[An Englishman's home is his castle] Jak Kirman

August 3, 1962 - November 4, 2000

Hi. My name is Jak. Yes, J..A..K.. (I dropped the C round about when I moved from C to C++ :-)

My birth name was John, but as Wodehouse said, "Every Tom, Dick and Harry is called John", so I changed it to my initials, informally when I was an undergrad at Oxford, legally a few years ago in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. I'm a teacher by nature and profession; I have been teaching all my life. When I was in high-school, I tutored people in maths and english; when I was working on my degree in France I had a side-job teaching basic computer skills to business students, while at Brown working on my PhD in Artificial Intelligence I taught software engineers C++. Now I work for Semaphore and write and teach C++ courses, while looking at the software industry, trying to get a feel for what is good and what is not. "Teaching C++" includes a lot of general software engineering, and more and more human-computer interface notions.

Intro to C++ for non-C programmers

Some pre-release versions of a few chapters from my intro to C++ for non-C programmers course:

Animation of the C++ transform algorithm

[Web]Useful links


Stuff about C++, Python, Perl, S-Plus, Zsh, Emacs lisp, HTML.


From 1995 until the spring of 1997, I was a postdoc in the Computer Science department at Brown University. I am no longer officially affiliated with Brown, but I visit often and try to keep in touch as much as possible. The Brown CS department has been kind enough to let me keep this account for the time being.

A postscript version of my CV.


I teach and consult for Semaphore Training; I helped write several of their early C++ courses, and recently have been rewriting the C++ curriculum. We have a 3-day course on the C++ Standard Template Library, a 5-day Introduction to C++ and OO Design using the Standard Library; I am currently working on a 5-day Advanced C++ course. I will probably also be teaching Java courses in the near future.


[Hayley] The most wonderful person in the world, our six-year old daughter, Hayley.

A beautiful poem by Yeats: Tread softly

Glossary of terms used in cyberspace


The Oz experience and The Kiwi experience are a reasonably good account of what it is like to travel in Australia and New Zealand these days. I went to NZ a few years ago and loved it --- one of the nicest places I have ever been.


World Squash Federation



French/Belgian comic books
There is a category of comic books that is very popular in France (and quite well-known in much of the rest of the world) that doesn't really have a counterpart in English. Asterix is the canonical example. The story lines are simple enough that children like them, but they are jam-packed with puns and literary and cultural allusions.


Fascinating piece on Williams Syndrome. There was also an article on this subject in Scientific American, Dec 1997.

I liked Steven Pinker's "How The Mind Works" very much, as I did his "The Language Instinct". Ramachandran's "Phantoms of the Brain" was also excellent. I am always looking out for other good books on the functioning of the brain.

[Brown CS] [People]