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Day Two of University of Perl

posted by pudge on 2000.10.05 9:21   Printer-friendly
Nathan Torkington continues on his daily journal of the University of Perl.
Another day. This was the first time we've taught the second day's classes: Mark-Jason gave his Regexes and Tricks of the Wizards classes, Damian gave his Advanced OO talk, brian d foy finished his Perl 101 introductory class, Michel gave his XML talk, and I introduced about 20 people to mod_perl.
I had the morning off, and Mark Jacobsen and I talked about the 2001 Open Source Convention. It's going to be in San Diego, and the hotel we'll be at has even more space for us to use. Not only that, but we have an extra day: the conference will be for five days. We're going to have fewer parallel Perl tracks, but over three days instead of two. I took a show of hands at the last conference, and there was overwhelming support for this.

We're in San Diego in 2002 as well (being in one place for two years really helps planning and gets some kickbacks from the hotel too), but in 2003 they're finally agreeing with me that a move to the middle of the country or even (gasp) the East Coast is reasonable. I've been arguing for it for years, but the conference group has always been working furiously to get on top of the current conference. They have the hang of conferences now, after putting on two of them, so they're finally able to think ahead and plan things like coastal changes.

Anyway, that was my morning. After that I sat down to prepare a web page of my mod_perl examples and discovered that Murphy was alive and well, and apparently controlling the weather in Fort Collins, Colorado. While we were in London last week there was a massive snowstorm and the snow took out the power, and the PC in my basement that runs mod_perl didn't turn back on when the power came back. Finally my wife got back to the house and returned my frantic phone calls. By the time 1:15 came around and I had to start my class, I had my live examples. Crisis averted.

The class went well. I had run the notes past Doug MacEachern and Stas Beckman, two mod_perl luminaries, and it had passed muster. I'd given a test-run to my former coworker at an ISP in Fort Collins before that. Despite this, I *still* found three or four typos in the notes. Well, in some cases I have to admit that I didn't. Alyssa, one of my students, handed me a folded note at the end, a list of typos. I thought I was done with errata after the Cookbook!

Mark-Jason said his class went well. He'd also given a test run before, but it had gone long. So he'd dropped some stuff, and today he ran a little short. Not long enough to be a problem, as there are always questions for the last few minutes at the end, but he was still perturbed that it wasn't perfect.

Damian, once again, finished before me. He didn't gloat this time, but did 'fess up that he had abridged the class "a little" in order to finish at the designated time. That's cheating! At least I got through all my slides, even the hairy custom logger.

Brian was experiencing that usual teacher perplexity: I thought I was off my game, but the students gave me rave reviews. I think it's that we spend so much time going over our performances with a fine toothed comb that we focus in on the little things we goof up ("I should have had an answer to that on the tip of my tongue!") instead of looking at the glorious big picture which is 99.995% perfect. I'm never sure how much weight to give the often-contradictory student evaluations, but it sure feels good to know that *someone* thought you did a good job.

We went out to dinner with the Seattle Perl Users Group tonight, we being Mark-Jason, Damian, Randal, Bill (Randal's social partner), and myself. A bunch of the ActiveState folks (Gisle and ... ugh, someone whom I'm embarrassed to forget the name of, who wrote drove down to see Damian give his Lingua::Romana::Perligata talk, which was fabulous (as always). Sarathy was supposed to come too, but had a deadline (curse those deadlines). I was very impressed with the way that Tim Maher ran the meeting: anyone got any perl jobs, anyone want a new job, Damian's talk, then a panel discussion taking questions from the floor.

A fun night. And to cap it off, when we got back to the hotel I got to throw my weight around with United Airlines to help Damian out of a disgustingly early (6am-ish) flight to Los Angeles tomorrow. I knew that I flew all those miles for a reason. "Ah, Mr Torkington, 177,000 miles." "Yes. I guess that means you'll be trying to help me, right?" "Oh certainly, Mr Torkington." That's the way, kiss my ass :-) When Damian called, they threatened to charge him $2700 to change his flight to one four hours later that had 60 empty seats. When I called they said "don't turn up for the earlier flight, just catch the later one". Friendly skies, I don't think.

So tomorrow it's Los Angeles and recharging (Damian's threatening to cart me to Venice Beach to watch the freaks go by) and then Thursday we're teaching again. Mark-Jason says he's flying to Los Angeles late tomorrow, and in the morning he's going to the big REI store to climb their wall. This is apparently a Seattle tourist thing.



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