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Abigail (26)

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Journal of Abigail (26)

Tuesday May 13, 2008
09:04 AM

Why People Are Passionate About Perl

Answering to brain d foy's call:
  • The person who introduced me to Perl showed me that... Well, the person "introducing" me to Perl didn't show me much. All he did was leaving the first edition of "Learning Perl" on my desk. I flipped through it, played a little with some toy programs, then forgot about Perl for over almost two years.
  • I first starting using Perl to... I had created a web site of a branch of major multinational; it was a static website mostly containing pictures and product specifications. Created from a messed up ASCII database dump and a CD of images using a shell/awk script. During the project, I realized there had to be something better than sh/awk, and I remembered that pink "Learning Perl" book. No longer having access to the book, I read all manual pages top to bottom. The rest is history.
  • I kept using Perl because... its form and ideas fit my warped brain. I can make it do things the way I want, unlike most other languages.
  • I can't stop thinking about Perl..., well, I can actually, but it requires an effort. But the language is huge, and it has a bunch of good people making up the community.
  • I'm still using Perl because... I'm too old and don't have the intiative to learn another programming language. I rather read a new book, and try out a new recipe in the kitchen than learn a new language.
  • I get other people to use Perl by... Not any more. I used to give Perl classes, and used to work in places where Perl wasn't used as the main language. But I don't do the classes anymore, and I'm working at a place that only uses Perl.
  • I also program in ... and ..., but I like Perl better since... SQL, C, and sh. SQL is too domain specific, with C I have to work too hard, and in sh it's too hard to do lower level stuff.
Wednesday January 03, 2007
08:20 AM

2006 in books.

Last year, I spend a lot of time in trains, trams, busses (and on stations waiting for them). That gave me the time to read 48 books:
  1. The World according to Clarkson by Jeremy Clarkson.
  2. Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction by Sue Townsend.
  3. Van Santander naar Santander by Peter Winnen.
  4. The Double Eagle by James Twining.
  5. De blokjeslegger van Turijn.
  6. Elminster's Daughter by Ed Greenwood.
  7. My Life (vol. 1) by Bill Clinton.
  8. Quarterdeck by Julian Stockwin.
  9. Daar zit iets in by Maarten Toonder.
  10. Onder Professoren by Willem F. Hermans.
  11. Cryptonomia by Neal Stephenson.
  12. Geel by Mart Smeets.
  13. Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss.
  14. Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner.
  15. Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson.
  16. Practical Demon Keeping by Christopher Moore.
  17. The Man-Kzin Wars by Larry Niven, Poul Anderson, Dean Ing.
  18. The Mask by Dean Koontz.
  19. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger.
  20. Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts.
  21. Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain.
  22. Air Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones & Anonymous.
  23. People of the Mist by Kathleens O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear.
  24. I Know You Got Soul by Clarkson.
  25. Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov.
  26. The World's Stupidest Signs by Michael O'Mara.
  27. Penguin Lost by Andrey Kurkov.
  28. Who Moved My Blackberrie[TM] by Martin Lukes with Lucy Kellaway.
  29. Adrian Mole The Cappuccino Years by Sue Townsend.
  30. The Gunslinger by Stephen King.
  31. Motorworld by Jeremy Clarkson.
  32. Hotel Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones & Anonymous.
  33. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling.
  34. On Cars by Jeremy Clarkson.
  35. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.
  36. Ik ben een New Yorker by Twan Huys.
  37. Down Under by Bill Bryson.
  38. Soest in Grootvaders Tijd by Engelbert Heupers.
  39. Time Management for System Administrator by Thomas A. Limoncelli.
  40. The Great War: American Front by Harry Turtledove.
  41. Perl Hacks by chromatic with Damian Conway and Curtis "Ovid" Poe.
  42. Amerikaanse Zaken by Charles Groenhuijsen.
  43. See Delphi and Die by Lindsey Davis.
  44. De Tor & De Koeskoes by Midas Dekkers.
  45. The Big over Easy by Jasper Fforde.
  46. Notes from a Big Country by Bill Bryson.
  47. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend.
  48. The Last Templar by Raymound Khoury.
Wednesday December 20, 2006
04:22 AM

Books from London

When I was attending LPW, I remarked I'd do some book shopping the next day. Nicholas remarked that he would see the list of acquired books on use.perl. So, here they are.
  • "The Jupiter Myth" by Lindsey Davis.
  • "The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Fforde.
  • "Master & Commander" by Patrick O'Brian.
  • "Quicksilver" by Neal Stephenson.
  • "Accelerando" by Charles Stross.
  • "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4" by Sue Townsend.
  • "Artemis" by Julian Stockwin.
  • "How Few Remain" by Harry Turtledove.
Monday October 16, 2006
03:00 AM

New employer

I'll be switching employers. Starting Dec 1, I'll be employed by, as a developer. I'll be allowed to work three days a week from home, which will save me about 10 hours of travelling each week.
Friday October 06, 2006
03:30 PM

Spot the mistake (solution)

The bug in the program below (beside the spotted $fh = open (...) instead of open ($fh, ...)) lies in in the true-ness of $ebits.

If there are no errors, Perl will set all bits in $ebits to 0. However, a string where all bits are set to 0 is still true. So, hell will be raised even if there are no errors. And if file descriptors 4 and 5 would be in error, it would not raise the alarm.

06:00 AM

Spot the mistake.

I wrote a program that was monitoring three handles (pipes in this case). I want to do something when there's something to read on any of the pipes, and also when there's an error. Hence:

my $p1 = open (...) or die;
my $p2 = open (...) or die;
my $p3 = open (...) or die;
my $BITS = "";
vec ($BITS, fileno ($_), 1) = 1 for $p1, $p2, $p3;
while (1) {
    my $rbits = $BITS;
    my $ebits = $BITS;
    select ($rbits, undef, $ebits, TIMEOUT);
    if ($ebits) {raise_hell ()}
    if (vec ($rbits, fileno ($p1), 1) == 1) {something ()}
    if (vec ($rbits, fileno ($p2), 1) == 1) {something_else ()}
    if (vec ($rbits, fileno ($p3), 1) == 1) {another_thing ()}

But this didn't behave I wanted it to. Can you spot the mistake?

Wednesday October 04, 2006
09:52 AM

No goat. No SCSI.

Yesterday, one of my cow-orkers was getting ready to install a SCSI card into a box. I asked him were the goat was he needed to sacrifice. Being a youngster, he had no idea what I was talking about. My other cow-orker and I explained to him that without a goat, a silver dagger and black candles, his chances of getting it to work properly were zero. He laughed, and went into the server room.

Half an hour later, he emerged. Still laughing, and claiming it all had worked. Perfectly. But then he logged into the box, the volume groups weren't there. They still aren't there, and he doesn't know what's wrong.

I told him that unless he sacrifices a goat, he'll never see his volume groups.

Saturday September 09, 2006
05:16 PM

More than 6500 pages.

Books that I have picked up during my last trip to the UK:
  • "I Know You Got Soul" by Clarkson
  • "The Penguin Novels" by Andrey Kurkov
  • "Adrian Mole The Cappucino Years" by Sue Townsend
  • "The Great War: American Front" by Harry Turtledove
  • "Attila" by William Napier
  • "See Delphi and Die" by Lindsey Davis
  • "Who moved my Blackberry" by Martin Lukes with Lucy Kellaway
  • "The Last Templar" by Raymound Khoury
  • "The Big over Easy" by Jasper Fforde
  • "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins
  • "Perl Hacks" by chromatic with Damian Conway and Curtis "Ovid" Poe
  • "Intermediate Perl" by Randal L. Schwartz, brian d foy & Tom Phoenix
  • "RT Essentials" by Jesse Vincent, Robert Spier, Dave Rolsky, Darren Chamberlain & Richard Foley
  • "Regular Expression Recipes" by Nathan A. Good
  • "Motorworld" by Jeremy Clarkson
  • "On Cars" by Jeremy Clarkson
  • "Birdson" by Sebastian Faulks
  • "Down Under" by Bill Bryson
  • "Hotel Babylon" by Imogen Edwards-Jones & Anonymous
Thursday July 27, 2006
05:30 PM

Change of email address

Starting immediately, my email address has changed. It's now .
Wednesday July 05, 2006
09:50 AM

Which train would you board

It's 18.35 and you are on a platform on station A. Your connecting train leaves station B at 19.08. On your left, a train going to B (and beyond) sceduled to leave at 18.14, with an expected departure delay of 10 minutes. On your right, a train going to B (and beyond) sceduled to leave at 18.29, with an expected departure delay of 5 minutes. The train on your left will make 3 stops between A and B, the train on your right just 1. The sceduled time it takes for the train on your left is 33 minutes, for the train on your right 31 minutes. There will be no space for the trains to pass between A and B. Queried officials claim not to know which train will leave first.

Which train would you board?