jarich's Journal http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/ jarich's use Perl Journal en-us use Perl; is Copyright 1998-2006, Chris Nandor. Stories, comments, journals, and other submissions posted on use Perl; are Copyright their respective owners. 2012-01-25T02:10:44+00:00 pudge pudge@perl.org Technology hourly 1 1970-01-01T00:00+00:00 jarich's Journal http://use.perl.org/images/topics/useperl.gif http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/ On tour: Open Source Bridge, YAPC::NA and other fun things http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/40456?from=rss <p> After the fun I had at OSCON last year, it was no effort at all for pjf to convince me to spend June and July in the USA this year, conferencing. </p><p> <b>Portland, Oregon</b> </p><p> I arrived at midnight on the 31st May and was met at the airport by Schwern, pjf and Nadia, who took me onwards to donuts and pies. Having traveled for something like 30 hours at the time I was rather wiped out and probably not as appreciative of this as I should have been, but I soon got to bed and slept very soundly. </p><p> Schwern warned me ahead of time that he was going to be a busy, and thus less friendly host, and that he and his housemate Nick had been a little guested-out due to an almost endless procession of house-guests. He must have exaggerated. Between them, Schwern and Nick took us to the local farmers' market, to a parade, to numerous dinners and drinks out, and more. Schwern helped us get to the conference location, and also accompanied me home most nights. </p><p> <b>Open Source Bridge</b> </p><p> The conference was Open Source Bridge; and it is unlike any community-run conference I've ever attended. It was extremely professionally run, with copious amounts of information, high quality keynotes and speakers, an excellent feedback system... big and little things that the conferences I've been involved with are still struggling with after 6+ years and this was only OSB's second year! My talk was very well received, I was spoiled for choice for every single session and the unconference at the end really just capped things off. It was good to see so many familiar faces, and I caught up with some Australians, and Australian-expats that I hadn't seen for quite some time. </p><p> If you get to choose the geek conference you go to next year; make it Open Source Bridge! </p><p> <b>More Portland, Oregon</b> </p><p> The following two weeks, Sherri and Christie kindly hosted Paul and I. When I ran into some personal issues, I could not have hoped for more generous hosts. Sherri made sure I got out of bed each day, and many days Schwern and others made sure I got out of the house. Apparently we were lovely guests, but really Sherri and Christie were excellent hosts. Sherri cooked copious amounts of extremely yummy vegan food, and let me eat it for breakfast and lunch. They took us strawberry picking, to a great Ethiopian restaurant, and took me to an amazing vegan cafe for breakfast on my last day in Portland. </p><p> <b>YAPC::NA, Columbus, Ohio</b> </p><p> Next up was YAPC::NA in Columbus, Ohio. Very much like YAPC::EU I felt completely at home in this crowd. It was great to know that I could walk into any conference talk and have a pretty good idea of the topic matter. It did feel a little strange that many of the big names, and the people I view as particularly important knew me, but many of the regular people neither recognised me nor my "handle", but I suspect I shouldn't have been so surprised. </p><p> My tutorial was very well received, I met a whole lot more people, learned a bunch of new things, and got all fired up about finishing writing our Enterprise Perl course and documenting perl5i. It was really, really awesome to catch up with Karen, Jesse and Piers again, specifically. </p><p> <b>Milwaukee, Wisconsin</b> </p><p> Milwaukee wasn't originally on my list of places to visit, however a friend online invited me to drop by and visit, and I had a few days free, so why not? My friend, Jordi, and Sarah, invited me to stay with them. Jordi is an astrophysicist who spent some of the first afternoon explaining to me how it is that neutrinos do in fact mutate. Which was actually much more interesting than I think he thought I'd find it. </p><p> We walked the riverfront, found great restaurants, saw the music festival from afar, went to a nearby Strawberry festival (yum!) and spent time playing with the newly arrived arduino set. I've been wishing I could get involved with arduino for years, but also never been into electronics. Jordi and I worked through the basic tutorials with his board, and I found the whole thing very cool! </p><p> To top the trip off, Jordi and Sarah invited me to hang out for drinks with some of their colleagues one evening (they all work at the nearby university). I had a thoroughly good time, and felt I fitted in just fine, even though most of them use Python.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:) After drinks there was dinner (with 3 free drinks for the ladies) and then Tron. Ah, good times. </p><p> <b>New York City</b> </p><p> My next scheduled stop was the big apple. While at YAPC::NA I discovered that a fellow Melbourne Perl Monger (Patrick) had recently moved to New York, and he insisted that we should stay with him. I had some minor adventures getting to his place, but received a very warm welcome, and was glad to take a cold shower. That was the first summer-like weather I'd seen for my whole trip thus far. </p><p> While in New York, I explored the New York Public Library (and saw the Rose Room), had a tour of Google with lunch (thank you to Tom Limoncelli), caught the Staten Island ferry, saw the Statue of Liberty, walked down Wall Street (and saw the cordoned-off outside of the New York Stock Exchange), checked out the Empire State building, the Sex Museum, Times Square and the Rockerfella(?) building. Much touristy stuff. </p><p> Patrick and Helen were lovely hosts, and it wasn't their fault at all that the temperature refused to drop to something reasonable for the whole time I was in town.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>;) </p><p> <b>Minneapolis, Minnesota</b> </p><p> My last touring destination was Minneapolis where Steven Levine arranged an amazing weekend of activities to keep me busy. I did my best, but arrived with the start of a sore throat and fever. I arrived on a Thursday afternoon and first up was dinner with Matt and Deb followed by a scotch tasting. Even though I'm not a scotch drinker, I wished I was well enough to participate, but having already had some paracetamol, I dared not. It seemed like a lot of fun though. </p><p>On Friday, Steven took me out to a favourite breakfast location (which we did every day, actually), and then later to a wedding of two of his dear friends (Denise and Jim), neither of whom I knew. Both bride and groom sought me out and told me how glad they were that I could come. There was shape-note singing, morris dancing and contra-dancing and a fantastic time was had by all - especially me! I also got to meet more lovely people including a sweet, sweet gentleman by the name of Mal. </p><p> On Saturday we drove off to a little township which has a cafe in a cave, explored some antique stores and enjoyed the river before going to the arts museum (very cool) and then saw a documentary about Joan Rivers (fascinating) and finishing with dinner at Pizza Luce's (with a fun story attached). </p><p> Sunday was July 4th. So we started the day with a traditional block party at Matt and Deb's with a children's bike parade (or race), more morris dancing, a jazz band, singing and much neighbourly entertainment. I also managed to squeeze in a chance to run off and meet another friend, Yevgeny, for coffee where we talked about scuba diving and the Con I hadn't made time to attend). We ended the day with dinner with Michael and daughters followed by fireworks. By this point I was taking painkillers every 4 hours just to be able to talk, so I was getting a bit worried. </p><p> Monday we'd planned to go to the Taste of Minnesota festival, but I asked instead if I could go to a doctor (after talking with my travel insurance people first). The doctor was lovely, ran some tests and advised me to take various over-the-counter drugs. They helped immensely, and made it possible for me to attend the sea shanty singing that evening (although the drugs weren't quite good enough to allow me to sing). </p><p> The next day was a day of sad farewells. I felt so welcome and adopted into Steven's crowd that I would have loved to stay in Minneapolis for another month! However, it was time for my next adventure, so Steven drove Mal and I to the airport and he headed off to work. Mal I and had some minor fun getting through security, caught our planes in different directions, and thus far, lived happily ever after. </p><p> Two weeks on, and I might be over whatever it was that made me sick, too. </p> jarich 2010-07-21T01:30:30+00:00 journal Gamers over 30 and the South Australian elections http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/40198?from=rss <p>South Australia is about to have its state elections. The incumbents have already attempted to ban anonymous public comment on the elections and now are making a big deal about computer gamers. </p><p> South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson (think Minister for Justice/Law) has so far successfully blocked a R-18 classification for computers games in Australia. Our highest rating is MA (15+). The effect of this is that some games which ought to be R-rated are allowed to be sold to teenagers, some games get "modified" to make them appropriate and yet other games are not available at all (legally). We do have R-ratings for movies and some other media; but to allow it for games requires approval from all the Australian states; and Atkinson has been holding out. </p><p> In response, a political party called gamers4croydon have formed with the purpose of trying to get this rating approved if they win. Hooray! In the mean time, a gamer apparently stuffed a threatening letter under the Atkinson's family home at 2am some nights back. While I don't approve of such behaviour, I was baffled to hear that this makes Atkinson <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/16/2820606.htm">"feel that my family and I are more at risk from gamers than we are from the outlaw motorcycle gangs who also hate me and are running a candidate against me."</a> Gamers are scarier than bikies? I haven't read the note; perhaps that one is. </p><p> So that's a bit of background. Then last night I read <a href="http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/hells-bells-these-boys-need-to-act-their-age/story-e6frg73f-1225828907947">an astonishingly condescending article about gamers</a>. This was written by Caroline Overington who has won the Walkley Award twice for investigative journalism, but that's no excuse for the tripe she's trotted out. </p><p> Let's see what she has to say: </p><blockquote><div><p> [A]nyone over the age of 30 who spends any time deep in some sagging sofa, console in one hand, the other down the front of their pants, imagining themselves to be a combatant in some pretend city, is lame. </p><p> Anyone who has an avatar -- a dinky little cartoon version of oneself, bearing a physique that is in every way discordant with the physique of an actual gamer -- is major-league lame. </p><p> I know what you're thinking. Gamers, who cares? They don't participate in life in any meaningful way. As a rule, they don't even have jobs. With their wet hands and their weak chins, they'd never get through an interview. </p></div> </blockquote><p> I get that this is supposed to be funny, but it failed. Not because I don't have a sense of humour; but because telling me that there aren't any females in gaming isn't funny, it's marginalising. Telling me that gamers are so socially inept that they can't have relationships is not funny, it's marginalising. Telling me that gamers fail at life isn't funny, it's belittling. </p><p> Most of the gamers I know have jobs, have spouses and maybe children, are active in a number of different communities and are reasonably physically active. This shouldn't be surprising because the <a href="http://www.tamaleaver.net/2008/10/29/interactive-australia-2009-report/">Interactive Australia 2009 Report</a> tells us that the average Australian gamer age is 30 and that 68% of Australians play computer or video games. If all gamers over the age of 30 were as lame as Overington says, we'd have serious problems. </p><p> Spending your non-work hours playing computer games late into the night is certainly not a worse pursuit than spending them watching TV. At least with games you're actually required to do some thinking, rather than having it all be passive consumption. Sure there are probably hundreds of "better" things to do with your free time, but there are worse things too. </p><p> If Overington wanted to make a subtle dig at Atkinson's refusal to talk about 18+ ratings; I'd have expected her to poke some fun at the idea that computer gamers are more scary than bikies! As it is, I cannot make any reasonable guess as to what motivated this attack. </p> jarich 2010-02-20T08:20:35+00:00 journal Barbie tries a career as a Computer Engineer http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/40188?from=rss <p> Mattel ran a competition for the public to pick Barbie's next career. There were about 5 options to choose from. Barbie's career as selected by girls around the world was News Anchor; however the popular vote was for Computer Engineer so they've done both. </p><p> A good write up with links to more has been done on the <a href="http://geekfeminism.org/2010/02/12/barbie-becomes-a-computer-engineer/">Geek Feminism Wiki</a>. </p><p> Disappointingly, yesterday the BBC published an article <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8517097.stm">criticising Computer Engineer Barbie's appearance and practicality</a>. My response, which may be too long to appear in full in their comments field, is below. </p><blockquote><div><p> I say "Good on Mattel!" Whether or not the current female geek population ever played with Barbie dolls is irrelevant. By having a Barbie doll looking like a confident IT geek, that's one more message to our children (both boys and girls) that girls can grow up to be into computers too. We need more messages like that, because all the literature I've read says that the numbers of women getting into, and staying in IT (in Europe, the USA and Australia at least) is dropping. If it's a men's playground now, what's it going to be when there's less than 10% women in it? How about 5%? </p><p> If you look at the careers section for IT in a Malaysian newspaper, you'll find that it's 50% women represented. If you talk to Malaysian business people you'll find that most of them take it for granted that women will apply for IT jobs and get them. No surprise then that there's more than 40% women in technical professions over there, and it's growing. Malaysian women have the same pressure to be beautiful as the English do; and it appears they carry this into their IT roles even more than we do and they've found a way to make it all work. </p><p> On the other hand, over here in the first world, our whole culture around who goes into IT is weird. We continue to perpetuate the unattractive stereotype that IT is full of pimply male teenagers who have no social skills; despite having thousands of high profile, attractive men with very good social skills in technical leadership positions we could point to. We continue to criticise, as unrealistic, any portrayal of geek women which shows them as being feminine, attractive, self-confident etc despite numerous women in IT being all those things and more (go read some of the profiles from the 2009 Ada Lovelace day). </p><p> There seems to be a fair amount of retrospective retribution going on: "I had to suffer and struggle to get accepted; so anyone coming after me should have to too!" That's not right. If we want more women in IT; we should promote the good bits, and actually try to be realistic about the bad bits rather than talking them up all the time. (As a woman in IT who goes to conferences, I do know that there are bad bits, but I also know that the creepy guys + those with no social skills is still probably less than 15% of the population). </p><p> So thank you Mattel for making it just that much easier to talk to girls about going into computers! </p></div> </blockquote> jarich 2010-02-17T01:18:51+00:00 journal Wanted: something needing testing http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/39662?from=rss <p> Despite loving programming, I don't find much opportunity to do much of it at the moment. Sure there are short-term consulting contracts and endless re-writes of our course answers, but that hardly counts. I'm also finding it a challenge to be inspired by a few things that I kind of should do but which aren't essential. For example how we handle bookings could be better automated, but until we quadruple the number of courses we run, the parts which are manual aren't really much of a problem. </p><p> I used to love debugging, but I don't have a lot of real world experience writing tests. I can teach how to write simple tests for simple cases, but I haven't really gotten my hands dirty writing lots of tests on an interesting system. </p><p> So this is what I want. I want a module that has some tests, but needs a whole bunch more. It would make me especially happy if it came with a spec' but that seems kind of rare in the real world, so I'll settle for enough documentation that I understand what's going on. I don't want to have to read a bunch of RFCs and all the code before I understand things enough to write some tests; but I'm willing to read an RFC and some code. I don't want to randomly pick a module from CPAN, I'd rather work with someone who actively wants help adding tests to their module. I'm very happy to use CVS or git; I'm very happy to join a mailing list; I'm very happy to write tests for bugs in RT; I'm very happy to provide patches if you don't use CVS or git. I will ask lots of questions and I will want feedback on my tests including areas you think I've missed or a nod to a job well done. </p><p> Anyone got a module of which you've been meaning to improve the test suite? I'm especially happy to help with anything in alias's top 100 lists. </p><p> I'm also only going to pick one module, for the time being, and it might not be one that gets requested here. If there's lots of interest, I might take this list along to the next Melbourne PM bug-finding night, but this request is not a promise that I'll work on your module. Sorry. </p> jarich 2009-09-22T05:23:30+00:00 journal A Perl only conference and the most awesome community http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/39461?from=rss <p> Those who know me will know that I'm not a stranger to conferences. I've been to all of the OSDCs, a few LCAs, a few SAGE-AU conferences and now an OSCON and YAPC::EU. Until YAPC::EU; the OSDCs and OSCON were my favourites as I identify myself far more with being a developer than a free software geek or system administrator. But I'd never been to a conference specifically aimed just at Perl developers. </p><p> I loved YAPC::EU. It was great to be able to attend a huge variety of talks at all levels on a topic I know well. It was awesome to meet people in person I've only known through mailing lists or on IRC. It was grand to find out that Perl people are my kind of people, no matter where in the world they're from. I fully intend to try to get to both YAPC::NA next year and YAPC::EU (in Pisa!). </p><p> Perl developers appear to be exceedingly wonderful people all across the globe. We've been invited to meetings, bought drinks, and even had Perl Mongers fight over who got to host Paul and I at their house on our travels! (Well okay, it didn't come down to violence, but it was amazing to see so many eager to open their houses to Paul and I and give us somewhere to stay.) Our hosts have been uniformly wonderful, and we've slept well, eaten well, and got to see all sorts of amazing sites in our trips around the place. Much of this would have been harder and in some cases impossible without the generousity we've experienced. </p><p> I want to give especial thanks to: Drew Taylor and his wife Kimberlee who hosted us in Dublin, drove us around the place. Also their daughter Samantha who showed tremendous patience while we were being driven around the place even though that was delaying her trip to the pet shop to get another goldfish. </p><p> To Murray and Becky who gave us a bed in Edinburgh, and then made room for Andy as well, so that we could more easily get going the next day. Also Aaron who offered us a bed, 5 minutes after we'd accepted Murray's offer. </p><p> To Andy Armstrong who took Wednesday and part of Thursday off to drive us around Northern England, showing us castles, Hadrian's wall, the remains of a Roman fort and after giving us his bed for the night; drove us through to Darlington. </p><p> To Smylers who met us at the train in Leeds, helped us find dinner rather late at night and gave us a bed, as well as taking off much of Friday to hang out with us and see us off on the train. </p><p> We really do have an awesome community. </p> jarich 2009-08-14T15:57:45+00:00 journal Actually the DarkPAN might matter a lot http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/39229?from=rss <p> I agree with chromatic that it would be really nice to get a whole bunch of "Modern" features turned on in later versions of Perl by default. However, I also accept that this is probably a bad idea. </p><p> I run a Perl training business. It would make me overjoyed to not have to remind the students to add <code>use strict; use warnings; use autodie;</code> to the top of each script. The students aren't being lazy or difficult when they forget to add these things, they're just forgetful because I'm teaching them so many things all at once. </p><p> On the other hand, I do consulting too. There are many, many Perl systems out there in the real world; systems which must work for the business to function; but which are not well written. Systems without test suites. Systems without even version control. Systems without development or testing environments (yes, everything is done in production). It's terrifying. Not just to me, but also to their developers, so these system are left alone, and only touched if absolutely necessary. This is the DarkPAN. </p><p> Many of the owners of these systems are already afraid to upgrade, so they don't. Whether they're still using Perl 5.5.3 or 5.6.1, it's "good enough". But these are not the people we're worried about. </p><p> The ones we need to worry about are the ones with active Perl developers who are pushing and pushing for a newer version of Perl, so they can use new features in their new projects (without thought for existing systems). If Perl is backwards compatible, then most of the time they should be able to get those new features and the monolith that no one wants to touch should still work. I've seen an organisation jump from 5.5.3 to 5.8.8 and there was about 4 hours work for one developer needed to fix things (mostly related to changes in some module APIs, I don't remember which). This was considered a good bargain. </p><p> I don't think it's reasonable to make the 5.10 branch the last upgrade that such organisations can reach without having to massively edit their scary monoliths. I don't think they should have such scary monoliths, but that's another story. As such, I would be unhappy if all the new modern stuff I want in Perl was turned on by default. People should be able to write Perl 5.5.3-like code and have it work in Perl 5.10. To illustrate this, consider the following code: </p><blockquote><div><p> <tt>#!/usr/bin/perl<br># Very bad code!<br> <br>open FILE, "test2.pl";<br> <br>while(&lt;FILE&gt;) {<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; print;<br>}</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p> Under Perl 5.5.3 through to 5.10 (and probably earlier versions as well), that prints out the contents of "test2.pl" if the file could be opened, and doesn't print out anything otherwise. This is presumably the desired behaviour. Moving this code to a version of Perl that turns on strict, warnings and autodie automatically would require this snippet of code to be completely rewritten or to have warnings and autodie manually turned off: </p><blockquote><div><p> <tt>#!/usr/bin/modernperl<br># Very bad code!<br> <br>no autodie;<br>no warnings;<br> <br>open FILE, "test2.pl";<br> <br>while(&lt;FILE&gt;) {<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; print;<br>}</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p> Of course, that these things need to be turned off should itself be a warning that the code is badly written, but strangely enough badly written code does exist. The next obvious way to achieve the same effect is with file test operators. </p><blockquote><div><p> <tt>#!/usr/bin/modernperl<br># Only slightly better code<br> <br># Hope we don't get a race condition<br>if(-r "test2.pl") {<br> <br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; open my $fh, "&lt;", "test2.pl";<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; while(&lt;$fh&gt;) {<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; print;<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; }<br>}</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p> Fortunately, we seem to already have a good solution to the modern Perl problem. Perl 5.10 had the right idea with <code>use feature qw(...);</code> and Perl 6 has the right idea with <code>use v6;</code>. As others have suggested, we should be able to make most people happy with a pragma that does the right thing. So instead of starting every program with chromatic's <a href="http://www.modernperlbooks.com/mt/2009/07/fearpm.html">boilerplate</a>: </p><blockquote><div><p> <tt>use 5.010;<br> <br>use strict;<br>use warnings;<br> <br>use utf8;<br>use Carp;<br>use Want;<br>use CLASS;<br>use SUPER;<br>use autodie;<br>use autobox;<br>use signatures;<br> <br>use mro 'c3';<br> <br>use IO::Handle;<br>use File::stat;<br>use autobox::Core;<br>use UNIVERSAL::ref;</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p> Perhaps as of 5.12 we can just say: </p><blockquote><div><p> <tt>use 5.012;</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p> To turn on all the appropriate modules and features. Failing to specify such a version means we're in <i>classic</i> mode, and we provide the same interface as we did before. This has the logical advantage that scripts written for 5.12 are clearly marked, so that someone with Perl 5.8 knows that there may be features in use that aren't available to them. </p><p> This shouldn't be problematic, because we're already doing this magic when we write <code>use 5.010</code>. </p><p> It should be noted that this means that specifying the version stops meaning the <i>minimum</i> version of Perl we want to use and instead becomes an instruction about exactly what we're expecting to get. So whereas anything which says <code>use 5.010</code> should work with Perl 5.12 and 5.14; it is also saying that it does not want to inherit any new and shiny defaults from either of those versions. </p> jarich 2009-07-05T04:57:56+00:00 journal More porn isn't the answer http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/38978?from=rss <p> When one of our own, foolishly, showed porn at a conference, and then apologised on use.perl for doing it; some of the commenters asked whether it would have been better if more female-focussed porn had been included. That was back in 2006. </p><p> Less than a month ago Matt Aimonetti gave a talk at the Golden Gate Ruby Conference entitled "CouchDB + Ruby: Perform Like a Pr0n Star." which apparently started off well, with a few porn-related but funny gags, but when he moved into the topic proper <a href="http://www.ultrasaurus.com/sarahblog/2009/04/gender-and-sex-at-gogaruco/">"the porn references continued with images of scantily-clad women gratuitously splashed across technical diagrams and intro slides. As he got into code snippets, he inserted interstitial images every few slides..."</a> </p><p> The commenters to the above linked blog showed the same obliviousness to the issue at hand with suggestions such as <i>"Maybe people would have felt better with some gay porn stars mixed in?"</i> and <i>"there was really only one risque image of a naked man<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... if there had been a better balance would it have been just as alienating?"</i> </p><p> I am stunned that this could possibly still be an issue. Matt Aimonetti defends himself by saying his wife approved of the talk and that there were only 5/82 <i>risque</i> images (presumably all the rest were just scantily clad women); other men say that they didn't find it offensive. A commenter says he showed the presentation to his wife who also just thought it was in good humour and claims that they are <i>open minded</i>, presumably suggesting that the original poster is not. All of them fail to grasp that the conference should be a professional setting, not a locker room. </p><p> Porn does not belong at conferences, or in user group talks, or in the board room. Porn, although a wonderful and fun thing, should be private; or at most - shared with close friends in an intimate setting. Neither of these conditions are what you have at a conference, user group or (generally) in the board room. Porn doesn't help keep your audience's attention, instead it distracts them. Those who appreciate the images are distracted by their hormonal reactions. Everyone else is alienated. If it's male, heterosexual porn; then the straight women, queer men and anyone who just doesn't like porn get the very clear message that they're different and not included. It's not nice to be made to feel like a sexual object in a room where it seems everyone else has just been turned on. It's uncomfortable and possibly threatening. </p><p> Women, in particular, are rare at FOSS conferences. The Golden Gate Ruby Conference had only 6 out of 200 female attendees. The highest percentage at a conference I've been to was 10%. We know we're minorities, yet most of the time everyone is awesome and clearly we belong, so we often ignore the fact that we're rare and go along thinking it's a meritocracy of ideas and code. Usually it is. But talks like these drag you back into realising that you are different and you are in the minority, and that ruins it for a while. </p><p> Including more porn to "cater" to the women and queer men is not the answer. Not only would it be impossible to cater to the wide tastes of the audience, but what appeals to some would be off-putting to others. More importantly, unless you're at a conference specifically about porn; then surely you want your audience to be paying attention to what you're saying and your main topic rather than being distracted by what's going on in their pants? It's not about hard-core or soft-core porn; or what you can or cannot show on TV at 8pm. It's not about whether you can see the same style of picture on a billboard on a major road. It's about being inclusive and respectful of your audience who have often chosen to listen to your talk instead of the other talks scheduled at the same time (or being part of the hallway track). It's always a bad idea to distract your audience's attention away from the topic at hand, but porn is an even worse way than usual, as it's almost impossible to get their attention back again and you've almost certainly upset some of them. Don't alienate your audience. The only correct solution is to include no porn. </p><p> Porn does not belong in an <i>professional setting</i>. It's a professional setting if a decent proportion of the attendees have their employers paying for them to be there (whether or not there's an entrance cost) or if attendees expect to gain employment-relevant knowledge from the event. If it's okay for you to have pin-ups in your office and include porn in your presentations at work then you are seriously in the minority. If you would think twice about giving your presentation to a technical audience which happened to consist of 50% women, attendees fairly evenly spanning the ages of 20 - 70, and where any one them could cause you to lose your job; then perhaps there are parts of your talk which need to be cleaned up. Just because <i>most</i> of your attendees are your age and gender is not an excuse to ignore everyone else. I don't care if your technology conferences are anti-professional, or volunteer run; if it's a technical conference, it should discuss technical (and related) topics; none of which need include pictures of scantily clad women or risque soft-core porn. Showing porn at conferences does make employers unwilling to send their staff to future events; and makes sponsors less willing to be associated with it also; so you've just made it harder to organise next year's event too. </p><p> Getting more women to come to a conference is a hard job; I've been doing my best (with some success) to achieve this for the <a href="http://www.osdc.com.au/">Open Source Developers' Conference</a> since 2004. Stupid talks which alienate parts of the audience make that much harder; in fact I'm not sure OSDC has recovered in that sense from 2006.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:( But we're working on it. If you ever think it would be nice to have more than 2-3% of women being involved in FOSS (keeping in mind that studies suggest there's 25% women involvement in proprietary systems) then don't use porn metaphors in your talks, and don't let your friends do it either. </p> jarich 2009-05-14T08:08:53+00:00 journal My goodness, my blog has ads! http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/38920?from=rss <p> I try not to see many ads online. Generally they irritate me, and it's been extremely rare that the ads on non-search results have been selling something I'm interested in. (Those few times it's been because the ads were advertising a competitor to the site and product I was already looking at!) </p><p> I don't object to site owners using ads. I fully understand that many site owners provide services (such as this blog site) for free even though they incur costs such as hosting and machine maintenance. I just don't like to see them. </p><p> Regardless of the ethics in this debate, I was shocked to find out that not only does use.perl.org have ads, but that my last journal entry had a very <a href="http://img379.imageshack.us/img379/8933/screenshotjournalofjari.png"> inappropriate ad showing</a>. My entry was about the challenges of getting more women into Perl and IT in general; not about picking up women from a dating site. I hear this is a common problem with Google Ads and feminist websites/blogs/content; as if the terms "female" and "women" can only be associated with dating.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:( This is of course not the site-owner's fault, it's a failure with Google Ad-word's attempts to be relevant. It's just rather disappointing. </p><p> I've complained about the ad being inappropriate (which you can do by following the "Ads by Google" link and choosing to give feedback about that ad). </p><p> This, more than any other thing is prompting me to get around to installing some blogging software on our server and moving my primary blog there. I expect to still cross-post here, as pjf does, but probably only my Perl specific writings. </p> jarich 2009-05-04T05:38:12+00:00 journal Not an Iron woMan http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/38890?from=rss <p> So <a href="http://www.shadowcat.co.uk/blog/matt-s-trout/iron-man/">mst</a> has launched the <a href="http://ironman.enlightenedperl.org/">Iron Man</a> competition and really I think it's an absolutely great idea. Us Perl folk should be blogging more about Perl, and these blogs should be more easily found. The idea of a simple reward (trophy image) for blogging consistently is a great one. </p><p> However, I'm not going to get involved. I think having an incentive like the above would be great for getting me to write more regularly; but I can't get past my issue with the title. I realise that mst has <a href="http://www.shadowcat.co.uk/blog/matt-s-trout/iron-man-update">every intention</a> of <a href="http://www.shadowcat.co.uk/blog/mark-keating/iron-woman">including women</a> but I don't view that as enough. </p><p> As a woman in IT, I am regularly reminded that I'm an odd-one out because of my gender. I turn up to Perl Monger meetings throughout Australia and I'm usually the only woman there. Just as with many other smallish (less than 30 attendee) user group meetings. I get reminded that I'm different because well-meaning guys say to me "It's good to have some gender diversity here". Although I don't get hassled in online forums, on mailing lists and at conferences as some of the women I know have been; it's <i>tiring</i> to always be made to feel different, abnormal. </p><p> The issue here is pervasive in our society. It's the perception that male is general and that female is a specific case. I suspect this is partially because in the past we used male gendered words, in some contexts, to express gender neutral concepts. "Mankind". "The patient should advise the doctor whether he may have any contra-indicating factors such as pregnancy". "God is not male, he is spirit". However, despite your intention, I (and many other people - male and female) understand these male gendered words to refer to the male gender most of the time, and not to both genders. At least in sport they're honest about it. It's "300 metre sprint" for men, and "Women's 300 metre sprint" for women. Look through your event listing next time and you'll see that the general case assumes male and the women's events are special. </p><p> So even though there are "paper women" trophies and will probably eventually be "iron women" trophies (although you'll note that there are many levels of the male versions already created); I'm not participating. I don't want yet another endeavour to constantly remind me that I'm an aberration. Maybe I'll change my mind later. </p><p> A more inclusive name might be "Iron Perl" or "Iron Bloggers" or "Iron Perl Bloggers" with the planet renamed to something equivalent. I agree with mst that "Iron Person" sounds lame. I am particularly fond of "Iron Perl Bloggers" as I feel that it's important for someone first visiting the site to have at least a hint about the site's focus. </p><p> <b>Update:</b> </p><p> Matt's apologised for comparing me to Paul; for swearing at me and for the fact that his response was disproportionate. It took a while, but we finally are having the productive discussion he wanted. </p> jarich 2009-04-29T08:55:22+00:00 journal Ada Lovelace Day http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/38697?from=rss <blockquote><div><p> <i> Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology. Women's contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines. Whatever she does, whether she is a sysadmin or a tech entrepreneur, a programmer or a designer, developing software or hardware, a tech journalist or a tech consultant, we want to celebrate her achievements. </i></p></div> </blockquote><p> Every week I deal with awesome technical women. You might not find their profiles on wikipedia, they may all not be so notable that their names are common on the other side of the globe, but these women are busy making technology work and also working in the communities around those technologies. I'm going to mention a few of them here. </p><p> <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/dashelford"> <b>Donna Ashelford</b> </a> is the current president of <a href="http://sage-au.org.au/">The System Administrators' Guild of Australia (SAGE-AU)</a> and has been on the exec committee for many years. She does a tremendous amount of work for the Guild as well as providing vision and forward planning. In her day-job Donna is a Information Services Manager at the University of Queensland where she still dabbles in tech but mostly manages people and resources. If these weren't enough, Donna generously gives of her time to assist in fostering pets for the RSPCA and thus has a household menagerie to come home to every night. </p><p> <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/donnabenjamin"> <b>Donna Benjamin</b> </a> is the president of <a href="http://luv.asn.au/">Linux Users Victoria (LUV)</a> and the proud founder of monthly Linux Beginner workshops for the benefit of all. She is tireless in her promotion of Linux and Open Source; jumping in to be the head organiser of <a href="http://lca2008.linux.org.au/">linux.conf.au 2008</a>, being involved with the yearly <a href="http://softwarefreedomday.org/">Software Freedom Day</a> events in Melbourne, working closely with the <a href="http://www.vitta.org.au/">Victorian Information Technology Teacher's Association (VITTA)</a> running workshops to showcase open source, a committee member of the <a href="http://osia.net.au/">Open Source Industry of Australia (OSIA)</a>, organiser of the Melbourne OSIA meetings, and is now looking at writing a book! Donna is a <a href="http://www.geekspeakr.com/speaker/donna-benjamin">regular speaker</a> at all sorts of events and has even keynoted internationally. Together with her husband, Peter, Donna runs a small business <a href="http://cc.com.au/">Creative Contingencies</a> providing FOSS solutions to a wide range of businesses. </p><p> <a href="http://mary.gardiner.id.au/professional/"> <b>Mary Gardiner,</b> </a> in conjunction with a small team, nutures <a href="http://au.linuxchix.org/">AussieChix</a> (which she founded) the Australian chapter of <a href="http://linuxchix.org/">LinuxChix</a>. She arranges AussieChix events in Sydney, has meet-ups before <a href="http://slug.org.au/">Sydney Linux Users Group (SLUG)</a> to increase the number of women attending the meetings and pioneered the <a href="http://conf.au.linuxchix.org/">LinuxChix mini-conferences</a> at linux.conf.au which have dramatically increased the number of women attending that conference. Mary is an excellent presenter and <a href="http://www.geekspeakr.com/speaker/mary-gardiner">has spoken</a> at a variety of events including both academic and non-academic conferences. When she's not promoting women in FOSS, programming in Python, or helping with code analysis, Mary is busy working to finish her PhD as a computational linguistics researcher. </p><p> <a href="http://pipka.org/"> <b>Pia Waugh</b> </a> is probably Australia's most famous female FOSS geek. I expect she's in the top 10 famous Australian FOSS geeks. It's well deserved. Pia works tirelessly in the promotion of open source, women in open source and accessibility. She runs workshops to show teachers how to use FOSS such as Ubuntu, is the director for <a href="http://www.olpc.org.au/">One Laptop Per Child Australia</a> where she's been involved in sharing this vision with our more disadvantaged communities, is the president of <a href="http://softwarefreedomday.org/sfi">Software Freedom International</a> (who oversee the Software Freedom Day events), and was the Vice President of <a href="http://linux.org.au/">Linux Australia</a> for 5 years, stepping down a year ago. Pia is a superb and entertaining <a href="http://www.geekspeakr.com/speaker/pia-waugh">speaker</a>. Pia, together with her husband Jeff, runs a small business <a href="http://waughpartners.com.au/">Waugh Partners</a>, which provides both high level ICT planning advice as well as customised FOSS-focussed solutions. </p><p>I've only met <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/aliceboxhall"> <b>Alice Boxhall</b> </a> relatively recently. Alice works for Google and is encouraged in that work to participate in events which encourage more participation and interest in IT, particularly from those of school age. This means Alice has been involved in events such as <a href="http://www.vicictforwomen.com.au/www/html/197-gogirl-go-for-it---2008.asp">Go Girl Go for IT</a> and also in running a 1 day micro-conf for the AussieChix held simultaneously in Melbourne and Sydney with video-teleconferencing. </p><p> There are more women I'd love to add, but I need to get some work done. </p><p> As I write this list I realise that I would struggle to compile a similar list out of my many male colleagues. All of these women are technically brilliant, but it's their passion for sharing that makes them especially wonderful. Rather that just being inspiring programmers and technologists, these women are also making a big difference to the communities they participate in by taking active roles to make things happen. This is a precious gift to these communities and one which deserves more kudos than are often given out. These women are an inspiration to me, every week. </p><p> For more write-ups of inspiring women, check out: </p><ul> <li> <a href="http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Female_Geek_Role_Models">Geek Feminism</a> </li><li> <a href="http://ada.pint.org.uk/list.php">The Ada Lovelace Collection</a> </li><li> <a href="http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;q=ada+lovelace">Google's blog search</a> </li></ul> jarich 2009-03-25T03:00:56+00:00 journal YAPC::NA::2009 Pittsburgh, PA where are you? http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/38536?from=rss <p> 9 months ago, brian_d_foy <a href="http://use.perl.org/articles/08/06/18/2047259.shtml">reported</a> that YAPC::NA 2009 was to be held in Pittsburgh. Their <a href="http://news.perlfoundation.org/2008/06/yapcna2009_pittsburghpm_bid.html">bid</a> certainly sounded convincing. So where's the hype for this conference that's supposed to be running 4 months from now? </p><p> A <a href="http://www.google.com.au/search?q=yapc%3A%3ANA%3A%3A2009+pittsburgh%2C+PA">search for YAPC::NA::2009 Pittsburgh PA</a> gives the <a href="http://www.google.com/calendar/event?eid=MDJkN2JoNDU0bmJ1Y2U1M2Z0b2VzczJqbDggbmdjdG1yZDFjYWMzNTA2MW1yanQzaHBnbmdAZw">Google calendar event</a> but it points at <a href="http://yapc10.com/">http://yapc10.com</a>. Oddly that seems to belong to the "Paris Perl Mongueu(r|se)s". The <a href="http://www.yapc.org/">Perl Foundation YAPC page</a> is bare on details and just references the Google calendar event (as above). </p><p> Where can I find out more about this conference? I want to go, and if I could find a CFP (and it was still open) I'd submit. Any suggestions? Perhaps YAPCs are run in a shorter timeframe than I'm used to? </p><p> <b>Update:</b> </p><p> Unless the list has changed its address since November, it appears that there hasn't been much chatter on the <a href="http://mail.pm.org/pipermail/yapc-na-organizers/">YAPC::NA Organisers list</a>. </p><p>On the other hand, going deeper into search results suggests that Casey West just yesterday (February 22nd) <a href="http://caseywest.com/2009/02/22/launching-yapc10/">promises the website launch tomorrow</a> (Tuesday 24th February 2009) with the CFP "mid-week" so presumably Wednesday. His promised website <a href="http://yapc10.org/">http://yapc10.org/</a> is also in use by the Paris Perl folk, but perhaps that's just temporary. I guess YAPC::NAs are run to a shorter time-frame than we do in Australia. </p> jarich 2009-02-23T09:45:52+00:00 journal The year of travel http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/38325?from=rss <p> Last November, I went to Canberra for a week. That would be unremarkable, but it looks to start the busiest 3.5 months of travel so far in my life. I think this will be the busiest 12 months too. </p><p> So week of training in Canberra, week home working on my <a href="http://www.osdc.com.au/">OSDC</a> talk. Then first week of December in Sydney for OSDC. Week home to recover. Week in Perth for training. 2 weeks off for Christmas and New Years. Another week in Perth for more training (different client). Week home to prepare for <a href="http://linux.conf.au/">LCA</a>. This week and half of next in Hobart for LCA. Home for a week and a half (in time for my birthday). Then off to New Zealand for a week and a half (Wellington, Rotorua, Auckland, Warkworth), home for a day, then to Newcastle/Maitland for a week and a day. I think that gets me back to Melbourne by the 25th February. That's 6.5 weeks home and just over 8 away. </p><p> If everything goes well, we'll be off to Sydney for the second week of March too, and so on for at least one week a month until June. From mid-June to late August/early September I hope to be off overseas for more conferences, holiday etc. In particular I hope to get to: </p><ul> <li>YAPC::NA</li><li>OSCON</li><li>YAPC::EU</li><li>Any European Perl mini-confs/workshops which are proximate to YAPC::EU</li></ul><p> Wow. </p><p> If you will be running something in North America between mid-June and the end of July, and you might like Paul and/or I to speak at it; please contact us. If you will be running something in Europe between early August to early September etc, please contact us. </p><p> If you want to host us any nights on our journey, that could be awesome too. </p> jarich 2009-01-22T03:24:43+00:00 journal I am not "advocating child pornography." http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/38139?from=rss <p> As a bit of background Bernadette McMenamin (chief executive of child protection group Child Wise) seems to be a big supporter of the Australian Senator Conroy's plans for mandatory internet filtering. Back in January this year, McMenamin <a href="http://www.australianit.news.com.au/story/0,24897,23021828-5013038,00.html">suggested</a> that no decent person would oppose Conroy's filters to protect the children. A couple of weeks ago she <a href="http://www.australianit.news.com.au/story/0,27574,24804682-15306,00.html">said</a>: </p><blockquote><div><p> <i> "[T]hose who are aware [of all the facts] are, in effect, advocating child pornography." </i></p></div> </blockquote><p> I am not advocating child pornography. This is my response. </p><blockquote><div><p> G'day Bernadette, </p><p> I am an IT professional and have been for almost 10 years now. Understanding how computers work, how networks work, how ISPs work and in particular understanding what is and is not possible is an important part of my job. I'm also a member, and an executive member of the System Administrators' Guild of Australia. This guild exists to cater to the needs of the people who manage everything from their company's machines, through to networks, through to ISPs. The members of this guild, collectively, know pretty much all there is to know about how networks, computers and ISPs work in Australia; and are very able to identify what is and is not possible. </p><p> I object to Senator Conroy's internet filtering proposals on the following grounds: </p><ol> <li> It cannot work. It really can't. It's not technologically feasible. If there was some magic way to only filter out the bad stuff and not accidentally filter out good stuff (or instead accidentally let through bad stuff) that magic way would be usable to avoid spam. Filtering will make it harder for innocent people to accidentally find the bad stuff (although I'd contend that it's pretty hard to "accidentally" find it in the first place). On the other hand, those who want to find it, will still find a way. They'll use Tor, or a VPN hosted overseas or some other method not being blocked. </li><li> Even if it could work, what would be blocked? Those serving illegal content move their content around. Today it might be on www.illegalporn.com and tomorrow it'll have moved to www.i113g41pr0n.com and the next day it'll be somewhere else. How can a black list possibly keep up? </li><li> If we know the sites which need to be blocked, why can't we just spend the money on a) having them taken down and b) prosecuting the people who created them in the first place? Don't we have international treaties for this purpose? Preventing people from <b>seeing</b> child porn doesn't reduce the abuse to the child, although I concede that it might (hopefully) discourage such an interest in the first place. </li></ol><p> Having these objections does not mean I'm advocating child pornography and I'm really sick of you and Senator Conroy saying that it does. I understand the technological issues very well and if there was a good, workable solution, I'd be putting it forward. Anyone can see that there's a lot of money in coming up with a good, workable solution, but instead of throwing up hundreds of ideas to solve the issue; the IT community at large is a) asking for more details because what we have so far doesn't look workable or b) criticising the plan because what we've been told so far doesn't look workable. The IT community at large, the ISPs, the systems and network administrators aren't advocating child pornography; they're not arguing for a free internet at any cost; they are giving a consistent message: this <b>cannot</b> work. Any attempt to go ahead with the plan will result in a slower internet for everyone without preventing anyone with any access to a technical professional from obtaining the material they want. </p><p> All the best, </p><p>Jacinta Richardson</p></div> </blockquote> jarich 2008-12-23T13:51:50+00:00 journal Customer service http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/37393?from=rss <p> It's not that the customer/potential customer/person out on the street is always right. It's just that a little bit of courtesy and faith that they're not trying to mis-represent the situation can go a long way for improving your business reputation. As such, many businesses require a certain amount of professionalism by their staff when that staff is acting in any way which might be viewed as representing the company. This includes responding to emails from those customers/potential customers/persons out on the street. Calling such a person, who tried to alert you to a flaw in your business practices, a liar, isn't really appropriate. Doing so, under the title of "Production Director" is even worse. </p><p> So I introduce you to a really odd email exchange I had. I've left it unedited, except I've removed the company's name and John's surname. This is because although I find them guilty; it would be unprofessional for me to name and shame them so publicly. Make sure you read the subject line from the response. I thought it was spam at first. </p><blockquote><div><p> <tt>-------------------------------------------------------------------------<br>From<nobr>:<wbr></nobr> Jacinta Richardson<br>Sent: Friday, 29 August 2008 8:10 PM<br>To: John<br>Subject: Rude event hire driver<br> <br>G'day John,<br> <br>At about 1pm today, as I was cycling down Swanston Street, in the Copenhagen style lanes I found myself obstructed by one of your vans completely blocking my way.&nbsp; I'm not sure if you're aware of these lanes, but they run on the road between the footpath and parked cars with a small, gutter-high built-up pavement separating the lane from those parked cars (and reducing the concerns of opening passenger doors).&nbsp; This separating pavement is not something a cyclist can easily hop over.<br> <br>Your driver, today, had stopped his van in the bike lane just where the bike lane merged with the regular road, just north of Victoria Street (although on the eastern, southward bound side).&nbsp; This completely blocked the exit from the copenhagen lane for all cyclists.&nbsp; I imagine he did this because there was no parking bays available, although I don't see that as an excuse to park illegally.&nbsp; Had your driver parked even a metre further forward then cyclists could have easily exited the lane and gone around him.&nbsp; He would still have been illegally parked, but it would not have required myself and other cyclists to stop their bikes, lift them over the copenhagen divider and then continue onwards.<br> <br>The driver was heavy set, with pale skin and blonde hair.&nbsp; He was reading a newspaper and drinking coffee and seemed surprised that anyone would even try to ask him to move his vehicle to a less obstructing place (yet alone somewhere he could legally park), but he had been there for some time, and certainly didn't move while I could see him.&nbsp; The van should probably also be redecorated with your company details, as it looked a very tatty.<br> <br>Behaviour like this isn't good for your business.&nbsp; As it happened, I was on the way to a meeting to arrange hiring of an event company for a product launch for one of my clients.&nbsp; Unfortunately for you, I encouraged said client to choose someone else.<br> <br>&nbsp; &nbsp; J<br>-------------------------------------------------------------------------<br>S<nobr>u<wbr></nobr> bject: Time you concerned you concerned yourself with real Community issues.Now read on!<br>Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2008 12:50:45 +1000<br>From: John<br>To: Jacinta Richardson<br> <br>Hi Jacinta, Thank you for your email and I am some what surprised by your comments and there inaccuracy.<br>Our vehicle had broken down and had stopped 15 metres from that point. Our driver rolled his vehicle into the side of the road to prevent it from blocking traffic and possibly causing an accident.<br>Sending us an email is your right, but it really appears you should be more concerned and proactive about things in the real world like pollution, hunger, those less fortunate than ourselves and the homeless, we do care about the community and are actively involved in many projects, it shows you<br>to be a very shallow person, and one who does not contribute to society except by complaining about such a minor issue.<br>As a role model Company and a leader in this industry you could do well to learn from this very frivolous complaint of yours.<br>Raise your horizons and contribute to our community.<br> <br>John<nobr> <wbr></nobr>....<br>Production Director<br>For the Event Team<br>-------------------------------------------------------------------------</tt></p></div> </blockquote> jarich 2008-09-09T04:04:26+00:00 journal Catalyst vs Jifty http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/37121?from=rss <p> About a month ago I was looking for a good article which summarises the differences between the various Perl MVCs. I asked a few people who'd know about such things better than I, and they told me with certainty that it doesn't exist. I asked Google, and it didn't seem to know either. </p><p> So anyway, since I figured I had to find out this information anyway; I decided I'd learn both of them and put together a conference paper and talk on the topic as well. Still I have my concerns about being able to to learn both of them well enough to do them justice before September 15th. So I'm asking the experts as well... </p><p> If you are a regular user of either of these systems; have experience with both; or would just like to air your opinion regardless; please feel free to comment! If you want to comment about CGI::App, Maypole, Gantry or any of the other similar options as well your opinions are also welcome. </p><p> Thanks. </p> jarich 2008-08-07T12:53:53+00:00 journal OMG I won a white camel http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/37002?from=rss <p> Unfortunately, despite plans, I wasn't able to attend OSCON this year even though my husband, <a href="http://use.perl.org/~pjf/">Paul Fenwick</a> has made it. It would have been my first time out of Australia, but I'll have to wait for that. </p><p> Still, I asked him to bring me home a present, and last night he sent me: </p><blockquote><div><p> You asked me to bring you home a nice present. I'm actually bringing home a present from the entire Perl community for you! </p><p> You're the recipient of one of the <a href="http://use.perl.org/article.pl?sid=08/07/23/0444225">three White Camel awards</a>! </p></div> </blockquote><p>I struggled at first to take him seriously.</p><p>Wow.</p><p>Really, Wow.</p><p> I didn't even know I was nominated. Thankyou to the unknown person or persons who nominated me. </p><p>Someone asked me what a white camel award was; and I struggled to answer the question to my satisfaction. So I searched and <a href="http://www.perl.com/pub/a/1999/06/whitecamel.html">found</a>: </p><blockquote><div><p> The White Camel reward recognises the Perl community's "unsung heroes"--those who have devoted extraordinary creativity, energy, and time to the non-technical work that supports Perl's active and loyal user community. </p></div> </blockquote><p> I think originally it was divided into three areas: Perl Advocacy, Perl User Groups, and the Perl Community with one award each; but I suspect that distinction has since been dropped. </p><p> I join a <a href="http://www.perl.org/advocacy/white_camel/">very short list</a> of very impressive people who've also earned one of these awards and share this year with <a href="http://www.szabgab.com/blog/2008/07/1216803339.html">Gabor Szabo</a> and <a href="http://bulknews.vox.com/library/post/i-got-the-white-camel-award-at-oscon-2008.html">Tatsuhiko Miyagawa</a> who most certainly deserve their awards. </p><p> Thanks again to those who nominated me; to the judges who've honoured me; to Paul for <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/x180/2694575461/">accepting the award on my behalf</a> and to everyone else who's offered me such lovely and sincere congratulations! </p> jarich 2008-07-24T01:31:51+00:00 journal Why People Are Passionate About Perl http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/36365?from=rss <p> This is inspired by <a href="http://use.perl.org/~brian_d_foy/journal/36356">brian d foy's post</a> asking why people are passionate about Perl. I can't speak for everyone, but I'll share some things I've picked up from others along the way. </p><p> <b>Mainframe programmers</b>. We were invited to present to the Capacity Management Group in Sydney, Australia a couple of years ago. Basically they wanted to know what Perl was, and whether it could be useful. They were completely blown away by the fact that it was <b>free</b> (in their world everything has to be paid for) and had <b>filters for EBDIC systems</b> automatically integrated! The idea that they could download thousands of libraries on demand also for free was an added bonus. With thanks to the passion of at least the organiser we've been given a few more speaking opportunities with them. </p><p> <b>Shell programmers</b>. We've had some die-hard shell programmers being sent to our courses, and some of them have fallen in love with Perl. They've been used to everything being much more verbose than shell and were delighted that you can <b>get so much done in so little code</b> in Perl. </p><p> I am passionate about Perl because it's an easy language to work with. I first learned it because I needed it for a job, and I was delighted at how <b>powerful</b>, <b>simple</b> and often <b>intuitive</b> it is. I like the <b>english constructs</b>: unless, and, not, or. I like the <b>short-circuiting nature of the operators</b>: <tt>my $foo = $a || $b || 0;</tt> - that saves me so many lines I always have to do in other languages. I appreciate its <b>variable scoping</b> and I like <b>strict</b>. I love the <b>DBI</b>, and even more so the abstraction classes (DBIx::Class, Class::DBI etc). How could I not mention the <b>CPAN</b>? Perhaps Perl's biggest answer. </p><p> I know, and program in, several other languages, but they don't compare well. I do a lot in PHP, but there are so many little things that get in my way and slow me down. I also keep littering my code with <tt>my</tt>s. I do a little in C, but I think most people would prefer Perl to C when speed wasn't an issue, so that's not saying much. I write bash occasionally, but past a few lines I can't stop myself returning to Perl for better <b>error handling</b> and <b>real lists</b>. I have never encountered anything that compares to Perl's <b>testing frameworks</b>. </p><p> We taught a friend of ours Perl, he is a very experienced Java programmer. He still writes a lot of Java but he uses Perl to script all the repetitive stuff.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>;) I can still remember the expression on his face when we showed him "Hello world". Where was all the rest of the code? He's not passionate about Perl, but he's not passionate about Java either. Maybe programming doesn't inspire him with passion, but I always smile when I he asks me "so how would I do X in Perl?" and I show him a simple, elegant, and short way of doing it; followed with him showing me the awkward, cumbersome way he's been trying in order to get it to work in Java. Sometimes I'm able to offer better Java solutions, but not as often as he's able to improve my Java code. </p> jarich 2008-05-09T04:21:59+00:00 journal 5 things I hate about Perl http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/36364?from=rss <p> This is inspired by <a href="http://use.perl.org/~brian_d_foy/journal/32556">brian d foy's post</a> on "What do you hate most about your language?". Of course I love Perl. I program in it and teach it for a living. Still I hate.... </p><ol> <li> <b>eval</b>. Block eval should be spelled "try" and should have a "catch" instead of an ugly unreadable if statement following. Block eval should not be called the same thing as string eval - which is very, very different. </li><li> <b>symbolic references</b>. You should have to *turn on* this functionality if you want it, rather than having it on by default. Trying to convince self-taught programmers who refuse to use strict because it breaks their code and don't want to know that hashes are a better solution, is a challenge in self-control every time. In fact, although I hardly ever use strict in my command-line one-liners or my temporary stuff; it shits me that strict isn't on by default. </li><li> <b>bad legacy stuff</b>. In particular things like "reset", which makes some sense in the context of lazy programming, but which just screams out to be abused in "job secure" code. </li><li> <b>inconsistent whitespace rules</b>.<blockquote><div><p> <tt>print $foo-&gt;{blah};&nbsp; print $foo -&gt; {blah};&nbsp; print "$foo -&gt; {blah}";</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p> I get why the last one fails, but why allow the second one to succeed if you can't be consistent?</p> </li><li> <b>no way to take a slice through arrow-notation</b>. If it wasn't for this, we could teach our students arrow notation exclusively and they'd never need to know about the uglier form of dereferencing. </li></ol> jarich 2008-05-09T02:04:40+00:00 journal A single point of contact http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/36345?from=rss <p> I never would have thought it that hard to implement. One issue we've had with one of our vendors, is that it feels like we're always dealing with someone new. And there's never any hand-over of our account between staff. </p><p> There were other issues, including a <b>really bad day</b> at their facilities once, followed by an extremely compelling offer from a competitor, so we switched. The competitor is superb at customer service and gave us an account manager straight away. She has been amazingly cool. </p><p> Still, the first place wants our custom again, and we're happy to have options, so we talked. I tried to tell them what we didn't like, and after a few emails I think they might have understood some of it. They promised us we'd have an account manager, who'd be our single point of contact. I said that would be lovely. </p><p> When I spoke to this account manager for the first time, I discovered that she didn't have any record of the upcoming work we'd scheduled with them. This lack of communication between staff was one of the big reasons we wanted that single point of contact. I informed her of who I'd spoken to and what dates we'd agreed on. Now she was up to speed I figured all would be well... </p><p> So <i>why</i> am I getting email about our selected dates from another staff member again? And to a private address, which I've explicitly told them about 10 times not to use? Grr! </p><p> If they can't implement something as simple as a single point of contact, and send stuff to the requested address, I think we'll just stay with the competitor. </p> jarich 2008-05-07T03:49:28+00:00 journal Something I'd like to see http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/36333?from=rss <p> <a href="http://perlbuzz.com/2008/05/perl-decentralize-diversify-colonize.html">Andy Lester's latest article on Perl Buzz</a> lists a bunch of things one can do to help spread the good words about Perl. </p><p> But it didn't mention one of my favourites. <b>Run a conference!</b> Or at the very least attend a conference, give a talk and then blog about it. Now I'm not that good about the whole blogging thing. I come up with great ideas to write about when I'm in bed, or in the shower, or walking down the street; but by the time I get to my computer I've forgotten, or they don't seem that great anymore... </p><p> Still I do run and attend, and talk at conferences, and I'm convinced that this is good for both Perl and Open source in general. Further, I want to go overseas. I'd *love* to go to YAPC::EU and I'd consider going to YAPC::NA. But I often hear about them much too late. What I'd really like to see is a calendar of Perl events. It'd be cool to have PM meetings on it, conferences etc. If you could choose whether or to see some continents, or all. It'd be even more cool if you could subscribe to ical-style feeds per continent. </p><p> Unfortunately I don't think I'll have time to do this myself in the very near future, but at least I've got a starting point. </p> jarich 2008-05-06T06:37:23+00:00 journal SAGE-AU 2008 Call for Participation (Adelaide, Australia) http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/35783?from=rss <p> Please forward this invitation to anyone you feel would be interested. For all information, contacts and updates, see the <a href="http://www.sage-au.org.au/display/conf/">SAGE-AU conference web site</a>. </p><p> <b>16th Annual System Administrators' Conference (SAGE-AU 2008)</b> </p><p> <b>The System Administrators' Guild of Australia</b> </p><p> <b>Adelaide, 11-15th August 2008</b> </p><p> SAGE-AU was formed to advance the profession of System Administration by raising awareness of the need for System Administrators, and educating System Administrators in technical as well as professional issues. Our yearly conference provides a forum for System Administrators of all platforms and levels of experience to gather together and share their experiences. Further it provides an excellent opportunity to meet and network with acknowledged experts in the field. </p><p> SAGE-AU 2008 will be held in Adelaide from the 11th-15th August. </p><p> <b>Tutorial Program: 11th - 13th August</b> </p><p> SAGE-AU 2008 will include three days of tutorials of both 3 hours and 6 hours duration. Previous years have included tutorials on topics such as: </p><ul> <li>Automating Windows Vista</li><li>Change Management</li><li>Issues in Unix Infrastructure Design</li><li>Management-101</li></ul><p> For more details and to submit your proposal(s), visit our <a href="http://www.sage-au.org.au/x/Xg8">Call for Technical Presentations</a> </p><p> <b>Technical Program: 14th - 15th August</b> </p><p> For the first year, two parallel streams will be running. If your job includes looking after systems, networks, or machines for which you are not the sole-user, we'd love to hear you speak! </p><p> Previous years have included talks on topics such as: </p><ul> <li>Security</li><li>Wireless Networks</li><li>System Administration Ethics</li><li>Virtualisation</li><li>Standards (and Compliance)</li></ul><p> For more details and to submit your proposal(s), visit our <a href="http://www.sage-au.org.au/x/Xg8">Call for Technical Presentations</a> </p><p> If you have any questions or require assistance with your submission, please don't hesitate to ask! </p> jarich 2008-02-28T02:56:15+00:00 journal File::Temp, binary mode and text files http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/35761?from=rss <p> In my day job, amongst other things, I write training materials and run courses for Perl Training Australia. We've only recently added File::Temp to our course notes, and since we allow our attendees to use either our portable training server (Linux) or their desktop (often Windows) we've hit a problem. </p><p> File::Temp's tempfile isn't portable for text files. This is because it opens them using sysopen and the O_BINARY flag (where available). This means that newlines printed to the file aren't converted into the operating system's preferred end of line character(s). </p><p> This shouldn't have been a surprise, it's in the documentation: </p><blockquote><div><p> <b>BINMODE</b> </p><p> The file returned by File::Temp will have been opened in binary mode if such a mode is available. If that is not correct, use the binmode() function to change the mode of the filehandle. </p><p> Note that you can modify the encoding of a file opened by File::Temp also by using binmode(). </p></div> </blockquote><p> However the binmode documentation rightly points out: </p><blockquote><div><p> For the sake of portability it is a good idea to always use it when appropriate, and to never use it when it isn't appropriate. </p></div> </blockquote><p> I know I can tell the Windows students to write: </p><blockquote><div><p> <tt>binmode($tmp_fh, ":crlf" );</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p> after their call to tempfile(), but it's still not going to be portable. Creating a tempfile doesn't look like it should be a special case, and in my experience, it's usually safe to tell (fairly computer and operating system savvy) students that if it looks portable, it should be. </p><p> Is there a layer I can give to binmode to tell it to go back to treating the file as a text file with all the special magic regarding newlines that should happen? I essentially want a: <code>binmode($tmp_fh, ":default");</code> </p><p> I can always write File::Temp::Text which doesn't use O_BINARY but that's another, non-standard, module for the students to have to install. </p><p> I originally brought this question up on <a href="http://www.perlmonks.org/?node_id=670208">PerlMonks</a> but I'm still hoping for a magic answer that lets me teach students a portable way of handling temporary text files where the file name is available. (Yes, I know about open with an undef filehandle). </p><p> Any hints? </p><p>Thanks, jarich</p> jarich 2008-02-26T05:50:50+00:00 journal Open Day thank yous http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/35562?from=rss <p> I just want to say thank you to everyone who was involved in Open Day. To the volunteers who spent yet another day making the conference work, to all of those who turned up and asked how they could help just because they're nice people, to everyone who brought someone along to see stuff and/or told others about it. Thankyou! Without your help, Open Day would have been much less fun. </p><p> <b>Especial thanks go to:</b> </p><p> <b>Grant Diffey</b> who took on the horrible task of making sure that every stand had power. He was roped in because he happened to be standing there at that very moment the issue was being discussed, and thus deserves especial thanks for doing it so well and swiftly. </p><p> <b>Steve Walsh</b> for getting the networking going. Steve's job started during the afternoon on Friday - getting the patch panel ready - and continued through to last night - tidying it up again. Steve ran cables (including to the stands who decided they needed them at the last minute), set up wireless access points, and generally did an awesome job. </p><p> <b>Doug Chapman</b> and <b>Pia Waugh</b> for presenting their conference talks a second time (and without much notice). </p><p> <b>Paul Fenwick</b> who took much of the organisational load off my shoulders leaving me free to do the meta organisation and registration desk handling! He also gave me a great foot massage at the end of the day, which was well appreciated. </p><p> <b>The table organisers:</b> Tim Ansell, Tamara Olliver, Bill Farrow, Kylie Davies, Brianna Laugher, Mark Kowarsky, Robyn, Pia Waugh, John Stern, Michael Dale, Simon Pascal Klein, Wen Lin, Mark Phillips, Jon Oxer, Aaron Seigo, Vik Olliver, Con Zymaris, Leif Eriksen, Anthony David, Martin Servior, Melissa, Annette Meldrum, Murray Bishop, Ben Balbo, Donna Benjamin, John Newbigin, Daniel Stefyn, Scott Barnett, Leslie Hawthorn and Cat Allman, Jennifer Kreutzer, Adaora Onyia, Pauline Waite, Kanchana Wickremasinghe, Rusty, Arjen Lentz for hosting tables so that we had all of these excellent stands to demonstrate Open Source to our visitors. Thankyou also to those who helped out on these stands! </p><p> <b>Steven Thorne</b> for his hugs and encouragement throughout the day. </p><p> All the <b>lightning talk speakers</b>, who keep the visitors so well entertained and to <b>Adam Harvey</b> for organising these so that I didn't have to! Also to <b>Jeff Waugh</b> for his MCing. </p><p>Thank you to <b>Robyn M</b> and all the others whose names I missed who gave up time from the lightning talks and closing ceremony to help me haul tables around on Friday afternoon. </p><p>Thank you to <b>Edward Borland</b> from "Byte into IT" on RRR, who interviewed me on radio and thus helped with the Open Day advertising greatly. </p><p> Thank you also to <b>Donna Benjamin</b> who not only ran the conference organisation but handled a fair amount of my publicity for me. To <b>Peter Lieverdink</b> for creating awesome artwork and signs for me. To <b>Rob B</b> for creating out-door signs. And also to <b>Sarah Stokely</b> for her advertising amongst the general press. </p><p> My apologies if I've missed mentioning you! Please add your name to the comments, or email me, so I can update this. </p><p> <b>To those who gave me gifts:</b> </p><p> I'd also like to thank everyone who gave me gifts throughout the day. I'm afraid that much of yesterday was spent in a whirl of people, so although I should know all the names; I don't! I feel terrible about this, so if this was you, please let me know. </p><p> Thank you <b>Leslie Hawthorn</b> for the funky Google pen. </p><p> Thank you <b>Janet</b>(?) for the small Ritzenhoff glass with penguins on it, which I understand to be a smaller version of the ones given to the Exec team. </p><p> Thank you unknown speaker who gave me a cute little USB mouse with this year's penguin on it. </p><p> Thank you to <b>Darrell Burkey</b> who gave me the caffeinated peppermints (and a rubber ball to pass onto Paul). </p><p> Thank you to <b>Melissa Dapper</b> for the Ubuntu t-shirt. </p><p> Once again, thank you everyone for coming to Open Day and for making it such a great success. According to my estimations we had at least 1000 people walk in, which is just brilliant! </p> jarich 2008-02-03T07:48:07+00:00 journal linux.conf.au (3) http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/35561?from=rss <p> <b>Thursday 31st January</b> </p><p> Thursday's keynote was by <a href="http://linux.conf.au/programme/keynotes">Stormy Peters</a> on "Would you do it again for free?". She referenced various studies which showed that if you took someone who was doing something they loved, and paid them to keep doing it, that once the payments stopped, they'd be less inclined to continue. There was also some talk about how hiring an open source developer to continue to keep working on their open source - but then requiring that they "work as an employee" - can lead to frustration and disinterest in the project itself. Stormy suggests that some of the bigger businesses seem to have realised this and are improving matters. The end conclusion seems to be that those paid to work on open source, will continue to work on open source even without the pay... but it'll probably be for a different project. </p><p> The conference highlight of the day was being awarded a HP iPac. TA few intended recipients weren't available to take their prizes, so Donna Benjamin (head conference organiser) called out some dates, and those with birthday's on those dates won the prize. The final date was "who's birthday is closest to today" and about 6 people (including me) put up their hands. So she clarified and asked if anyone's birthday is today, and that just left me. What a lovely 30th birthday gift! </p><p> The "Clustered Samba" talk by Andrew Tridgell (Tridge) was quite good, and I left feeling like I understood almost everything even though I've never set up a samba server, or a clustered anything. I then walked over to probably the most loved regular conference talk "<a href="http://linux.conf.au/programme/detail?TalkID=123">Rockhopper Robot: Designing and Programming an Autonomous Robot with Linux and Open Source</a>" by Doug Chapman. This showed a small autonomous robot navigating around a simple maze and blowing out candles where it saw them. It was simply awesome! This meant I missed Allison Randal's talk<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:(, but I hope to be able to download and catch up on that soon. </p><p> Both Glenn Wightwick's talk on Linux and Home Automation and Elizabeth Garbee's talk on An Introduction to Open Source Animation also deserve a mention. </p><p> The end of the day was celebrated with both the Professional Delegates' Networking Session (PDNS) to which all delegates who paid "professional" rates, all speakers, and all exec are invited; and the Google Student Party who invited everyone else. I skipped out on both of these and had a lovely birthday dinner with my friends and family. </p><p> <b>Friday 1st February</b> </p><p> Happy mail-man day! I took the first part of this morning off from the conference, and thus did not get to see Anthony Baxter's keynote. I hear it was well appreciated however. I arrived in time for morning tea but was quickly mobbed by people asking about Open Day requirements, so I didn't get to eat anything. </p><p> I won free for long enough to see (most of) Kimberlee Weatherall's talk on "Stop in the Name of the Law" which was interesting, but hard to apply to what I'm doing. </p><p> Upon leaving the lecture theatre I was mobbed again until I ran off to find food and somewhere quiet to eat it. </p><p> Carefully sneaking into the lecture theatres allowed me to see Tamara Olliver's talk on "Create Your Own Open Source Dance Mat" and Jeff and Pia Waugh's talk on "The Australian Open Source Industry and Community Census 2007". These were both really interesting, although it was disappointing to see Perl so far down on the list of <a href="http://flickr.com/photos/pfenwick/2237515429/">languages used by software developers</a>. First was C, then C++, Python and PHP were all equal, then Java a little below them and only then Perl with significantly less people using it. Ruby trailed the pack even further. </p><p> The rest of the afternoon was spent arranging tables and room space for Open Day. I missed all the lightning talks, which is disappointing, but saw some bits of the closing ceremony. At one point (after being sent off to fetch something from HQ) I walked up to the door (at the back of the room), only to have Donna (speaking) notice me, realise that I wasn't listed on her slide of thankyous (that was on display) and thus thank me personally, which was sweet. </p><p> Friday evening was followed by the Google Party. This was a very responsible party, with a few security guards, lots of bbqed food (although not a lot of choices), lots of salad (2 choices), and plastic cups of wine, beer, orange juice, cola (sugared and diet) and lemonade. To get drinks you had to have either a blue (non-alcoholic only) or orange wrist band. Those giving out bands showed varying degrees of diligence in checking ID, but I think that orange wrist bands only went out to those over 18. </p><p> All drinks (including water) evaporated at 8:30pm which was unexpected and lead to a rapid wind-down of the evening. Some people went onwards to local pubs while others retired early. Overall, I felt the food, lighting, music and socialising was better this year than last; but the drinks and venue (more seats!) was better last year. </p><p> <b>Open Day</b> </p><p> Somehow I foolishly ended up starting Open Day at 8am. I was late, but the only person I seemed to inconvenience was the Micro-hire delivery person who I hadn't been expecting until 10am anyway. Other helpers showed up soon after and moved tables, added table cloths, put up posters and banners, ran cables, found power points etc Set-up went extraordinarily well, all things considered, and we were almost ready for our first guests who arrived at about 11:30pm. </p><p> The Linux Australia AGM ran long past 12pm (which was my anticipated end time for it) so lunch was somewhat delayed, but most people seemed fairly happy all the same. While the hot food ran out pretty quickly there were enough sandwiches for me to carry around a tray to all the table organisers a short while later. </p><p> I had 325 pairs of CDs to give out, and ran out by about 1:30pm. Since most visitors to my "rego" booth were in pairs or families, this suggests that I had about 650 people. There were also many who didn't come near my table too. Since the day seemed to only get busier I think it's safe to say that we topped 1000 visitors! </p><p> <a href="http://use.perl.org/~pjf/">Paul Fenwick</a> and Adam Harvey took care of the main talks and lightning talks throughout the afternoon, which made my life much easier. The talks appeared to be well attended so I hope the visitors got something out of them as well. Paul suggests that there were generally about 200 people in the Grand Buffet (where the talks were held) at any given time. </p><p> Clean-up ended up being remarkably swift with lots of helping hands. All the hardware seemed to find appropriate homes, and only a few items ended up in "lost and found". We generally got all the tables back to where they should have been and picked up most of our junk from the floor, so I hope that the facilities providers will welcome us back again. </p><p> After dropping the RepRap device back at the Olliver's hotel, Paul and I did a delivery run back to linux.conf.au's storage room and then headed home. After a great take-out dinner, and hot shower, Paul gave me a foot massage and I finally got an early night. </p> jarich 2008-02-03T05:44:29+00:00 journal linux.conf.au (2) http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/35527?from=rss <p> <b>Wednesday 30th January (continued)</b> </p><p> I took the following notes from Bruce's keynote, and thought here would be a good place to store them. </p><p> <i> In a market where the sellers know more about the product than the buyers, bad (cheaper) products drive the better products out of the market. eg 50 cars at $1000, 50 cars at $2000. Convergence price is $1500, but at this price only bad cars will be sold. </i> </p><p> <i>Thus in order for the seller to indicate to the buyer that their product is actually more superior they have to send signals. These might be warranties "buy this car and if anything goes wrong in the first month, I'll buy it back at full price". </i> </p><p> <i> In the IT field we don't have warranties (for good reasons) so we rely on reputation, opinions of others (Bruce likes it, so it must be good) etc. </i> </p><p> <i> Marketing and politics is about the deliberate creation of the right signals to encourage people to buy your product/idea/policy even if it isn't suitable to their needs. These muddy the water. </i> </p><p> Wednesday continued with a few surprises. We celebrated the 10 year birthday of <a href="http://www.lwn.net/">LWN</a> with chocolate mud cupcakes. Mmm! I missed a few sessions after that to work on <a href="http://linux.conf.au/programme/open-day">Open Day</a> issues, and to get my <a href="http://www.perltraining.com.au/talks/">slides</a> available for the many people who've been asking. I enjoyed the hall-way track immensely. </p><p> Just before lunch, the organisers started handing out OLPC XOs in great quantities (perhaps 70 in total) assigned to selected people. This made it much easier to get a hold of one to play with and appreciate. At lunch I met an old university friend and thus got to show him the joys of these machines. He was envious that such toys are not easily available for <i>his</i> children. It certainly was a hit. </p><p> After lunch I attended a talk on AbiCollab: changes to AbiWord to allow collaborative document editing which was very interesting, and one by Jim Gettys about their experiences in getting the XOs out to third world countries. Knowing that their laptops is the brightest evening light source for some of these children gives me an idea of how life-changing this program will be. </p><p> A fire alarm in the later afternoon lead to some program changes, but overall, everything went smoothly. </p><p> The Penguin dinner was held at the Queen Victoria Night Market and was consequently amazing. I've never been at a conference dinner where vegetarians were so well catered for! We were given $40 broken into $5 vouchers and told to go get whatever we wanted. Thus I went to a vegetarian-Indian stand and came back with a plate of steaming curries, rice, pakodas, and naan. Other people had pasta dishes, or kangaroo burgers, or sausage or.... $15 worth of the vouchers were reserved for alcohol, although most drinks were $6.50 each (they gave change). This lead to a comparatively sober evening, although I didn't hear any complaints. It was quite possibly one of the cheaper social parties (in an organisational sense) for this conference, but I think it will be hard to top. </p> jarich 2008-01-31T00:01:07+00:00 journal linux.conf.au http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/35517?from=rss <p> <b>Sunday 27th January</b> </p><p> LCA started on Sunday, where I got to go to the airport and hang around for a few hours running around to meet speakers/delegates and collect them up to put on our hired bus. Registration opened sometime in the afternoon, but being at the airport until 7pm meant I missed it. </p><p> <b>Monday 28th January</b> </p><p> First day of the conference. Spent in Portsea (2 hours away from the conference venue) scuba diving with our special guest Linus. Lost Linus at the start of the first boat dive and was very grateful to see him on the boat when we re-boarded at the end. Thought the dive master we had with us could have been better on that dive. Second boat dive was much smoother and we all managed to stay together and have a great time. </p><p> <b>Tuesday 29th January</b> </p><p> Gave my "<a href="http://www.perltraining.com.au/talks/">Not common enough code optimisations</a>" talk at the <a href="http://conf.au.linuxchix.org/">Linuxchix mini-conf</a>. Discovered that I had a lot less time than I was hoping to have, so I had to speed up the talk dramatically, but it seemed to be well received all the same. </p><p> Went to a great talk by Stormy Peters about community managers. It made me think about my contributions to Open Source. I don't actually contribute code to any projects. I could, but I don't because I fill up my time with community tasks. I'm active in all of the Australia Perl Mongers groups, and hang out on the Wellington Perl Mongers list too. Where I can I organise meetings for them, especially if one of us will be in town to give a talk. I'm subscribed to almost all of the Linux Users Groups in Australia as well as several women in IT based lists. I've helped run <a href="http://www.osdc.com.au/">OSDC</a> every year since it started in 2004. I'm responsible for LCA's <a href="http://linux.conf.au/programme/open-day">Open Day</a> this year (Saturday 2nd February - come along if you're in Melbourne!), and have been doing various other volunteer things to help too. I'm also Treasurer of <a href="http://www.sage-au.org.au/">SAGE-AU</a> (the Australian System Administration industry body), and am helping organise their conference for August this year. </p><p> Doing this hard behind-the-scenes work proves to be quite rewarding in its own way. I turn up at conferences, and everyone seems to know my name. I suspect that if I gave my free time to coding on an Open Source project, then a lot less people would know my name - unless I was lucky enough to pick the "next big thing" project... </p><p> I never really intended to be famous; but I'm certainly not complaining. </p><p> <b>Wednesday 30th January</b> </p><p> This morning's keynote was by <a href="http://linux.conf.au/programme/keynotes">Bruce Schneier</a>. A very interesting talk, presented extremely well. The best talk I've ever seen given without any visual assistance. Compelling enough that the right hand side of my brain didn't even notice the time passing. </p><p> Huge number of OLPC XOs are being given out, but it looks like I'm not going to be one of the lucky recipients. The focus is to encourage more people to develop more things for them, so it's reasonable I'm not getting one, seeing as how I don't program in Python much and I don't have the time to write much code right now. </p><p> I'm really looking forward to reducing my volunteer load a little. </p><p> More on today to follow... </p> jarich 2008-01-30T01:00:18+00:00 journal Citizens Electoral Council of Australia http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/34916?from=rss <p> Australian Federal elections always include a few crack-pot lunatic political parties. This isn't surprising considering how many political parties <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Political_parties_in_Australia">we have</a>. However, for those who vote for the Senate by numbering all the candidates from 1-68 below the line (those voting above the line just put a single "1" in any of the 10 or so boxes of their choice) it can be a challenge to remember what all the parties stand for. </p><p> I think a lot of people vote based on their emotional reaction to the party's name. For example non-custodial parents might give the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-Custodial_Parents_Party">Non-Custodial Parents Party</a> a higher vote than custodial parents without knowing anything about that party's policies. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_Women_Want_(Australia)"> What Women Want</a> is another odd one. </p><p> I think, sometimes, that the biggest challenge can be in deciding who you put last. When it comes to deciding between great parties like Family First, One Nation, Australian Shooters Party, Christian Democratic Party and the Citizens Electoral Council; how do I decide who I like least? </p><p> Fortunately, one of these has seen fit to spam me with information on their beliefs to help me decide to put them last. Even putting the fact that they spammed me aside, I can't vote for a party who writes (in all seriousness): </p><blockquote><div><p><nobr> <wbr></nobr>... Make no mistake: the "climate change" swindle run by the British financial oligarchy and supported by our complicit mainstream media, will tax us to death&#8212;no pun intended. This tax-and-trade scheme will shut down our farmers and manufacturers and ram up the price of petrol, gas and electricity&#8212;and it&#8217;s all based on one big scientific scam. The London-centred financial oligarchy intends mass genocide<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... </p></div> </blockquote><p> Yup, the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_Electoral_Council">Citizens Electoral Council</a> wins most-crazy crack-pot party from me for this election.</p> jarich 2007-11-18T01:05:48+00:00 journal #perl on irc.perl.org tonight http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/34568?from=rss <p> Someone called "alankila" <a href="http://lwn.net/Articles/252193/">complained</a> that women don't join ircnet #Perl. So I thought I'd go represent my gender by joining #perl on irc.perl org tonight. </p><p> What a great start! I was greeted with the following (presumably out of context) topic: </p><blockquote><div><p>(22:32:24) The topic for #perl is: Happy 10th Birthday Purl | iPhone 1.1.1 released | &lt;hex&gt; It was going well until the young girls peeing. &lt;wsdo_okadr&gt; I've seen too many of those around lately | COCKROACH PORN</p></div> </blockquote><p> Hmm. </p><p> Since I wanted to see whether purl had a command that would allow me to see if anyone of the name alankila had been in, I PMed it and had the following "conversation": </p><blockquote><div><p> <tt>Conversation with purl at Sat 29 Sep 2007 22:33:22 EST on jarich@irc.perl.org (irc)<br>(22:33:24) jarich: help<br>(22:33:27) purl: help is &lt;reply&gt;Jesus is coming! Everyone get naked and fuck!<br>(22:33:40) jarich: help<br>(22:33:46) purl: help is &lt;reply&gt;HELP IS AVAILABLE FOR YOU. SAY "HELP" OR ANOTHER COMMAND. FOR A LIST OF COMMANDS, TYPE "COMMANDS".<br>(22:33:58) jarich: COMMANDS<br>(22:33:59) purl: COMMANDS are HLAGH, DONGS, JERK IT</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p> Yup, I feel included and welcome here.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:( </p><p> <b>UPDATE</b>: Fixed the attributions in the topic I posted as I didn't realise that use.perl was eating them.</p> jarich 2007-09-29T12:47:59+00:00 journal PHP oddity http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/34234?from=rss <p> The <a href="http://perl.net.au/">PerlNet Wiki</a> uses Mediawiki which is written in PHP so too are the plugin scripts we use to manage it. As the wiki is open to anonymous edits, we have a fun arms race with spammers. Most of the time, they get caught by our blacklist and their edits don't even get saved. However recently one spammer has done something clever... </p><p> When I first spotted this afternoon's spam I checked it for common urls and found that most links pointed to <code>ifrance.com</code>. I would have added it to our <a href="http://perl.net.au/wiki/PerlNet:Spam_blacklist">blacklist</a> but it was already there! So I checked that the anti-spam bot was still active and it was. Why wasn't this page being picked up? I took a copy of the cleanup script, printed out the regex and ran that with some of the page text: yup it matched! </p><p> I printed out what the script was seeing as the text and it matched the page content. I printed that to a file and ran a simple regex over it, yup it matched. I ran the bigger regex over it, no match. </p><p> I looked at the data again. Couldn't see anything special about it except that all of it was on one line. Well... surely it couldn't be a memory issue. I was reading the whole text into memory before performing the regex, how would line boundaries make a difference? I wasted time looking into other possibilities. </p><p> I eventually came back to the fact that it was a _very_ long single line... that a simple regex could match. Could that be it anyway? I removed a few thousand characters and wow! It started matching again. </p><p> I eventually found that (for the size of regular expression we're using) strings of 13808 characters or less would match, but any more and the match would fail.... silently. I did this with the following code: </p><blockquote><div><p> <tt>&lt;?php<br># defines $test<br>include( '/tmp/spam.txt' );<br> <br># Shorten the process a little....<br>$test = substr($test, 0, $length-1160);<br> <br># $re removed for brevity<br># while I can't match, shorten the string<br>while(! preg_match($re, $test, $match)) {<br> <br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; $length = strlen($test);<br> <br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; print "$length\n";<br> <br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; $test = substr($test, 0, $length-1);<br>}<br># Yay I matched!<br>print "match\n";</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p> My string started with 14979 characters! </p><p> I wondered how much of this was because it was a very long _line_ as opposed to a very long string. So I edited the data file to add newlines after each url. It matched immediately! </p><p> I thought about the length of the regular expression (it's 2584 characters). The simple regular expression <code>ifrance\.com</code> had worked, so I wondered if the failure was due to alternation or capturing. I added in a small hunk of the real regex for about 30 characters (4 alternations) and it still matched. Removing a third of the real regex length (string length, not necessarily alternation opportunities) resulted in matching the string one character earlier but that was it. </p><p> Odd. </p> jarich 2007-08-27T11:00:32+00:00 journal RFC: Perl jobs mailing list guidelines and submission form http://use.perl.org/~jarich/journal/34009?from=rss <p> Perl Training Australia has had a unused <a href="http://perltraining.com.au/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/perl-jobs">Jobs mailing list</a> for a while now with the bold intent of allowing all the businesses who contact us regarding Perl consulting and jobs to have (moderated) access to past students of ours (opt-in) and other interested people. But we've been busy and lazy and nothing has happened. I have good reason to believe that the list will receive in the order of 300 subscribers when we make it live. </p><p> Today I spent all day putting together a <a href="http://perltraining.com.au/jobs/">jobs submission page</a> for businesses. This was partially caused by Skud's <a href="http://infotrope.net/blog/2007/07/31/how-not-to-write-a-perl-job-ad/">How not to write a Perl job</a> post and the discussion we had while she was writting it, and also from yet another request for Perl programmers. </p><p> I've taken Skud's, <a href="http://use.perl.org/~Ovid/journal/24933">Ovid's</a>, <a href="http://use.perl.org/~Adrian/journal/33295">Adrian's</a> and <a href="http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000050.html">Joel Spolsky's</a> advice, and tried to make the potential employer answer all the questions I've ever have about a job when I'm reading the advert. Still I've left lots of them optional just in case they can't be bothered. </p><p> This service isn't designed for recruiters. It's for Perl businesses, or businesses who use Perl. Recruiters can use it, but I don't know if they will. </p><p> This isn't up for real yet. There's lots of work to be done, including javascript tooltips, improved page linking and the creation of a back-end to handle submissions. What I'm asking for right now is feedback. </p><ul> <li>Would you use <a href="http://perltraining.com.au/jobs/">this form</a>, or decide it was just too hard?</li><li>Have I missed any really important questions?</li><li>Have I missed any really important <i>options</i> in my multi-option questions? </li><li> Do you think I should change what is/isn't optional? </li><li> Are there things you think I should leave out? </li><li> What else should I be covering in my <a href="http://perltraining.com.au/jobs/guidelines.html">guidelines</a>? </li><li> Any other feedback. </li></ul><p> <b>jobs.perl.org</b>. Before you ask, I just want to say that yes I'm very aware of this wonderful service! Unfortunately there are a lot of Perl programmers in Australia who are completely uninterested in being part of the Perl community. Many of our students are in this category. While I expect that I can ask them to let me subscribe them to our mailing list, I don't think I could ever get them to subscribe to the jobs.perl.org list. My compromise is suggesting that employers also submit their job to jobs.perl.org, hopefully we'll just help them think a little about what they want to post first.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:) </p><p> Thankyou in advance! </p> jarich 2007-08-06T12:31:32+00:00 journal