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mr_bean (3802)

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Journal of mr_bean (3802)

Tuesday July 08, 2008
04:59 PM

marriage of perl & XP

gugod mentioned at, his platform for experimentation with ideas about messaging.

The book substitutes the core value of courage for the apparently 4th original core one of quality. The first core value is communication. I can't remember what the other 2 core values are, suggesting they are not core values, at least as far as I'm concerned.

I think the courage one is very interesting, because it is probably like laziness, impatience and hubris, something to be played with, rather than an ideal to be observed religiously.

'Discretion is the better part of valor', and Robert Nagler, the author, talks about how you have to play with the risks involved developing software, a very risky endeavor.

Perhaps communication is something that is a relative virtue too, ie something that you should or should not have to do all the time, the way it is in business negotiations. I wonder what those other 2 core virtues were.

He says: 'XP is the organizer in the Extreme Perl marriage that compliments Perl, the doer and fixer. XP's role is to keep Perl from fixing the car when the kids need to be put to bed'.

We can see who wears the pants in that marriage, which suggests why the book hasn't appeared on my perl radar screen before.

An interesting thing about XP he says is that the customer must speak with one voice, at the same time as he says that the customer may not know what it wants. Which seems to make impossible demands of the customer.

Despite that, it is the model of rationality and reflective action, when compared to education, where teachers are trying to develop learning in their customers' minds.

And despite that caveat about rationality, XP does seem a very dialectical approach. That is, it doesn't make sense by itself, but only as part of a thesis-antithesis-synthesis dance with the waterfall model, which is also a model of rationality and reflective action.

Thursday March 06, 2008
04:47 AM

Dan Kogai on education

Something from Dan Kogai's blog a couple of years ago at I thought I should not just delete from my hard drive.

From the school of subjects, to the school of experience

Now also the fact that I wasn't the loser was because I early on realized this:

    For them, education doesn't work. The reason is
    teachers are people who have left school only to
    enter it, and don't know anything about the
    world outside. They are dinosaurs, who don't
    know that marketing, productivity, and
    management result in innovation. School is like
    a factory run by dinosaurs to reproduce
                              --another Japanese blogger

But it is also a fact that school is a Difference Amelioration Device (DAD).

What made the advanced countries--all of them--advanced was the invention and the implementation of a route to education independent of family. "Not following in the footsteps of one's family is sometimes a good thing." It made possible a more appropriate sharing of wealth for individuals and increased the earning power of everyone overall. It made it possible for even people on lower salaries in advanced countries to enjoy luxuries that were impossible for royalty in the past.

The loss of the impression that mobile phones and annual overseas vacations are a luxury is the result of a comparison with one's surroundings.


Saturday February 23, 2008
11:58 PM

Simon Cozens at frameworks meet

An exception to the rule, 'Once you hack, you never look back,' Simon Cozens withdrew from prominence in the perl community to become a missionary in Japan. His transformation from programmer to missionary has always been an enigma to me, because computing is my religion.

My transformation has been in an opposite direction from English teacher to disciple of, devotee of, lover of perl.

Bram Moolenaar said he'd like to know what the man who invented sex is working on now. I'm convinced he/she/it (us/you/them?) is working on computers, and specifically on computer languages.

Seymour Papert had something similarly startling to say in The Children's Machine, arguing the computer is made for kids. Something like programming is the greatest thing since sliced bread. No, that's right, programming is the greatest thing since reading and writing.

As a language learner and language teacher, my experience has been that the LADs (Language Acquisition Devices) and to a lesser extent the LASSes (Language Acquisition Support Systems) don't 'talk back.' If there is anything we learn from the study of language learning, it is that language learners learn more than we learn.

But the computer does 'talk back.' You can learn a lot from your end of the conversation, if you can hold up the computer's end, too.

I think this is probably because natural language is hard-wired in. Programming a computer is not. It's more like having intellectual sex. The tension and release are more intense and more in the forefront of consciousness.

In natural language, with a 'soft machine,' you can never determine the cause of failure, and if the failures are only ever soft, the successes are soft too.

This excitement at being able to understand what I am doing and what is happening to me is what has led to me transfering my affections from natural language to programming.

But how does Simon Cozens actually stand with perl? I was excited to get the chance to hear him at the January frameworks meeting, where he presented on Maypole.

Right at the start, as way of introduction, he said he was in Japan as a missionary, but then proceeded to give the talk about Maypole principles. What most impressed me, however, was his Japanese. To me, it sounded like he was a near-native-speaker, meaning I couldn't tell the difference between his Japanese and that of the Japanese presenters. He must be the best Japanese-speaking perl programmer, excluding Kogai Dan, Miyagawa Tatsuhiko, and all the other Japanese perl programmers.

He said this was the first time he had given a presentation like this in Japanese. He must have been reading Japanese programming material or talking to Japanese programmers, because although it wasn't a detailed technical discussion, he didn't seem to stumble on any of the terminology he was using.

As an example of the ease of writing Maypole applications, he talked about a Japanese beer database, and a library circulation system for his and others' books that he had been working on in the last 2 weeks.

He told me that it's all hands-off for him now, maintaining Maypole. I wonder about the relationship of the work on the beer and library applications to the presentation.

At the end of the meeting, it looked like it was only at his instigation that the organizers mentioned YAPC::Asia in Tokyo in May. Perhaps he is going to turn up for that.

In any case, what appeared to be a shiny big Mac laptop he did the presentation on suggests he still sees himself as involved in programming. It appears that he has not stopped using perl. And that he is still programming.

The SAME THING, the SAME THING that makes a preacher lay his bible down. --Muddy Waters

PS Two lightweight Made-in-Japan web frameworks presented at the meeting, both on CPAN, Tripletail and Waft.
Saturday January 12, 2008
11:47 PM

know your camel (and cameleopard)

CLKAO had a picture of a camel and giraffe in his slides for his introduction to svk, but I can't find that now. Here are some other similar pictures off and These confirm that the animals are similar. But the contrast is striking.
There was apparently a giraffe-like camel. Aepycamelus, a Miocene camel
Bewick's woodcut of the giraffe also gives it a very camel-like face.
Continuing my discussion of Wikipedia articles on the moose and other animals commenting on MooseX, the article on the giraffe talks about the fact its forelegs are 10 percent longer than hindlegs and its gait at low speeds and high speeds.
This led me on to the entry on horse gaits, which will tell you more about the subject than you ever wanted to know.
Child to Pear's Children's Encyclopedia editor: Your encyclopedia told me more about penguins than I cared to know.
But apparently the gait of giraffes at slow speed, pacing, moving both the legs on the left side together and then those on the right side together, is not a natural gait for horses. Their working gait is the trot, in which diagonally opposite legs are moved together. This is a fairly stable gait for the horse, if less so for the rider.
But horses can be trained to pace. It is, however very uncomfortable for a rider on top of a pacing horse, rocked from side to side in a rapid rhythm.
According to the article, camels also pace naturally, but being taller, their rate of stepping is slower, so 'a rider can follow the rocking motion.'
I guess that's where the camel gets its Ship of the Desert name from the rider being rolled out about on top of, more so than on top of a stable horse.
I wonder what I could learn from what is probably the camel entry? Probably more than I ever wanted to know.
Thursday December 13, 2007
09:57 PM

computer languages as communication

From the State of the Onion

... a Text, whether spoken or written, is an act of communication requiring intelligence on both ends

.. and sometimes in the middle too. I don't want to talk to a stupid computer language. I want my computer language to understand the strings I type.

Writing a computer program is like having a conversation with a computer. Not only do you have to keep up your end of the conversation, you have to keep up the computer's end too.

Tuesday December 11, 2007
08:46 PM

other perl personality in news

The most well-known perl hacker (outside the programming world) must be Dan Kogai in Japan. A piece on him in the Mainichi Shinbun last week starts: As first shot in a planned series of articles on blogging where we get A-list bloggers to discuss their thoughts and ideas, Dan Kogai, network engineer. Kogai (38), the operator of '404 Blog Not Found', which stands out with its more than a million hits a month, the former CTO of On the Edge, the predecessor of LiveDoor, and in 2005 the recipient of the Alpha Blogger Award, was thrust into the limelight as TV commentator on the occasion of the LiveDoor scandal. "The fact the media has been increasingly contacting me for my views as a blogger (unconnected with the LiveDoor scandal) recently has made me really happy," says Kogai.
Saturday October 13, 2007
10:45 AM

know your camel: The camel's nostril's

... a dehydration prevention system according to this Economist article, CFTOKEN=67076189 Borrowing from nature, about biomimetic architecture.
It says a similar trick to beetles' use of condensation to collect drinking water is used by camels to prevent them losing moisture as they exhale. 'Moisture secreted through the nostrils evaporates as the camel breathes in, cooling the nostrils in the process'. Moisture secreted through the nostrils? That must be what you are covered in if a camel snorts all over you. Ie, mucus.It continues, 'When the camel breathes out, moisture within the air then condenses on the nostrils.'
So, it seems in the breathing cycle, there is a change in the contents of the camel's nose, from mucus before breathing in to moisture after breathing out. Does the camel then swallow the moisture? How is it returned to the body. At the same time as this cycle, there is a cooling and warming cycle.
Inside the nostril it must be like a soft air conditioner with lots of protuberant flanges to increase exposure to the air.
This is an interesting contrast to dogs which breathe through the mouth to cool off. The cooling from evaporation of saliva through latent heat of fusion (?) they use to regulate body temperature.
The camel however is using the cooling to collect moisture from its own lungs, not to stay cool.
Tuesday September 25, 2007
06:14 PM

grammar police check List::Util man page

--- List/ 2007-09-26 06:41:03.996285608 +0800
+++ List/ 2007-09-26 06:49:42.086523920 +0800
@@ -113,10 +113,11 @@


-C contains a selection of subroutines that people have
-expressed would be nice to have in the perl core, but the usage would
-not really be high enough to warrant the use of a keyword, and the size
-so small such that being individual extensions would be wasteful.
+C contains a selection of subroutines that
+people wanted to put in the perl core, but which are not
+really used enough to warrant them having their own keyword,
+and which are so small that making them individual
+extensions would be wasteful.

  By default C does not export any subroutines. The
  subroutines defined are
@@ -241,8 +242,9 @@


-The following are additions that have been requested, but I have been reluctant
-to add due to them being very simple to implement in perl
+The following are additions that have been requested, but
+which I have been reluctant to add because they are very
+simple to implement in perl.

      # One argument is true

Monday July 02, 2007
07:43 PM

Max Planck Institute perl archives at

I want to record the address for the best archives of lists like perl5-porters and modules, I think. I'm always forgetting it.


The xray I associated with xray vision, so I thought it's a jokey site, but it appears it's the site of the xray astronomy division of one of the German Max Planck institutes. Academic German URLs don't appear to have a ac. or edu. subdomain.

The mp of mpe and mpg is Max Planck. I can only remember the e and the g by the fact e comes before g.

I guess I have to thank German taxpayers for supporting the archiving of perl mailing list messages, something which has only an indirect link with xray astronomy.

Sunday July 01, 2007
10:31 PM

software engineering metaphor

Here's a guy saying software engineering is not engineering and getting Steve McConnell's disagreement. neering.aspx

If developing software is also engineering, where does it stop? Only if we can say what is and is not engineering, can we say whether programmers are engineers or not.

Perhaps it is a metaphor. Then the criterion is all in the mind.