osfameron's Journal http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/ osfameron'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. 2012-01-25T02:08:41+00:00 pudge pudge@perl.org Technology hourly 1 1970-01-01T00:00+00:00 osfameron's Journal http://use.perl.org/images/topics/useperl.gif http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/ A brief note on technical translation: (Gentle Moose Intro) http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/39261?from=rss <i>Cross posted from <a href="http://greenokapi.net/blog/2009/07/09/a-brief-note-on-technical-translation-jay-kuris-gentle-introduction-to-moose/#comments">my blog</a> </i>. <p> While we were discussing how to promote the Italian Perl Workshop, and the planned <a href="http://conferences.yapceurope.org/ipw2009/news/422">training on Moose</a>, I noted that there weren't any articles on Moose (Perl's modern OO implementation, inspired by CLOS, Smalltalk and Ruby) on perl.it. Lordarthas of course told me "well volunteered!"... oops. </p><p> I pointed out that I don't really know Moose, and we eventually settled that I would "just" translate Jay Kuri's nice new <a href="http://www.catalyzed.org/2009/06/a-gentle-introduction-to-moose.html">Gentle Introduction</a>. </p><p> Now, there is a reason why translators almost always translate <i>into</i> their native language. I can <i>write</i> in Italian reasonably well, but translating into it was a much harder task. While you're writing something yourself, you tend to route around phrases you don't know how to express, choose different words, simplify structures, etc. But translation implies <i>some</i> degree of fidelity to the source, and I found this incredibly hard going. I whined on <tt>#perl.it</tt> and, in true Open Source JFDI style, larsen asked "Huh? Why are <i>you</i> translating that?" and did it himself! Yay, larsen++! </p><p> So my volunteering ended up being limited to making a few corrections/suggestions, along with lordarthas, dree, and dada. Opensource translation and review (using wiki/email in this case, but a git repo or similar could work just as well) can have a fast turnaround, and pick up many errors/nuances that a lone translator would have to work really hard on to do by themselves. </p><p> The main problems with the technical translation were deciding which phrases to leave in English, and which to translate. Looks like "coercion" is staying in English (followed by an explanation) instead of using the Italian "coercizione". And the title is surprisingly hard to translate, as none of the words for "gentle" map well into Italian. Though it's less cute than the original, the least awful alternative seems to be "Una breve introduzione" (a brief introduction). </p><p> The <a href="http://www.perl.it/blog/archives/000641.html">final translated article is now on perl.it!</a>.</p> osfameron 2009-07-09T14:14:57+00:00 journal LPW2008, Functional Pe(a)rls talk http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/37991?from=rss <p>(Cross-posted from <a href="http://greenokapi.net/blog/2008/12/01/functional-pearls-v2-now-with-monads-at-the-london-perl-workshop-2008/"> http://greenokapi.net/blog/2008/12/01/functional-pearls-v2-now-with-monads-at-t<nobr>h<wbr></nobr> e-london-perl-workshop-2008/</a>) </p><p> On Saturday I gave an updated version of my <em>Functional Pe(a)rls </em>talk. This time around I cut the whistlestop tour of builtin FP techniques in Perl (map/grep/join) and added a section on Monads - what they are and how to implement them. I'd originally worried that the slides might have been over-academic and hard to understand, but luckily Dave Cantrell had presented closures that morning, and lots of people had spoken about the cool and evil things you can do with Devel::Declare. Also the Monad talk did handwave over some <em>minor</em> details (like munit/join<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-) and it helped to play a little for laughs - I should probably subtitle the talk</p><blockquote><div><p>"Imperative programming... in Pure Perl!"</p></div></blockquote><p> I think the talk went down well and I also won a book (of maps of Old London Town) from the nice people at Nestoria for "Best Topic", which I guess means I can refer to it as an "award-winning" talk. </p><p> I've uploaded the slides of my <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/osfameron/functional-pearls-version-2-presentation">award-winning talk on functional programming in Perl</a> to slideshare<nobr> <wbr></nobr>;-) The conference Mark Keating, the Shadowcat team, all the volunteers, sponsors, and Josette's O'Reilly bookstall, and of course the speakers, delivered a fantastic event which was not only free, but even had free beer! (Courtesy of Venda and Shadowcat, we drank the pub out of Witchfinder ale within 30 minutes, but the free booze was flowing till around 10pm, which was incredibly generous and appreciated -- less so the following morning). </p><p> It was great to see some quality talks, a uniformly excellent lineup of lightning talks (including one which broached Italy's candidacy for YAPC::EU::2010), meet up with old friends and colleagues, and put some more names to nicks and faces.</p> osfameron 2008-12-01T09:31:23+00:00 journal Italian Perl Workshop 2008 http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/37521?from=rss <p> I went to my 3rd Italian Perl Workshop, <a href="http://conferences.yapceurope.org/ipw2008/">IPW2008</a> at the end of last week. It seems to have been the most successful Italian conference to date, and it certainly succeeded at being both a national workshop and an international event. It hadn't occurred to me before that these are actually two orthogonal aims. </p><p> <b> An international event </b> </p><p> The organizers managed to pull out all the stops with sponsorship. There's always various random swag, books for the auction, cheap/free use of rooms from the University. And in recent years, the conference has had just enough money to be completely free of charge, even with its (excellent) coffee and biscuit break. But this year, the <a href="http://conferences.yapceurope.org/ipw2008/call_sponsors.html"> "platinum", "gold" and "silver" sponsors</a> contributed enough money to pay travel and accomodation for speakers of international calibre: </p><ul> <li>Tim Bunce</li> <li>Rafa&#235;l Garcia-Suarez</li> <li>Marcus Ramberg</li> <li>Matt Trout</li> </ul><p> Other international attendees included Michel "XML::Twig" Rodriguez (though he lives in nearby Lucca and spoke in Italian); Bruno (a Pole who lives in Spain... or Amsterdam or something... I'm confused, especially as to why he attended the Pisa workshop<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-); a bevy of Norwegians from Opera's HR team; and another Norwegian expat who was completely unrelated; an Indian postgrad studentessa; and me, I guess. </p><p> Hmmm, 4 Norwegians, 3 Brits, 2 French. I wouldn't have expected quite that many Norwegians, largely because I'd never have thought that Opera, based in Oslo, would have been recruiting at a workshop in Italy. But it's on their "world tour" as several of the core Perl team for their social network are Italian. And they really capitalised on the opportunity, sending 3 perlisti and 2 HR, all of whom were very visible throughout, sponsored a competition for a Wii, and hired an interview room for recruiting sessions during the workshop. I'll be really interested to see how successful they, and the other recruiting companies (Wind, Dada, A-Tono) have been. It's very positive that Italian companies using Perl are getting involved like this. </p><p> Oh, the talks! Matt spoke about Devel::Declare, which rocks. I finally got to see Tim Bunce's Perl Myths talk in the flesh, and also his demo of Devel::NYTProf which is so beautiful it makes me want to cry. Marcus introduced Catalyst, and I missed the others, for various reasons. </p><p> <b> A national event </b> </p><p> There's a danger that the focus on the exotic allure of geeks arriving by luxurious Ryanair jet could distract from the fact that this is also the event for <i>Italian</i> programmers. Having two tracks, and a general policy of not scheduling 2 "guests" against each other worked very well here. </p><p> The first day's Italian talks concentrated on beginner and intermediate topics, including dakkar's tutorial and regex theory, and Flavio Poletti on writing IRC bots, though there was some crossover, as rgs also presented on coding style in English. The perl.it guys are really keen on appealing to new programmers, which is fantastic. (There was a little gnashing of teeth about how the recent Pycon in Italy had even more attendees despite being a younger conference.) </p><p> Not that it was all for beginners: emi spoke about Linux wifi captive portal setup; emazep showed a fantastic UI for constructing complex DB queries, running on Catalyst with jQuery; grubert presented a news portal prototyped in 2 months with the awesome power of CPAN; [LucaS] finally presented his workgroup software IGSuite, yay! Cosimo spoke about scaling and the Dogpile Effect at Opera. Sadly I missed the "GUI track" completely with Mattia Barbon, the author of WxPerl, and nids talking about Perl/TK. And finally I had to give an emergency talk myself to fill in a gap (went OK, trailed off towards the end). </p><p> <b> More info </b> </p><p> IPW2008 <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/event/ipw2008">slides</a> and <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/ipw2008/">photos</a> are already being posted, and larsen is collating blog posts to link to from the main perl.it page.</p> osfameron 2008-09-23T23:57:55+00:00 journal Italian Perl Workshop 2008 looking tempting http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/37075?from=rss The Italian Perlmongers are finalising their preparations for <a href="http://conferences.yapceurope.org/ipw2008/index.html">IPW 2008, Pisa</a>. I managed to get to the last 2 while I was working in Florence, and the organizers have always managed to get a great venue, coffee breaks with unusually nice biscuits, and put on a fantastic mix of talks and a lively hallway track. <p> Like all the national conferences, talks in previous years have been largely in the local language, with maybe a handful in English from expats and visitors. This year though, the organizers have also managed to get great sponsorship from Opera, Booking.com and others and as well as making the conference free, they're able to sponsor some fantastic guest speakers. <a href="http://www.perlmonks.org/index.pl?node_id=243263">Bepi</a> has already confirmed: </p><ul> <li> <a href="http://nordaaker.com/blog/">Marcus Ramberg</a> of <a href="http://www.catalystframework.org/">Catalyst</a> fame (speaking in English. Or possibly Norwegian<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-)</li><li> <a href="http://consttype.org/">Rafael Garcia Suarez</a>, Perl 5.10 pumpking (speaking in English... or French -- or Spanish?<nobr> <wbr></nobr>;-)</li> <li><nobr> <wbr></nobr>... other speakers to be advised (<b>Update</b> Oops, I pre-announced one of the speakers currently in discussion with Bepi, must have misunderstood the email, apologies to all, but I <i>do</i> hope that does get confirmed as it's tremendously exciting).</li> <li> And looking at the <a href="http://conferences.yapceurope.org/ipw2008/schedule">talk schedule</a>, it looks like Andrew Shitov (ash) from Moscow.pm and organizer of the Russian Perl Workshop will be talking on distributed programming with WWW::Page and Gearman, as part of his European tour (also in English)</li> </ul><p> All in all, there has never been a better time to go to an Italian Perl Workshop as a visitor, even if you don't speak Italian. It's all looking quite tempting, though I already have YAPC::EU the month before, hmmm... </p><p> Some notes on logistics if you're thinking of travelling to Pisa from outside Italy: </p><ul> <li> Pisa airport flies various low-cost routes (Ryanair, Easyjet and others) as well as some real airlines (I like the Meridiana Gatwick-Pisa flight). Some airlines fly to nearby Florence, Bologna, or Rome, and Pisa is a convenient transport hub with trains from these cities, and Europe (Paris, Vienna, Geneva). The conference page <a href="http://conferences.yapceurope.org/ipw2008/directions.html">summarizes travel options to Pisa</a>.</li> <li> <a href="http://conferences.yapceurope.org/ipw2008/accomodation.html">Some useful links for accomodation in Pisa</a></li> <li> The most important tourist sites in Pisa are conveniently clumped together in the "Campo dei Miracoli": the leaning tower, the Duomo and the Baptistery.</li> <li> Florence is about 1h30 away by train or coach. Damn I miss Florence...</li> </ul> osfameron 2008-08-01T08:42:23+00:00 journal Liverpool - talk on "Readable Perl", Tuesday 27th May http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/36488?from=rss I only recently discovered <a href="http://geekup.org/">GeekUp</a>, a very loose grassroots tech/social meetup society in North West UK -- I think that this idea -- a very loose organization based in a number of towns, with no single technology focus, is probably ideal unless you're in a large city that can really support multiple tech groups. So I didn't expect everyone there to be a massive Perl fan, and of course I got some gentle teasing about Perl being unreadable... and so of course I ended up volunteering to do a talk on "Readable Perl"...<blockquote><div><p> <a href="http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/691199/">3345 Parr Street, Liverpool, 27th May</a> <br> People like to claim Perl is line noise, with its sigils and regular expressions. But a lot of the features that make it possible to write, yes, truly awful, unreadable Perl, also let you write clean, maintainable code too. </p><ul> <li> those $%&amp;* sigils!</li> <li> There's More Than One Way To Do It</li> <li> strings and data structures</li> <li> map, grep, first class functions</li> <li> metaprogramming and the CPAN</li> <li> modern Object Oriented programming with Moose</li> </ul><p> 20 minutes</p></div> </blockquote><p> If any perlmongers are in the area, it would be lovely to see you!</p> osfameron 2008-05-21T22:21:15+00:00 journal YAPC::EU::2007::Vienna talks http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/34290?from=rss <p>First of all, a round up of the talks that I attended and <i>some</i> of those I wish I had.</p><p>Tuesday</p><p>Keynotes</p><p>Cog spoke on how to get the most out of a YAPC - funny and useful. Larry spoke, which was nice.</p><p>DB track</p><p>I would have liked to have seen Barbie's talk on Selenium, Juerd talking about tuits, Ranguard on evolving architecture, also apparently the perl/ssh for monitoring talk was good, and dakkar spent the morning in the Parrot hackathon playing with tree processing tools.</p><p>But I stayed in the DB track, catching the end of Smyler's "When MySQL Bites" (to get MySQL to not do certain insane things you have to tell it to behave "traditionally"). I stayed for Philip Stoev's talk on using MySQL client to talk to various databases (good subject matter but didn't hold interest) and Grrrr's talk on DBIx::Perlish (fantastic subject matter, weird syntax, crazy language hackery, didn't follow as closely as I should have. Note to self, as per Grrrr and mst, can't use overloaded ops for this, because you want to be able to really use flow control, which isn't covered by that interface.)</p><p>Catalyst track</p><p>I would have liked to have seen all of the talks (Jonathan Worthington on Parrot, markov's SOAP stuff, which sounded exciting when we discussed it at lunch - at last, some Perl SOAP stuff that might actually work!<br>Greg's funny talk. More markov on logging, Brian McCauley on "Usenet gems" and pjcj on the use of Perl in a London bank.) But you've got to make choices, so I settled for the catalyst track:</p><p>Saw mst's "Database Haters Anonymous". After first watching the awesome power of Linux failing to speak to a projector (this sight was common over the 3 days), we had a shorter, and angrier version of the talk, which was essentially "DBs suck. Software sucks. These people rock". Great fun, a potted overview of the people and some of the technology behind DBIx::Class.</p><p>I stayed for draven's (Marcus) talk about Iusethis. Great slides, interesting project, and Adam Bartosik on a Polish team's experience with Catalyst (sounded interesting, delivery could be improved, but props as a non-native speaker).</p><p>Various</p><p>I'd wanted to see Nigel Hamilton's talk on Trexy, but somehow having a reasonable lunch hour seemed more tempting. (This was my major critique of IPW2006 too, I think a lunch hour should last more than 1 hour).<br>I got to meet Nigel later in the week and discuss Trexy though. Nelson Ferraz's "Adventures in Perl 6" sounded great fun, but I plumped for acme's Scaling with memcached, which was great.</p><p>Next was difficult, and I had to skip Evil's news2mail (sorry!) and miyagawa's Web Scraper to see Jonathan Worthington on Parrot, but it was my only Perl 6 related talk, and I've never seen him talk before...<br>Interesting, especially as I've given up on trying to read and understand p6i in the last year. I had wanted to see BooK's Net::Proxy talk (highly acclaimed by everyone I spoke to who'd been to it) but ended up staying for Richard Dice's talk which was slightly dry to begin with, but was actually fascinating. Richard looked at various data about Perl, at the point of view of management and consultancies, and gave a convincing case for the importance of the role of The Perl Foundation.</p><p>Wednesday</p><p>Keynotes</p><p>Damian spoke about positronic variables. OK, as a concept, this didn't work out as useful and intuitive as Quantum Superpositions, but a Damian talk is something to be seen. A non-programmer could attend a Damian talk and be entertained. A great combination of research, improbable connections, silly surrealism, programming bravura, photoshop and theatre.</p><p>The sponsors of the "Jobs Fair" spoke for "5 minutes" each. This overran somewhat though, meaning that there was no time for coffee before Dominus's Repair Shop and Red Flags.</p><p>Dominus</p><p>OK, I'd have like to have seen various of the other talks, especially JJ on Functional Programming and the POE hackathon, but I've read Dominus's material on Red Flags, and wanted to see him perform it as he's a great speaker.</p><p>Didn't think all the examples worked as well as in the articles, but a great and useful talk.</p><p>Moose track</p><p>I missed clkao's talks on Jifty, as I've recently been <a href="http://osfameron.vox.com/library/post/the-red-black-moose.html">playing</a> with Moose. Stevan's talk was a little dry but I think communicated a lot of the advantages and excitement around Moose. Yuval's talk was inspiring in scope (his toy project MO uses a set of purely functional transforms to do very clever things to object model stuff) but was maybe a little overdetailed and I couldn't follow it very well.</p><p>Clash of the Titans</p><p>Dominus vs the Damian. How else would you schedule this? I'd seen Damian's Perl 6 update five or so years ago in Paris, decided to go for Dominus on functional parsing. Funnily enough, this is more or less the only chapter in HOP that I understand, so it was a useful refresher more than anything.</p><p>Thursday</p><p>Lightning talks</p><p>Some of the best lightning talks aren't:</p><p>BooK presented this year's French Perl Workshop with a cleverly put together video ("<i>Iasse! Oui nide iou!</i>")</p><p>A German from $foo presented Win32::GuiTest using... Win32::GuiTest. Fantastic (he had to move the mouse once to get the testing tool started again... but we'll let him off).</p><p>Cog did the last talk... and it overran just a little<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-)</p><p>Other stuff of note: Abigail complaining that File::Copy is broken, parsing OCR using Regexps, a comparison of image processing tools (conclusion: use Imager for processing, GD for creation), Juerd explained a simple workaround to make unicode string handling consistent.</p><p>The value of advance preparation and remembering where you put things.</p><p>If I'd prepared my slides earlier, I could have seen various intersting sounding talks about AI, the debugger, demerphq on regular expressions, Abigail on solving sudoku with regexps, and Gerard Goossen's talk about MAD and another cog talk (on how NOT to write a Perl resume...)</p><p>But first of all I was working on my slides. The great thing about having slides which are 95% complete is that they will stay 95% complete for ages until I get enough adrenalin kick to finish them.</p><p>Then I mislaid my bag. In the office with the auction goodies. Thanks to the lovely organizers for their patience and for seeking me out before I cancelled I of my cards.</p><p>My talk</p><p>I would quite happily have seen the utterly lovely Karen Pauley, and mock's talk on scalable data collections looked intersting but... it's probably polite to attend your own talk.</p><p>This went ok - I think I had too much material and it could have done with being either funnier or more informative. Still, the slides are up <a href="http://greenokapi.net/yapc/bigbadwolf.pdf">here</a> or at Skud's request on <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/osfameron/bigbadwolf">Slideshare</a>.</p><p>Counterexamples</p><p>Saw Trelane on why Perl sucks (and what to do about it) and Marty Pauley on Perl Worst Practises, and why variables are bad. (See also: Haskell).</p> osfameron 2007-08-30T21:46:55+00:00 journal Unexpected %INC behaviour on recursive use. http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/33519?from=rss <p>We noticed a lot of "subroutine redefined" warnings in our apache logs. A little investigation later, and it turns out the problem is with recursive uses. </p><p> Consider the following modules (named after the classic Italian metasyntactic characters)</p><blockquote><div><p> <tt> package Pippo;<br> use strict; use warnings;<br> use Data::Dumper;<br> BEGIN { warn Dumper( { Pippo =&gt; \%INC } ); }<br> use Pluto;<br> sub dummy1 { ; }<br> 1;</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p>and</p><blockquote><div><p> <tt> package Pluto;<br> use strict; use warnings;<br> use Data::Dumper;<br> BEGIN { warn Dumper( { Pluto =&gt; \%INC } ); }<br> use Pippo;<br> sub dummy2 {;}<br> 1;</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p> Here's some output for <tt>perl -c</tt> (trimming the Dumper output to just show these 2 modules)</p><blockquote><div><p> <tt>$ perl -c Pippo.pm<br>$VAR1 = {<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; 'Pippo' =&gt; { }<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; };<br>$VAR1 = {<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; 'Pluto' =&gt; {<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;'Pluto.pm' =&gt; 'Pluto.pm',<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;}<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; };<br>$VAR1 = {<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; 'Pippo' =&gt; {<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;'Pippo.pm' =&gt; 'Pippo.pm',<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;'Pluto.pm' =&gt; 'Pluto.pm',<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;}<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; };<br>Subroutine dummy1 redefined at Pippo.pm line 8.<br>Pippo.pm syntax OK</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p> That is, the first module, Pippo, doesn't set its entry in %INC until after it's finished processing. The use'd module sets its entry in %INC immediately, which is handy, as otherwise we'd have an infinite recursive use. As it is, only Pippo gets used twice, triggering the "Subroutine redefined" warning. </p><p> I whined about this in #london.pm, and Nicholas suggested that the timing of this behaviour might possibly be considered a bug. Is there a case for saying that %INC should be set for the file first invoked by <tt>perl</tt>? </p><p> Recursive uses are very likely on the "well don't do that" list, but the timing surprises me in any case. </p> osfameron 2007-06-14T11:57:31+00:00 journal Firenze.pm July meeting http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/30308?from=rss Happily, the tuna fish has returned to Rose's sushi bar, hurrah! I have a digital video camera on loan from my brother, who has decided he doesn't have anything interesting to do with it (in Kyrgystan) so I brought it along to embarrass the assembled (larsen, Mattia, Riccardo, Cicci, Emiliano, Simone, Anshul), stop conversation, and record a mixture of rather dark blurs and some very bright, slow motion blurs (as this is what happens in the low light mode). Among the topics of conversation: <ul> <li> Why we should really be using Java (but note to Java proponents, saying "there's lots of reusable code in the J2EE framework" won't impress most Perl programmers because by and large they will fall into one of 2 camps: the NIHers who may at a pinch use CGI and DBI and probably don't see the point; and the CPAN-addicted, who can't really see how Java has an advantage here. </li><li> On the other hand Perl programmers may not say "Java is slow" as often as proponents of other languages (perhaps because we get that too...) </li><li> How to order sushi in Japan (bring along a Japanese professor) </li><li> some incomprehensible Tuscan muttering about linen. </li><li> The best seat in the house at Cabaret Larsen's incredible performance of the life and times of Winnie "sex &amp; violence" the Pooh! </li><li> The forthcoming firenze.pm technical meet </li></ul><p> After Rose's, Simone led us to Grom where we enjoyed "Il Gelato di una volta" and Cicci petitioned the assembled savants for Perl wisdom. I didn't even understand the question (serious voodoo with source filters to create a macro to lock thread variables because you can't use a function as that's in the correct lexical scope) but Simone after mentioning preprocessor macros with <tt>perl -P</tt> then suggested this might be an XY question and pointed sagely in the direction of the shiny `memcached`. And there was much rejoicing.</p> osfameron 2006-07-17T07:34:46+00:00 journal Blasphemy http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/29735?from=rss <p> I didn't ever really make a distinction between normal swearing (usually about bodily parts, fluids, and actions/professions involving them) and blasphemy, apart from, when talking to Christian friends, feeling a little self-conscious about using "Christ!" as a mere interjection, when to them it's a good bit more important. </p><p> The Italians have some wonderful blashpemies, and as a non-native speaker, it's very easy to assimilate them. In the office once, after I came out with "Porco Dio!" (piggy God), larsen suggested that I should maybe be aware of who I was saying it to, as it was a "bestemmia" and therefore in quite a different category from normal cursing. And in fact, a few days later $boss commented unhappily when I said "Porca Madonna!" a little too loudly ("Porca puttana!" - "Piggy whore" - wouldn't have raised an eyelid of course). </p><p> Yet I was surprised to find myself feeling something which I <i>think</i> may be similar to the emotion of outrage in the face of blasphemy, on seeing someone in an online forum with a nick of "Muad D'ib". I'm not sure if this is because this prophet of a fictional universe means more to me than one venerated in this one, or whether it's because by and large people don't call themselves "God", "Jesus" (unless they're Spanish speakers), or similar just because they think it sounds cool. </p> osfameron 2006-05-27T10:54:58+00:00 journal Firenze.pm May meeting http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/29590?from=rss <p> The event was sadly marred by two exceptions, ENOGLORIOUSLEADER, and ENOBELHAVEN. larsen was kept behind at work and arrived around 11pm, while even more tragically, Belhaven Ale has disappeared from the James Pub, never to return. (Apparently they don't do enough business in Italy to make it worth their while delivering, which is a crying shame, as it's one of the few places I know where you could get a decent pint of bitter). </p><p> As well as usual suspect Mattia, we were joined by valdez and Riccardo from Dada, doubled the number of students (Spire and mithenks) and had a surprise visit from davidebe who had traveled from Bologna and wandered the streets of Florence before arriving at the same time as larsen. </p><p> The P-word was mentioned, though rarely, with conversation focusing on </p><ul> <li> The 3 types of recorded messages at train stations. (<i>loquendo</i> is apparently good for the speech synthesis side of things.)</li> <li> SSH tunneling for idiots (me)</li> <li> Standards, HTML and CSS in Firefox and IE</li> <li> The Italians may care about Slow Food, but the British care <a href="http://www.beerintheevening.com/"> about</a> <a href="http://www.camra.org.uk/"> Beer.</a></li> <li> Wireless and the thick walls of old houses in Bologna and Rome</li> <li> Sneakernets</li> <li> SMS</li> <li> J2ME, and a notepad for phones</li> <li> Google's Summer of Code</li> <li><nobr> <wbr></nobr><tt>.odt</tt>, and hippy professors. Openoffice almost good enough to use at at version 2.0</li> <li><nobr> <wbr></nobr><tt>.ps</tt> a standard my arse.</li> <li> HTML optional declarations</li> <li> Writing an operating system in Perl for fun and er.. fun</li> <li> the Perl Rescue Team!</li> <li> Tripods, flashes, and the "startled rabbit" effect</li> <li> Networks running on ENEL (the Italian national grid) - which still sounds like sci-fi to me</li> <li> How to pronounce Margaret Thatcher (and why some people wish we didn't)</li> <li> Hacknight</li> <li> Catch 22 (not as well-known a phrase in Italian, not sure how it's translated - "Clausola 22" ?)</li> </ul><p> Plus various other stuff that I either didn't catch, wasn't interested in, forgot to note down, or can't read my notes for... comments welcome. Ah, yes, I recounted a story which involves larsen, an unexpected time change, mobile phones, an Italian hotelier, and my mother. And (according to IRC) a Malaysian tiger, but I'll come back to that another time. </p><p> <b>Update 12 May:</b> Spire gave me permission to host his <a href="http://greenokapi.net/perl/2006_05_firenze.pm/images">photos</a> of the meeting.</p> osfameron 2006-05-12T06:13:29+00:00 journal Montalbano ero http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/29575?from=rss <p> Yesterday, I discovered on the RAI website, that the Italian state TV was showing Montalbano on Tuesdays at 9pm. This was hugely exciting as I'm a big fan of the series of books on the Sicilian detective, and it was Tuesday at 9:15. Italian TV tends to run later than its trains - unlike the UK where only events of extreme national importance such as war breaking out or snooker will make the TV run late, the baffling game show that came before continued for another 15 minutes. Disappointingly, when it started, I realized it was one of the few adaptations I'd already seen. Worse, it looks like they've already been running the series for 2 months and that was the last one. This will teach me to not check the TV guides on the basis that there is never anything on apart from Lost and Chi Vuole Essere Milionario... Riccardo suggests a handy <a href="http://www.televideo.rai.it/televideo/pub/popupTelevideo.jsp?p=505&amp;s=1&amp;r=Nazionale"> teletext emulator</a> </p><p> The good news, should I ever be connected in a situation other than a) at work, or b) over the end of a phone, is that 8 of the 12 episodes are available on <a href="http://www.raiclick.it/raiclick_tv/fiction.html">raiclick</a>. (if I can work out the user interface, which seems to contain lots of non-clickable links, and pdf catalogues). </p> osfameron 2006-05-10T07:39:29+00:00 journal Which J2ME phone http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/29547?from=rss I've noticed a few people on freenode #j2me ask "Which phone should I use to start Java development on?". The question slightly surprised me - I became interested in J2ME the first time I got a sufficiently interesting phone (SE P800 with touch sensitive screen) rather than the other way round. I've been wondering about the criteria, and thought of the following. <ul> <li>reasonable JVM (stability / speed)</li><li>does it support MIDP 2.0 ?</li><li>what are the tools provided <ul> <li>PC suite to browse and exchange files between PC and phone </li><li> emulators </li></ul></li> <li>and do they work on your platform (Nokia's PC suite doesn't on Linux for example)</li><li>bluetooth to connect and upload your midlets to the phone (because that seems to work, more or less)</li><li>type of phone (smartphone / PIM-like phone / UIQ device etc?)</li></ul><p> &lt;obperl&gt;I see that Jarkko's Perl for Symbian project is still on hold with just the core language and no support for the phone GUI and feature APIs...&lt;/obperl&gt;</p> osfameron 2006-05-07T07:46:11+00:00 journal 110 volt eggs http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/29459?from=rss My mum's Finnish family visited them recently, so in an Easter parcel I got sent some chocolate eggs, the classic Fazer Mignon in a special "110 V" edition. V for "vuotta" as, apparently, the eggs have been produced for 110 years in Finland. They take a chicken egg, remove the egg, then fill it with a tasty nougat chocolate, then plug the hole with sugar. This is to me so obviously a clever (and tasty) way of doing a chocolate egg, that I'm surprised that I haven't seen the concept in other countries. Perhaps it is patented? Or does this particular easter tradition exist in many other places in the world? osfameron 2006-04-27T12:06:56+00:00 journal Last night's Firenze.pm social http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/29309?from=rss <p>We met at Rose's, a cafe and sushi bar. As well as the usual suspects,<br>larsen, me, Mattia, Piero, Simone (all from Dada), and dakkar (now working at<br>Ask.com), we were joined by some more dadaisti - Massimo, and Marco 2.0 - and some<br>others: student Claudio, and Leonardo of it.discussioni.misteri fame.</p><p>Apart from a major ENOTUNA error, food and drink were pleasant, with several<br>people trying sushi for the first time and a goodly number of shiny 2 litre cans of Asahi<br>consumed. We discussed (among other things)</p><p> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - how to cook sushi<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - the perils of sake on an empty stomach<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - how to get sysadmins to do things<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - INTERCAL<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - why kids these days don't study enough maths at Uni<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - Why (and whether) OpenOffice.org takes 2-20 minutes to open up<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - spending other people's money on overspecced servers<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - Jehovah's witnesses. In the rain.<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - ACT<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - How to get yourself on the banned words list of the Scientologists web<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; browser<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - Why not all questions can be answered "Yes/No/Maybe".<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - Is that an African or a European "swallow" ?<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - Sharepoint<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - The Javascript sufferer's club<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - An unusual nervous tic on a table of great historic and cultural interest<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - Tuscany: it's all just hills and flood plains really.<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - Night shift<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - Do girls talk about politics on nights out?<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - Laws on database security<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - "Precarious" work<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - Daring maths<br> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; - Tuscan dialect lesson: "Baccagliare" (Bajagliare)</p> osfameron 2006-04-13T07:40:57+00:00 journal Firenze.pm meet http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/28929?from=rss <p> <a href="http://use.perl.org/~larsen">Larsen</a>, the evil overlord of <a href="http://firenze.pm.org/">firenze.pm</a> compelled us (by an unholy mix of blackmail, bribery, and voodoo) to meet at James Pub, Florence, a Scottish-themed bar. We met Mattia "<a href="http://wxperl.sourceforge.net/">WxPerl</a>" Barbon, Simone Piunno of <a href="http://www.ferrara.linux.it/">Ferrara Lug</a>, Piero of <a href="http://www.firenze.linux.it/">Firenze Lug</a>, and, to prove that we are not just <a href="http://www.dada.net/">dada</a>.pm (No, <a href="http://dada.perl.it/">not</a> <a href="http://www.peak.org/~dadaist/English/TextOnly/index.html">that</a> dada, we had a special guest, <a href="http://use.perl.org/~dakkar">dakkar</a>, one of the masterminds of <a href="http://conferences.yapceurope.org/ipw2006/index.html">IPW</a>. (Another, bepi was unable to come citing the hordes of <a href="http://www.lunario.com/index.php?Mod=2&amp;Doc=157&amp;Lev=9">women</a> roaming the streets tonight). </p><p> We drank <a href="http://www.belhaven.co.uk/">Belhaven Best</a> and ate tasty foccacce, and chatted, as is customary of things other than Perl, such as haggis, <a href="http://svk.elixus.org/">svk</a>, Irn Bru and the Scottish diet, the similarly fat-laden Modenese diet, <a href="http://www.ferrarafiere.it/ferrara/gastronomia/salama_eng.htm">Salama</a> from Ferrara (take a raw salami, leave it 2 years. Er... profit!), the North/South divide in frying (Olive oil versus butter), why can't you milk a pig anyway?, <a href="http://www.worldsbestbars.com/city/florence/kikuya-florence.htm">Kikuya</a>, Pisan studentesse, Firefly, <a href="http://www.ubuntulinux.org/">ubuntu</a>'s silent sudo errors, <a href="http://it.ask.com/">Ask.com</a>, distributed hashtables, 20,000 Leagues under the sea and <a href="http://www.sergiobonellieditore.it/nathan/servizi/chie.html">Nathan Never</a> (in that order), Glaswegians <a href="http://catalyst.perl.org/">Catalyst</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sangiovese">wine</a>, <a href="http://www.winehq.org/">Wine</a>, Italian publishers, DVI, and why it really is better than VGA, X11, lightning talks, Birmingham, a patch (literally) for last year's IPW Perl6 t-shirt, <a href="http://www.igsuite.org/">IGWiki</a>, how to tell when it's stopped raining, how to be a cultural organization for fun and profit (case study: Sora Margherita), the O'Reilly user group program, is Italy going back to the Lira or should I be more wary of free newspapers?, <i>il Vernacoliere</i> and the eclectic reading habits of the patrons of Stratos in Castiglione. And of other plans for world domination so secret that if I were to write them here, I'd have to kill you. Sorry, them's the rules. </p> osfameron 2006-03-09T00:26:15+00:00 journal Get things done http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/28800?from=rss <p>I have a problem getting things done. Over the last few years, I've progressed from a "paperwork is dull and hard, I'll leave it till the last possible moment to do it" to a progressive gnawing anxiety. Right now, I'm between 2 flats in different countries and I'm just not coping very well.</p><p>So I'm trying GTD. As the 3 English bookshops I tried didn't have it today, and it doesn't seem to have been translated into English, I've found a few resources online, and it doesn't seem overcomplicated. I still have to master what has become a fear of actually looking at paperwork - actually, the Mind Sweep going through everything is quite helpful. (It is possibly slightly unrepresentative, as I've been here for 4 months, and have another 8 or more years' accumulated crap to face when I get back to UK).</p><p>I don't have all the stationery, and the local <i>Cartolerie</i> close Saturday afternoon, so I don't even have the famous 43 folders for a tickler file (but I think that's probably something to add later). In fact I don't have any folders at all, just some multi-pocket folders, which seemed a bit inflexible for the task.<br>So I've been loosely stuffing things in labeled envelopes and placing the lot in a Moulinex box, which was the right size but opened the wrong way. After hacking a hole in the top, I realized that it wasn't stable enough. As I had no staples, I had to improvise with some cable ties threaded through a hole drilled in the two loose sides of the box with a pair of scissors. In fact, I'm not sure what kind of folders to get. In one of the articles on davidco.com he mentions not to use a particular type of hanging folder, but I don't get what he's suggesting as the alternative. Document Wallets? Or the completely loose folded over piece of card ones (I don't even really get what those are for).</p> osfameron 2006-02-25T18:16:21+00:00 journal rucksacks http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/28792?from=rss <p>When I was studying in Bologna back in the heady days of 1997, I noticed an interesting fashion anomaly. Italians tend to be well turned out, even the students. But they had a blind spot for rucksacks from Invicta. They are large, shapeless, and come in hideous mismatches of colour that would be considered laughable in the UK, yet entire posses of students would sport them. Actually not just students, sometimes people in business dress too, looking like complete pratts as a consequence.<br>(I'm aware that my fashion sense is, er, not especially well developed, so take with the appropriate quantity of salt, but it is rather odd).</p><p>For well over a year I've had a smallish walking rucksack which just about fitted my laptop in its sleeve, cables, possibly a jumper and a diary and a bottle of water. Cramming this much crap into it often required taking everything out and rearranging it at annoying moments. blech pointed me in the direction of timbuk3 laptop bags, but I was too stingy to shell out for one. larsen finally took pity on me and suggested that his local department store had sold him his - a padded "sporty" rucksack with lots of compartments for laptop, documents, cables - for 30 Euros, and kindly brought one for me when he went home for the weekend. I'm calling it a late present from parents' Christmas money.</p> osfameron 2006-02-24T13:11:33+00:00 journal Bicycles http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/28740?from=rss <p>On the walk into work, about to cross the bridge (not the Ponte Vecchio, the far less exciting one just after) I saw what my brain, a moment later, processed as one of the saddest things I've seen. A bearded guy on a bike was also keeping another, smaller bike upright next to him. He seemed to speak to it, as if the child that used to ride it was still there.</p><p>As I turned onto the bridge, I turned back to check traffic before crossing, and noticed that he'd let the small bike fall over and was stumbling to pick it up.</p> osfameron 2006-02-20T08:33:18+00:00 journal Pretty test results, pretty Petals. http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/28722?from=rss <p> I knocked together some shiny testing results thinking it might help evangelise Test driven development - what do you know, it seems to work! I was surprised to discover that the "developers" list includes the senior Project Manager, when he responded to my announcement of a test page by bounding over enthusiastically to say how great it was seeing all those green boxes. </p><p> The helpful chaps on #london.pm had pointed me in the direction of <tt>Test::TAP::HTMLMatrix</tt>, originally developed for Pugs by the lambdacamels. It uses <tt>Test::TAP::Model</tt>, a module that reads "TAP" compliant testing output (i.e. what Perl testing modules do anyway) and turns it into something that not only humans, but also machines can read. </p><p> The HTML Matrix is lovely, but uses Petal... "Yet Another Templating Language" I groaned, and was only mollified when the installation via CPAN.pm as non-root actually worked (C-code and all!). (Actually HTMLMatrix itself didn't install because of the syntax <code>my __PACKAGE__ $self = shift;</code> which I didn't realize was even valid yet (and more importantly, the version of Perl on dev box doesn't either... Anyway, should be patched, because <em>a)</em> this is a utility module, useful for everyone, even people on older perls, who maybe need to evangelise testing the most (so they can convince all($boss, @sysadmins) that the code will still work on an upgrade), and <em>b)</em> it really doesn't need to use bleeding edge code just 'coz it's trendy, the code works jus'wunnerful without it (though I haven't checked if any tests fail as a result - I'm editing in my own sandbox and still need to set up a working practise for submitting patches to vendor modules - any pointers?). </p><p> I wanted to edit the template and looked at the Petal source, first of all recoiling in horror at the fact that it uses XML-like tags (having recently developed an allergy to HTML::Template). But then I decided to refactor to allow pluggable templating engines (on the basis that if I ever get this installed as a non-skunkworks project, they'd probably rather I use the aforementioned so-called templating module as it's the in-house standard). </p><p> The first step after separating out <tt>Test::TAP::HtmlMatrix::Petal</tt> was to implement <tt>Test::TAP::HtmlMatrix::TT</tt> and convert the template. At which point I had to look more at the TAL syntax. Actually it seems rather sane: it uses XHTML so it can process it very efficiently, and in many cases the resulting source is much more compact and elegant than the TT version, which doesn't know anything about XML. </p><p> The only disadvantage for me (apart from the recent doubts about whether it's even worth serving XHTML at all until browsers catch up) is that I actually like the way the <code>[% %]</code> tags stand out against HTML code. </p><p> Plugging Test::TAP::Model into TT doesn't quite work unfortunately - when TT processes [% foo.bar %] it's actually implicitly doing [% (stash).foo.bar %], so for each dot operation it checks to see whether the left operand is the root (stash). Unfortunately it does this using <code>eq</code>, and T::TAP::HTMLM is an overloaded package (it stringifies to its HTML representation) but doesn't overload <tt>eq</tt>. I'm surprised this hasn't come up before (that or my minicpan is very out of date), but patched my copy of TT::Stash to eq the <tt>ref</tt>'s instead of the objects. Again, this seems to work, but as I haven't run test suites for either module, who knows... the alternative would be, I guess, to patch T::TAP::HTMLM to overload <tt>eq</tt>. </p> osfameron 2006-02-18T11:42:31+00:00 journal Oltrarno http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/28598?from=rss <p>I moved, temporarily, into a "monolocale", a studio flat, in the Oltrarno, only to be greeted by a complete lack of cutlery or crockery. Or, to be completely honest, some plastic cups and a steak knife. And the boiler didn't work. Though I was irked about the boiler, I wasn't even entirely sure whether I had the right to expect the place to be furnished with <i>stoviglie</i>, but when I spoke to the agenzia, the lady was disappointed on my behalf and chased the landord up. He called me later, and arrived, apologising profusely, and bearing a metric bucketload of plates, cups, glasses, graters, cafetieres, and decent pots and pans (actually, he didn't bear them, citing a problem with his arm, I got to lug them up the stairs). Now, the flat is better supplied than I'd expected, except that then we realised that the gas wasn't on at all.</p><p>When we found that the gas meter was sealed off, it emerged that the flat had stood empty for a year, and it was just possible that he'd forgotten to pay the bill. (The next day, he called to say that he has proof that he's paid the bill, but that Fiorentinagas must have cut it off because there was no gas usage). Finally, it emerges that his account with them is definitively closed, so they won't start the service the next day, but because he has a friend of a friend who works there, it will get sorted out on Tuesday... As he's offered a reasonable amount of money off the rent, I've been sticking out till then hoping that it's resolved then. We also discussed my getting a camping gas stove which he'd refund, but gf suggested that a kettle would make sense instead as we'll need one anyway. The Italians don't really go for electric kettles all that much, but I manage to get one for EUR 9.50.</p><p>Only it has the wrong sort of plug. I'm vaguely aware of some of the different sorts of plugs. There is a basic type which is either 2 or 3 pin - a 2 pin plug will go in a 3 pin socket (but not vice versa of course). Then there is a variant of that design but in a round recess. Apparently you should only put round plugs in the recessed sockets, and the non-rounded ones in the other sort, as they're hard to get out (e.g. they're accidentally compatible but they're actually subtly different sizes!) The kettle has 2 round prongs, thicker than the others. Cunningly, there are no plugs of this sort in the flat, but, 2 days later (cos I didn't get it together to find an open ironmongers on Sunday) I have an adaptor and hot water at last.</p> osfameron 2006-02-06T22:53:37+00:00 journal Perl Pizza http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/28414?from=rss from the perl.it blog, an <a href="http://www.perl.it/blog/archives/000226.html"> important announcement</a> (roughly translated here)<blockquote><div><p>On #nordest.pm, every now and then we talk about pizza. One of our number is in fact a pizzaiolo... one thing led to another, and we decided to create the "Pizza Perl". Ipc0P, owner of the Pizzeria Lo Sfizio has created 9 pizzas of his own invention: </p><ol> <li>truffle cream, 4 cheeses, cherry tomatoes, fresh mushrooms</li> <li>fresh mushrooms, brie, greek olives</li> <li>onions, pancetta bacon, greek olives</li> <li>fresh mushrooms, parmesan shavings, rocket, cherry tomatoes</li> <li>vegetable: aubergine, olives, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, etc</li> <li>mozzarella, aubergine, roast potato</li> <li>buffalo mozzarella, spicy salami, wurstel sausage</li> <li>tomato, Italian sausage, capers</li> <li>cherry tomatoes, rocket, smoked scamorza cheese</li> </ol><p> Now it's time to vote: which do you prefer? The winner will go on the menu!</p></div> </blockquote> osfameron 2006-01-20T12:40:57+00:00 journal Enigma http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/28369?from=rss <p> Being a fan of the "English style" Guardian cryptic crossword, I thought I'd check out the Italian ones - larsen recommended <i>La Settimana Enigmistica</i>, a classic which hasn't changed format since its inception. In fact at the <i>edicola</i> there are about a dozen magazines toting the same crossword + rebus + jokes format, though not the famous Settimanale when I looked. </p><p> The clues are more or less straight-forward, similar to "quick crossword" clues. Rather than the symmetrical grids of white and black cells favoured in UK, most puzzles are the American style grids, largely white, with most words crossed at every point, and very few blacked out cells (often placed haphazardly rather than aesthetically.) </p><p> I think that when I can do one of these crosswords I will be able to say that I really know Italian. It doesn't just required a good vocabulary, but also general knowledge - of TV presenters, the fact that Charlie Chaplin's tramp character is called "Charlot" (with a French pronunciation apparently) and so on. </p><p> The favoured layout seems to create a fair number of 2 and 3 letter words. Unfortunately, there aren't all that many 2 and 3 letter words in Italian, so rather than change the layout, the preferred solution has been to write really bad clues instead, and relax the convention that the word be a word. "Lega Italiana di Naturisti" --&gt; "LIN", and "Schopenhauer's initials" are 2 of the better ones. "Meta' casa" (half the word "casa" --&gt; "CA"), "Gli estremi del boom" --&gt; ("BM")... </p><p> (Apparently the recommended publication had better clues). </p><p> There are also barred grids (like those used by Azed in the Observer), and "self-defining puzzles" like the ones popular in Finland where the clues are in the non-light cells. A nice innovation I thought, are the grids where you are told how many black cells there should be, but not where they are located. </p><p> There are also some cartoons, most of which seem to be about how hilarious it is that women shop so much. A peculiarity is that when the cartoon has no words, the editor seems to think it necessary to give the caption "Senza parole", perhaps in case we would otherwise think the words had been lost by printers error. (Which reminds me of an Italian TV guide which captioned every picture from a film "Una scena dal film"). </p> osfameron 2006-01-16T15:18:38+00:00 journal More linux-- http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/28364?from=rss <p> Once I'd actually managed to get a UMTS connection, I thought I'd share the love and let larsen, who I'm temporarily sharing with, connect via wifi. Dorward kindly dug up some links on masquerade, a way to share your internet connection that appears to require <a href="http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/IP-Masquerade-HOWTO/">grokkage</a>. He also passed me <a href="http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-91370.html">this cookbook</a>, which was much nicer (though not especially successful). </p><p> Of course, the next day, I tried to dial up again, and failed. I hates computers. Yesterday, with some more random modprobeing and editing of wvdial.conf, a lot of swearing, and the odd reboot of phone and laptop, I managed to get an IP address! But no data transfer. </p><p> All was revealed when I got into work and couldn't connect to the LAN either. Using the cookbook, I'd managed to get my iptables to drop all packets. Handily $colleague{Riccardo} knew the incantation to reset iptables </p><blockquote><div><p> <tt>iptables -F; iptables -P INPUT ACCEPT; iptables -P OUTPUT ACCEPT; iptables -nL</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p> and all was well. </p><p> But I shouldn't have to know all this. I want a big button labelled "Make it all worky!" (As nnunley suggests, the button is optional, merely there to assuage your techy self-worth, much like the egg in shop-bought cake-mix). </p> osfameron 2006-01-16T10:27:22+00:00 journal Linux UMTS woes http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/28343?from=rss <p>Mainly, I'm glad I'm using Ubuntu instead of WinXP, it's quite shiny, I like it.</p><p>Right now is one of those times where I consider going back to XP or even swallowing the "No, fool! You don't want to be able to maximize windows! Idiot! Why would you want to do that?" pill.</p><p>Trying to get the shiny Merlin U530 modem which I have managed to get assigned working, I've been advised by people and articles to look at the output of dmesg, grep the syslog for "acm", modprobe stuff, lsmod it, use gnome-ppp, edit<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/etc/chatscripts, use GPRSEasyConnect, and a number of other things, most of which I don't understand. Does the card need a driver? Is Ubuntu seeing the card? Is it recognizing it on the right port? Absolutely no idea.</p><p>I've had great help on irc (NB to self #ubuntu-it is that much smaller than #ubuntu that you actually get to read the help offered before it disappears off the scrollback), but I'm suffering extreme cognitive dissonance, not sure which manpages I should rtfm - hopefully ones clearer than the pptp docs, something tutorial shaped would help.</p> osfameron 2006-01-13T18:25:16+00:00 journal Assumiamo! http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/28300?from=rss <p>No, "assumiamo" doesn't make an ass of u and, er, Miamo, rather it means "We're hiring" in Italian:<br><a href="http://jobs.perl.org/job/3500">Web Developer, DADA, Florence, Italy</a></p><p>It looks like the Italian perl community is now promoting jobs.perl.org more effectively, there are currently 4 jobs posted since December on the <a href="http://jobs.perl.org/country/Italy">Italian index</a>.</p><p>Feel free to grab me on IRC if you want more (informal - I'm not responsible in any way for hiring) detail about the job.</p><p><b>Update:</b> After some feedback from various mongers, $boss has now reposted the ad with a guide salary, and a note on language. (Basically, if you're not fluent in Italian then English + conversational Italian is highly desirable).</p> osfameron 2006-01-10T13:48:44+00:00 journal Serenity http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/28011?from=rss <p>After greedily watching the best part of Firefly in a weekend, I became slightly obsessed and got increasingly frustrated that, having missed the run of Serenity in UK, it was later than advertised in Florence, ran only for a week I had to return to Liverpool on a Thursday. (And it was just that bit out of town that I didn't manage to get to it.)</p><p>Now though I did finally see it, and was slightly disappointed. I understand recapping the Tams/crew tensions that were resolved in the <i>Objects in space</i> for the benefit of first-timers. I also get that myth-rewriting can justify airbrushing out the men with hands of blue (too sillysinister and powerful?), but I was irked that Simon here knows more about River's situation right at the beginning than he discovered only in <i>Ariel</i> and later in the series.</p><p>But that's nit-picking, just like my "oh, look, Mal is now inexplicably able to defeat the far superior bad guy in hand to hand combat, <i>yawn</i>" concern: more importantly, the grand secret at the heart of it was unconvincing, especially the reactions (personal and political) to it. And a general point that there could be many more secrets was glossed over.</p><p>Hrmpf, I guess that's also nitpicking, I guess I just didn't get the same sense of fun, adventure from this as from the series.</p> osfameron 2005-12-15T21:54:29+00:00 journal Melting router http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/27979?from=rss <p>Proving that filesharing is bad, kids, my wireless ADSL router melted after a 12 hour bittorrent download, leaving only some untwinkling lights and a worrying burnt electric smell. Luckily, the Apple Centre agreed to look for my receipt (I could only find the iPod receipt to prove I was a valued customer) rather than chasing me away in disgrace. Apparently, though the receipts are printed out, they aren't put into a DB, so someone at head office had to go through all the sales in the period I got the ADSL line installed, which was nice of them.</p><p>Annoyingly, they couldn't provide a replacement immediately (bought more than 6 months ago), nor could they loan me even an old crappy one, sell me one on the basis that I'd nudge nudge wink wink take it back when I got the replacement, or rent one to me. This sucks. They did suggest though, that places like PC World might have cheaper ones for 30 quid or so.</p><p>This wasn't the case. Their wireless ones cost 70+, and the cheap wired only one was 45 (but was out of stock). Eventually I came across a Zoom ADSL modem for 25 quid, it's not a router, it just plugs into USB port of a Windows or Mac machine but anything to get a connection.</p><p>I tried briefly to get it to work with Linux, then gave up and commandeered gf's iBook, which at least lets me work though it's yet another set of keyboard mappings to get used to. (Alt+3 for #, Fn-Down for PgDown except in terminal where that scrolls the buffer and you have to do Shift-Fn-Down).</p><p>Netgear customer support is rather unimpressive, an Indian call center, but with attitude. Various people called them while I was away pretending to be me, or my wife apparently, with one call securing a "Yes we'll send a replacement" but then a 20 minute hold and cut-off, and another having the tech support guy berating my girlfriend for not having the serial number to hand.</p><p>I called and after 20 minutes of faffing and repeating technical details and spellings of names agreed that they would email me some freepost labels within 24 hours. They didn't do this because they'd spelt my email address wrong, promised to fix it, put me on hold, cut me off, didn't change the address, and are now posting me the freepost labels via "normal post".</p> osfameron 2005-12-14T17:20:05+00:00 journal On the ward http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/27978?from=rss Note to self: when I heard the nurses gossiping that an old gent had asked to be moved from a single room onto the ward, I thought he was crazy. In fact, he got moved into our room, introduced himself straight away, and in retrospect, I think he had the right idea. Once the guy opposite who was either mentally disturbed, tripping on morphine, or both, got transferred (handily to the vacated single), it was far nicer to have some social contact on the ward than it would have been staring at the ceiling on your own. osfameron 2005-12-14T17:03:03+00:00 journal Broadgreen http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/27977?from=rss <p> Broadgreen has the reputation of being the better, and friendlier of Liverpool's two main hospitals. This impression isn't confirmed on entering (the main entrance is unmarked, or rather, it is marked as something else - the CTC centre next door gets an arrow pointing in, while the hospital just has a sign and no arrow. I continued down the road and had to ask a parking attendant to make sure I even had the right building. Still, I must have looked confident as I was asked by someone if I worked there (I forgot to check if he was also just looking for the way in). </p><p> As I'd missed the main entrance and couldn't see any signs pointing even to the reception, I asked a passing nurse where my clinic was. "Oh, that's in the new building", she said, before admitting she didn't know how to get in there. Luckily the woman on the charity flower stall nearby did, and pointed me in the right direction. The clinic was marked, first with official signs, then with laser printouts, up until a corridor where the trail went dead. I waited for another nurse to pass, but she had no idea where it was, though she sympathised about the missing signs, "It's a new building, so they don't like the printouts because they look messy". She agreed with my desperate suggestion that I use my mobile to call the appointment line on my letter to check with them. As I dialled, another guy came up and asked the nurse for the same clinic. While navigating the appointment line menus, the same guy spotted a water-cooler attendant who knew the layout better: it was downstairs. We called the lift - the next sign was inside it. </p> osfameron 2005-12-14T16:52:19+00:00 journal XXY http://use.perl.org/~osfameron/journal/27975?from=rss Over this last longer-than-expected long-weekend, I got to see the fantastic Young Gods, celebrating <a href="http://younggods.com/cms/front_content.php?idcat=99">20 years</a> of avant garde Swiss noise at Liverpool's Masque Venue. Blinding. osfameron 2005-12-14T16:40:50+00:00 journal