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xenchu (4746)

xenchu
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The vapid tale of a boring layabout. I mean I don't even drink. I like women, books and Perl (hmmm, yeah, that's about the right order).

Journal of xenchu (4746)

Sunday January 25, 2004
01:12 PM

Problem Learning Perl (part deux)

A couple of days ago I wrote an entry titled Problem Learning Perl. It was a bit embarrassing and probably whiny but I got solid results from it. A number of people were kind enough to reply explaining the things I was having trouble with. I thank them all again.

I found out several informative facts about Perl and how to use it. I also found out something about myself. I am visually-impaired Perlwise. What I see and what is written are not actually the same in some cases(maybe in many cases, I haven't asked about everything that puzzles me).

The reason for the impairment is partly the languages I have used in the past. In all of them spacing is important. In Cobol, nothing runs together. This is a new concept that is still foggy for me. I am slowly learning what 'free-form' actually means.

The rest of my problem is me. Like a lot of people, I see what I want to see and I can be pretty stubborn about it. I can change my view of Perl by study and hard work. I am not so sure changing me will be that easy.

I want to thank htoug and jbisbee for becoming Fans. The concept of Fans is very strange to me, but I do appreciate the fact.

Saturday January 24, 2004
01:57 PM

Moving

We are starting the process of moving from one house to another. A lot of hassle, many things to take care of.

Here's something I didn't know that might be useful to others when in the same situation. When you need boxes, try the ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) store. Where I am they sell for $0.10 each. Not large boxes, but they do hold a fair amount and are easy to carry. If you live where there are no ABC stores then this information is worthless to you, but I thought it would be useful to pass along. Cheap boxes are good to have when one is moving.

Friday January 23, 2004
11:07 AM

Problem Learning Perl

One of my problems with learning Perl is -- I don't know enough Perl. A common but frustrating problem. Let me explain my learning situation.

Here is an example from one of my Perl books (not Camel or Llama, by the way):

@numerics = map {/^\d + /?$_:()} ;

Now, since the book tells me what this construct is doing (it calculates lines starting with numbers, and then builds a list of the lines input), most of operation is clear enough. Map reads a line from input, checks to find out if the line starts with a digit and then does -- what? I see $_ which is the line input but what does the ? mean? Is it part of the regex or does it operate on $_? What is the purpose of :()? Is :() one operation or two? And why '+ ' instead of \b?

I checked the index and found nothing I thought applied. I doubt that means the answer is not in the book, just that if I saw the answer I didn't recognize it. And if I have come across what I want to know in earlier reading I have either forgotten it or I wasn't paying sufficient attention. Either option has a 50% chance of being true.

Nothing as concise as map is present in any other language I program in. The ease with which it can be used is fascinating. I know I will find out what I want to know eventually. I am sure all of you who read this see my problem (he's an idiot) and understand what I am trying to say. The more you have of a thing the easier it is to get more. It works for Perl as with everything else.

The solution is obvious; keep studying Perl. Most things that frustrate me seem easy when I look back on them knowing the answer. This will probably not be an exception. And as they say, 'a good learning experience'. As I gain knowledge of Perl the pieces will start to come together.

Hello to chaoticset who has signed on as a Fan. Astounding, just astounding. And hello to merlyn and Louis_Wu as well. I am certain that all three know exactly what the example above means. Inspires me to keep trying to catch up with them to know others have learned before me.

And a public thanks to Corion who answered a Perl Monk question I asked in an earlier journal entry.

Thursday January 22, 2004
09:33 AM

Karma Karma!

I got a karma point! I believe I saw a vague mention somewhere that the editors give out karma but I don't remember the criteria for doing so. Is it the (kaff kaff) quality of the writing, the information in the entry or does the karma fairy randomly whap users with her wand. Anyway thanks to whoever for the point, it is appreciated.

Hello to my Fans, merlyn and Louis_Wu (a truly mind-boggling concept; me - Fans. Tres weird.).

Wednesday January 21, 2004
02:15 PM

Will Perl help me?

Next week I'm off to take a Perl course, my first formal course after buying all these books. It is a beginning course but the instructor is supposed to be sharp and I have hopes for it.

Well, some hopes anyway. There is still my almost insurmountable obstacle to doing anything -- me. I am not going to whine, I promise, in fact the purpose of this entry is as an aide memoire. To remind myself what I have to be vigilant about and who my worst enemy is.

04:52 AM

Down, down, down...

On Perl Monks once in a while I get a message that states "Ack! You just lost 1 experience point." That means someone disliked what I wrote somewhere enough to downvote me.

That's OK. If I were the cheeriest optomist in the world I wouldn't expect everyone to like or agree with what I write. The thing that nags me is the 'somewhere'. I haven't written a tremendous amount on Perl Monks, but I have written enough so that it is not worth the time to go looking for the node that someone downvoted.

The reason I would like to know what the anonymous monk disliked is to give me a chance to improve my writing, either technique or content. To know that that was the second (or thirty-second) time a node I wrote was downvoted would be a help toward improving.

But no one will write to tell you why they disliked what you wrote, whether you were an idiot, or wrong or just a bad writer. Sort of like wandering blindfolded through a dark house where people run up and hit you with sticks. Its not the pain, its the not knowing.

I have never downvoted any node myself. It is not nobility or a forgiving nature, heaven knows. It is more the fact that my knowledge of Perl is not great enough for me to be sure that any particular node is wrong enough to earn a downvote. And stupidity is not the monopoly of anyone, as well vote against the rising tide. As for trolls, I leave them to the editors and the gods. Why waste a vote?

Tuesday January 20, 2004
02:31 PM

Fans?

I am a stone newbie here. I am not sure where to find anything or how to ask where to look for anything.

Despite my newbieness I find that I have two 'Fans'. Wow! And what fans! They are merlyn and Louis Wu. If anyone in the Perl universe doesn't know who merlyn is...open your programming text, he probably wrote it. He is also a prominent inhabitant of Perl Monks and masterful answerer of questions there. As for Louis Wu, he is another prominent denizen of Perl Monks and a question answerer of note but he hasn't written any books yet (as Louis Wu anyway.)

I am honored to have these distinguished gentlemen as Fans (whatever a Fan is). Perhaps knowing they are there will keep me from writing anything too stupid in this journal. I can only hope so.

Friday January 16, 2004
07:18 PM

Perl Training

I am excited this evening. Work is sending me to a 3-day Perl Training session. I had to damn near beg to get the chance to go.

It will be my first professional training in Perl. All my other 'training' has been me reading books or doing tutorials on the web or me at Perl Monks. Not sources to sneer at certainly, but the live feedback will be appreciated. The class will also go on my record which means I should have more chances to program in Perl and maybe take more classes in the future.

When I return from the training session I have been told I will be doing a lot of Perl Programming, mostly interfaces to the web (the training I am getting will supposedly be oriented toward CGI programming).

Anyway, wish me luck, I really want this to go well.

Friday December 19, 2003
10:01 AM

First Entry

[ #16426 ]

12/19/2003 - I come here from Perl Monks, which is a great place to hang out. I hope Use Perl will be as good. My purpose here is the same as it is there: learn Perl, learn Perl, learn Perl. Other than that, I want to learn Perl.

Hello to All!

xenchu