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Day 1.1 of University of Perl
We arrived inauspiciously in Atlanta on Sunday. Most of the speakers, it seems, were tripped up by the fact that there are multiple Sheratons ("Sherata") in Atlanta. Brian Foy of the Perl Mongers, and his able assistant Amelia, actually ended up being driven by cab to the wrong one even though they gave the address of the correct one.
The big news for me, though, was that by way of thanks for the modem
I'd given him in Seattle, and various other good deeds I'd thrown his
way, Damian Conway bought me a travel guitar. I'd been pining for a
stringed instrument in Los Angeles, going nuts with music in my head
but no way to let it out (you so *don't* want to hear me sing
Today's class went really well. I abbreviated the right things, I think, and ended up only half an hour over time. Damian ended around 5:15 or 5:30, but I think everyone else managed to end on time. Brian has brought his WaveLAN gear, and we're trying to set up a LAN. Randal and Brian can connect just fine, but according to the slowly blinking lights on my card, it can't detect a carrier let alone transfer bits. *sigh* And of course every time I try to change something, I end up having to restart Windows. Yes, yes, there's a lesson in there about which operating system I use, but I don't want to hear it. Haven't I suffered enough?
Good questions today included the guy who asked about whether a symbol
table held an actual typeglob, or a reference to a typeglob. I
couldn't give him an accurate answer because as I recall it's kinda
both -- there's a pointer stored in the table, but it's automatically
followed for you. Or something odd like that. I was gratified to
have a lot of people in my class who'd programmed networking code in
C -- they were able to attest to how painful it is. I always show the
class IO::Socket and folks who have written C socket code nearly cry
with gratitude. I like teaching: Graham Barr writes the labour-saving
module, and I get the gratitude
Poor MjD! He worked on his notes last week and sent them to the printer in time to have them printed for his classes here. The printer somehow used an ancient version of his notes (2 revisions out of date now!) that were sent in for the Perl Conference in July! I'm not sure whether he's working around it or having them reprinted.
I stuffed the wireless microphone into the body of the guitar and used the PA as house sound, "treating" students to Duelling Banjos, Blackberry Blossom, and other great bluegrass hits. One of my students even gave me a guitar pick, he had a handful in his wallet! It was amazing.
Tonight's dinner was also in the hotel restaurant. Damian, Brian, Dan
Klein, Amelia, Mark-Jason Dominus, Randal, Damian Conway, myself, and
two students from my class were there. Conversation ranged from the
institutional woes of the students (constantly under time pressure,
never given the opportunity to really learn Perl by using it, because
as beginners it's slower for them to do it in Perl than ksh or
Then after dinner we went down to one of the training rooms and did
"Whose Line Is It Anyway"-type improvised comedy. It was incredible
fun -- spontaneous, creative, and really hard at times. We discovered
that verbal is easy, but being physical *and* verbal and somehow
keeping it in with the story
More news tomorrow,