Blog entries tagged with ""

Bugs and Melbourne Perl Mongers

Monday, December 7th, 2009 at 09:10pm

At two Melbourne Perl Mongers meetings this year Paul Fenwick co-opted us into fixing bugs.

Melbourne Perl Mongers Bug Squash (September 2009)

Our first attempt was against the Volatile 100. It wasn’t very successfull, but we did all learn a lot about how to read the CPAN testers reports. The problem we had was that the Volatile 100 is made up of the modules that are depended on the most. As such these are already well tested and the reports that we were looking at where for quite unusual bugs.

Melbourne Perl Mongers Bug Squash (01)

Melbourne Perl Mongers Perl 5.12 bug triage (November 2009)

Our second attempt was at first hindered by problems with the wireless network, but that just meant we had to head over to the pub that had free wifi. This time we were a lot more successful as all we were doing was triaging new bug reports against Perl itself. 5.12 bug triage (10)

Now I am looking forward to the meeting this week where Damian Conway will be presenting The Missing Link.

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PM and WSG photos

Sunday, September 28th, 2008 at 08:05pm

After a long delay I have finally caught up with putting my photos from Melbourne Perl Mongers and the Web Standards Group up on Flickr:

At some later point I need to change the name of each photo to be descriptive, not just the image filename.

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A talk at Perl Mongers

Sunday, August 17th, 2008 at 09:11pm

Last Wednesday at Perl Mongers I gave a talk on handling non-ASCII characters in Perl. The slides are now available.

However I really need to acknowledge Juerd Waalboer, the author of the Perl Unicode Tutorial. It was only after finding his Perl Unicode Advice page and the slides from his Perl Unicode Tutorial from YAPC::Europe 2007 that changed what looked like a really horrible problem into something much simpler.

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Two different 50mm lenses

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008 at 11:33pm

Last week contained both a Perl Mongers meeting and a Web Standards Group meeting. I have just finished sorting through the photos I took and have uploaded the best (not so much for WSG) to Flickr.

Wednesday night was Perl Mongers at a new location, across the road from Federation Square. Wes brought along his 50mm f/1.4 lens which is a significant improvement over the 50mm f/1.8 lens that I had used previously.


Melbourne Perl Mongers (May 2008) – a set on Flickr

(That raspberry wheat beer was very popular…)

On the Thursday night was a WSG meeting, tied in with the Web Directions South conference, where I was back to borrowing the 50mm f/1.8 lens. There was hardly any light and the lens (and camera) really struggled.


Web Standards Group (May 2008) – a set on Flickr

While most of the photos look ok when small, some are really bad when the large versions are viewed. Adjusting the light levels just made it worse.

The upshot of all this is that I have more practical experience with different lenses and I now know that in the situation where a 50mm lens (on a crop body) is suitable, I should really get the f/1.4 over the f/1.8. A pity about the massive price difference.

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Trying out a lens at the new Perl Mongers location

Sunday, April 20th, 2008 at 06:36pm

Wednesday week ago, Melbourne Perl Mongers was held at a new location in Southbank followed by dinner and drinks at the Town Hall Hotel in South Melbourne.

This afternoon I finally got around to sorting through the photos and uploading a select few to flickr:


Melbourne Perl Mongers (April 2008) – a set on Flickr

For the night I borrowed what a co-worker refers to as his “nifty fifty”, a 50mm f/1.8 lens. This is a pretty cheap and inexpensive lens, so I wanted to try one out before getting one. This was also my first opportunity to use my new camera bag, a Crumpler 5 Million Dollar Home.

I found that f/1.8 is a big improvement over the f/2.8 of my 28mm lens, but being 50mm it is too narrow which meant I didn’t use it for much of the night.

When talking to Wes I found that even though he has the better 50mm f/1.4 lens, he is finding that it is too narrow and is thinking about the faster 28mm lens.

That Canon 28mm f/1.8 lens is very temping as it gives a ‘normal’ angle of view on a crop body and is nice and fast due to its wide aperture. It also doesn’t hurt that it it a USM lens as the motor in the 28mm f/2.8 is slow and loud. What would hurt is the price and that it doesn’t appear to be anywhere near as available secondhand as the f/2.8 is.

I had also lined up a Speedlite 430EX flash to borrow for the night but that fell through at the last minute because its owner had to make a decision between catching the body or the flash before they encountered the floor. The flash is what ended up breaking.

This coming Wednesday is a Web Standards Group meeting which will give me another opportunity to experiment in low light.

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The first Pub Mongers

Thursday, March 13th, 2008 at 10:50pm

Due to venue issues, there was no Melbourne Perl Mongers last night. Instead there was a ‘Pub Mongers’, sort of the same thing except entirely at the pub with no planned talks.

But that didn’t stop Paul:

Paul using his portable presentation device

Pub Mongers (March 2008) – a photoset on Flickr.

One other change is that I didn’t bother taking my laptop along as the most I have used it for at a meeting for a long time is making a note of something to look up later. What I did take along was my good camera.

I only took along the kit 18-55mm lens (instead of the 28mm F2.8 lens I also have) as I still haven’t got a better walkaround lens (looking at a EF-S 17-85mm IS lens on eBay). This still gave me some experience in pretty bad light so hopefully things will only improve.

Continuing my plan on going to as many community events as I can I should be repeating this next week at Pub Standards Melbourne.

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Lessons in procrastination

Thursday, October 11th, 2007 at 07:19pm

Last night’s perl mongers meeting (actually an OSDClub meeting) featured two examples of less than ideal organisation.

Paul was up first with a walkthrough of how an online todo list (specifically Hiveminder, but also Remember The Milk). It was then ironic that Paul had not actually finished preparing his presentation. A while ago I had looked at Hiveminder (when Paul sent me a task) and I didn’t get far. Now that I have seen more of what it can do I should give it another look.

The second talk was supposed to have been from Rick about integrating with Jaiku. However, since he was planning an online walkthrough of what he has done instead of an actual presentation he neglected a crucial step: checking ahead of time that he would have an internet connection. Fortunately he did give a brief overview of how he is using microblogging, including as a means of documenting projects, which was then a topic of discussion at the pub.

Speaking of the pub… Last month they messed up our orders so this time we went down the street to a different one, the Redback Brewery Hotel. Overall it was good, not as crowded, not as loud, and not as dark. They did mess up one of the orders, the brought out a pie instead of a steak sandwich, but they noticed it straight away. More importantly they apologised and brought the correct meal out as soon as they could. Approved.

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Best meeting for some time

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007 at 10:44pm

Tonight’s Melbourne Perl Mongers meeting was probably the best meeting for some time.

This isn’t saying that past meetings haven’t been excellent. They have been. In this case a simple change to the seating at the pub mean that instead of the conversation fracturing into a number of small conversations, most of the time all of us, 11 I think, were having a single conversation.

The change? Instead of having the tables arranged in a long line they were arranged in a rectangle that gave more of a round table aspect. We were also located under some lights which eliminated the normal gloom.

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Eating lunch leads to Library Thing

Thursday, May 10th, 2007 at 10:35pm

Last night Kirrily mentioned that she had created a flowchart about eating lunch at your desk so tonight I went off to find it on her Geek Etiquette site. Anyone who works in a shared office will see the truth in it, however I feel it is missing something. It doesn’t cover the case where you have a lunch that is stinkiest while being reheated and you take back to your desk because you do not want to eat in the now stunk out kitchen…

In the process of all this I checked out Kirrily’s profile on Library Thing. I started thinking that, although I built my own simple catalog, this could be useful in the same way that has been for my bookmarks. So I created an account…

…to find that I had already done so when I first got my barcode scanner and forgotten about it. The couple of books that were in the account were the ones that I had used when first playing around with a catalog of my own.

After I saw that the import function could extract ISBNs from an arbitrary chunk I test I copy and pasted the output from my catalog into it. 449 ISBNs were found and it is added 202 of them to my catalog as 200 is the limit for a free account (is that a boundary error?). Even though it does not satify my fundamental need for a catalog I may still pay the US$25 for a lifetime membership as it is yet another way to have an internet presence.

So what is my fundamental need for a catalog? Sorting by series and series order.

Along with the title, author and ISBN of each novel, I also have a series name and a number to represent the place the novel has in the series. Sorting by author, series, series number, then title gives me a list with two benefits; first it makes it easy to see which books in a series I do not have, and second, when printed out, this made rearranging my bookshelves signifigantly easier as I prefer to have them in chronological order.

Now that my bookshelves are mostly in order the second benefit is no longer as important and it limits the catalog to novels. I have plenty of other books that I should catalog.

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Stupid things, account creation, being greedy and The Big Con

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007 at 11:33pm

Tonight was the first Melbourne Perl Mongers meeting since March. A few weeks ago I realised that the last time I posted about one of these meetings was at the start of last year so I decided that I would make an effort this month.


Thre was a decent turnout of around 15 people to listen to Paul talk about “Doing Stupid Things with Perl” and Jacinta talk about greediness and regular expressions. In between there was a sysadmin question (I didn’t get the name of who asked it) about the best way to go about rolling back system processes (eg creating a user account) midway if there was a failure. This turned into an interesting discussion of both how to reliably run a system process and various ways of keeping track of where the overall process was up to in order to run other processes to revert changes that had already been made.

I recall Paul, Leif and Kirrily contributing the most with suggestions of IPC::System::Simple to reliably run the processes and various state tracking and/or nesting structures to know how to roll back.

So what is with the title of this post?

The discussions in the pub briefly turned to confidence tricks and at the time I couldn’t remember the name of an excellent book on the subject.

First published in 1940, The Big Con is a book I picked up a few years ago that is considered to be a definitive work on the subject. I find the social engineering aspect of it all to be fascinating and I would cite the following two things as the source of my interest:

  • The Sting – the 1973 movie staring Robert Redford and Paul Newman that features the wire as the main con in order to get revenge for a murder
  • Hustle – a contemporary television show from the UK that “follows the fortunes of a gang of five expert con artists let loose on the streets of London”

There are other influences (such as the 2003 movie Matchstick Men), but those are the first ones that come to mind.

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The first perl mongers of 2006

Wednesday, January 18th, 2006 at 11:37pm

Tonight was the first Melbourne Perl Mongers meeting of the year. Normally the meeting is on the second Wednesday of all months except for January. As the December meeting was overshadowed by OSDC 2005 and the February meeting will actually be a OSDClub meeting it was felt that a casual meeting with a few lightning talks would be appropriate.

Back in December while on the train to the third day of the conference I had an idea for a lightning talk: use photos to tell the story of why I scrape eBay into an iCal file that is then sync to my phone so I automatically get reminders about auctions I am watching or bidding on. Around about 95% of the talk would be gratuitous photos of my computer collection.

Now I actually spent about fifteen minutes on Tuesday night taking semi-random photos of my collection with the intention of taking the remaining photos (such as a screen showing the end of an eBay auction) sometime today. That did not happen. However when I saw that there were only three people prepared to do talks this evening I for some unknown reason (suspicion is placed with the two pints of pre-meeting beer) stuck my hand up with the intention of winging the actual perl related parts of the talk.

So after a minute or so flipping through the photos I had taken on Tuesday I ended up just browsing through this site to bring up the detailed photos of the interesting items in the collection. I have no idea how well the talk went but it did spur a couple of conversations about old hardware over dinner at the pub and I may end up getting a few new items…

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Damian on dead languages

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005 at 11:43pm

At perl mongers tonight Damian gave a talk on dead languages with the following examples:

This was the largest attendance at a perl mongers that I have ever seen with some people missing out on a seat…

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Public transport woes

Wednesday, February 9th, 2005 at 10:45pm

On my way home from Melbourne Perl Mongers tonight I remembered too late that trains would not be running through the loop after 10PM due to the construction at Spencer Street Station. How late? It was after walking almost a kilometre from where we had dinner to the station at Melbourne Central. I then waited around fifteen minutes for the next tram to take me to Flinders Street where I then waited another thirty minutes for the correct train.

Luckily this is the only regular event each month that I use public transport to get home from the city. In fact it is pretty much the only time that I go into the city at all…

One other note is that the way in Alfie and I detoured via Station Pier to take a couple of photos of the Sapphire Princess.

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Final Perl Mongers for the year

Wednesday, December 8th, 2004 at 10:12pm

Tonight was the final Melbourne Perl Mongers for the year and since the OSDC was just last week we didn’t bother with any talks that might make us think and just went straight to the pub. Also due to the OSDC were two new faces; Debbie, who actually teaches at Monash, and Greg, who used to work with John (from work) at Ericsson.

Like last month I got a lift in with Alfie and we stopped at Spencer Street Station to look at the progress and take some photos. However I ended up taking better photos from the car of bits of the CBD as we drove along Kings Way/ King St which will be available shortly.

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Photos of Spencer and Flinders Street Stations

Friday, November 12th, 2004 at 07:34pm

On my way to and from Melbourne Perl Mongers on Wednesday night I was able to spend a few minutes taking some photos of Spencer and Flinders Street Stations.

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October perl mongers

Thursday, October 14th, 2004 at 12:06am

Tonight was the October meeting of Melbourne Perl Mongers where two things happened:

  • I became an ‘Ordinary Member’ of the committee. This doesn’t really mean much in the scheme of things…
  • My practice presentation of my talk for the Open Source Developers Conference at the end of the went a lot better than I expected and I got some constructive feedback.

Then afterwards I ended up having almost twenty minutes of waiting at Flinders Street. I wandered around for a bit looking at the differing track configurations between the platforms and looking off down the tracks under Federation Square. I could have taken photos if I have just had a camera…

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Wednesday, September 8th, 2004 at 10:25pm

Tonight I travelled into the city for the September Melbourne Perl Mongers meetings. It was pretty good except for the fact that as I stepped off the tram at the top of Elizabeth St it started pouring with rain…

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Thinking of a laptop

Sunday, May 16th, 2004 at 11:31pm

On the train home from Melbourne.PM last Wednesday I spend most of the time recording my thoughts the low tech way; in a notebook with a pen. What was really frustrating was that I got to a point where I had to write down possible ways that we could wrap Log4Perl for use in the portal.

If I had a laptop, say a nice 12-inch Powerbook, I would have been able to actually code some of them up while it was all fresh in my mind. Over the last couple of days I have spent a fair amount of time reading comments about it on the MacNN Forums

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Melbourne Perl Mongers

Wednesday, March 10th, 2004 at 09:03pm

I finally made it to my first Melbourne Perl Mongers meeting tonight and got to listen to the first installment of the perl security course that Paul is beta testing…

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