[sf-perl] [blogpost] "Moving Perl up the value chain"

Monte Jewell mjewell at openmissoula.org
Wed Jul 21 10:43:39 PDT 2010

Thanks for the link, Fred.

I'm writing because I'm a solo-practice lawyer in MIssoula, MT and not a
coder. My practice focuses on poverty law issues and domestic violence. I
keep three active contested pro bono cases for low-income clients and work
often on issues impacting low-income communities with service providers that
could be accurately described as chronically under-funded.

>From 1999-2002, Imanaged a field office for the Domestic Violence Unit of
Montana Legal Services Association with no IT budget which is how I acquired
my interest in FOSS.

I also use FOSS exclusively in my law practice and have been. interested in
bash and perl for a number of years. I've followed this list with moderate
interest for what feels like a long time though I confess that I understand
comparatively little of what I read.

Over the years, I've advocated the benefit to clients and practitioners in
legal services and public defender programs of adopting FOSS, divesting from
proprietary licenses, promoting "nuts & bolts" IT literacy and building a
FOSS client and professional community. There's been some interest.

The writer of the article you linked urged coders to consider using
demonstrating how perl may be used to solve the problems of "normal"
persons.  I hope more perl coders will consider working with lawyers and
social workers who work with low-income communities and teach them how perl
can improve their service delivery, grant auditing and --- indirectly ----
promote vocational training and a homegrown IT support community among the
community members they serve.

One of the biggest problems I encounter in my efforts to apply what I learn
about perl to professional problems is the orientation among other lawyers
and among coders who help them toward vendor software solutions rather than
literacy and skill-building.

I wish there was a perl intro that taught lawyers how to munge data between
formats. I work with a lot of heavily formatted documents created by various
applications and spend way too much time retyping text, reformatting text
and cutting and pasting.

It's humorous that there's a tool as powerful as perl that could eliminate
most if not all of my daily problems if I only knew how to use it fluently.
At my current learning rate, I estimate that I'll reach the requisite level
perl (& bash) literacy in years rather than months. And it's already been
years. That seems a little silly.

When, for example, I tell coders or lawyers that I want to use bash and perl
to munge my bank's .txt files into .csv files, I can sometimes encounter
some resistance. There is sometimes a gap in worldview that is challenging
to bridge for practical problem-solving purposes. (And I've been told that
I'm a reasonably patient small town lawyer when it comes to IT topics.)

I'm happy learning, and (like many non-coders) must go at my own pace. But
it would be good to have help.

Anyway . . . I hope this perspective is interesting and helps to stimulate
thought and/or discussion on the article which I greatly enjoyed.



On Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 11:12 AM, Fred Moyer <fred at redhotpenguin.com> wrote:

> I found this an interested read -
> http://code.foo.no/2010/07/21/moving-perl-up-the-value-chain
> Also, we will have a few copies of Perl Best Practices at the meeting
> next Tuesday to give away.  Thanks to O'Reilly for donating those!
> RSVP at Meetup -
> http://www.meetup.com/San-Francisco-Perl-Mongers/calendar/14082571/
> _______________________________________________
> SanFrancisco-pm mailing list
> SanFrancisco-pm at pm.org
> http://mail.pm.org/mailman/listinfo/sanfrancisco-pm

Monte Jewell, PC, Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 7083
Missoula, MT 59807-7083
mjewell at openmissoula.org
v. 406 546 1414
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