Archive for March, 2009

First Sign of Spring?

Friday, March 13th, 2009

On my way back to the apartment today I noticed a young woman standing outside the local police box.  She was smiling sweetly and chatting to two policemen.  I couldn’t help but wonder if she was there to report her lost skirt.  From where I stood she looked as if she was wearing a coat, black tights, and shoes.

She wasn’t the only woman I saw today who was missing a skirt.  It’s not that warm yet but I get the feeling that mini skirts are back.  When the weather improves I may actually get to see some of the skirts but for now these are hidden somewhere underneath winter coats – or at least I hope they are.

Sydney Perl Mongers

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

On the 25th March I will be giving a short talk about The Perl Foundation (TPF) at  This will be my first visit to Australia and my first time speaking about TPF.

Floor Cleaning

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

I love the wooden floors in our apartment but I do tend to worry that they are never clean enough.  One of my friends joked that I should buy a pair of slippers with built in floor clothes so that I could clean simply by moving about.   And tonight I did just that.

Cute Floor Cleaning Slippers

Cute Floor Cleaning Slippers

Strange Words and Accents

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

I have found a new thing to be annoyed by in T.V. programmes, films, and books – words and accents.  I didn’t mean for this to happen.  Normally it’s the science, history, or geography that bothers me.

I can’t watch something that’s supposedly set in Paris when I can tell it’s being shot at a sound studio somewhere in America.  Marty used to watch Alias and I thought it was awful.  Every week they went to a different fake location.

I can’t cope with your fictional story if your factual elements are wrong.  Singers shouldn’t sing songs that hadn’t been composed when your story was set.  Cities should be called by the name they were known by then and not the name we are calling them now.

Accents have bothered me before but usually only fake Irish ones.   I was watching Spooks recently and was driven mad by the fake American accent of one of the characters.  It’s strange how I can believe all sorts of conspiracy theories but throw in a fake accent and I can’t cope anymore.

Last night I watched the start of Season 4 of Bones.  It was set in London.  That concept made me cringe.  I imagined a room full of screen-writers dying to try out their favourite quirky British phrases.  I had to listen to people talk about “shameless rogues” and “wretched rags”.  Do real people actually say, “hells, bells, and buckets”?  It could have been worse.  Recently I read a novel where the main English character talked like a reject from a Carry On film or got confused and talked like an American.  (No old English man is ever going to talk about his luggage arriving “momentarily”).

If you want people to suspend belief and enjoy science fiction, fantasy, or even a crime thriller you have to get the factual things they can verify right.  I can believe in a vampire with a soul but give him a dodgy Irish accent and I start to doubt everything.

Hospital Update

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

I decided to try a mid-week hospital visit this time in the hope it would be less crowded.  Instead of the 500 hundred or so people that are there on a Saturday morning there was about 100 this morning.  The only drawback was that I saw a different Doctor.

As I suspected, as I still spend a lot of time feeling exhausted, my medication needed to be increased.  I now have to spend another two months waiting for this new level to stabilize. Given how slow this process is I am not convinced that my hormone levels will be correctly adjusted in time for the summer conference season.  I am going to need to build in a lot of extra time to recover from the travel and the full days at the conferences.

Perl Needs Students

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

I’ve been reading about Google’s Summer of Code.

Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source software projects.

The students who successfully complete the program will receive $4500 but the experience of taking part can be worth so much more than that.

When I was at university I applied for a summer scholarship in order to get £1000 (about $1400) for 10 weeks work.  I still remember how nervous I was applying.  There were only 10 places and the university had hundreds of eligible students.  My senior lecturer sponsored me to continue working on my final year dissertation project.  This was an application for the Apple Mac written in HyperTalk that showed connecting pathways in metabolic systems.

I got the place, finished the project, and decided against a career in biochemistry.  I spent the next four years working full-time and studying at night and just before I completed my  Masters I finally got the job I wanted – Junior Analyst Programmer.  It all seems like such a long time ago but I know that getting that scholarship made me realise that I had a chance at succeeding in computing.

One of the computing related things I do now is work for The Perl Foundation (TPF). TPF is hoping to take part in GSoC this year and  Jonathan Leto has posted a request on his blog asking the world-wide Perl Monger groups to encourage students to take part.

It’s impossible to know how many students use Perl.  But there is no doubt that we want to encourage students to both use and help develop the language.