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duff (16)

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Journal of duff (16)

Thursday October 22, 2009
10:58 AM

Rakudo Perl 6 development release #22 ("Thousand Oaks")

Announce: Rakudo Perl 6 development release #22 ("Thousand Oaks")

On behalf of the Rakudo development team, I'm pleased to announce the
October 2009 development release of Rakudo Perl #22 "Thousand Oaks".
Rakudo is an implementation of Perl 6 on the Parrot Virtual Machine
(see The tarball for the October 2009 release
is available from

Due to the continued rapid pace of Rakudo development and the frequent
addition of new Perl 6 features and bugfixes, we recommend building Rakudo
from the latest source, available from the main repository at github.
More details are available at

Rakudo Perl follows a monthly release cycle, with each release code
named after a Perl Mongers group. The October 2009 is code named
"Thousand Oaks" for their amazing Perl 6 hackathon, their report at, and
just because I like the name :-)

Since the 2009-08 release, Rakudo Perl builds from an installed Parrot
instead of using Parrot's build tree. This means that, unlike previous
versions of Rakudo Perl, the "perl6" (or "perl6.exe") executables only
work when invoked from the Rakudo root directory until a "make install"
is performed. Running "make install" will install Rakudo and its
libraries into the Parrot installation that was used to build it, and
then the executables will work when invoked from any directory.

This release of Rakudo requires Parrot 1.7.0.

For the latest information on building and using Rakudo Perl, see the
readme file section titled "Building and invoking Rakudo". (Quick note:
the "--gen-parrot" option still automatically downloads and builds
Parrot as before, if you prefer that approach.)

Some of the specific changes and improvements occuring with this
release include:

* Rakudo is now passing 32,582 spectests, an increase of 17,085 passing
    tests since the September 2009 release. With this release Rakudo is
    now passing 85.0% of the available spectest suite.

* We have a huge increase in the number of spectests relating to the
    Complex and Rat numeric types.

* Complex numbers are now implemented as a Perl 6 class, and supports all
    trigonometric functions from the specification.

* Rakudo has a new signature binder which makes calling routines
    and operators much faster, and allows binding of positional
    arguments by name.

* Rakudo has improved signature introspection, better errors relating to
    signatures and signature literals are now supported.

* Rakudo now supports accessing outer lexical variables from classes and

* Some new variants of the series operator are now implemented.

* When configuring Rakudo with --gen-parrot, the --optimize flag is now
    passed to Parrot's

The development team thanks all of our contributors and sponsors for
making Rakudo Perl possible. If you would like to contribute,
see , ask on the
mailing list, or ask on IRC #perl6 on freenode.

The next release of Rakudo (#23) is scheduled for November 19, 2009.
A list of the other planned release dates and codenames for 2009 is
available in the "docs/release_guide.pod" file. In general, Rakudo
development releases are scheduled to occur two days after each
Parrot monthly release. Parrot releases the third Tuesday of each month.

Have fun!

Friday November 30, 2007
01:33 AM

Intro to Perl 6 regex article

So, I've given my article a twice-over and I'm happier with it. There may still be a few places that need touch up though.

Now ... the only problems are where to publish it and when. would probably be a good place, but I'd really like to publish it when there is a working perl6 that people can try this stuff out on if at all possible.

Thursday September 20, 2007
11:18 PM

odd gitism

I'm a relatively new git user and it is constantly surprising me (usually in a good way), but tonight it just did something I thought quite odd: it complained about trailing whitespace when I tried to commit. Why does git even care about trailing whitespace on any of my lines? Isn't that just text like anything else?

10:56 PM

Perl 6 Regex Intro - Assertions

I've been writing this intro to perl 6 regex article off and on now for a couple of months and feeling like I'm not making much progress. Writing is hard. It took me 4 or so tries to actually write the section that explains alternations and conjunctions. And this is just the draft!

Now, I've decided to start in on the section that explains assertions. I've been putting it off because the right words haven't come to me, but I'm in the mood tonight, so I write. The things I want to cover are:

  • What are assertions?
  • How do I create them?
  • How do I use them?
  • What's the difference between rule, regex, token, and rx?
  • Grammars

Previously I had estimated that I was about 50% done with the initial draft of the article. Looking at it now, I'm probably further along than that. In fact, I think once I finish this section on assertions, the article will be ready for limited public consumption (feedback from #perl6). But given that I rarely find time to write, who knows when that will be. Maybe several weeks or so.

Tuesday September 18, 2007
11:19 PM

Perl 6 Regex

Inspired by ferreira's recent grant proposal to take my own advice, I've applied for a Perl 6 microgrant to write an introductory article on Perl 6 Regex. I've actually already started on such an article, but I've only gotten about 50% into it and only my eyes have seen it. Regardless of whether or not TPF awards me the grant, I'll continue working on the article until I'm reasonably happy with it and then I'll vet it on #perl6 a little. Once some of the secret Perl 6 cabal have looked it over and given it their okay, I'll seek to publish it on or in The Perl Review.

update: Looks like they've had enough documentation grants and want to focus more on implementation grants. Oh well.

Friday June 09, 2006
09:10 AM

out of context

It occurred to me this morning on the drive to work that I've lived much of my life out of context. I've always felt "uncomfortable" with myself, usually manifested as "I'm tired of doing the same thing" or "I never have enough time for myself" or "I can't relate to these people" or somesuch. But I've always felt not-quite-right in my skin. The only "right" things have been family and friends.

I think it's like a tiger born in the zoo; he feels out of place but doesn't know why because the zoo is all he's ever known. He wants to hunt, but there are these people who bring him his food. He wants to run, but there really isn't any place to run to. I may be anthropomorphising just a little bit (how would I know what a tiger wants?), but this is really about me anyway :)

So, now that I've decided I'm out of context, I just need to find the right context for me. I have no clue where to begin.

Tuesday November 08, 2005
03:47 PM

Stealing is easy!

This is a little something I wrote a few weeks ago and just never put out for public consumption.

No, I'm not referring to the occasional pilfering of office supplies
from work. What I am referring to is ultimately identity theft. And I
recently found out just how easy this particular crime can be.

I had not used my debit card for a while and had forgotten my PIN.
Well, I hadn't forgotten the numbers I don't think, just their order.
This was most bothersome when I went to the grocery store as I was used
to using my debit card there *as* a debit card. I'd enter what I
thought my PIN should be a couple of times and then finally give up
and hit "cancel" which would convienently switch the transaction from
debit to credit. After a couple of trips to the grocery store though, I
got bothered that I couldn't remember my PIN. After all, it was only
4 digits and I'd typed them many many times before. Why couldn't I
get the digits correct now?

Next I tried using an ATM to help me figure out my PIN. I'd go to
the ATM, insert my debit card and then attempt a balance inquiry. When the
ATM decided I'd entered the wrong PIN, it would helpfully ask me to
enter it again. And again. And again. And then the machine would
stop working. I tried this method at the same ATM twice and both
times, after what was ultimately the fourth time entering a PIN, the
machine would spit out my debit card and then the screen would show
a message that the ATM was "temporarily out of service".

So, after a couple of failed attempts at the ATM trying to guess my PIN,
I decided to actually go inside my bank and have them change it to
something I could remember. So, one day after work, I went to my bank
and asked if they could help me. Unfortunately for me the lobby was
closed at the time and the drive-thru teller said I'd need to come
inside in order to have my PIN changed. Since my bank stays open later
on fridays, I decided to just wait until that friday and again stop by
after work.

Here's where I have the initial realization just how easy it is to
steal. I walk into the bank and tell them I don't remember my PIN and
could they please help me. One of the tellers and I walk into the
office that has the machine that can rewrite the little magnetic strip
on the back of debit card. I give the bank teller my account number and
my debit card, she places the card in the machine, I enter my new PIN, I
sign a paper and I'm done.

An astute reader will notice that nowhere did I say "then the bank
teller asked for some form of identification" and that's because it
didn't happen! *Anyone* could have walked in off the street with my
debit card and account number and gained direct access to my account.

But wait! There's more. About a week later, I went to a credit union to
close the accounts that my wife had opened in our kids names as part of
some promotional deal. We'd both decided that the credit union didn't
seem to be advantageous over our other accounts and it didn't make much
sense to have accounts spread across several banks. So, armed with
nothing but the monthly statements for these 2 accounts, I went to the
credit union. I walked in, gave the statements to the teller and said
"I'd like to close these accounts", she asked why I wanted to close the
accounts, I said "just because", so she started typing on her computer, and
when she finished typing, I signed a paper and she handed me cash.

Again, there was no attempt to verify who I was. *Anyone* could have
come in and closed these accounts. What's worse is that on the paper
I'd signed was a little section entitled "ID Source" with places to
check if they'd used a driver's license, signature card, or some other
identifying method.

Moreover, only my children and my wife were listed on each account. My
name was no where to be found. The teller didn't even notice until after
she'd already handed me money from the first account and started on the
second. But, she did notice eventually and so I couldn't close the
accounts without my wife. Which my wife and I did later that day at
another branch of the same credit union. Guess what? That other
branch didn't ask for any form of ID either.

So, how easy is it to obtain an account numbers, bank statements or
debit cards? I don't know exactly as I'm no thief, but I'm sure I can
think of a couple of ways. Hmm. The account number/bank statement is
easiest to get I bet. Your bank statement sits unprotected in a
mailbox waiting for it's proper owner to read and the account number
is on the bank statement. A really dedicated thief might actually get
a job at the post office to as to maximize the number of accounts he
can pilfer. Also, I believe your account number is on every receipt
you get from a bank, so you'd better be careful with those.

As far as debit cards go, I'm not even sure *my* debit card was needed.
Once I gave the bank teller the account number, she just programmed that
information into the machine that was about to rewrite my debit card. I
certainly didn't see her do any checks to make sure that the card and
the account matched. But, debit cards can also be gotten via the
mail or even in the trash. People sometimes forget to cut up their old
cards before throwing them away.

Anyway, I feel my money isn't as safe as I once thought it was. I'm not
sure if that's just my naivete or what, but there it is.

Wednesday August 31, 2005
10:10 AM

10 years and counting

Today is my 10th wedding anniversary. (Yay me!) Seems like just yesterday that I was young and had more hair and all that. Now I've been married for 10 years and I've got 2 kids and twins due in Feb (probably sooner though). Time flies fast!

Today is also my parent's 37th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately they are stuck in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with no electricity or anything and no way to get back to their home in La Place (which is just a few miles outside of New Orleans along I-10). Though I doubt they would want to get back to survey the damage just yet. Traveling is difficult not only because of the debris everywhere but also because of the disaster recovery mobilization and just the sheer number of people wandering around with no place to go.

Monday June 13, 2005
01:08 PM

Cloning all too well

Well, my cloning experiments have finally gone awry. After 2 lovely children, my wife and I have found out that we've got a third on the way. Only it's not a third, but a third and a fourth!