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tinman (2063)

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tinman spent a few years mucking around industry before going back to school for a Masters. Currently not enjoying the weather in North England..

He wrote Perl that looked suspiciously like C code in 1998, while working as an intern, and has been trying to cure that bad habit ever since.

Journal of tinman (2063)

Wednesday August 18, 2004
01:26 PM


Had this interesting hack today, where my supervisor gave me a mbox file filled with (a few thousand) mail from conference participants and I needed to tag who had replied to him and who (out of a list) hadn't.

He expected me to sit down and compile a spreadsheet with neat tick marks. I was given the rest of the week to do it. *cough* I did a quickie search on CPAN and found Net::IMAP::Simple. Of course, there is also the wonderful Spreadsheet::WriteExcel. 30 minutes later ...


No cookie ? Ok. More work ? *loong pause* Ok.

Wednesday July 28, 2004
06:09 PM

SQLite 3

has released another beta. and MattS has already ported DBD::SQLite to work with v3.

Can I ask for any more than this ? Woot.

Sunday July 18, 2004
08:30 AM


Unfortunately, due to a tragic turn of events, the visiting researcher I was supposed to collaborate with won't be turning up here after all. His father in law has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, so obviously he's not in any mood for work. I hope he hears good news in the near term at least, the long term prognosis isn't at all good.

In the meantime, that means that London socializing will probably begin in August, instead of July. I'm still cranking away at the research work.

Wednesday June 30, 2004
03:10 PM

knoppix and liveCDs..

I noticed with more than a little dismay that Knoppix had decided to drop LaTex support in their latest version of the liveCD. Since I wanted to carry around a liveCD to pop into any random machine and work on my thesis while I'm on holiday in London, a bit of searching for an alternative ensued this afternoon.

The result: Quantian, a Knoppix based LiveCD distro specifically targetted to scientific and mathematical types..just what I needed. They even carry Kile. Woot!.

Sunday June 27, 2004
12:35 AM


In the same vein as, I'm trying to make a Perl interface to Gmail. In fact, it will probably be a straight port. Inexplicably, I'm finding the same problem that an anonymous poster discovered... Win32 cookie handling or URL handling seems to be borked in Python. The Python script works fine in Cygwin and on my Mandrake box, but doesn't in Win32.

Ha, thought I. Perl has consistent behaviour between platforms.. well, sorta. Turns out that I get the same (incorrect)response in Perl as in Python. Head scratching time. Set the UserAgent to Linux (just in case they were checking). Nope. Not that either.

Update: It's not cookies. I examined headers from both Cygwin and Win32 versions. Sheesh. Maybe it's line endings or something equally embarassing?
Yet another update: For some reason, the last call to grab the javascript from the server unsticks the session, but only on Win32. Maybe it's time to watch some HTTP packets fly by..hmm. Bleargh. I do begin to wish that Perl had something like Python's SimpleCookie interface. (sacrilege, did I just say that ? I must be sleepier than I thought)

Thursday June 24, 2004
03:50 PM


In a proof of concept for writing a better crawler, I noticed that lots of javascript content and dynamically generated links are lost. Cast around a bit and found the Perl module Javascript an interface to libjs

Then, I stumbled on HTTPUnit, an all singing, all dancing Javascript aware (they say there are limitations, of course) Unit testing framework. It's for Java, but it looks so promising that I think I will give it a shot on some link hiding site soon (perhaps this weekend ?)

Tuesday June 22, 2004
03:59 AM

perl vs python shootout

A friend (rediscovered recently from Orkut, of all places) is learning Python. I introduced him to Golfing. He tells me about his cool script which scans Symantec's web page and downloads the latest update automatically. I golf it down to fewer lines. Now, the challenge is on.

This is fun, because there is absolutely no "my language rulez if I do it in fewer lines" feeling (ok, maybe there is a little). It's all to make both of us discover our respective languages a bit better. If I remember correctly, Python doesn't do regexes as part of the language (you have to use a Java like compile, match syntax) and Python also doesn't have CPAN. I intend to exploit those two advantages to the hilt *grins evilly*

Saturday June 19, 2004
07:53 AM

we are all individuals.

From no Gmail and Orkut two days ago to being in both.. Why ? I don't know. I am still futzing around Orkut (never been in one of this type of community sites before). Many many thanks to Adrian for his Gmail invite. You rock and I owe you :) I didn't need it in the end, the friend I mentioned earlier sent his invite as he saw my mail.

I see some familiar places in Orkut (perlmonks is represented, hahaha and I recognize some of the faces there).. "I hate Java" is amusing. Looks like there is plenty to watch here..A bit surprised at the amount of information that Orkut wants to know on registration, but I guess that's quite normal.

A drastic step forward for me though.. this Orkut business. I've tried reasonably hard to keep my online persona completely separate from my real name, work and so on. It seems a bit awkward now to let that veil of secrecy go..

PS: omg, chaoticset, you look nothing like how I imagined you. I was gaping when I saw your profile pic in a posting.

Tuesday June 15, 2004
03:36 PM

it's not heaven.. it's nirvana..!

As per my longstanding policy of buying *only* 2nd hand CDs, that means that I sometimes lose out on stuff I'd really like to listen to..

But I just got my hands on a couple of Nirvana albums, the earlier stuff ("Nevermind" and "Muddy banks") from a guy who was selling his CD collection before moving out.. his loss, my fortune.. Hope my cube-mates in the department don't mind (muted) Nirvana the rest of this week ;)

04:31 AM

it's that time again..

Firefox update mania :) It seems that the wonderful idea of using to validate extensions has met with a small problem. Bandwidth. The site has fallen over, it gets up, gets hit on the head again by the hordes of people rushing to update their extensions and falls over again. rinse, repeat.

If anyone needs a mirror, I found this link in the Firefox forums. It's slow too, but at least it will split the load a bit.