderfully documented.
Do you know of many people who are proficient in so many domains?
He also has a very personal graphic and literary style. What makes him unique is that he treated coding as an artistic medium too, and that he was able to mix his various skills to create integrated works.
Can you name somebody else that would qualify for these traits?
If not he's indeed a remarkably unique artist/hacker, and a creative visionary since no one had done that before.
“A guy walks up to me and asks 'What's Punk?'. So I kick over a garbage can and say 'That's punk!'. So he kicks over the garbage can and says 'That's Punk?', and I say 'No, that's trendy!'” -- Billy Joel Armstrong.
You're missing a few things.
Your second line is phonetically almost as good as the original, IMO, but the picture isn't as fun. Both are imitating the same (good) template and are therefore less original.
Regarding (modern) art, context is king. Most of these tweets would of little worth if taken independently. They may not have much lasting appeal (the future will tell us, I hope some of them do), but they were fun or puzzling in the context of why writing them, and I enjoyed reading them.
The interresting part is that you can define on the spot a single usen, throwaway function to be used as a parameter of a function that accepts functions as arguments.
Another property of lambdas is nested defines with the possibility to return an inner function (be it anonymous or not) from an outer one.
At last their lexical scope allows, in the inner/outer functions described above, to keep the scope of the outer function alive as long as the returned inner function is referenced. This allows to make them work as lightweight objects (or even to define an object system if you want to).