russell's Journal russell'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. 2012-01-25T02:29:55+00:00 pudge Technology hourly 1 1970-01-01T00:00+00:00 russell's Journal test Testing to see if the bot I wrote works... russell 2003-07-01T23:20:19+00:00 journal So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye Those evil people at the <a href="">cabal</a> gave me access to their box and gave me a <a href="">Movable Type</a> account. I've started doing "proper blogging", and you can find it <a href="">here</a>.<br> <br> See you on the other side... russell 2002-08-14T09:23:51+00:00 journal Exam, Belfast.PM talk, Pub Quiz On Monday, I had an exam in natural language processing in the morning, gave a talk to Belfast.PM in the evening, and went to the bar after that. The exam didn't go that well, but I think I did enough to pass (!).<br> <br> The talk went disasterously. I wrote it in the bus on the way into Belfast. It was a lightning talk, 7 minutes, so I thought 5 "slides", each about one to one and a half minutes would be okay. When I got up to do my talk, I was pretty nervous. My notes took all of about a minute to go through and I was left standing there like an idiot. I knew the talk would either be too long or too short, but I couldn't really do anything about it in the time I'd left myself to prepare for it. Anyway, I'm going to prepare something better and do it next time we're doing lightning talks.<br> <br> So, Pete McEvoy, Paul Dundas and myself went to Katy Dalys after the meeting. We had wanted to get food in the bar, but they weren't serving, and we couldn't be bothered going elsewhere. It was good enough crack though. We entered the pub quiz. Let's just say our pop-knowledge wasn't up to scratch. We came last without even trying (when I used to go to the pub quiz, we'd try to come last to get the free booze...). Pete and Paul buggered off just before the end, leaving me to collect the booby prize (a packet of frickin condoms! No booze!!). Anyway, it was a good enough night. Can't remember how I got a taxi or how much it cost though, worryingly enough. russell 2002-05-16T13:59:31+00:00 journal Chameleon My final year project has been released. Actually, I released it under as <i>Apache::Onanox</i> on the 18th, but hey, who's counting.<br> <br> <em>Chameleon...</em><ul> <li>Is a multiple user application framework</li><li>Provides user customisation</li><li>Supports theming</li><li>Uses Apache and mod_perl</li><li>Uses Template::Toolkit</li></ul><p> It's currently in beta, so test it out and give me some feedback. It'd be useful for my oral examination if you did<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)<br> <br> It is lacking in a few places, notably the permissions system. Consider it to be a Wiki for now<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)<br> <br> Get it from <i>CPAN</i> as <em>Apache::Chameleon</em> or directly from my webpage at <a href=""></a> <br> <br> Your feedback is requested...</p> russell 2002-04-29T19:59:58+00:00 journal Seems whoever runs <a href=""></a> liked my Pixies perl, in my last(?) journal entry there. They put it on the front page of their site, which was cool. Thanks to blech for pointing it out to me. But they didn't give any attribution to me. Which is a bit annoying. Anyway, on with my day...<br> <br> <i>Postscript</i>: it has moved from the front page to <a href="">here</a> now. russell 2002-03-07T16:27:34+00:00 journal Still offline... I've been moved into my new house for a month now, and still don't have a phone line, so I'm still offline... It's actually quite good, I have a lot more time now<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:) Being out of contact via email is annoying, but I'm getting used to just checking it a few times a week now. Anyway, if anyone has tried to get in touch with me, I'll reply, but will take a week or two<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:) russell 2002-02-28T15:45:18+00:00 journal WWW::UsePerl::Journal 0.03 released Thanks to Richard Clamp for sending patches. Check the changelog for more details. russell 2002-02-13T13:15:57+00:00 journal There was a guy... I <a href="">ported</a> the Pixies song "<a href="">Monkey Gone to Heaven</a>" to Perl. russell 2002-02-13T12:31:14+00:00 journal Life, the Universe and Everything This may possibly fry your brain. I woke up at 4am last night thinking about Quantum::Superpositions... russell 2002-02-05T18:53:57+00:00 journal WWW::UsePerl::Journal posting test <p>This is a posting made using WWW::UsePerl::Journal</p><p>Yes. Thank you Iain Truskett.</p> russell 2002-01-28T02:07:17+00:00 internet WWW::UsePerl::Journal Get it from CPAN now, or <a href="">here</a>. Read only at the moment, writing may be in the next release. russell 2002-01-24T15:10:12+00:00 journal Lingua::Pangram I read in <a href="~hfb/journal/">hfb's journal</a> that there was no module for testing whether something was a pangram. There is now. russell 2002-01-23T03:14:57+00:00 journal End of exams, woo! The exams are over. The last one, HCI, was harder than I expected. I knew what all the questions were on about, and could answer them, but I felt I didn't give enough detail in most places. Oh well. I'm sure it went alright.<br> <br> Went to the students' union bar after with some classmates and had a few drinks, then went to pick up the rest of my coursework when people started to disperse. I passed the software engineering coursework element anyway, couldn't get my HCI one back, but my alphabettically close friend told me he noticed my mark and I had passed.<br> <br> After that we (Bob and I) went to the labs and I upgraded my laptop to Debian testing. It looks very good. University is good for bandwidth<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)<br> <br> Then I went home and slept. For ages. So I didn't end up going out in the evening anyway (I'd mentioned it to and BLUG, but no-one replied)...<br> <br> Anyway, glad they're over. I'll probably try to get a head-start on my project before uni starts back again. It's great to have free time... russell 2002-01-22T15:36:27+00:00 journal Newsflash: exam preparation works! The databases exam went exceptionally well, for me. It followed the same format as the last few years past-papers, and so everything I prepared for came up. This is great, as I pretty much screwed up on the coursework (one part was to create an object-oriented database in Kappa-PC, a terribly buggy Windows app for OO databases and KBS, but stupidly, I implemented it more-or-less relationally).<br> <br> I hope I did well. It went well, probably the first exam I can say that about...<br> <br> Two down, one to go... russell 2002-01-20T00:03:56+00:00 journal Putting up "Smylers" to see Damian in Belfast Someone took up my offer of a sofa to sleep on when they're coming over to see Damian Conway speak at <a href=""></a>. All I know is he is Smylers and lives and Leeds and he offered to buy me dinner. Hopefully that'll work out okay... I'm looking forward to hearing Damian's talks, I've heard that they are excellent, mind-blowing stuff! russell 2002-01-17T17:20:23+00:00 journal Public transport rant, Software Engineering and Databases I had my first exam of the year on Monday at 2pm. I left my house sometime around 12.15pm, thinking I had plenty of time before my exam. I got to Botanic Station at about 12.30pm or so (I was reading over stuff on the way there). The next train wouldn't be until 13.18, which was okay, I would likely get to the exam hall with 10 or 15 minutes to spare (the train takes ~ 20 minutes and there's a walk from the station to the uni). But no! With Translink, the train didn't get me there until after 2.15pm or so<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:( Thankfully, I didn't really need the extra time, as I didn't know enough to take a full 2h for this half-module's exam<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)<br> &lt;/rant&gt;<br> <br> Moral of the story - don't rely on public transport being at all timely.<br> <br> When studying for the exam, I did start to understand the subject (Software Systems Engineering was the title). I read most of "Software Design" by David Budgen in preparation, which turned out to be quite a good introduction to the subject. <br> (Okay, I shouldn't need an introduction as I'd already studied a few modules of systems analysis type topics, but I was never interested in the topic before, so it kinda wooshed over my head.)<br> <br> If you don't know anything about software engineering, here's how I see it in brief overview format:<ul> <li>You want the software to be "good quality" and other abstract notions. You need to think about what this would entail and itemise / realise it. (This applies more to software that you're writing for yourself, I suppose.)</li><li>The software has to be useful. You need to find out what the users want the software to do. In some cases, you need to find out who the users are and think about it from their viewpoints (in the case of different classes of users).</li><li>The software has to be usable. This is HCI I guess. Not part of this course. I get the feeling that some people have forgotten that computers are here to help people, and that software should just be something that is easy to use and do its task efficiently.</li><li>The system has to meet the requirements you drew up at the start. Seems obvious. I reckon you get so bogged down in the details that you lose sight of the original goal though.</li><li>You have to test it to make sure it works. Don't make assumptions.</li></ul><p> Methodology is about looking at the software engineering process and trying to create a framework that would help the novice designer. The various methods that have been drawn up are just meant to help you look at it logically.<br> <br> The problem seems to be that in an academic context, this loses all meaning. It isn't really explained in the way that "you're bound to run into the same problems as software engineers before you, here's how they looked at the problems and came to solutions", but more in a "here is a method, learn it, regurgitate it for the exam, produce meaningless diagrams for coursework, *stamp* there, you've passed the module".<br> <br> Anyway, enough about that. The next exam is "advanced database systems". I quite like studying databases. At least you know where you stand<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)<br> <br> I have a friend, let's call him Eoin [0], who says that he wants to get rid of all databases as his contribution to the planet. This seems rather... stupid to me. Most applications in the domain I'm thinking about need a database. He says "use a flat file instead". But, uh, isn't a flat file just another database, albeit an ad-hoc proprietry one? If we're going to use a database, why not try to do it right? I think that's what this module is about, or some of it at least.<br> <br> [0] He also tends to program in assembly language, and hates Perl. We don't exactly see eye to eye on certain issues<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)</p> russell 2002-01-17T02:14:37+00:00 journal Exam time + new laptop It is exam time again. Need to do a lot of work for them, but feel terribly unmotivated. I'm almost feeling resigned to my fate on the first one, software systems engineering. Advanced database systems should be okay, assuming I get through my revision in time and do some past papers, same goes for human computer interaction 2. HCI is a lot more waffly and is common sense, so it should be okay.<br> <br> In other news, I bought myself a new laptop, a lovely ultra-portable Sony Vaio, PCG-Z600LEK. I need to get more RAM for it and install <a href="">Debian</a> on it, but apart from that, no major problems with it. The keyboard is annoying (small shift keys) and the speakers are tinny, but it is yummy.<br> <br> I have to go to the library now. First exam is on Monday. russell 2002-01-10T16:17:17+00:00 journal "Should be in the core" - gnat on Text::Echelon <a href="">gnat</a> wrote nice things about my little module. *blush* russell 2001-12-22T16:09:11+00:00 journal Text::Echelon I finally released a module! Admittedly, a really sucky one, but released nontheless. It is Text::Echelon, and I uploaded it to CPAN today. Many thanks to Tony and Andrew and the others on Belfast.PM who gave me feedback. I think there is one user aside from me so far (Hi Leon!). I found a bug in perl when I was writing this, so hopefully that is useful (thanks to Schwern for fixing it in about 5 minutes after looking at my test case - AutoSplit was to blame).<br> <br> Oh, and I'm going to release a new version soon. The interface is too sucky right now... russell 2001-12-19T12:36:51+00:00 journal Project update, university, CPAN After a night of heavy hacking, the project is moving along. So far, all the initial stuff is mostly done, but needs to be integrated and tested. I won't have time to work on it until mid / late next week though, because of all this university work that has caught up on me.<br> (List of coursework I'm working on and deadlines: systems analysis thing, Friday; draft of semester 1 report on my project, Thursday, final draft deadline, Monday; HCI assignment, Monday. I hate how the deadlines all seem to be within a few days of each other...)<br> <br> Other stuff - got my PAUSE registration through, I'm going to modularise my X-Echelon header thingy (currently at <a href=""></a>) and put it in my directory soon, as well as an alpha of my final year project. When I get tuits<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:) russell 2001-11-27T13:09:11+00:00 journal Update on my project and PAUSE I've applied for a PAUSE so that I can put my project on CPAN. I applied on the 15th, and I still haven't heard back from anyone... I guess I'll wait another while<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:) The ID I applied for is IDORU, so look there in a while and hopefully I'll have something up, when I get confirmation...<br> <br> The basic system is almost ready, hopefully I will pull another allnighter and get it done. That's to say, I'll have a system that meets the basic criteria of - rendering a page, user creation/login, customisation and themes. So far I've not done any of the TT stuff, so I need to get up to speed with that soon. russell 2001-11-25T03:26:34+00:00 journal What happened at this month's Belfast.PM meeting The situation was not ideal as the computer there was WIP as opposed to WIMP. Luckily, Barry brought a laptop, which we plugged in everything seemed fine again. Andrew faffed around with Emacs *spit* for ages while Karen tried to fill in. After a while Andrew did the right thing (C-X, C-C) and just talked instead. We learned of his "port" of a Python app for tagging email. He is going to put it on CPAN for all to see.<br> <br> Tony then talked on Class::DBI, the slides of which are available at <a href="">his site</a>. He said some controversial things which may never be repeated (until he talks about Class::DBI next time). Tony told us about what Class::DBI can do, and told us about helper modules. He introduced TT to some people too. We all went away and ported all our applications to use Class::DBI.<br> <br> Paul mentioned a tool he has for swapping between use warnings and -w at install time, which some people got very interested in.<br> <br> Barry showed us his Mail::Audit script and pondered about rejecting messages, but no-one seemed to know why it wasn't working for him.<br> <br> That's all I can remember. russell 2001-11-13T12:23:18+00:00 journal Final year project For my degree I have to do a project, and I was allowed to create my own. It will be along the lines of a mod_perl app framework that will allow user customisation, and will provide common functionality via plugins. The first plugin will be a forum / messageboard application. <br>It will probably use Template Toolkit and Class::DBI to do the majority of the work. <br> <br> It's at the planning stage, and because this is for university, I have to write specifications and design documents and so on. I might release something by the end of the year, who knows. I'll put my progress reports in my journal here.<br> <br> If you are interested in this project, please let me know. I will need (or it would be preferable) to have someone using the live system. If you use my system, you will be given full attention, as any problems will need to be sorted out in order for me to get a good mark for this project<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)<br> <br> Drop me a mail at use-perl-spam @, dropping the -spam, and I'll give you any information that you require. russell 2001-11-01T12:00:49+00:00 journal Back to Uni I'm back at university again, and I've already know what my assignments for the year are. I have something to hand in for each module after week 4, then again after week 10. I'm trying to stay on top of everything (it's only week 2 now).<br> <br> I've decided to put my use Perl journal to good use and make notes of what I've been doing at uni, and to remind me of flashes of inspiration that quickly dissipate<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)<br> <br> Anyway, I want to implement a Memex after going to my HCI lectures, it looks interesting and seems to be a personal <a href="">[E2]</a> - the ideas on linking information are good.<br> <br> Enough for now, more later. russell 2001-10-09T13:40:46+00:00 journal I went to the meeting last night to find myself the only one there<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:(<br> I was rather disappointed as I would have liked to have heard the rest of Schwern's talk, and he's leaving for the states very soon...<br> Had a cup of tea, played my first game of Quake 2 multiplayer with Schwern and "Beowulf" then went home... russell 2001-06-05T11:13:22+00:00 journal Stop press - nice human being spotted This isn't at all Perl related, but I'm going to put it here anyway.<br> I was the highest bidder in an ebay auction for a palmtop, but it was a reserve auction and the reserve was not met. I emailed the guy and after a while came to agreement over a price for it. (We had settled on &#163;80). In the next email he offered it to me for &#163;50 including postage because he understood the "financial difficulty" of being a student!<br> (Quote: <i>"I am a teacher and recognised the English language usage as that of a student!"</i>, <i>"I am fully aware of the problems you face financially and hope it helps"</i>).<br> <br> I was pretty taken aback! What a nice guy! (Although I'm wondering what he meant in the part about my language usage... )<br> (He replied - it's due to the difference in language usage between generations.) russell 2001-05-24T21:13:14+00:00 journal Bug business Last week Richard Foley got back to me about being a perl bug administrator (and added me to the database). Unfortunately, I seem to have timed everything wrong! I was having an easy time at work for a few weeks as we were just tying up loose ends and waiting for our next assignment and I thought this would continue for a while longer. Alas, no. Now I'm stuck doing rather boring GUI testing and I'm busy again<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:(<br> Hopefully by next week things will have quietened down in work and I'll be able to start, erm, classifying bugs. russell 2001-05-23T11:38:50+00:00 journal Say something funny! Went to the <a href=""></a> meeting last night. I was the only non-<a href="">blackstar</a>ian there. <a href="">Schwern</a> gave an interesting talk on good programming practice. It included a lot of stuff that should have been quite fresh in my mind (things I studied 1 year ago) but I had more-or-less forgotten about. I have lots of ideas about how to go about doing my project now. <br> <br> <i>Other stuff</i>:<br> Thanks to quidity at #perl I have this link:<br> <a href=""></a> <br> <br> Thanks to chris at #perl I found this stuff at CPAN:<br> <a href=";query=Games">;query=Games</a> <br> <br> I think this could save me from wheel re-invention and help to get the site up a little bit more quickly. russell 2001-05-15T13:57:32+00:00 journal my $domain = "World"; print "Hello $domain"; I just found this site today and I'm impressed by it so far. The journals section reminds me of the daylogs on <a href="">[E2]</a>, but neater.<br> <br> Perl related stuff:<br> Stayed up late last night implementing one of Jamie's ideas. I recently got him hooked on Linux via <a href="">The Gimp</a>, and anyway, he asked me if it was possible to get Visual Basic for Linux. (...) We talked for a while about this, with some possible solutions, and then we started coding a little cellular life program in Perl. It was quite interesting to do, and as I layed in my bed I realised that we had programmed a Tamagotchi-like game that requires no user-input<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:) Next step is allowing multiple cells to exist in the system and making them interact.<br> <br> I haven't done much coding for my mod_perl project this week. I've mostly been reading perldocs and other such useful information though, so it hasn't been a complete loss by any means... I shall try to get more done this weekend though - last weekend I was quite productive as I stayed up late and coded until I could no longer keep my eyes open (caffeine deficient...). I might try that again this weekend...<br> <br> <i>-- <a href="">Russell</a> </i> russell 2001-04-25T20:26:20+00:00 journal