Crazy Cyclists

For some strange reason cyclists in Japan are allowed to cycle on the footpath. At first I thought they did this in the same direction as the flow of traffic but it seems that they are free to cycle where they please. It’s fun watching them cycle towards each other – that is until you get caught between rows of them and can’t quite work out where exactly you are supposed to walk.

YAPC::Asia - Marty's Talks

I went to see Marty give his two talks today at YAPC::Asia. Normally I don’t go to hear him but I was curious to see what sort of reaction he would get from the Japanese. Would they laugh at his jokes, would they understand his accent, would they think he was mad?

The first talk was about using Template::Toolkit for non-web applications. This talk seemed to be liked well enough and he did get some interaction from the audience – although this mainly came from Ingy. The surprising thing was that he was finished early. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Marty finish a talk within his allocated time slot. It confused him. He thought that he had forgotten some examples or was missing some of the slides.

The second talk was the one he was worried about. The talk is called Kongougo and describes the features of Perl 6 that Marty believes Larry got from Ruby and the Japanese language. This is mostly a humorous talk and he was really worried that none of the audience would understand the joke. But he did re-write a lot of slides in Japanese and the audience really seemed to like it. The audience didn’t laugh as much as the European audience who had seen it but they clapped more. The Japanese will clap during a talk if you say something they really like. But, just like the first talk, this was also too short. And again Marty was really surprised.

My theory for this was that Marty wasn’t able to digress as much as he usually does as he was concerned that the audience wouldn’t be able to understand him. Miyagawa believed it was because the Japanese audience is more polite than a European one and that Marty builds lots of time into his talks to cope with the interruptions and heckling he usually gets from the audience.

Whatever the reason for this strange phenomenon Marty wasn’t the only one affected. Damian also finished his talks within his time slots and that is nothing short of a miracle.

One Response to “YAPC::Asia – Marty’s Talks”

  1. Khaos » Blog Archive » YAPC::Asia 2007 - Perl Worst Practices Says:

    […] Marty was concerned about speaking at YAPC::Asia this year as last year both his talks were too short. This must have been a one off thing though as this year, true to form, he ran over. He spoke about three things that he considers to be the main culprits for making Perl code ugly and hard to maintain: variables; regular expressions; and object orientation. […]

Slender Japanese

So far, on this trip, the majority of Japanese people I have seen would be described as being slender. I’ve seen very few you would describe as overweight.  I had always assumed that this was due to their diet.  But watching them running around train stations I’m starting to think it’s because they are always in a hurry.  I really don’t understand what the rush could be.  This morning there must have been a train going to Tokyo station every three minutes yet people were still running to catch them.

YAPC::Asia - Morning of Day 1

YAPC::Asia has begun. Although I don’t actually know what day it is as the 8 hour time difference has me totally confused.

The conference was opened by Miyagawa – I didn’t catch much of what he was saying as the opening was in Japanese (although at least half of the talks at this conference will be in English). After Miyagawa Audrey Tang gave a talk on PUGS. This was followed by Ingy talking about Module::Compile. At the minute Leon is talking about MighTyV – the web-site that he and Leo put together for a BBC backstage competition.

Travelling in Japan, chikan!

This morning we had to travel across Tokyo during rush hour. I had forgotten just how horrible it is to spend time on a train so packed with people that you can’t even turn round to find out whose hands are on your backside. I also found it unbearably hot as the Japanese still consider it to be cold. Thankfully the trains are fast and clean.

All the train stations have happy tinkly theme tunes. Marty tells me these are so you know which train is about to go next. I assumed they were a type of brain washing to make sure that the Japanese don’t all kill each other during rush hour. Play happy music and everything will be fine.

What is Web 2.0?

At FOSDEM, during one of the Web 2.0 talks, Dean and I started to try to guess which Web 2.0 buzzword the speaker would use next. Although we found this amusing nothing we heard gave us any real indication as to the meaning of Web 2.0. I really lliked Tim Bray’s description of Web 2.0 that I came across on Robert Kaye’s blog article – What is Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 is the writable web and the Web 1.0 was the read-only web.

Skating Mania

Because of the Winter Olympics and the recent ITV Dancing on Ice show it’s getting harder to find a time to practice on the ice without having to maneuver through a crowd.  But today I managed to pass the ice skating exam I had to miss through illness.  I wasn’t sure that I was going to manage all the elements as I thought that my mohawks were a bit ropey but once my coach told me to stop thinking about it and just do it I had no more problems.

4 Responses to “Skating Mania”

  1. mwk Says:

    Well done! But no one expected you to fail, now, did they? Fall, yes, if I wanted to make some lame-o pun, but fail?

    Hey, am I the first commentor? (That is like a commenter, only in spandex and saves the world. I should stop, shouldn’t I?)

  2. karen Says:

    You are indeed the first person to leave a comment on my new improved WordPress blog.

    But I could have done without the spandex visual – isn’t velvet more your thing 🙂

  3. sarah mcdowell (ur little sis) Says:

    hi karen kool site but u should put some things on it about me thats wat every1 would want 2 see why not put me in under skating mania pretty pretty plz

  4. sarah mcdowell (ur little sis) Says:

    karen will u tell me who invented the motor car for a quiz in schoolplz it has 2 be in for friday 24/3/06 and kool is just text languadge for cool!!

JavaScript - an emerging technology?

After reading about JavaScript last night I was amused that it was the first thing I came across this morning. There seems to be some buzz around Simon Willison’s E-tech tutorial on JavaScript. By now everyone knows that JavaScript is cool again but it’s going to take me a while to get used to seeing it being listed as a hot topic everywhere. I haven’t read through Simon’s slides yet but I did quickly read through his notes which are well worth a look.

FOSS Conference Press Release

I was pleased to see that the Belfast Telegraph has picked up the story about the FOSS Means Business event. I wouldn’t have said that Google is behind the event or that Open Source is a new approach to software development but if it gets more people to attend the event I know it will make the organisers happy.

JavaScript - most successful scripting language ever?

FOSDEM had a Web 2.0 track which I decided to sit through on the Sunday morning. By far the best talk in this track was given by Alex Russell. I didn’t have a computer with me so the only information I had before I heard the talk was that he is the project leader of the Dojo Toolkit. I was expecting his talk to be about the project but instead he gave a talk called “Functional Programming and AOP in a JavaScript Environment”. After a brief introduction to JavaScript Alex gave examples of how to implement a variety of object oriented patterns and advanced functional programming idioms such as closures and monads.

I have attended JavaScript tutorials in the past but these did not present me with a language that I would ever have wanted to use. They mainly focused on browser incompatibilities and horrible hacks to get round these. The language looked ugly. But after hearing Alex I realise that it’s not that you can’t write good code in JavaScript it’s just that lots of people choose not to or don’t know how to.

I am glad that the slides are available as not only did I not take a computer to FOSDEM but I also managed to forget to bring a notebook with me on Sunday morning.

Perl Mongers Meeting - 15th March

The Belfast Perl Mongers will be meeting next Wednesday. It’s been nearly a year since the last meeting and I’m not even sure it counted as it was in Birmingham.

We still haven’t decided whether this will be a technical or social meeting. I was hoping that Marty would speak but he’s going to be too busy with the FOSS event. If I don’t manage to find a speaker we will just have to get by with eating and going out to a bar. A few of the guys from will be over – maybe I should get them to speak…

One Response to “Perl Mongers Meeting – 15th March”

  1. delicious mark hubery Says:

    Blog Hopper…

    Hi There. I’m blog hopping….

New Blog Software

I haven’t written much in my blog this year. I’m going to blame this on the fact that I was ill for most of January and February. Now that I feel like blogging again I am going to have to learn to use new blogging software. I have been using Moveable Type for nearly four years but whilst I was ill Marty and Tony decided to move all our blogs to WordPress. I had asked Marty not to move my blog as I don’t really like change but he ignored me.

WordPress must be fairly easy to use as the only problem I’ve had so far has been getting the password out of Marty. Well I did manage to mess up. It seems that I published a blank entry by mistake. I’ll need to work out how to get rid of that and see if I can publish this instead!

Free Software Event in Belfast

If you are interested in Free Software and are going to be in Belfast on the 16th I would recommend that you attend the FOSS Means Business event. I haven’t heard all the speakers but I did get the opportunity to hear Richard Stallman speaking at FOSDEM at the end of February. This was the first time I’d heard Stallman and he wasn’t quite what I expected. A lot of people, when discussing Stallman, focus on the eccentricities of his personality. But he is a very articulate speaker and the passion he has for his subject is well presented without him sounding like a raving fanatic.

The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the way that he handles questions. He had no problems giving answers but he isn’t always pleasant to the people asking them. So if you do go along and decide to take part in the Q&A session I would recommend that you use the phrase Free Software and not Open Source.