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Abigail (26)

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Journal of Abigail (26)

Sunday December 11, 2005
08:03 PM

A Sunday in December.

Due to a busy social scedule, it had been a few weeks since our last hike. Today we did a 14k hike from Delft to Zoetermeer. It was gray outside, and only a few degrees above freezing, but it was dry and there wasn't any wind, so it was good hiking weather. The route went through the old city center of Delft, through polders, and over the terrain of the 1992 Floriade. Quite a nice walk.

Tonight I prepared dinner. The recipe was called "potato-onion pie with sausage". But neither the list of ingredients, nor the recipe itself mentioned any onions.

Finished one of the books I bought last Friday, Winterkoninkje. A book about one of the most succesful Dutch (female) skaters, Yvonne van Gennip. The book has a lot of details - both most of those details are the times Yvonne rode on various tournaments, including a gazillion tournaments that weren't very important. It doesn't contain anything new, Yvonne is quoted a few times, but I think the author (Huub Snoep) could have done much better. Unless you both like books and speed-skating (like I do), I don't think the book is worth the price. At 24.50, it's quite expensive.

Saturday December 10, 2005
08:45 PM

Another book & Harry Potter

Can one ever have enough books? Probably not. Today I was in a bookshop to buy a newspaper, but I couldn't leave without a new book. Charles Groenhuijsen: Amerikanen zijn niet gek (Americans aren't crazy). Groenhuijsen is a Dutch journalist who has lived the last dozen or so years in the USA, and has written a book about differences between the US and Europe.

Tonight, we went to the newest Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. As with all Harry Potter movies, the flimsy story in the book is made even flimsier in the movie. Harry Potter remains one of the worst uninspiring heroes ever - he has no initiative and only manages because of his friends, and because he's the darling of the head master and some of the other school staff. But the movie has enough eye-candy to make up for it. Negative point: John Cleese as Nearly Headless Nick is missing.

Friday December 09, 2005
08:42 PM

"IT people wearing suits cannot be trusted"

During my job interview today, we were discussing working conditions, and the subject of dress code was mentioned. The company has a dress code - suits, however, IT employees don't have much of a dress code. About anything goes, as long as it isn't total rags.

A few years ago, the company tried to enforce a dress code on their IT department. But one guy treatened to quit his job the moment a dress code was being enforced, stating that IT people wearing suits cannot be trusted. The guy has left the company long time ago, but his statement is still often uttered in the company - even during board meetings.

07:43 PM

New books.

Today I had a second interview at one company, and the interview went quite well. I also received a job offer by a different company. A nice offer, and I celebrated by a visit to a book store.

I bought the following books:

  • René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo: Asterix: Het pretpakket. Original title: Astérix et la rentrée gauloise. A collection of 14 short stories about Asterix and Obelix. ( 5.99)
  • Peter Winnen: Van Santander naar Santander. Peter Winnen was professional cyclist in the 80s. The book describes his life on the bike. ( 4.99)
  • Maarten Scholten: Op dun ijs, het verhaal van Peter Mueller (On thin ice, the Peter Mueller story). Peter Mueller was a succesfull speed-skater (gold medal on the 1000m in 1976), and is now a succesfull, but controversial, trainer/coach. ( 17.95)
  • Huub Snoep: Winterkoninkje. A book about Yvonne van Gennip, a Dutch speed skater, who won three gold medals during the 1988 Olympic Games. ( 24.50)
  • Aardappelgerechten, a cookbook dedicated to dishes with potatoes as a main ingredient. ( 5.99)
  • Pittige gerechten, a cookbook with spicy dishes. ( 9.95)
  • Donald E. Knuth: The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 4, Fascicle 2, "Generating All Tuples and Permutations". ( 18.35)
Monday November 28, 2005
11:06 AM

London Perl Workshop

I had a great time in London. I was surprised by the number of people showing up, despite the late announcement. The venue was great, two rooms of appropriate size, and equipment that just worked. There wasn't a (wireless) network available, and I think that that was just great. Organizers, take notice: it's much nicer to present to a room where people look at you, instead of hiding behind the lids of laptops, tapping away at their computers.

I flew in on Saturday morning, arriving at 7 AM London time. My flight left at 7 AM as well (but 7 AM MET), which met that the alarm went at 4.30 AM - 3.30 AM London time. It's doable, but next year, I certainly consider flying in on Friday. Anyway, there was a convenient train from Gatwick airport to Farringdon station. A 45 minute ride with trains going every 15 minutes, followed by a 10 minute walk. I arrived at the venue about a quarter to nine - only person who was already there was Josette from O'Reilly. But by 10, it was crowded and we could start. After some introduction, the real talks could start, and I had the honour of doing the first talk in the advanced track, about Regexp::Common.

I'm sure that in the room next to us, people were doing experiments with large masses, contracting my time as Simon came in to tell indicating my time was nearly up. And I was only halfway through my slides! Following my talk, there was one about Parrot, but I missed half of it, getting some coffee and something to eat. After the Parrot talk, it was my turn again, to entertain the audience with tales about my 10 year struggle with Perl objects. I had a bit more time than 45 minutes (still not enough, two hours would have been better) as Jos was up after me, but after staying in the pub till 1 AM the night before, he now called claiming to have the flu, so he couldn't speak (the flu was gone later that day in the pub...). Jos's slot was filled with a talk by Mark, doing some live demos.

At lunch time, I went to a nearby pub with Nicolas, Smylers, Aaron and a few others. "Food served all day" was being advertized, but all they had were rolls that tasted if they were at least a day old.

After lunch I saw two interesting talks, one about using OpenGL in your Perl program - the other about using attributes, by Casey West. I've never used OpenGL before, and I've hardly ever used attributes, and these talks made me interested in trying.

At the end of the afternoon, there was a talk by Mark Jason Dominus - an hour and a half of his Red flags lessons. Very interesting and entertaining - it's always a pleasure to listen to Mark Jason.

After the conference most of us went to a nearby pub for drinks - Fotango donated some money. Afterwards, a group of us (Greg, Leon, Mark-Jason, Clkao, Jos and his fiancee, Ben, ??? and myself) went to an excellent Japanese restaurant for dinner.

Having finished dinner, Greg and I took a cab to Greg's home, were I spend the night. On Sunday morning, Greg and his wife dropped me off at the train station, from where I took a train back to the airport. Check-in, a quick visit to a book store to grab some books, and it was time to fly back to the Netherlands, just in time for a birtday lunch of a good friend.

All-in-all, a well spend Saturday. Simon, thanks for the wonderful workshop. Hopefully, there will be one next year as well.

Friday November 25, 2005
06:22 AM

Flying to London

Tomorrow is the London Perl Workshop. I'll be flying in tomorrow morning; I've a flight leaving at 7AM. But the weather in the Netherlands is currently awful - storm, lots of rains, and in large parts of the Netherlands, enough snow that snow removal equipment had to be brought out. Half of the take-off and landing runways of the airport are closed today, with flights being delayed. And tomorrow, we'll have the same weather.

Luckely, London is one time zone away, so my flying time will only be five minutes, giving me always three hours between landing and the start of the conference. Hopefully, that gives me enough leeway to be there on time to give my talks.

BTW, if you are reasonably paranoid, don't fly British Airways and order your ticket over the internet. It's all convenient and such, but a bit too convenient for the security aware. They'll give you a URL where you can change your flight details. No authentication required. And they send the URL by email. Unencrypted. With a warning not to forward the email.

Thursday November 24, 2005
10:50 AM

Need another job.

I knew this job wasn't going to last forever, but the scedule has been moved forward. It's much sooner now that we'll retire the old product (previously running on a PDP-11, then on a VAX, then on top of SCO, now on top of Linux), and bring in the new product currently being crancked out by several thousands of programmers from India. And it's going to run on Microsoft.

So, I'll be out of a job, and have to start looking elsewhere. Just finished discussing some of the severance packages to choose from.

Anyone needing a Perl/Unix person?

Friday November 18, 2005
06:27 AM


Congrats Chicago! I'll do my best to be there.

But next year, can we please have some faster decision of when and where the next conference will be? Europe announced the 2006 conference in Birmingham at the closing ceremonies of the 2005 conference - giving Birmingham the opportunity to picth their conference.

And please, update the YAPC website. Really, going to and still seeing that registration for the 2005 conference has opened as the newest news is not good publicity. And do we really need the fact that the venue of the 2003 European conference has been determined on the front page? If people want their boss to pay for a trip to a Perl conference, the outdated content of this page isn't going to help them.

Not that the site of the Perl foundation (in charge of electing the YAPC venue) isn't free of sins. Even today it has no mentioning of Chicago as next years venue - it still mentions September 16 2005 as the date to make a decision about the venue. Please, if the date chances, update your website. Keep us informed - people are interested.

Monday April 14, 2003
05:46 AM

C is not Perl.

Today I was writing a quick C program. I started off with the lines:

    # use <stdlib.h>
    # use <stdio.h>

and I didn't notice it until the compiler complained.

(Darn, why isn't <PRE> allowed? That would make it a lot easier to show code.)

Tuesday April 08, 2003
09:05 AM

Cookbook 2

It's been a while, but I'm doing a book review again. This time of the second edition of the Perl Cookbook. Got some chapters from Linda last night. And I just send in the review for the first chapter. This is great, it brings back fond memories from working on the first edition.