[Pdx-pm] [meeting notes] What can we do about the low student SoC turn out?

Corey Hollaway hollaway at gmail.com
Fri Apr 11 19:32:40 PDT 2008

>  ...be thinking about parrot today and how do I even get started
>  understanding what I can do with it which is not (personally perceived
>  as) an exercise in futility and/or how do I define a personal goal
>  which is fulfilling, visibly reachable on a scale of days or weeks, and
>  fits my skills+interests within the time available?   That is, how do I
>  get involved without losing my patience?  How do I keep it interesting,
>  learn something, and not go insane?

Just keep executing this script ($self means ourselves, the GOTO label
is suppose to be at the top of the file, == is intentional, and the
3rd line in the script has to do with encapsulation to a more specific
object, and I didn't use if brackets):

# Goal Seeker
my $possibility = (A_Possibility)$self->creativity();
$self->ask("What if $possibility became true in 24-hours?");
if($self->feelings() == "doubtful, negative-based, disappointing, hesitant")
  # the next creative possibility may just be a more
  # specific or different version of the last
  # $possibility

  # if the next possibility is related to this one and
  # gives feelings of "whoa, cool, heck yeah!", then I call
  # that possibility (i.e., "the next") a "backdoor"
  # to take on the same goal as its predecessor, but
  # with a different emotional response/interpretation
elsif($self->feelings() == "whoa, cool, heck yeah!")

The goal is to totally focus on $possibility, and constantly thinking
about how each of my actions will affect the probability that the
$possibility will come true.  The goal is to increase the probability
to 100%, and think of nothing else as important (to avoid a
psychological change in what is important), except for making sure the
probability is as high as possible.

An example run:
What if I read Bill Clinton's book called _Life_?  @SIG_FEELINGS =
[disinterest, unimportant]
What if I dressed up like a bunny and hopped across the street?
@SIG_FEELINGS = [embarrassment, anxiety]
What if I read a programming book right now?  @SIG_FEELINGS =
[anxiety, struggle, emptiness]
What if I quickly went through a perl book and added a cool/neat idea
to my perl reference sheet?  @SIG_FEELINGS = [sweet!, cool!]

So then I choose to add a neat idea QUICKLY to my perl reference
sheet.  The probability of the possibility occurring is initially 67%
(i.e., an internal estimate), and if I distract myself the probability
lowers (which is one of many countless actions I could perform that
would affect the probability of the goal completing more or less
successfully).  So my goal would be to seek a plan and execute it as
quickly as possible (e.g., open a PDF perl book, quickly go to the
index, and find some keywords that sound interesting).  Ya gotta be
fast or the mind starts to give you signals of doubt or hesitation,
which will only jeopardize your probability of making the $possibility
come true.

I was reading a psychology book, and it did say that our ability to
know or expect to feel in the future is not accurate about how we will
feel during the actual experience...  So it might be best to use the
above program logic only for short-term goals...?  Or is that
speculation even related to the length of a goal..I'm not sure...

So to apply the above to the subject of this thread...  I think trying
to give out @ideas/@goals to kids that can force them yield feelings
of "sweet!  awesome!  cool!" that can ___appeal to as many people as
we can___, then that would be yield more people to try some perl! ;)

Example @goals would be like...
  "How Parrot can help you right now",
  "How Catalyst can help you make a small Web site in a few steps",
  "How to let perl exploit a buffer overrun in a sample server program
with packet injection by using module Net::RawIP",
  "How to make perl seem like a monolithic language like PHP? (i.e.,
in terms of documentation/function quality and finding/remembering
functions/documentation you used in the past)"
  "How to let perl $do_something_cool [by using $a_specific_module]"

The automatic it is (for example, copying and pasting), the higher the
probability of perl popularity success.  The more the goal appeals to
the $target's interests, the higher the probability of perl popularity
success.  Now that's what I'm talkin' about ;)

Moreover, the Web site that hosts these articles would need to be
attractive, professional-looking, and all negative energy (e.g., the
where-is-perl-6 pandemic, which is being used as a weapon in language
warfare) needs to be crushed.  Attractiveness is an illogical but
highly-effective way of making something more valuable.  Speaking of
value...I sense a negative cloud reigning over all of the CPAN
packages, like 'low quality,' 'poor documentation,' and the pesky
'created by a 3rd party' negative-associator.  We could tackle each of
these points of attack on perl with statistics, graphs, comparisons to
other language's documentation, quality, bugs, etc...and just have a
huge campaign.  On the main perl.org page there could be group of
images that link to the pages of evidence:

Why does perl have the best documentation for the core and its modules?
What language did Samy use the most? (this was a joke ;P)
Why does perl have the highest quality modules?
Why is perl the best choice to rip mp3s off of a web site? (and yet
another joke, but still kinda-true)

I say we have a campaign and call it "The Community Golden-Age for
Perl," and heck, we might as well change the camel to a camel with
twin machine guns and a smoke hangin' out.  Who's with me!?  I don't
know about you, but I'm ready to shoot my ego straight to the stars.


On Fri, Apr 11, 2008 at 12:56 PM, Eric Wilhelm
<scratchcomputing at gmail.com> wrote:
> # from Kenneth A Skach
>  # on Friday 11 April 2008 10:14:
>  >But if we
>  >write only to the clique of well-versed perl masters who are "as smart
>  > as us", the rest of the audience won't benefit from our post.
>  I think this is a classic issue of diversity.  The Perl community has a
>  lot of diversity both in mastery of the language and in specific
>  domains or interests.
>  A sysadmin, a web developer, and a gui designer walk into a problem ...
>  (end of joke is left as an exercise for the reader, but likely involves
>  NFS, mysql, and dcop (or maybe regedit, SOAP, and ActiveX.))
>  > I do think we can consider our audience more.
>  Who is our audience?
>  The experienced user cannot correctly remember his own inexperienced
>  point of view because the memory is filtered through experience.  Add
>  to that the "beforehand" diversity of experience from elsewhere (e.g.
>  assembly/C/Java, network/threads, etc) and you have a big pile of
>  people capable of fluently talking past each other on a wide range of
>  subjects and levels.
>  The involvement of the new user is helped by the contribution of the
>  nearly-new user.  But if you don't see someone who appears to be one
>  rung above you probably forgot to look left and right.  I think Perl is
>  much more like an upside-down pyramid than a ladder -- well really,
>  there aren't any sharp corners or well-defined insides and outsides so
>  it is probably an oblique cone of trajectories within one sigma (or
>  possibly a hypercone.)
>  That is:  I can't write for an audience without knowing (or imagining)
>  their point of view.  This has another factor when discussing a mailing
>  list (vs a meeting topic or article on a website) in that, on a mailing
>  list, I'm not likely to write an answer to an un-asked question and I'm
>  not likely to ask a question which I have already answered.
>  So, to generate some empathy (and entropy), let's take parrot for
>  instance:
>   1.  parrot will be a perl 6 interpreter
>   2.  parrot is a multi-language dynamic virtual machine
>   3.  parrot provides an object-oriented dynamic assembly language
>   4.  parrot has tools for writing compilers and performing syntax
>       tree transformation (or something like that)
>  I've listed those in the order which *I* understand them, and the
>  likelyhood that I'm getting it wrong increases as we go.  But, even at
>  #1, some readers might be thinking "'_a_ perl 6 interpreter'? are there
>  more?" or "what is this 'will be'!? do not want vaporware!".
>  Well, for those who came to Perl after 2000, "the whole Perl 6 thing"
>  has probably been filed under "call me when it is done" for various
>  reasons.  But this is not apple, so we don't have a bunch of
>  programmers in the back working on it while Larry just chooses the best
>  of 10,000 black turtlenecks to wear to the unveiling.  It didn't work
>  that way with Perl 5 either, but the best parallel is probably the
>  1.0 - 5.0 (1987-1994) period (hmm, better ask someone who was there.)
>  Except, a lot of what we know as "Perl" today is 5.6, which didn't get
>  here until 2000.  The point here:  the Perl community needs the Perl
>  community to care about parrot.  They also need to be patient, but they
>  also need to get involved.
>  The tricky part:  parrot broadens the spectrum of diversity in multiple
>  dimensions simultaneously.  It is not just about Perl 6, but also Perl
>  5, lisp, php, tcl, python, smalltalk, lolcode, Perl 1, etc.  It is not
>  a simple interpreter, but a vast landscape of compiler tools and a
>  cross-language highly parallel dynamic runtime which is about to grow a
>  tri-color garbage collector.  It has lots of interests ranging from the
>  very academic to the very practical.
>  Ok, I barely understand most of that paragraph and half of it is
>  probably wrong (or incomplete or partially correct.)  So why should I
>  be thinking about parrot today and how do I even get started
>  understanding what I can do with it which is not (personally perceived
>  as) an exercise in futility and/or how do I define a personal goal
>  which is fulfilling, visibly reachable on a scale of days or weeks, and
>  fits my skills+interests within the time available?   That is, how do I
>  get involved without losing my patience?  How do I keep it interesting,
>  learn something, and not go insane?  Yes that is a difficult jumble of
>  question.  (Likely more on this in another thread.)
>  So, that's what happens to me when I look at http://parrotcode.org.
>  Others might have the same difficulty approaching Moose, Catalyst,
>  mod_perl, wxPerl, or even Perl in general.  The point is that you are
>  probably not alone, and the only way to discover your virtual boatmates
>  is to ask.  This is not a nice rectangular swimming pool with a deep
>  end and a shallow end -- it is sometimes murky and usually random, with
>  streams, waterfalls, icebergs, sinkholes, and various shark-infested
>  puddles -- but you can surf the icebergs and drive your submarine up
>  the waterfall if you want to learn how.
>  We have meetings once a month, and the topics are typically generated by
>  the people who attend those meetings.  But I am always looking for new
>  topics and new speakers.  If ten people who aren't currently coming to
>  meetings told me that they would come given X or Y topic I would at
>  least have something to go on.  If you can't make the meeting because
>  of schedule, let's start some coffee groups, westside lunches or
>  whatever.  I can read your Perl, but not your mind ;-)
>  --Eric
>  --
>  Speak softly and carry a big carrot.
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