9 Jan 2004 shlomif   » (Master)

Perl Meeting

I had a Perl Meeting yesterday. It was raining on the way to the bus stop, but from the bus stop next to Dapey Zahav until then, it wasn't raining, so I was lucky because it is a long walk. I met Shlomo Yona at the hall, and we talked a bit. Then other guys came. Kfir Lavi brought a digital camera and took a few pictures throughout the meeting.

Before the lectures, we chatted about various topics. We talked about processor speeds (Pentium 4's vs. UltraSPARCs), form process handling (WWW::Form and friends), whether to use my meta-data database access or Tangram, DBIx::DWIW, the August Penguin conferences, and other things. It was very fun. I went to buy two bottles of mineral water, because I saw that we were going to run out of them in the fountain. (they don't seem to keep a spare container there for some reason). Afterwards, Ran Eilam and I went to buy some pastries to eat, which were eaten like crazy.

Gabor could not come for the second time in a row, and his presence was once again missed. Some people paid entrance fee to the YAPC::Israel::2004 conference, to the other organizers.

Then the lectures started. Shlomo Yona gave a very nice presentation about edit distance. I recall needing to do this algorithm in one of my Algorithmics courses, so this was a nice comeback. What I did learn there was that related algorithms like this are a field of very active research and that they are very useful.

Afterwards, Ran Eilam gave the second part of his presentation about Extreme Programming. It was very insightful and entertaining as well, with various interesting ideas and techniques for better software management. Like the "Dukes and Engineers" game. Or cards to write the names of classes in the program as you come with them, instead of UML. And naturally, the usual depreciation of the Gantt chart. He explained why "pay-per-project" outsourcing and especially off-shore outsourcing cannot work. Someone told there that an outsourcing project that costed twice as much and had half the requested feature-set was declared a success, because most projects don't do that well.

Afterwards the guys went to hang in a pub, but I picked a ride home with someone who drove northwards as I was quite tired.


I ended up switching to gvim for my Hebrew LaTeX needs. he2 sucks pretty badly as an editor, and gvim is naturally much better. Now I'm using F9 to toggle the direction leftwards and rightwards and it is much more convenient. And I have all my favourite gvim features.


Did some work on my yet-to-be-reviewed/yet-to-be-published philosophical essay. But more importantly, it seems that the development on WWW::Form is really going to take off. Its Wiki is being filled up, its author sent me the password he wants for the Subversion repository. I'm still waiting for the code to be imported there, but it may take a while, because the author has a job and is quite busy. Still, I was able to talk with him on ICQ and AIM, and so I have a way to reach him in which he is very responsive.

I upgraded my system to kernel 2.6.0. One thing I notice is that the first instance of gvim (running above KDE) takes much less time to load.

Mailing Lists Threads of Interest

Here's a thread I started about the NVidia drivers. The problem I mention there may be better now that I upgraded to kernel 2.6.0. In any case, here's my conclusion of the thread.

I joined the linux-elitists mailing list and witnessed a large and lively GNOME-related discussion. I introduced myself which sparked a lot of discussion about BASIC. I always thought the WHILE...WEND loop was present in most BASIC interpreters, but it only got introduced later on in the PC revolution.

Then, I joined in the GNOME discussion with some rants about GNOME's lack of similarity to what I was used to. Just read it to find what a GNOME developer answered, but I was not satisfied by it. (I still find its behaviour annoying)


Finished reading Extending and Embedding Perl. The book was written professionally but pretty boring. Here's my review of it.

I also read more chapters out of "Perl & XML". This book is very short, but also very interesting, so I think I'm going to finish it soon. Then, I'll have to find something else to read, and I did not take any books out of the Perl library. (due to the fact that no one brought the requested books from Gabor's house)

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