About Me


Are you looking at me?

I am a recusant programmer working for an insurance company. I have lived in seven countries on four continents. Like many software professionals, I didn’t start out with a burning ambition to sit in cubicles and keep corporate wheels greased: serious bribes were required.

I would really like to catch the first starship outta here!

John Baker

Meridian Idaho.

9 thoughts on “About Me

  1. John
    I am actuary working in Melbourne Australia. I have been using J as an tool for my actuarial work. J is not used in Australia by consultants or insurers. I would be be interested to lean if J is used in the US as a tool in the insurance industry.

    Any feedback welcome.

    I would like to introduce J as a tool for teaching and solving problems in the financial and insurance industry.


    William Szuch

  2. William,

    The company I work for uses APL for a number of actuarial systems. My knowledge of APL is one the big reasons I am here. We don’t use J for any formally supported systems but I use it all the time in my day to day tasks. It’s far easier to incorporate J in shell scripts than APL so I do a lot of test case and code analysis tasks with J. There is no reason J could not replace APL and there would be significant benefits. J does not have semi-globals which in my experience are horribly abused in real world APL programs. Oh, don’t get me started about QuadIO 1!

    Thanks for leaving a note.

    P.S. is there any chance you will be at the upcoming J conference in Toronto next July?

    John Baker

  3. John

    Thanks for the comments.
    I will try to get to the conference – would love to see Canada.

    Are you aware of any actuarial practices or other institutions that use J ?.


  4. Hi John, on your page about Gavin Menzies Junk theory you have a link to ” Bill Hartz’s exhaustive demolition “. Unfortunately that link seems to be dead.
    Best regards
    Mike Walsh

    • Mike,

      Thanks for pointing out the dead link. This isn’t the first time a key link died on me. Basically, you cannot depend on Internet sources to persist unless you take an offline copy. This is a major problem. Longterm bit storage is regrettably a work in progress.

  5. Dear John,
    Thank you for your page – it is refreshing.
    I too am a great skeptic. My first wife often said “If there was a Skeptics Society in Perth you would be the President of it”.
    I am also a professional, a mining engineer, and my work philosophy is “Believe nothing. Check everything” – it infuriates some of my staff who just want me to believe them without question.
    In your world, that of computing and programming, you know that computers and programming and mathematics only work well on facts. I am also a part-time programmer and knw that vague concepts do not produce reliable answers.
    It is the same in the mining business, whether it is surface or underground mining. When we work at getting metals out of the ground and selling them for a profit, we need cold, hard facts based on accurate samples, which we can then use to build reliable economic models. I have no time for diviners, or people selling “maybe” theories that are based on deceptive theories.
    The metals that we need to run a modern society do not come out of the ground by wishful thinking.
    I applaud your efforts here.
    Best regards
    Mike Walsh
    PS If you Google Mike Walsh Mining Engineer you will find my profile on LinkedIn

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