tutorials not given by damian

Yesterday was all Damian, today was no Damian. Well, that’s not true. Damian gave a talk at the Tuesday Night Extravaganza, but it wasn’t so much a tutorial as a bit of entertainment. The tutorials I actually attended had good points and bad points. I will try to summarize them, below.

I got up early again, around or a little before six. I took a shower, and decided to skip the gym, which was an irresponsible but easy decision. I got a little breakfast cake and some apple juice. (Note to self: when you have to stop to decide whether to capitalize “apple,” you need to take a break.)

I didn’t have too much to do before the first talk, and I don’t remember how it was I passed the time. At any rate, soon enough it was time for Patterns in Perl, and I was at the only conference room on the second floor (the “restaurant level”).

Adam was giving the talk, and while he was for the most part a good presenter, there were two things that got in the way of my enjoyment. First of all, I had misunderstood the focus of the talk. I was hoping to see a discussion of recognizing and developing patterns for use in code: both traditional and novel patterns. That is, not just novel because Adam would show us new patters, but novel because we would create them at implementation or design time. Instead, the talk seemed more a review of existing Perl patterns. Having re-read the blurb, I think my misapprehension was my fault, and that I should have understood this from the blurb.

The other problem was That Guy. He was in this talk five times over. A number of people, on being shown the Template pattern, insisted that templates are bad and that they make code hard to understand. They want all the data right in the program in-line all the time. This digression continued for no less than fourteen minutes. I wanted to yell at the audience, “Shut up shut up shut up!” I didn’t. I also didn’t come back to the talk after tea. I felt bad, because I think Adam was doing well, but I didn’t think I was getting much out of it.

Ziggy: if you’re reading this, I felt for you. Next time, feel free to say the word, and I will break some chairs over people’s backs.

I met with Geoff Avery and Andy briefly, and we talked about ExtUtils::ModuleMaker and Module::Starter. I told Geoff that I’d figure out what MS and EUMM didn’t have in common, verify the differences with him, and put a SEE ALSO in Module::Starter. (Then I’ll start stealing ideas.)

Joshua and I headed out for an early lunch, and we took Ronald with us. After a longish and confusing commute, we found a really nice little biestro where I ate a shrimp salad sandwich. It had bell peppers and celery in it, and had a really interesting taste. I also got some “potato salad” which was their way of saying “warm home fries.” Either way, it was good. Joshua got a sandwich and a bowl of unpleasant cucumber soup.

We walked back to the hotel, stopping for gelato. I had hazelnut (“call it filbert, around here”) gelato, as that is my bent.

(At this point in writing this entry, I went to bed. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I feel much better now.)

We got back to the hotel and it was time for Comprehensive POE. Rocco was giving the talk, and it was his first conference presentation. All in all, I think it was good. I was lost in the beginning, trying to jump headfirst into complicated diagrams. Once they were gone, though, everything became clear and I really started to understand how (basic) POE stuff worked. I feel even more motivated to finally do some work in it. After the break, I started to get lost again, as more complicated topics began coming quickly, one after the other. I think that once I review his notes (because my notes stink for that tut), I’ll have a firmer grasp on wheels and filters, which never really cleared up for me.

After the talk I met up with Shawn (hide, not mdxi) and we stood around for a while before it was time for the user group leaders’ meeting, about which I’d completely forgotten. If Casey hasn’t been sitting there, getting reminded, I would have never remembered, which would have been a shame. The meeting was good.

I started off by feeling stupid, though: on the way in I introduced myself to ingy, who was very friendly, even when I completely forgot the question I wanted to pose to him after saying that I had one. Even now, the question is gone. Maybe it never really existed. I think I’ll have to write the code and see if the questions falls out of it.

At the leader’s meeting, I met a few more people I knew on IRC and some I’d never met or had any reason to meet—like the leader of the Chicago Palm Programmers Group! There was a good amount of discussion about successful group administration, and then some more specifically Perl things. I told Casey that I expected him to reimplement mh in Perl and talked with Andy and chromatic and a few others about Phalanx. (I’m looking forward to seeing what Andy ends up doing at his lightning talk.)

As that wound down, Jeff Bisbee and I got some dinner, which we had to really scarf down to get to see Larry. Larry gave his State of the Onion, which was, this year, very much a love letter to the Perl community. I was almsot certain, near the end, that he was going to announce his departure from the project. In fact, if someone told me that he merely decided at the last minute not to, I would not be surprised.

Paul Graham followed Larry, and gave a really good talk about how to house, understand, and identify good hackers. It was the first thing that’s made me think I’d like to read Hackers and Painters. I’ll have to give that a look downstairs, later. The White Camels awards followed Paul, and I was somewhat surprised (but not upset) at the results.

Then came Damian. Damian gave a talk called “Life, the Universe, and Everything.” It was, I think, mostly intended as entertainment, although there may have been pedagogical content that I was not able to notice. It involved a lot of work with the Game of Life, the importance of which I finally understand. So, I guess that’s one thing I learned. He also did some “programming in Klingon,” and I was surprised to see the audience’s lone Klingon-speaking member decline the chance to be the designated Klingon reader.

I guess that was most of the day. I’m sure there was more, but it’s all a blur.

Written on July 28, 2004
🐪 perl