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VSarkiss (704)

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I haven't really taken the time to set this up, but you can look at my home node [] on Perl Monks.

Journal of VSarkiss (704)

Monday May 30, 2005
04:38 PM

Memorial day

Today is Memorial Day in the US, a holiday that always occurs on Monday so we can celebrate long weekends.

Memorial Day, so we remember the Gulf of Tonkin, and WMD in Iraq, and other lies and deceits politicians have used to send young men and women to their deaths.

Yes, many brave soldiers died to save innocents in World War II. They gave their lives to save ours. And sadly, ever since then, politicians have twisted the legacy of those brave people to justify their desires, regardless of how much they cheapened their memory.


I was proud to be an American when I took the oath back in the 1980's. These days I wonder when we'll be back on the right track.

Tuesday May 24, 2005
12:43 PM

Old (bad) habits die hard

When I first started use.perling, I ordered my slashboxes on the opening page with "Recent Journals" near the top. Then something happened, the slashbox order changed, and for a while, I couldn't re-order them. But it worked again when I tried it a couple of days ago (thanks, pudge), so I put "Recent Journals" back near the top.

Well, I'd gotten used to the old (unchanging) position, and now after I bring up the front page, I scroll down and wonder where the recent journals box went....

Reminds me of something strange that happened to me a few years ago. Before Unix, I was using VMS and TOPS-10 (among a few others). With those DEC operating systems, you could abbreviate commands, and the command to look at a file's contents was TYPE, which you could abbreviate to TY. When I first switched over to Unix, I set up an alias so ty would run more (less didn't exist then...). The habit got ingrained, and I've kept that alias all these years.

The strange incident happened when I had to do something on VMS a few years ago. I was staring at the keyboard trying to remember how to look at a file's contents.... I had grown to associate ty with Unix, and had forgotten its original source....

Wednesday April 27, 2005
03:09 PM

Stupidity avoidance tip #367

When trying to remove all rows from table d_colleague, do not type

delete from d_org_unit

just because it was in your edit history.

Corollary: keep a separate backup of the data.

Thursday April 21, 2005
02:06 PM

Papal spamwatch

Benedict XVI has an email address that you can even reach from the Vatican web site.

Any bets on how long it will take before he gets his first offers for Nigerian millions or body part enhancement? (I figure the spam harvesters are much more likely to pick up his email from CNN, so no problem linking to it from here. :-)

Monday April 18, 2005
11:55 AM

Recommendations for web designer?

Any recommendations for a good web design person or group, preferably in Southern California? Our company's website hasn't been updated in a while and could use some freshening up.

It's a static site: marketing info, contact information, and the like. In other words, all graphic design, no programming. But I figured since a lot of people here are involved in building web sites, maybe I could get a reference for a good graphic designer too.

Thursday April 14, 2005
09:04 AM


I don't know who chenyelun is, and his journal entries are rather, um, odd. I can't ask him about it directly since he doesn't have comments turned on. (I'm using "him", "he" for simplicity, but I have no idea of his/her gender.)

I know there's been journal spam here before, and pudge cleaned it up pretty quickly (thank you). These just have me confused. Anyone know what they're about? (I know this isn't the canonical definition of blogvertising, but I don't know how to describe it.)

Monday April 04, 2005
06:37 PM

Annoying elevators

My current client is in a downtown Ellay tower. Over the past few months, the elevators have been "modernized". (That's what the sign said: "Elevator modernization in progress".)

To prove that modernization ne improvement, part of the process was making the elevators talk: "Going up", "Twentieth, FLOOR", and so on.

There are few things more annoying than a chippy-yet-monotone female voice first thing in the morning, telling you the elevator is "Going down".

Tuesday March 22, 2005
10:19 AM

Lame, lame, lame

I wanted to sign up for our company's retirement plan, which you no longer do with old-fashioned paper forms and brochures: you go directly to the plan manager's web site. I tried at $CLIENT (Windows XP) and at home (Fedora Core 3) a couple of times. No go.

I didn't get an error message when I tried to register, but it wouldn't accept my login later. I called their toll-free help line, but couldn't get past the VRU without a valid registration....

This morning I thought of something, and got myself registered! The key? Use Internet Explorer....

I had forgotten to even try that since I use Firefox everywhere now. I had gotten used to the lame "Works best with IE" banners on web sites, but to completely fail to work without any kind of indication of trouble is really, really, lame. I asked our plan administrator to call and berate the company.

Thursday March 17, 2005
10:23 AM

How rude!

At my current client, we're supposed to develop the new data warehouse on Oracle. The problem is that the new hardware for it won't be here for another month.

I realized earlier this week that Oracle offers free development licenses for prototyping, so I grabbed a copy and brought it up on my WinXP box yesterday. The Oracle installer is a slow, nasty, Java application that takes forever, and has an awful UI. But hey, this is just for my own development, so I don't mind playing DBA in a pinch.

After it finished, I was testing connectivity, and I decided to see if DBI would work. Imagine my surprise when I got all kinds of binary incompatibility errors just from typing perl -MDBI -de 1!

Turned out the nasty installer had put a complete copy of perl 5.6.1 under the Oracle tree, and pointed PERL5LIB to it. Which, of course, made my 5.8.4 install puke. They have some system install scripts written in Perl, and apparently decided it was OK to bring the whole thing over rather than seeing if I had perl installed already. Their scripts don't appear to have any XS code either, so it's nothing a use lib or a use v5.6 wouldn't have fixed. After I fixed PATH and PERL5LIB, everything's ran fine.

All I could think of was, "How rude!" If you're going to stomp on my box, at least tell me where....

Thursday March 10, 2005
09:51 AM

More google goodies

Now Google News has a cool side app to customize the page layout. From a brief glance, it looks to be all Javascript, but I'm sure there's more to it that that.

Visiting their stuff always makes me ask "How did they do that?". I'm keeping my eye on my inbox to see when somebody posts a dissection.