Popular cosplayer speaks out about being groped outside of NYCC

Respect for your fellow human being. It doesn’t matter if you *think* she or he wants your attention, unless that person consents, keep your paws off!

Popular cosplayer speaks out about being groped outside of NYCC

Popular cosplayer speaks out about being groped outside of NYCC

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Watch out! Adrian is posting about me ;-)

In his ZDnet blog, Adrian Bridgwater mentions my blog and the latest article I wrote for the ISUG Technical Journal.  This has totally made my month!  (Not counting the blue raspberry slushee zombie baby 😉

Perl in the shell

Posted by Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater
Adrian Bridgwater

Why doesn’t anyone talk about computer programming languages these days? I’ve just spent the last couple of days working with a great guy called Jason Froebe on a Perl tutorial that really digs deep into making sure developers know that it is a fully-featured language and yet – all I see on the IT news-o-meter is corporate shenanigans not exactly likely to set the average software engineer’s world on fire.

read more…

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FW EmmaJane.net: Making Change Happen

When I read the first article of Emma Jane Hogbin‘s “Making Change Happen” in Full Circle Magazine’s “Ubuntu Women” column, I was quite impressed.  Having to learn more about what she has to offer to technical knowledge I moseyed (sp?) on over to her website.

Making Change Happen

Posted by emmajane on Tue, 07/01/2008 – 17:08

Emma Jane Hogbin
Emma Jane Hogbin

This article was originally published in Full Circle Magazine as a series of five articles.

Part One: Goals

The challenge with change is knowing where to start. In this five-part series we will look at the process of how the Ubuntu Women team is making change happen. Topics will include: goal setting, action items, areas of responsibility, evaluation and volunteer retention.

Read more….

Her articles vary from Ubuntu Linux usage, development, project management (see her Making Change Happen article above), knitting, design, and much more.  With everything she’s working on, I swear she must have five clones to keep everything going.

Emma, good job!  🙂

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Vote for Adrian Bridgwater for Computer Weekly IT Blog Awards 08

Not only is Adrian BriAdrian Bridgwaterdgwater a blogger for ZDNet UK’s Core Techs, he is the editor for the ISUG Technical Journal.  He has been nominated for a Computer Weekly IT Blog Award.  Please go cast a vote for our Adrian! 🙂

Computer Weekly IT Blog Award -> Programming and technical blogs -> Adrian Bridgwater: Software application development

ZDNet’s biography of Adrian:

Adrian Bridgwater a freelance journalist specialising in cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects of software engineering and project management.

Adrian is a regular blogger with ZDNet.co.uk covering the application development

landscape and the movers, shakers and start-ups that make the industry the vibrant place that it is.

His journalistic creed is to bring forward-thinking, impartial, technology editorial to a professional (and hobbyist) software audience around the world. His mission is to objectively inform, educate and challenge – and through this champion better coding capabilities and ultiZDNet UKmately better software engineering.

Adrian has worked as a freelance technology journalist and public relations consultant for over fifteen years. His work has been published in various international publications including the Wall Street Journal, The Register, BBC World Service magazines, the UAE’s Khaleej Times and SYS-CON’s Web Developer’s Journal. He has worked as technology editor for international travel & retail magazines and also produced annual technology industry review features for UK-based publishers ISC.

In previous commercially focused roles, Adrian directed publicity work for clients including IBM, Microsoft, Compaq, Intel, Motorola, Computer Associates, Ascom, Infonet and RIM. Adrian has also conducted media training and consultancy programmes for companies including Sony-Ericsson, IBM, RIM and Kingston Technology.

He is also a published travel writer and has lived and worked abroad for 10 years in Tanzania, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Italy and the United States.

Please go cast a vote for our Adrian! 🙂

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Geek Spotlight: Michael Peppler

You are best known for creating the custom build of Perl known as SybPerl back in 1991 when Perl itself was new. What made you decide to create SybPerl?

In 1989 I moved from developing on MS-DOS and Waterloo Port (Waterloo Port was a cousin to QNX) to SunOS 4.x. I had no formal software (or OS) training, so this was a major shift, and required me to learn a lot of new things (shell, awk, sed, etc.). At the same time I first started using Sybase (SQL Server 4.0, on a Sun 386i). In 1990 I went to the Software Development conference in Oakland, and Rob Kolstad (IIRC he was at Sun at the time – a quick google search shows that he is a director of SAGE now) made a presentation on perl – and as a C programmer this made a lot of sense.Michael Peppler

I managed to download and build perl (remember – no internet back then so getting the code meant sending an email request via uucp to a mail responder that returned uuencoded chunks…). After building perl it quickly became obvious that writing perl scripts to perform various duties on the Sybase database would be ideal. The first attempt involved running isql in a subshell, via pseudo terminals. While this worked it was rather slow, and error prone.

Then around June 1990 Larry Wall added “user subs” to perl (version 3.something) and that made it comparatively easy to link a few DBLibrary calls into perl. That first version only opened a single connection, and had a number of other limitations. During the next year I expanded it to allow multiple connections, and then in September 1991 I made it public in a post to comp.lang.perl. It was a natural move for me – I had already been active for several years on a few public BBSs (mainly BIX, set up by Byte Magazine), and Usenet, and helping others had allowed me to learn my craft – making this code public was just an extension of that activity.

You wrote the Sybase module for the Perl DBI (DBD::Sybase). What difficulties did you run into when making the module? Were you also involved in the design of the Perl DBI?

The impetus for DBI was started by Buzz Moschetti – he was also a sybperl user (among other things) and was getting annoyed at having different APIs for the various database servers that he needed to access from his perl scripts. Buzz, Kevin Stock, Ted Lemon, Tim Bunce and various others (including myself) were on the original mailing list for the design of the DBI spec, although Tim certainly did most of the actual work. It took a lot of time before I started writing the DBI module (initially as an emulation layer on top of Sybase::CTlib). Then there was mostly the issue of handling multiple result sets which the DBI wasn’t really geared to handle. I think the work-around I chose (using the syb_more_results attribute to check for more results) was reasonable and allowed code written for DBD::Sybase to be compatible with “normal” DBI code. For a long time I was really still a Sybase::CTlib user, and it’s only comparatively recently (in the last couple of years) that I’ve started to use DBD::Sybase extensively for my own work.

Did you receive any help from Sybase, specifically any undocumented features of OpenClient? Has it been difficult supporting both FreeTDS and OpenClient?

I received some help from Sybase in 1995 when they were developing web.sql, which itself used perl and the Sybase::CTlib module. Since then I have received help “privately” from various people at Sybase (via email, or in the newsgroups). However, Sybase doesn’t publicly acknowledge DBD::Sybase (yet ?), which is a little unfortunate as they do acknowledge various other OpenSource interfaces (for PHP and the DBI module for SqlAnywhere).

My support for FreeTDS is minimal at the moment, due to a lack of time. I did some work on a DBD::FreeTDS module a couple of years ago (sponsored by a Wall Street brokerage firm), and I should really find the time to make this module public. The reason to have this module separate from DBD::Sybase is to allow linking with both Sybase OpenClient and FreeTDS from the same perl process, and to remove the functionality that isn’t supported by FreeTDS.

Is there anything in the pipeline from you? Any new features that will be added soon to your modules?

Not really – at the moment I’m focusing on maintenance, bug removal, and following the DBI evolution. As Tim Bunce is now a DBD::Sybase user he has contributed some significant changes (and motivation). After 17 years spent working on what is for large parts the same code it gets harder to sit down after a days work and decide to work on this or that feature.

Can you tell us a little about your professional work life?

I’m a production DBA in a large bank, with primary focus on Sybase ASE, and secondary focus on Oracle. As a production DBA I don’t do much coding, and only minimal performance tuning. Most of the applications we run are third party apps, so our maneuvering range is quite small (add cache, make sure the disks are configure corrrectly, and that’s about it). The things we do code are backup and restore scripts, DBCC checks, and so on. I’m on call one day out of five (meaning I must be able to get on to the company network in less than one hour), but other than that it’s fairly low stress – mainly because we’ve developped procedures and checks to catch problems as early as possible.

What do you do when you’re not coding?

I read a lot (Science Fiction, Crime/detective, general fiction), listen to music (I used to play guitar and bass in a band a long time ago…), I like to ski (I live in Switzerland), play golf, and just hang out with friends…

What other languages do you work with besides Perl?

SQL (well, I’m a DBA :-), and C.

For those of us that use your Perl modules, how can we express our gratitude?

Submit patches with the changes you’d like to see, help answering questions for newbies in the newsgroups and mailing lists.

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Geek Spotlight: Nicola Worthington

Every once in a while, I’m going to try to highlight an individual that stands out from the rest. Earlier today I was fortunate enough to be able to sit down, virtually, with Perl developer, Nicola Worthington….

Nicola, you are well known for your multiple Perl modules in the CPAN (http://search.cpan.org/~nicolaw) registry. What led you to create and maintain these modules? Is there a story behind them?

Most of my modules have come about from personal projects that I’ve worked on. Whenever I copy and paste some code more than a couple of times, I tend to ask myself if it would be better abstracted in to a module and whether other people might find it usefuNicola Worthington programming at her deskl too.Probably the best example of that is RRD::Simple. I wanted to graph things using RRD, but found the interface quite confusing. It took me days reading the RRD manual to figure out how to use it. After that I never ever wanted to have to read that manual again. Hence RRD::Simple was born, with (what I hope is) an interface a complete Perl newbie could understand.

My first CPAN module was WWW::Dilbert. I guess that one speaks for itself. Who wants to have to go to someone else’s website to read their favorite daily comic when it could be right there on your own local homepage? 🙂

What started you on the path of a programmer/developer? Was there a pivotal point when you decided or was there no question at all?

I can’t think of one particular moment when I knew I wanted to be a programmer, although I was pretty sure I wanted to play^H^H^H^Hwork with computers ever since I left school. They were an aspect of life that I could totally control. That was comforting.

Why Perl? Why not Python or Java?

Mine is probably a similar story to many other Perl programmers. When the internet came along I started working on personal web pages. I got bored with what plain old HTML could do on its own, and wanted to add some interaction and automation with what I was doing. I downloaded *shudder* some scripts from Matts Script Archive and started hacking away when they wouldn’t do what I wanted. Had Python or Java been the language of the interweb back then, then no doubt I wouldn’t be writing in Perl today.

You can see some of my first (reworked but still rather shoddy) work from those days here: https://svn.perlgirl.org.uk/dav/gallery/

Have you faced any hurdles in the Perl or Linux communities because you are a woman?

Not that I can think of. I have professionally, but I guess that still goes with the territory. I think women are still somewhat of a novelty and distraction for the men in on-line technical communities.

Can you tell us a little about your professional work life?

My last job was auditing customers code before it was allowed on their (very large and well known international website). That was an interesting job, but once you’ve seen the same error again and again from the same programmer, it begins to wear you down a little. 😉At the moment I fix and automate broken things. I may not always be hired for that purpose, but I can’t stand working in any environment where there’s unnecessary manual processes where a well placed script would save hours of work. I crave routine and order, and put things right so I get it.

My last job was auditing customers’ code before it was allowed on their (very large and well known international) website.

Recently you’ve started picking up the C++ language. What do you think of it?

It’s like writing an essay with a pen after you’ve gotten used to typing. You can’t use CPAN with it. 🙂

What do you do when you’re not coding?

I’m a sucker for finding a TV series that I like (that’s finished) and then watching every episode, several per night, until I need to find the next series. My last few TV series were Stargate, West Wing and Goodnight Sweetheart. I’m currently just starting season 5 of the X Files and looking forward to the movie before starting season 6.

Oh, sleeping is always good. Can’t get enough of that!

What’s your biggest pet peeve when reading someone else’s Perl code?

That’s a difficult question. It would have to be either not using strict and warnings, or not properly checking results of system calls. Unfortunately I see both far too often during my professional life. I can almost forgive it when the author isn’t a programmer by trade,.. but when they’re an experienced programmer, regardless of what their native language is, I just despair.

What’s on your radar? Specifically, are there new projects you are, or about to, start on that you would like to share with us?

There’s nothing new coming up that I’m planning for. I do however have a long backlog of patches and improvements. My backlog is currently in a bit of a sorry state, not least the Sys::Filesystem module which I’m somewhat ashamed of for my lack of attention to maintaining it.

For those of us that use your Perl modules, how can we express our gratitude?

Tell me what you do or don’t like about my software. Suggest enhancements and report bugs (it’s nice to know that people want to use my software and want to help make it better). If you’re feeling especially generous, buy me something from my Amazon wish list. 😉

Nicola, aka Neechi – a Perl Girl, lives in London and has written many perl modules for CPAN. Not only is she a fellow geek, she is highly intelligent and motivated. Along with her multiple linux servers at home, she can also boast having a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device – think big harddrive – that I’m very envious of.

Sorry, guys! She’s taken.

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