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pjf (2464)

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I run Perl Training Australia [].

I help with Melbourne Perl Mongers.

I spend an awful lot of time talking about Perl, and have had my picture in the Australian newspapers with a camel. That's rather scary.

Journal of pjf (2464)

Sunday September 17, 2006
10:17 PM

Conference, Kennedy, Cars, Freedom and Pixels

[ #31035 ]
Friday 8th September I gave my Swiss Army Chainsaw presentation at the Computer Management Group of Australia conference in Sydney. This was a challenging task. My audience worked primarily in mainframe environments, something I have no experience in doing, so I had to be very careful about my assumptions regarding what they may or may not know about Perl.

Judging from the feedback forwarded to me after the conference, my presentation was very well received. I was given a 98.2% effectiveness in presentation style, and an indication that I'd be welcome back next year.

I also have the primary conference organiser learning Perl. ;)

After the CMGA conference I met up with Adam Kennedy. Adam was kind enough to travel out to the airport with me so I wouldn't have to worry about missing my flight. We talked about many things, including just how long it takes to put together a good presentation, and a very large project that Adam's been working upon. While I'm not at liberty to say more about that project, I can say that Adam has some extremely entertaining stories to tell. ;)

In my last journal entry I mentioned how a number of events that were pure luck provided me with a nice financial advantage. Last Tuesday, the joy that is variance has swung the other way.

We had loan of Jacinta's parents' car while one of them is interstate. It's mostly sat in the driveway, since we prefer to use bicycles for transport, but it's been used a few times. Tuesday was the first day of our Programming Perl course in Melbourne. Since the first day always involves moving a lot of books and course materials, we decided to drive into the city, rather than wrestle with moving it on and off trams, or hiring a taxi.

Unfortunately, on the way to the course, we had a bit of an accident. Jacinta performed a head-check at the exact same moment the car in front decelerated. The whole thing was a testament to modern crumple zones, I was completely unharmed, and Jacinta suffered only the most minor of bruises. In fact, the impact seemed so soft that I expected to see only scratches on the front of the car, not the more extensive damage which occured.

We're not sure if the car itself can be repaired for a reasonable cost, so we're looking at buying Jacinta's parents a new car. There are also insurance excess costs, towing costs, and sundry expenses, but they look like they'll be much less than what I had expected.

Thankfully, none of this will cause us any real financial problems, since we plan for unexpected disasters.

Saturday was Software Freedom Day, and I helped out by MC'ing at the Melbourne event. More importantly for me personally, Saturday also marked the start of me having six weeks with no fixed plans. While there'll be a little bit of paperwork and other minor work in there, most of that's going to be spent doing whatever I damn well please. That's going to be a very refreshing change from the last few months of course-writing, paper-writing, and presenting that I have been doing.

Dead Pixels
Today "whatever I damn well please" is unfortunately chasing up warranty claims. Last night I discovered a cluster of dead pixels on my otherwise outrageously nice laptop display, and today I contacted Dell to see what I can do about having it replaced.

The laptop itself was imported, since it's much cheaper to buy an American laptop than an Australian one, however Dell has informed me that the warranty on the laptop is only good in the USA. That's not something I had expected, so after providing a few complimentary words I've asked if they could be so kind as to transfer the warranty, even if that means a small compromise on its duration.

Ironically, even in the worst case scenario (I pay for an Australian warranty), I can still heartily recommend importing laptops rather than buying them locally. The cost savings easily covers the warranty cost, so I'm still winning in comparison to a locally purchased unit.

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