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pne (661)

pne
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http://pne.livejournal.com/

Honourary london.pm member and involuntarily prolific poster. Self-taught Perl hacker. Language geek.

Journal of pne (661)

Wednesday October 01, 2003
08:48 AM

Speedera vs Akamai

I was reading up a little on Speedera just now.

One thing that amused me a bit was a snarky press release jabbing at Akamai.

Basically, they are saying "Hey, Akamai is making a good offer to Speedera customers; sucks to be an existing Akamai customer though and having to pay overpriced fees". Go read the release, though :)

Monday July 28, 2003
12:29 AM

My trip to YAPC::Europe

Tuesday May 27, 2003
10:12 AM

Computers are made to serve you

I saw a link to some O'Reilly books here on use.Perl and, on those pages, saw a link to "Register your books".

I went through the process of signing up (even though I don't have my books with me right now), just because I was curious. This brought me to a page which invited me to enter the ISBNs of O'Reilly books I owned -- with no dashes or spaces.

Um.

Come on. How long would it take to sanitise input with a little Perl script which simply discards dashes and spaces, or simply all non-digits? It could even validate the checksum at the same time. Heck, even in C, which is not known for its native string-processing capabilities, chucking out dashes and spaces sounds like a piece of cake.

I think that doing so would have made the site more customer-friendly. After all, computers are supposed to help us; we're not there to help computers. Especially if the canonicalisation of user input is so trivial as here.

I get similarly annoyed when my bank requires that I enter bank sort codes as eight digits without spaces. Sort codes in Germany are usually displayed as 123 456 78 - eight digits grouped as three, three, two. Requiring eight consecutive digits, and making the field maxlength=8, means that I can't copy and paste a sort code in standard format from an external source, say, an email; my browser will truncate at 8 and give "123 456 ", and even if it didn't, the web form would complain about the spaces.

The customer shouldn't have to care in which format the bank stores its information. Rather, in my opinion, the site should adapt to accept non-standard input and clean it up. (Certainly if it's only a matter of stripping spaces - and perhaps slashes and hyphens from the bank account number, which is a bit less standardised.)

Tuesday September 24, 2002
03:37 AM

Punctuation Poem

While we were talking about the maths limerick, I also remembered having seen a punctuation poem somewhere; I thought it was the Jargon file. I've managed to find it again, in a couple of slightly different versions. Here are some links:

Enjoy!

Monday September 23, 2002
04:28 AM

This website is really silly

I picked up the URL from someone's LiveJournal.

Have a look if you're interested.

04:13 AM

Perl for shareware

This YAPC, SANFACE Software had a talk entitled Can a Company Use Perl to Develop - and Sell - Commercial Tools?.

I was interested in that. I knew of their application txt2pdf, which is shareware, from reading comp.os.linux.announce digests, and was interested in hearing what they had to say about their experience about making money off software which comes with source code.

However, I was a bit disappointed with the talk. To me, it seemed like mostly whinging about how "the Perl community" (whoever he is) wouldn't let them advertise their product because "the Perl community" doesn't like shareware or payware, and also about how they were disappointed that no-one wanted to learn from their experience with this marketing method.

Another piece of payware which provides Perl source code (as I understand it) is Radiator. I wonder whether they've ever compared notes with them?

And besides, one of the people in the audience made a comment which I think was insightful -- "The Perl ommunity is not your audience. Not many people would buy your software just because it's written in Perl. Try marketing to your audience -- the people who would use the program." Maybe librarians or someone? At any rate, I think that's true. I somehow doubt that comp.lang.c is flooded with product advertisements justified with "it must be on-topic because the product is written in C".

04:06 AM

The most important thing I learned at YAPC

(Bizarre, I could have sworn I'd posted this before, but I can't find it in my journal now. Here we go again.)

OK, maybe not the most important thing, but one of the more interesting things: have a look here.

04:03 AM

Oog

Apparently, "Oog" is "The funny little noise you make when your brain breaks.".

That's the kind of feeling I got when I listened to Damian's talk on Perl6 :). But it was still interested to hear what he was saying. The talks I listened to were also presented with humour, which I liked.

Tuesday September 17, 2002
01:25 AM

No dice

Pity. A colleague suggested restoring an older registry backup which Windows makes automatically after a successful startup, at most once per day, keeping five copies. But restoring Thursday's copy didn't make the PLKSCNR error go away, even though I messed with the computer on Saturday and it was still fine on Friday.

I suppose I'll really end up re-installing Windows.

Monday September 16, 2002
04:26 AM

The registry (again)

Tried to upgrade my BIOS on the weekend so that it would recognise larger hard disks. Result: Windows will no longer boot, giving some obscure error message about a device PLKSCNR. Google gives exactly one result for this search term -- apparently it may have something to do with the Plustek parallel-port scanner I have.

They suggest restoring an older registry copy. I'll try that and hope it works. If not, I'll have to reinstall Windows again. With the result that my registered shareware will become unregistered again, various programs will stop working until I reinstall them, etc.

Fortunately, the two programs I use most (MUA and news reader) store their configuration in good ol' text files, which can be backed up easily and which will not be deleted upon a reinstall.

What was the advantage of storing everything in the registry again?