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blech (1597)

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Journal of blech (1597)

Tuesday August 21, 2001
05:21 PM

Adventures in OS X

[ #686 ]

Two and a half weeks on from YAPC and still no code to release, mainly due to well documented excursions like ingy's reappearance in London and going to see the camel London Zoo (another cat-herding expedition I was foolish enough to take a role in). Work's been busy with, erm, what I'm paid to do, too, so not much chance to do stuff there either.

On the other foot, I have been messing about a bit in between these excursions. I've learnt enough XPath to use XML::XPath to reimport an XML data structure to a Perl one; I've started to understand Python as a language (well, to read it, anyway) and hence to realise how badly my first version of this code is (but then, always plan to throw one away, right?), and I'm trying to read Mastering Algorithms In Perl at bedtime because dave told us to.

I've also installed OS X, and played around in it a bit more than I had for ages. Those of you who know me will realise I'm an OS X refusnik- the combination of an OS 9 laptop and Unix box is fine for me most of the time- but I did play a bit with the developer tools today, at least to the point of installing- well, see below- all the modules I need to run this new code (and no, I'm not going to say what it is until it's ready, although the IRCers in the audience know I've been banging on about it Far Too Much already).

I was a bit taken aback by how many modules I needed to install just to get this code to run. I suppose this happens a lot- you chuck in a module, then realise another would be nice here, and suddenly you have three dependencies, each of which of those has three dependencies, and suddenly you're running cpan shell for an hour downloading them (over a modem). Then I realised one of these was the aforementioned XML::XPath. Which requires XML::Parser. Which requires Expat. Which didn't build.

I don't do C, so that was the point (after about 3 hours in OS X, complete with a some Finder crashes, IE pegging out rendering sourceforge, and a couple of kernel panics) that I decided to go back to safe homely OS 9, even if I did have to do everything over AFP.

Ah well. I might (if I'm terrible enthuasiastic) ask someone about expat and OS X tomorrow. More likely I'll just try and get the core code done one evening. Unless, of course, beer intrudes.

Sunday August 05, 2001
04:49 PM

The Auction

[ #617 ]

OK, I said no more non-perl content, but I typed this in during the auction, but it got lost, so I'm recreating it from memory, even though binky's covered some of it. I'll go quiet after this. Honest guvnor.

So after the final talk, there was the farewell, with lots of well-deserved applause; my particular thanks go to Jouke for organising the hotel, which was very helpful in getting a lot of the Londoners over, involved, and, um, drunk too. Greg McCarroll started a raffle for t-shirts and cards, with typically British pronunciation of the foreign names (and no, I wouldn't have done any better). Then came a rather involved explanation of Dutch bidding and Redvers Davies GTK app, and the sale of lots and lots of books.

However, there were several odd items interspersed within the shirts and books. Firstly, Greg himself competed with davorg for the date for the official meeting date: first Thursday of the month, or the day after the first Wednesday of the month (see the FAQ for more). After getting out of their depths, each side attracted a posse of supporters; davorg had the numbers, but Greg had the money, and cunning- promising beer to defectors then pulling an IRC bid out of the air to win the day.

Also auctioned were dedications of modules and japh/obfuscated code, and (naturally) signed pictures of Buffy and Willow. Greg also sang, which drove up profits enormously. Anyway, all good fun, and I'm glad I was there.

Saturday August 04, 2001
08:52 AM

YAPC::Europe- final day (all in one! for once)

[ #607 ]

The pub crawl was last night. We went back to the Wildemaan, except this time there were about 50 of us, and half of us didn't dissappear into the neighbouring Bon Ton, so we completly blocked the hall. Pictures of the pub crawl (numbers 62+) and the #perl photo (55-61) are at the usual place. It was nice to sit and hear sky and richardc discuss internals.

Unfortunately richardc's laptop died last night. I joined the mourning (it used to be mine- long story) but I did gain two batteries today, which gives me six hours, more or less. I haven't plugged in once and have been online more or less all day. It's nice. Shame they're so heavy.

This morning, I made it in for the keynote, which has been covered elsewhere, then Greg's 'Stone Soup' talk, which was fairly amusing and interesting. Skud's Reefknot talk was interesting, too; despite being unfinished, it was the highest quantity of Perl this morning, and it mentioned, which is a mailing list for, um, Perl people with an interest in date and time. Thanks to I can catch up with it, which is nice. Then pdcawley's 12 step, where I was self-appointed URL fetcher. Interesting confessions, but I wasn't brave enough to do mine.

We also got to see the infamous (on #perl, anyway) Steve Ballmer dance, monkey boy, dance video on the big screen- you should check it out (and the preceeding paragraph) at NTK. Interesting, especially at a conference- we've been thanfully free of monkey dancing...

After lunch, when I found out how much I have to learn about makefiles and with binky's help, downloaded to hack on. Then up for Wax::On, Wax::Off which went pretty well. As the appointed video editor, it seemed to come out well enough; the Quicktime captures from last week were OK, nobody noticed the edits (I think) and the only video to fail was a DivX. Heh.

Then a run across the conference for, which is interesting, but not quite what I expected, and then down to the Security Bloopers talk. This was scary. There were 100-odd plain text passwords sniffed. 37 of these were POP3 (which I hopefully dodged due to SSH tunneling traffic), 27 telnet (misconfiguring PuTTY or idiocy? you decide!), 8 ftp and, um, 30 http. I'm sure one of those was my password. There is no, and the password isn't even vaguely encrypted in the cookie that I use to authenticate myself. I can't change the password without, um, entering it in plain text. Consider this a feature request <g/>

The analysis of the sniffed passwords was interesting too. More disturbing than the 30 passwords based on dictionary words were the 3 that were username eq password. It also seems we had two Code Red infected web servers. sigh.

Just the closing speech and auction left tonight. After that, I may not have bandwidth, so I'll probably not write again until cough I have some perl programs or modules to share. Ahem.

Friday August 03, 2001
10:34 AM

'tainted perl'

[ #591 ]

After sky's POE talk, I stayed put for mod_perl 2.0, which mainly whizzed past me but the calling perl from php and vice versa sounded, um, interesting, especially from work's point of view, as did the autobuild concept. Might have to have a look.

At lunch the laptop took exception to sudden removal of the wireless card (so I won't do that, then) and POE revealed a burning need for a makefile, so I need to figure out how to pull all the bits together to make that work. I'm sure there are tutorials linked somewhere off, so it's probably just Google and grokking. I hope...

This afternoon I've been shuttling between $room[2] and the O'Reilly room for the lightning talks. Upstairs, that meant H. Merijn Brand's ebullient espousal of getting involved in p5p (and the use of format statements, which feels like such a throwback these days <smiley/>) and Hugo van der Sanden's look at tainting and regular expressions, which was a little utilitarian as talks go, but useful, and it's nice to see people driving vi well- gives me incentive to get better.

Downstairs, the pick of the lightning talks was probably Jeremy Gurney's anti-security parody (although of course including Acme::Buffy was always going to convert the London posse), while Ingy's Larry Wall and YAML talks were a recap of stuff from Monday (for me) but still good. (His Inline talk, which I passed up because I'd seen a version on Monday, seemed to get a good reaction, from what I saw at the end.) Nicholas Clark made good use of not using a computer, and I think I vaguely got the hang of what the C core does, a bit, for arithmetic. Oh, and Marty did another scary Quantum module, but then I'd previewed that one too. ( is a Good Thing for technical meetings.)

Pub crawl and #perl photo tonight. I might not make an entry tommorow morning quite so early...

05:15 AM

Brane fading

[ #579 ]
Forgot the photos. Unfortunately the indexer's not ready yet, so you just get a directory listing, but it's here. If anyone can explain why there's a giant papier machier cow in Schipol, I'd like to know. blech on the Usual Channels.
05:12 AM

YAPC::Europe- day 2 starts...

[ #578 ]

... but first, a report on yesterday night. Beer at the venue is *astoundingly* cheap: it's 2 guilders a bottle, so we stayed in the venue then found a local (Philip from, hi!) who led us around the city to a nice little cafe/ restaurant where they knew his name and we had really nice snails, prawns, lamb, chicken, bread and tiny little potatoes. Reports suggest it was nicer (foodwise) than the speakers dinner. Yay!

Thence we found the Wildemaan (muttley takes the credit here- I still don't 'get' the navigation; radial cities are strange, as Norwich proved to me when I moved there five years ago) and the heretics outside the Bon Ton. Nice (cheap, again) beers, before we headed off back to the hotel. It seemed a bit cloudy, but I wasn't prepared for the thunderstorm we had to hack through on the way back to the hotel. Soggy, but on the other hand seeing the entire sky flash was cool.

Talking of sky (grief, I'm worse than a Radio 1 DJ) the first talk I really paid attention to today was his POE tutorial. It was a good recap of how I thought it was working (I was vaguely right, but as I mainly use stuff through a component sitting atop it, I don't need to worry overly about the internals). It prompted me to (once more) see if it works on Mac OS, so I can carry on working on my not terribly super-sekrit IRC bot a bit more.

Meanwhile I sat on IRC with a bunch of people, who seem to be filling people's driftnet caches with American WW2 propaganda posters, and wondering just how orange one man (acme) can be.

03:09 AM

#perl photo

[ #571 ]

Those of you who frequent will know I occasionally get stupid ideas about organising stuff. In that spirit, I've picked up an a topic plea on #perl to take a #perl photo, which will be at 5.30 pm. Congregate in the reception area. If anyone has a good camera , bring it along, and if the sun comes out, we can even go outside instead.

Thursday August 02, 2001
10:33 AM

schwern, on communists and kings

[ #567 ]

This afternoon saw most of the Londoners sitting around the edges of the O'Reilly room, so their laptops were umbilically powered (well, mine is now; I've checked, and it can eke out 2 hours, just, but that's fairly hairy) and they can sit on or #$talk and discuss stuff.

The talk itself was pretty nifty- Schwern's an amusing speaker, and he made good use of the slides (which we viewed on our laptops, as all of us seem horrifically short sighted) as a starting point for the talk, rather than the be-all and end-all. We also got an insight into things that had actually happened at $company, which is also a good thing. Well, it's certainly entertaining. In a way it's all obvious, but it's also stuff that it's too easy not to do. Ah well. (I really need to work out how to make my stuff work with this, now.)

(Communists, by the way, is a reference to collective code ownership, and I suffixed it Kings as a literary reference which should be obvious...)

He's overshot his talk time horrifically, but that's OK as it's interesting. seem to be gearing up already for the pub event tonight (for those of us who aren't speaking, anyway). Hopefully I'll get to see a little more of the city proper. Maybe I should have stayed over until next week like some of the others. Ah well. I don't imagine the city's going anywhere.

06:26 AM

YAPC::Europe is go: settling in

[ #562 ]

Having wireless networking at a conference rocks. It's a shame how badly it depletes battery life, though. (On a train I usually squeeze two or two and a half hours out of a battery. This morning, I think it was looking more like an hour and a half. Might have to do the richardc solution and run two. Media Bays also rock.)

It's nice that all our mobile phones (mainly) are working, too. Most of us even got welcome SMSes from the local operators, too. They must really want us to use their information services. (Those of us on the vaguely branded trip to NY really missed them.)

Kevin's opening talk was rapid but useful; the bags of goodies are pretty, well, good; Abigail's talk made my head hurt, but was good while I could cope, and now it's lunch, and I'm draining juice (muttley gets bonus karma for bringing the UK four plug strip, so we don't have to lug about power adapters). Mind you, given the laptop he's using, he should be able to haul boulders by the time the conference is over.

This afternoon? Well, being lazy sounds good. (And yes, that is a talk, not just sitting in the cafe area. Insert smileys as required.)

06:19 AM

YAPC::Europe day -1

[ #561 ]

I never realised how short the flight to Amsterdam was. By the time we were off the ground, the seat belt light had gone off and the drinks people had come round so that we could get a can of beer (I blame jns), we were almost landing again.

The difference between the Thameslink train from London Bridge to Gatwick (10 pounds for a single, 8 minutes late, and absolutely full) and the train from Schipol to Amsterdam (6.50 Guilders single, which is more like two quid, with plenty of space and an astoundingly smooth ride) was worth mentioning. Sigh.

After discerning our way through the mysteries of the strippenkarten and the curiously (for a Londoner, anyway) trusting entry gates, we got the Metro to the hotel. Well, we actually got off the Metro, looked confused, finally trudged long a verge to the hotel proper, where all the people who'd spurned public transport were already happily esconsed in the bar. Plus ca change.

An expedition into town gradually formed; I was one of those who got an insane taxi driver to take us into town, complete with 'fun' tramline riding. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the lure of the coffee shops proved irresistable to some. (A lot of people just stuck with beer, though.) The fifteen or so and associated friends eventually met up with Skud, sky and a host of others, and we walked around the city towards... something that claimed to be an NY state house. Nice place, though. Last Metro home, and a nature trek back to the hotel. I slept, in preperation for this morning. (Seemed like a plan.)

Oh, and in the obPerl section, richardc seems to have taken on board my ranting about message-ids in mailing lists from Tuesday night. (I summarise a busy-ish (400 posts a week) list, and it has a Pipermail archive I like to link to so people can see what I was talking about without excessive effort. Unfortunately, the URLs aren't in the email, so I have to manually match them. Wouldn't it be nice, I said, if the archiver used a header added by the listserv that could uniquely identify the message?) Might get something out of that this week.