I am surrounded by the things I am not doing. There are kanji flashcards on the sofa, verb lists on the rug, dishes that need cleaned on the floor, and a whole pile of laundry that should really be hung out to dry. But I just don’t feel like dealing with any of it. I would like instead to be playing Scrabulous on Facebook but it’s not working at the minute so I will have to wait. And instead I will waste my time writing in my blog.

For some reason today is one of those days when I have no interest in the things that need doing. I can’t even be bothered to read a book – though maybe that’s because I woke up early and read a book this morning. Even the classical music playing in the background is annoying me today. Travelling has left me out of sorts.

Pittsburgh Perl Workshop: the night before

I went to the two opening social events of the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop on Friday night. I’m always surprised when pre-conference events are organised as I imagine that it’s the last thing the organisers want to be doing the evening before the conference begins.

The first event was hosted by Google. They had food, drink and a fairly pleasant room for everyone to meet in. Someone from the local Google office gave a quick talk on the cool things that Google were working in Pittsburgh and gave a very short pitch on encouraging people to apply for jobs at Google.

The second event was held at a local restaurant so people could go out and have a proper dinner if they needed one. I didn’t eat anything as I was having problems with timezones and jetlag and a lost appetite. But I did get to chat to some people I hadn’t met before and to catch up with some others.

Delays at JFK

Last night it took over three hours from the time the plane landed until I was checked into the airport hotel. I really wasn’t expecting that to happen and I am really glad I had decided to spend the night at the airport and didn’t try to connect on through to Pittsburgh.

It took me a while to work out where all the time went but I did spend more than an hour standing in a queue at immigration. And actually, for the first time ever, I saw someone being refused entry into the US. Thankfully I didn’t have any problems. After leaving immigration my bag was waiting and customs was really easy to get through.

I then tried to work out how to get to the hotel. None of the airport hotels are actually in the airport and it isn’t really possible to walk to them. I tried to find signs or someone to give me instructions on how to catch the shuttle to the hotel but failed. I then decided to get a taxi as that would be easy. But I really wasn’t expecting there to be no taxis at the airport. There was a queue of well over 100 people waiting on a taxi. They staff were calling for taxis but they were arriving really slowly and I think I waited over an hour to catch one.

What I didn’t know was that there had been serious flooding in that area and all domestic flights had been cancelled. With the roads being flooded taxis were having difficulty getting to the airport and lots of passengers had to try to find somewhere else to spend the night.

When I got to the hotel there was another large queue of people who had been sent there by various airlines. Thankfully I had a confirmed reservation.

Lack of Comfort

There must be some way to feel comfortable when you travel but I haven’t worked out what it is yet. I am sitting in terminal 3 in London Heathrow and it’s really uncomfortable. I’m not really sure why but I think it’s a combination of it being too noisy, too hot and having very poor lighting. My back is also sore from carrying luggage up and down flights of stairs at the train stations I travelled through this morning.

It will probably be more comfortable on the plane but I will be too cold. An even though they provide blankets they won’t let me use one until the plane has taken off and the seat-belt sign has been switched off. I don’t know why they insist on handing these out when you get on the plane if they won’t actually let you use them at that point. Virgin Airlines obviously wants to taunt me with the possibility of being warmer.

Catalogue Change on

I am impressed that I managed to understand the forms on the Japanese Amazon site and have gotten the author of Mastering Perl changed from Brian D. Fox to Brian D. Foy.  This isn’t the perfect way to present this name but “Foy” has to be better than “Fox”.

It took me a while to understand most of the email they sent me and I wasn’t completely sure that they were going to change the entry.  I used google translate on some of the bits I got stuck on and I’m still trying to work out why Amazon are going to ask “the fish” before the change would be made.   (I don’t know if you have ever tried using google translate for translating Japanese into English but it’s very clear that this is still in beta as it comes up with some very funny translations.)

One Response to “Catalogue Change on”

  1. brian d foy Says:

    Hey, thanks!

    Now if they can fix the author credit that would be nice. Randal is not the author of that book. 🙂

Last Perl Conference of the Year

I started checking through my travel arrangements this morning as this time next week I will be in Pittsburgh at the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop. Not only will this be my last Perl conference of the year but it should also be my last trip outside of Japan for a while.

I’ve travelled a lot this year and I am looking forward to a couple of months of just being in the one country. Technical Meeting

On Monday evening Marty and I went to the technical meeting. This exhausted me as my understanding of Japanese isn’t really up to two and a half hours of technical talks. I was thrilled that Gugod spoke in English as it was a relief to be able to understand something – although when he started I thought he was going to give his talk in Japanese. The only other talk I understood was the one Miyagawa gave. But I had heard an English version of this in Vienna and he used English slides on Monday night.

Marty briefly mentioned one of the differences between this and the European meetings we used to attend but there were quite a few others. The meeting was really structured. They used a bell to let people know when their time was nearly up and they stopped the talks at the end of the allocated time slot. In Europe talks tend to go over and people don’t really seem to mind. Mind you we would have been there all night if they had let this happen as there were 3 ten minute talks, 2 twenty minute talks and 12 lightening talks scheduled.

There was less banter and heckling from the audience (I am not sure that there was any during the talks). Actually there was a lot less noise in general. During the breaks people were fairly quiet. There were around 100 people at the meeting and I couldn’t work out how many of them actually knew each other.

It was noticeable that lots of the talks were on topics associated with the web. The words “mash-up”, “catalyst”, “javascript” and “jifty” occurred quite frequently. Two talks also mentioned “gungho” which I hadn’t heard of before. There was also a lightening talk on Gopher and one of testing and refactoring but these were the exceptions. The lightening talks were also serious and not the stand-up comedy these have become at the YAPC conferences.

Two of the talks had slides that contained pictures of half naked women. I can’t remember seeing this at a technical meeting before. I have no idea why this sort of picture appeared in a talk on Class::Component – but then that’s because my Japanese isn’t good enough. The second set of pictures appeared in a talk which I think was about creating a web-site with erotic content using Plagger and Catalyst. I also don’t know why the women’s nipples were covered with stars in both pictures – but I think I have a lot to learn.

One Response to “ Technical Meeting”

  1. Tatsuhiko Miyagawa Says:

    Karen, thanks for sharing the feedback. This all makes sense.

    re: well structured meeting, I guess people stopped their talk right on time because at the beginning of the meeting Takesako and I clearly asked all speakers that they shouldn’t extend the talk too much because we had too many talks and there was a limit of time using the venue.

    Attendees being quiet during all talks is very common here in Japan. The only exception is dankogai, obviously 🙂

    The reason why most lightning talks are serious and not like standup comedy (like we actually saw in past YAPC::Asia’s) is also due to the fact that there were too many talks. They originally submitted their ideas and we assigned them only 5 minutes because there were too many. The only exception would be stuff like Takesako’s crazy image hack, which is originally planned as a lightning talk and hence so much fun.

    In Japan sexually explicit content is banned in a public place, and female nipples are one of them. Displaying them without covering stars might be considered a sexual harassment. I guess it *is* a harassment anyway even if they cover them, though :p

Foy or Fox

Mint noticed that brian d foy’s name isn’t spelt correctly on the Japanese Amazon site. I wouldn’t have been surprised if this had been wrong in Japanese but it’s an English spelling of his name that’s wrong – he is listed as Brian D. Fox. This might make it a bit more difficult to find Mastering Perl on this site.

3 Responses to “Foy or Fox”

  1. brian d foy Says:

    It’s so easy to get my name right (it’s right on the cover of the book :), but “Fox” is one of the common mispellings. People just can’t believe that it could end in a “y”.

    People still wonder why I need a style guide for my name, but I’ve been dealing with this forever. What really boggles me is why they change it from the input data anyway. Just leave it alone.

  2. brian d foy Says:

    Huh, not only that, but they list Randal as an author. He’s not. Maybe Amazon has a way to correct that? The US site has a way to correct bibliographic information.

  3. karen Says:

    There is a way for customers to send corrections to an entry. My Japanese isn’t great but I’ve sent a correction to your name changing the Fox to Foy. If they accept this correction I’ll see if I can change the information about authors (though I think Randal is listed as having written a preface and not one of the main authors of the book).