[Melbourne-pm] Bamboozled by perl

Toby Corkindale toby.corkindale at strategicdata.com.au
Thu Oct 1 21:56:19 PDT 2009

ajthornton wrote:
> OK. That works! :) 
> I have a folder called perlstuff with source code in it so I went cd
> perlstuff and then perl perlme.pl 
> I get hello world in the terminal as desired. 
> OK. Your reward for helping me is that I will try to like Perl!!!!! I am in
> the final analysis pragmatic; if a language helps my health, welath and
> happiness I will persist with it. I even had fun with Prolog a few months
> ago. I grabbed a free IDE and some tutorials and actually some progress,
> albeit ata  beginner level, and had a lot of fun. I thought that I would
> give it up after 5 mins - I had heard that it was this weird language that
> did this out there AI stuff. But I was still going after a few weeks.   BTW
> when I was at Software Freedom Day I didn't see a Perl stand. That was a
> pity because at least you would have got in a lightning talk about perl/perl
> groups.
> I really missed the bus with programming. If I were 18 0r 20 right now I
> would go to uni or TAFE and get a Bsc in computer science. But I was in the
> wrong era. It was 1992. I left school computer illiterate. I couldn't turn a
> computer on or put a disk in the disk drive. I failed reasoning and data
> maths [the worst freaking unit of maths ever clunked together by eduational
> eggheads - teachers treated it like it was an insult to teach it; "that's a
> year 8 maths unit" was said so often, never mind that a chapter had calculus
> so difficult in the Rehill/macauliffe book that you wouldn't do it until the
> later years of an undergraduate maths program , if then, oh man that was so
> all over the shop that I wondered what the hell I had done in a previous
> life to deserve such tripe.] because I couldn't operate a computer and use
> Minitab. Then the teacher came up with this psychobabble that I was
> "technophobic". There was no notion of responsibility in teaching computers.
> For a start what about giving me a mouse??? 

Hi John,
I only left high school slightly later than you, and I'm probably one of 
the younger Perl coders in our group! My school had a single Commodore 
64 per class, and there were certainly no mice around.

I learnt to program in the 1980s on scrounged hardware that makes your 
recent "junk" computer look like a supercomputer, and back then had to 
learn out of "Learn to program" books and an old Olivetti or IBM BASIC 
reference manual, without anyone else to ask for help.

I believe a lot of other coders also just picked up the language through 

What I'm saying is that you can't blame a lack of tertiary education for 
"missing the bus" on programming. It's quite possible to learn yourself 
without too much difficult. Just follow some tutorials, ask here if you 
get stuck, and I'm sure you'll be there in no time!

Also, there is a Melbourne-based organisation which provides Perl 
training in a more "classical" (ie. classroom + lab) environment, if 
that's more your way of learning. Have a chat to Paul and Jacinta at 
Perl Training Australia for that - they're world-renowned! :)

> But like I said, I am going to try to like Perl. It must have something
> going for it if it's included off the bat in PuppyLinux. 
> At least programming is something tnat can be learnt. There's stuff that's
> "you have got it or you haven't". Music and drawing certainly fit that
> category. Maths probably does. But I do think that anyone can program. Some
> people might be better at it etc. But anyone can learn to do it. Unlike
> other things. I could plaster a blackboard with power series in maths. But
> give me year 6 primary school maths problem solving and I am stuffed. Once I
> had a third year maths unit where I got 90 percent for texbook work and 10
> percent for probalem solving and passed with 56%. I don't know what lateral
> thinking means. Indeed Edward De Bono probably meant it in a different way
> to how it is used now. But I am convinced in any case that I have the
> lateral thinking ability of a pile of cement. In problam solving it's where
> to start that kills me. Often I don't get past that pt - a blank sheet of
> paper.  
> John  

Well, just try an old trick.. If you don't know where to start, just 
start anywhere! (And then work organically out from there)


More information about the Melbourne-pm mailing list