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petdance (2468)

AOL IM: petdance (Add Buddy, Send Message)
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I'm Andy Lester, and I like to test stuff. I also write for the Perl Journal, and do tech edits on books. Sometimes I write code, too.

Journal of petdance (2468)

Wednesday June 07, 2006
10:34 AM

Spreading knowledge just by talking

[ #29837 ]
Last night's Chicago Perl Mongers meeting was a good one. We had a bunch of new folks show up, and we had pseudo-lightning talks, so there was a lot of good interaction. In the strict sense, lightning talks are 5 minute talks, where you're given exactly 5 minutes and at the end of that time, you're done. When you only have 5 people doing lightning talks, you get lax with the timer.

My lightning talk was supposed to be talking about ack, my grep replacement, but as other people did their talks, I kept adding little notes of things I wanted to mention.

I try to remember that not everyone who does Perl sits immersed in it 24/7, or maybe even do it as their primary programming activity. I try to do as much as I can to let people know cool things they can do that they might not have known about, just by mentioning them.

Topics I covered:

  • ack
  • Why the CPAN is better than PEAR
    • Because the PEAR is regulated and you can only put stuff on it if it's approved and works well.
    • The CPAN thrives because of the unfettered uploading of shit, not in spite of it.
  • How to use Carp and $SIG{__WARN__} to dump stacktraces in modules you don't own.
  • Module::Starter
  • Writing Perl Modules For The CPAN, Sam Tregar's excellent book now available for free at
  • The CPAN shell

Next time you're at a group, speak up. If you talk about something that might not be universally known, ask. "Anyone here not heard of" The hands go up, and you can spend ten seconds saying "It's a public bookmarking site that lets you post your bookmarks where others can see them, and see what other people are bookmarking." It's easy to do, and there's no better way to help spread knowledge.

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