[San-Diego-pm] Meeting Recap

Chris Grau chris at chrisgrau.com
Fri May 16 09:51:58 PDT 2008

=head1 NAME

SanDiego::Meeting::Social - social gathering of the San Diego Perl

=head1 DATE

Thursday, 15 May 2008, 19:00 - 21:00


This is a simple meeting recap, conveniently written in pod so everyone
can read it in whatever format they prefer.  If you lack an appropriate
formatter, well, you can always write one.  As an added bonus, if you're
using a decent MUA *cough*Mutt*cough*, a formatter is only a few
keystrokes away:

    macro pager ,pd "<pipe-message>pod2text<enter>"


In order of appearance.


=item Bob

=item Chris

=item Matt

He was just here to meet Brian and soon left us to our meeting.

=item Brian

=item Daniel

=item George

=item Manny

=item Gautam

=item Pat

=item Keith

Been with Nokia since January, but doesn't program a lot of Perl except
to get little jobs done.  Mostly uses C++ at work, but has been an avid
user of Perl since version 4.036 was released in 1993[1].

=item Cathy

We welcome Cathy to the first meeting she's been able to attend only
moderately late in a long, long time.


=head1 TOPICS

=head2 How to Generate Turnout

Most attendees were slow to arrive.  By 15 after, only a couple of
people had shown up.  Is it because people are more lethargic on
Thursdays?  Daniel pointed out that maybe we'd get a better turnout if
we created an arbitrary formula to generate the meeting date and then
turned that into obfuscated Perl code.  It's an idea...

=head2 Circumventing Internet Proxies

As we all connected to Panera Bread's free wifi, it spawned a discussion
about the various free and non-free wifi access available in different
locations.  The access at Panera Bread is fairly open, allowing most, if
not all, outbound ports.  Places like the San Diego County public
libraries block outbound SSH (unconfirmed) and GTalk (confirmed) traffic.
This, obviously, spawned discussion of methods of circumventing this
problem, including ptunnel (TCP over ICMP), stunnel (TCP over SSL), and
other dastardly means of getting around these "legitimate" businesses'
methods of controlling their "free" network access (IP over DNS

Unfortunately, the conversation was short-lived as stunnel's web site
was blocked by Panera Bread's SonicWALL filter as a "hacking/proxy
avoidance tool."

=head2 Debian and OpenSSL

Someone asked about Debian and OpenSSL, what it is and how big an impact
it has.  Some general discussion followed.  More information can be
found on Debian's wiki: L<http://wiki.debian.org/SSLkeys>.

=head2 How Evil is Eval?

At work, Daniel has a parsing engine.  The idea is to take arbitrary
formulas from a user and apply them to data in a database.  Lots, and
lots of data.  On the order of millions of rows.  Oh, and it needs to be

One solution is to take a page (or several) from I<Higher Order Perl>
and use closures, iterators, and other bits of functional goodness.  It
may take a few minutes to run, but it's clean and correct.  Another
solution is to construct some highly optimized Perl and send it through
a string eval.  Boy is that fast!

The question then is, how evil is this?

Everyone seemed to be in general agreement that, so long as one is aware
of the risks, it's a necessary evil.  Pragmatism wins the day.

Additionally, the Safe[2] module was mentioned as a way to help mitigate
those risks.

=head2 Javascript Compiler

Daniel asked if anyone knows of the existence of a Perl-to-Javascript
compiler, similar to Google's toolkit for compiling Java to Javascript.
It would be nice.  Who wants to write Javascript, anyway?

=head2 A Database Says What?

Just how does one pronounce the acronym, "SQL" anyway?  Most seem to
prefer "sequel."  Others, being funny or just plain odd, say "squeal."
The MySQL folks, apparently, insist that their product's and company's name
is "my ess cue ell."

Wikipedia seems to have an official pronunciation:
L<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MySQL>.  Unfortunately, I've never been
very good at reading phonetics.

I wasn't sure I was going to put this in the meeting notes.  In fact, I
spent some time debating with myself whether it was worth it.  Then I
was asked if I would note my internal debate.  Before this becomes
infinitely recursive, I'll move on.

=head2 Parrot

Someone, usually a new or infrequent attendee, always asks about Perl 6
or Parrot.  When is it coming?  What will you use it for?  Personally,
and this is unfortunate, I've lost interest in it as more than a
novelty.  I don't even know when I'll be moving to 5.10, let alone 6.

A bit of time was spent looking over the myriad languages available, in
one form or another, in Parrot today.  Explanations of just what Parrot
is and what it's intended to do were given.  As with any project of any
note, there's a FAQ: L<http://www.parrotcode.org/faq/>.

=head2 How Punny

As the meeting neared its close and we discussed photographers being
disallowed from photographing public buildings, we wondered why.  Are
these terrorists plotting some vile act against our nation's public
infrastructure?  If so, why can't they just use Google StreetView?  Is
it just a matter of time before we see Google Interiors?  Google
Fingerprints?  Google DNA?

Cathy claimed there can't be a Google Anatomy, because then we'd all
have Google Eyes.

And with that, the meeting broke up.


Thursday, 19 June 2008, 19:00 - 21:00.  Panera Bread in Mira Mesa.



=item 1


=item 2



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