Thanks, Iron Man, for the good excuse to perl blog

I’ve been thinking that I haven’t blogged much lately. Assorted half-baked ideas would cross my mind and then evaporate before I’d find the time, or motivation, to actually start writing.

The folks at the Enlightened Perl Organisation have solved the motivation problem by announcing the Iron Man Blogging Challenge: in short, “maintain a rolling frequency of 4 posts every 32 days, with no more than 10 days between posts“.

So about one post a week. I can aim for that!

Can you? “The rules are very simple: you blog, about Perl. Any aspect of Perl you like. Long, short, funny, serious, advanced, basic: it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to be in English, either, if that’s not your native language.” Why not try? Help yourself and help perl at the same time.

I’ll try to capture the half-baked ideas for perl blog posts as they cross my mind, then build on them as time and mood allow. Hopefully about one a week will mature into an actual blog post.


I remembered that almost exactly a year ago schwern blogged that he was “horrified at the junk which shows up when you search for perl blog on Google“. It seems the situation hasn’t improved much since. The site is top, but the rest are a bit of a mishmash.

The problem is partly that “perl blog” isn’t a great search term. Google naturally gives preference to words that appear in urls and titles (all else being equal), but blogs rarely explicitly call themselves blogs on their pages or urls. I suspect many on the first page of results are there because ‘blog’ appears in the url. (To help out I’ve included “perl blog” in the title of this post :)

Searching for “perl blogs” (plural) works better because it finds pages talking about perl blogs, which is useful when searching for perl blogs.

One entry in the “perl blogs” results was the Perl Foundation’s wiki page listing perl blogs. That was new to me. This blog wasn’t on it so I’ve added it. Got a perl blog, or know someone who has, that’s not listed on that page? Go and add it, now! It’ll only take a moment.

Along similar lines, I’ve added the phrases “perl blog” and “perl programming” to the sidebar of my blog pages. The first is to help people searching for “perl blog”. The second is mostly for my own amusement.

Irish Open Source Technology Conference – June 18th-20th

I’ll be speaking at the Irish Open Source Technology Conference this year. It’s on at Dublin’s CineWorld Complex, from June 18th for three days. They’re running a 2-for-1 offer on tickets at the moment.

I’ll be speaking about something Perl’ish, naturally.

The “Perl Myths” presentation I gave at IWTC earlier this year turned out to be a hit. (At least, it was after the event. There were less than ten people in the room at the time, including me! Perl clearly isn’t a hot topic among Irish web developers.)

My blog post, with embedded slides and video, has topped 7400 hits, plus another 3000 or so views on slideshare.

I’m upgrading my methods for this next talk. I’ve bought a great wireless USB microphone and the amazing
ScreenFlow screencasting software to capture everything in detail.

So I’m going all high-tech. No more “camcorder perched on a chair at the back” for me!

It’ll be a good trial run for OSCON where I’m speaking in July.

Boundaries of Discourse

Back in my first blog post, entitled “This is not me…” I said:

So I have a blog, yet I know not what I’ll use it for, nor what parts of my self I’ll choose to log.

You’re welcome to join me on this meandering journey. Though the map is not the territory.

Until recently the journey hadn’t meandered far from technical topics. Some chocolate, a mention of Cubs and Toastmasters. All safe topics. All likely to be expanded on in future, especially the chocolate!

In my previous post however, Introversion, I stretched the envelope further by sharing some more personal insight into my self. That was an interesting experience. Feeling my way up to the boundary of what I was comfortable for me to blog about at this time.

If you have a blog you must make choices about what to say, and what not to say. Just as in real-life conversations. Only with a blog you don’t know who the audience are. How do you, bloggers, make those choices? Where do you draw the line?

I guess the answers must relate to the bigger question of Why Blog? I don’t have an answer to that question yet. I think I mainly blog to share. To give insight into my life, thoughts and experiences in the hope that it may be useful to others. I also blog to log. To create a record to look back on.

After some further though I added a postscript to that Introversion post:

Postscript: I paused a day or so before posting the above, wondering if it was wise. Wondering, especially, if it was likely to be misunderstood. Now, after a couple more days, I think it’s worth adding a little postscript.

I approach my self and my life (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual) with the same curiosity and interest with which I approach my work. The engineer part of me wants to know how it works. How I work. How the pieces of my life fit together.

… let no day pass without discussing goodness and all the other subjects about which you hear me talking and examining both myself and others,
[this] is really the very best thing that a man (or women) can do, and that life without this sort of examination is not worth living …”