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mr_bean (3802)

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Journal of mr_bean (3802)

Sunday March 26, 2006
06:13 AM

CPAN Forum at Why isn't it more active?

Perhaps it isn't inactive. There were 70 messages there since Monday and it's now Sunday.

Perhaps all the popular modules have their own mailing lists or other forums.
Meaning by definition, there won't be many messages.

But even some well-known modules like ingy's don't have forums. In particular, cpanforum didn't spring to mind, when I wanted to post something about Test::Base somewhere.

Perhaps I should have sent it to

Thursday January 12, 2006
12:48 AM

gugod blog on Taiwan hackathon

The hackathon of the Taiwanese hackers and Miyagawa and Ingy that he hosted. The authors of 350 CPAN modules all writing and thinking together.
Thursday January 05, 2006
09:55 PM

humility, assertiveness and sense of humour

Laziness, impatience and hubris, the 3 perl
programmer virtues may have their source in these
3 critical personality traits from the Psychology
of Computer Programming (1971) by Gerald
Weinberg, apparently one of the first 'people'
people in programming.

Assertiveness is the other side of the coin of
humility, and both are necessary. Without
humility, success leads to overconfidence
(hubris), which leads to blind self-destruction.
On the other hand, assertiveness is like a steam
boiler without a safety valve. And on the
gripping hand, a spirit of self-criticism is like
a safety valve without a steam boiler.

This collusion of opposites is a reason for the
humour of the 3 perl virtues.

The other necessary traits: ability to tolerate
stressful situations, adaptability to rapid
change, and neatness.

This book seems to have got under the radar here.
I wonder why I have heard more about a
contemporary at IBM, Brooks and his Mythical
Man-Month, which appears to have come out 4 years
later in 1975, when essentially the same
observation is made by Weinberg.

It appears like Brooks he escaped from IBM into
academia. It appears the suits sent him back to
do a PhD in psychology. The experience seems to
have only changed him superficially. I wouldn't
call the book scientific, despite the inclusion
of some experiments he did teaching programming.

He tells stories about life as a programmer in
relation to some ideas of academic psychology.
One funny one is about 'a military project that
involved the creating of a world-wide network.'
The government was getting completely fictional
accounts of the progress being made. He also says
that when programmers don't get feedback about
their work, 'they start to vary the input in
arbitrary ways to see the effect--to get some
feedback, even at the risk of a poor evaluation.'

Some interesting hairshirt views about learning:
'When our program does not run correctly, we have
the opportunity to learn more specific lessons.
Quite often, under the pressure of production,
the programmer is tempted to bypass a trouble
spot with a fix that he knows will work, since it
does not use some new technique which he was
trying to master. .. [But] he will have missed a
golden opportunity for learning. No time will be
more propitious for learning than that time at
which the need for learning is felt most
strongly--the very moment when we detect an

Some principles for language design: Uniformity
or 'If a programmer asks, Can I write ...? The
answer should be yes. Just like the child who is
told, No, too often, the programmer working in a
nonuniform language will tend to be discouraged
from trying new things.' This is close to DWIM. I
thought I saw something close to TIMTOWTDI too,
but perhaps what I remember was my looking for

Saturday December 31, 2005
02:37 AM

perl attack by Amazon programmer

A disturbing read by someone apparently involved in language wars at Amazon. Apart from list flattening and clunky references, his main problem seems to be Larry Wall. But because he may have been drunk at the time, perhaps the style hides a plea to Amazon management not to head in perl's direction. Larry Wall, over my dead body.

The issue of whether your personal atttitude to the language is determined or not by your attitude to Larry Wall is an interesting one, however. A lot of prominent perl people seem to have a zany sense of humor, zanier than that of other language proponents. But perhaps they acquired it as they learned the language. Perhaps proponents of other languages have a sense of humor too, but are funny in private, rather than in public.

Here's another URL I want to bookmark, David Hume's History of England, vol 6:

The skeptical Scottish philosopher's account of The English Civil War of the 17th century, fought over religion, warns of the dangers of sectarianism. It's fascinating. Never again will you ridicule Third World political developments, having read this.

Friday December 23, 2005
12:20 AM

Dan 'Independent Donator' Kogai on open source sponsorship

[ #28103 ]

He blogs (in Japanese) about the difficult
situation, starting from O'Reilly's laying off of
Larry Wall and ruby's Matsumoto Yukihiro's
possibly getting hit by a bus.

Sunday November 06, 2005
05:06 AM

Design Patterns

I found Design Patterns in the library while
looking for a Haskell book and had to read it,
because I had read so much about it.
It's quite a different sort of book than Damian
Conway's Object-Oriented Perl. I haven't actually
read that book, but judging from the downloadable
chapters, it's a nuts-and-bolts book. Perl
provides you some object-oriented jigsaw puzzle
pieces and Object-Oriented Perl helps you work
out which pieces fit together to get things done.

Design Patterns, on the other hand, is a top-down
kind of book. Its focus is on what sorts of
things get done in object-oriented programming,
and although there is C++ and Smalltalk code, I
think it is as an example. The book is not just
for users of those languages.
The impact of the book was because of this
super-language level, I think. It was
conceptualizing (naming and framing) design
structures which existed but hadn't been
recognized and which couldn't be captured in just
a discussion of language syntax.
The role of Christopher Alexander in the book is
interesting. He may have been inspirational, but
there is hardly anything in it that depends on
his ideas, I think.
If he read it, I think he would have felt
disappointed, because of the lack of real use of
his ideas. Peter Gabriel has written stuff which
puts Alexander's ideas to work better, I think.

Actually, I get the feeling that the esteem in
which Alexander's ideas are held is little
consolation to Alexander for his inability to get
architects to take him seriously.
A better metaphor than architecture is genre
analysis. It fits in with the language metaphor.
On the first page they use the analogy of plot
structure and OO design decisions.
The book is kind of repetitive. It looks like
they wrote parts separately, and then put them
together. The motivations for each pattern are
often repetitions of the discussion in the Lexi
case study, which seems not to be a real program,
but a made-up example.
I've been reading the book in the kitchen, rather
than in front of the computer, and although I'm
doing something with iterators at the moment, I
don't think the discussion of Iterator pattern is
going to have much effect on what I'm doing.

Perhaps I'll regret not reading more carefully
when the book is back in the library and I'm
struggling with code.
Actually, they do a good job of teaching. The
problem is that the real work is done by the
In their brief history of the writing of the
book, they say in the final year they put a
greater emphasis on the problem a pattern solves.
This was connected to the difficulty of learning
the patterns. The only ones who could understand
the patterns were the ones who already used them.

This is an important observation. I can't really
connect my problems with the problems they are
solving, so I am not going to learn their
For more serious learners, perhaps end-of-chapter
exercises will not help very much. The only way
for learners to learn the patterns is to
conceptualize everything as a nail and try to hit
it on the head with a hammer.
Only when they get a better feeling for what is
and isn't a nail will they have really learned
the patterns. Until then, they are trying them
This is the reason for the complaint by
experienced programmers about the rigidity of
people who have just read the book. They are
still learning.
This is a higher-level learning than the learning
of how to code the patterns, but connected to
this lower-level learning.

Saturday May 28, 2005
12:30 AM

G in GNU: Silent or pronounced?

Yesterday in Taiwan, Richard Stallman said it is pronounced, but I disagree. He talked about the etymology of the name. There had been a series of FINE, SINE programs, meaning this program Is Not Emacs. So he started working down the alphabet looking for Something Not Unix and found GNU.

There apparently had previously been pop culture plays on the pronunciation of gnu and seeing it's 20 years since the platform got going it is not 'new' anymore. That was basically his case.

My argument for not pronouncing the G is that we need to stop an infinite regress. Or is it Gs all the way down?

What does the G in GNU stand for? If it doesn't stand for anything, then silence is the appropriate pronunciation. If it stands for gnu, a gnu, or anything else, ie if the name really means A gnu (Entity X) is not Unix, the joke isn't so funny.
Sunday May 08, 2005
05:37 AM for recent journals41

I was frustrated by not being able to see a list
of the most recent journals while logged in, the
same way that you can when not logged in, so I
felt quite pleased with myself, realizing gives
you that list, logged in or not.

At the same time, I wondered why it took me so
long to realize that I could enter by hand the
URL, looking at it from the link on the front

Monday May 02, 2005
08:32 AM

TPF: A machine for turning money into perl6

A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems. If coffee is not to theorems as money is to perl6, what is the relationship between free open source software and money?

The firestorm at seems to have been partly over accounting practices. One poster suggested that people contribute to worthy causes according to their perception of the efficiency of the distributing agency.

I thought that may apply only when there are agencies competing for the donor's money. If there is only one way to contribute to a worthy cause, then your mind is on the worthiness of the cause and less on the efficiency of the cause's agent.

But if such is not the case, why not bring the YAS back into existence, and have it compete with the TPF in the form of a race to fund developers and reach milestones? People might be excited by the prospect of an easy expression of their views about perl6 in the form of a choice of whether to give their money to the YAS or the TPF.

You're supposed to laugh, but I depressed MYSELF.
Saturday April 02, 2005
09:09 PM

Brian Ingerson at YAPC::Taipei

Last year he gave away JAPH t-shirts. This year, pink and blue IGNY ones, G for GNU? See slides at

What's the KISS principle? No, it's Kwiki Is Spoon + Spork. So one of the lines is, Only gugod truly understands Ingy's KISS.

gugod's Spork::S5, ( is Spork on steroids.

The talk was, Kwiki, the Ritalin and Everything. It seemed he wanted to look within and explain why he was different. What did he say about Autrijus, Ritalin and himself? Autrijus suggested he take some Ritalin? He suggested Autrijus take some Ritalin? He took some of Autrijus' Ritalin. Autrijus asked him if he was taking Ritalin?

The second slide was of 'Republican rocker' Ted Nugent (, who played at the first rock show he ever went to at the age of 16 in high school.

The third one was of Barry Manilow ( Barry_Manilow), who they apparently beat up. But the song, Mandy, was a good song, I think.

So Kwiki Sucks Rocks, but to get back to self-analysis, he said he was a slow typist. I can't remember him saying it at the talk, but on the slide he says he is easily distracted. On the other hand, one of his strengths is strong legs, and sticking to a theme. Being easily distracted seems the opposite of sticking to a theme, but perhaps being distracted happens from moment to moment, and sticking to a theme happens over long periods. I think he was referring to his work with perl.

Reinventing everything was both a strength and a weakness.

Anyway he likes Kwiki, because it social and distributive. And life is a video game, the only way out of which is to hack, hack, hack, collaboratively.

On the Six, Drugs and Larry Wall slide, he says he has ADD. A different explanation of his unconventionality might be the influences on him like Nugent and Wall.

In a recent p6-l message, Larry Wall says an important part of his psychology was being subjected to a lot of 'I'm not offended by what you do, but others might be, so don't do it' teaching, in other words, Be Conventional, which he had to work through. Ingy captures this Larry Wall spirit.

He also needed an acoustic guitar, and apparently was going to sing at the end of the conference, but was prevented by Autrijus going overtime on his perl6 introduction.

On the weekend at the conference at the backpackers hostel I was at there was a terrible Hugh Grant movie on TV where the kid wants to get through to his mother by singing at a school event, Killing Me Softly with Your Song, but the other kids start making fun of his bad singing, so Hugh Grant saves the kid by coming out with his guitar and helping the kid sing the song, and give us a happy ending.

Just sing the stupid song, stupid kid! They're making fun of you is part of the deal, I was thinking.

So, the fact we DIDN'T get to be embarrassed by Ingy taking his clothes off and doing Ted Nugent impressions was funny.

He is also apparently working on Cog with Ward Cunningham, sort of like Kwiki from a shell. It appears to be somewhere in between vaporware and releasable.

Back to ADD, just as Autrijus was starting his 2-hour intro to Perl6 and releasing pugs-6.0.13 at the same time, ingy wanted him to install a new Spork::S5Theme. Autrijus installed it, but immediately uninstalled it. Perhaps he didn't like the pug picture.

I wonder why Ingy was doing this. Was he offering Autrijus another hoop to keep in the air? Did he think the pug picture was important for the presentation? Was this ADD in action? His other presentation was about FreePAN, also among the slides at http://yapc. It is like CPAN, but with subversion and all revisions are available. It looks like it would spread out from the Taiwan Academica Sinica's Open Foundry.

I was interested in who he was competing with with FreePAN. Afterwards, I tried to ask Leon Brocard about the application of the ideas of his talk about APIs into the Yahoo and Google search engines to a CPAN shifting more of the load to clients, but he didn't think they had much application.

Then I asked him how he would develop new CPAN. He asked me what's wrong with h the old one. I said handling perl6 and distributing 2 versions of one module. I mentioned the problems with modperl 2. He and Sam Vilain didn't have much good to say about modperl 2.

Anyway, Ingy seems to be firmly on the subversion and svk bandwagon. Although there may be something on the slides about Kwid, he didn't talk about it at the conference, I think. He and Sam Vilain are apparently working on Perldoc now, however.