June 2007 – Stay N Alive

There’s More Than One Way to Sign a Perl Book

While at YAPC::NA, being the Fanboy that I am, I asked Larry Wall to sign my Perl Book. He, very timidly (Larry Wall is a very shy person), started pulling out an entire stamp set, and a pen. For those that haven’t had their Perl book signed by Larry Wall, it’s not just a signing, it’s an experience. He not only signed it, but stamped it with “There’s more than one way to do it”, and then stamped a camel multiple times, getting lighter as his stamps moved to the right. Very cool… Here’s his autograph for those that want to see it:

From 2007-YAPCNA

Follow the link to the album to see a couple more pictures of YAPC::NA. Overall it was a very nice experience – I’ll probably blog more about my experience tomorrow.

Larry Wall YAPC::NA Keynote

Here’s my summary of the Larry Wall YAPC::NA Keynote. I came late, so I missed some of the beginning. I’ll update as I go…

  • Scripting Languages – Larry Wall started with BASIC, which he considers to be the first scripting language
  • Tcl is a purer scripting language than Tcl. Perl got its extension mechanism because Tcl doesn’t have it
  • Python – not qualified to talk about Python
  • Ruby – Perl programmers take their programming much more serious than Ruby programmers
  • Corn shell – shows just how crusty a language can get if you just keep adding to it
  • PHP – seems to be making the same progression of mistakes as earlier Perl did, only slower
  • Javascript – might be a decent platform for running Perl 6 on
  • Monad/PowerShell – object types similar to Perl 6 – hope they don’t patent it
  • Lua and AppleScript
  • The Present – Larry views a string as a “T”ext (capital T): an active communication which requires interaction on both sides??? “All Languages are incomplete”; Human languages differ not in what you can say, but what you have to say; If your language forces you to say something you can’t be concise.
  • early binding, late binding: these days most scripting languages are trending towards late binding. Perl 6 and Perl 5, all methods are virtual by default;
  • Single Dispatch, Multiple Dispatch: single dispatch – send message to an object, and object determines what to do with that message; multiple dispatch – objects are passive, who determines what to bind? All routines get together and hold a “political conference”. All potential candidates put their names in a hate. Eventually the teams decide amongst themselves what to call it. Worst way to permit binding (democracy).
  • eager evaluation, lazy evaluation: Perl 6 working with a mixture of eagure and lazy; scalar context will be eager by default, while list context will be lazy by default.
  • Perl 6 will have a different set of FAQ’s – hopefully not, “huh?” (laughs from audience)
  • symbolic, wordy: likes it when most of the words are chosen by the programmer to represent the problem at hand. In Perl 6, trying to raise standard for when to use punctuation and when to not. Each symbol added must justify its existence. Introducing new punctuation for Perl 6.
  • compile time, run time: Perl runs a lot of code at compile time, which can get messy – don’t want too much File IO in BEGIN blocks.
  • declarational vs. operational: Perl 5 has always been a little bit more declarational than Python or Ruby. Perl 6 has more kinds of scopes – a few more declarators that work like my and our. When declaring a variable you’re really just doing a kind of tie. Difference is you’re doing it at compile time instead of run time.
  • mutable classes, immutable classes: Perl 6 will have an interesting mix…
  • crap – switched networks and forgot to save – missing a little here…
  • The future: Perl 6 is taking a gamble. Hoping to come ahead before the tried and true “worse is better” thing
  • Talk 2!: Wearing a black hat, saying he’s a “black hat programmer”. Puts on an LA Dodgers hat, and starts talking about his life growing up in LA, trips to volcanoes, making snow cones out of snow, fascination with natural disasters
  • In CA a lot of Californians had this thing about being cool…
  • Cool – Larry has the same screen saver as I use (3D fireworks)
  • At age 6, moved to Pasadena. Second grade, they built a post office… Mom cut postage stamps with sewing machine – he thought it was cool, using a tool for something it wasn’t intended for (Sometimes perl get used for things it wasn’t intended for (laughs))
  • Mention of Autistic/Asperger tendencies when younger
  • New hat, white Fedora: Did a lot of fishing when younger, takes patience. Many people are impatient to get Perl 6 out the door. People writing it are probably more impatient. We came pretty close to not having perl, because Larry came pretty close to drowning when younger. Couldn’t swim very well, went out with styrofoam surfboard, and it blew away after slipping away from him. Later on decided to learn to swim.
  • 4th grade, all he had to read was World Book Encyclopedia or old Readers Digests; year Kennedy was assasinated; learned to be a teachers pet
  • 5th grade, don’t remember anything – as autistic spectrum kid, tuned everything out. Does remember saying “For Your Information” to teacher and teacher getting offended. Didn’t realize “For Your Information” has a pragmatic meaning as well as semantic
  • Junior High: another lesson in pragmatics – “don’t smirk like that (am I smirking? I thought I was just smiling)”
  • High School – hired to do summer camp thing. Did a summer camp called “Green Barays”. Subsisted for about a day and a half on nothing but peanut butter and raisins because food couldn’t get up to them. Lesson is “don’t trust your leaders” (laughs from audience).
  • New hat: detective hat (sherlock holmes style hat): lived life a lot like Sherlock holmes, violin, etc. Liked LOTR… Took a year off to go to bible school…
  • new hat: pigskin golf-type cap – likes the dutch look of it; bible school didn’t go well, liked to think for himself, bible school told him what to think… started working for computer center learning to hack at college… only flunked one class at the time – preparation for marriage (laughs from audience)… remembers Bill Gates wandering in and out periodically… moment of glory there was discovering a solution to major bug in colleague’s code…
  • new hat – austrialian indiana jones-type hat: got married, decided to become missionaries, started going to Bible translators’ school… displays his trills, triple trill, language in New Guinea… Don’t take culture over there – idea is to take minimal universal truths to another culture and adapt their culture to it
  • how do you communicate across cultures?
  • Missionaries are pretty ordinary folks, main difference is they typically drink less beer… When you’re married and a missionary you get to make a lot of jokes about “Missionary Position” (laughs from audience)… some mention about “Bum Wrap”, and more laughs from audience, correcting himself trying to figure out a non-sexual missionary joke…
  • New hat (well back to old): LA Dodgers Hat – moved back to LA… got a “temporary job” there… Moment of glory was taking a class from a professor at UCLA on tonal languages (I like Larry 🙂 )… Developed food allergies… took it as a “tuberfour” upside the head to re-evaluate life… biggest decision was to drop out and continue working for industry…
  • New hat – Linux Cap: Started learning Unix (well, BSD)…
  • New hat – mickey mouse hat: best thing about working there is every so often they would rent out disneyland for the evening
  • Back to Linux Hat – went back to Systems Administration for a Secure Networking company… That’s how Perl was born – theoretically they could put him in prison because it was written there and taken back on a tape (I think he’s being sarcastic)
  • Back to Pig Skin Golf cap (missed the reason – something about his father)
  • Back to Linux cap (something about a speech)
  • Purple Cap: moved to bay area, where Perl 5 was born. Decided to make Perl 5 more object-oriented…
  • New hat – black hat again
  • white fishing hat – talking about Stanford
  • Black hat again
  • Orange hat, talking about Europe
  • White Cap, talking about Geek cruises (he’s just telling quick stories of various places he’s been)
  • French Purple baray – never been to France
  • Santa hat – christmas, which is when Perl 6 comes out…

The Spammers have invaded Twitter!

I received the following e-mail notice from twitter today, notifying me someone added me as their friend:

Hi, Jesse Stay.

aruna (aruna) added you as a friend!

Check out aruna’s profile here:


You may add aruna back by clicking on the “add” link.


If you follow the link, someone has set up a Twitter account which they post daily updates about arunaurl.com, which appears to be a lame replacement for tinyurl.com. I imagine they’re following all the latest updates on the twitter frontpage and adding users they haven’t added before. Perhaps they’re getting some competition from Twitter converting urls to tinyurl.com urls. So what do you call twitter-style Spam? Bologna?

Why if I didn’t believe in the Mormon Teachings of God, I’d be Bhuddist

I have been doing a lot of studying and pondering lately. I’ve decided I need to make sure I really believe what I believe, and what it is that I believe. I think every person in every religion should do this – faith, without some reasoning, in my opinion brings out a lot of weakness in religion. I think God should “make sense” and not just be someone people follow blindly. While blind faith may be a start for some people, I think people deserve to have some reasoning behind their faith. Yes, you can have reasoning with faith.

Joseph Smith said, “It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did; and I will show it from the Bible.” I believe this is probably the phrase most criticized of Mormons – those against the Mormon Church love to use this to make us look weird and “non-Christian”. The thing is, I don’t really care what others think! Mormons should embrace this message! To me, this is the first principle of the Gospel, and Mormon or not, one must understand God most of all and that God must make sense.

I absolutely love Joseph Smith’s King Follet Discourse. Ironically, this link is from lighthouse ministries, I believe a Jehovas Witness site. Jehovas Witnesses and others, criticize away, but I don’t want anything else if what Joseph Smith says here isn’t true! I simply could not believe in God as a “mysterious being”. I want a God I can love, who will love me back, one I can talk to, will talk back, and who, Scientifically, just makes sense. The King Follet Discourse to me along with other LDS doctrine of the Godhead explain God in a way that actually supports science and can be explained “with reason”. No other religion I’m aware of has such a detailed view. Let me review a few things I’ve read about other religions’ belief in God. Please don’t take this as an attack against those religions – I respect your faith. I simply want to support the fact that Mormons do have a very detailed view of who God is, and why I simply couldn’t believe in a God if I didn’t believe in the Mormon view of God:

Catholics: “I pray to a God of mystery, a personal God, an approachable God, but a mysterious God nonetheless. Therefore, I have to bow my head and trust. God is not altogether unknowable, just not fully knowable, and never fully known this side of heaven.” (Reverend William J. Byron)

I think all other protestant religions share the Catholic belief above, as I can’t find a specific explanation of who God is out of the other religions. I would love to know if anyone can explain a difference. Here are searches for several under ‘(religion name) “character of god”‘ in Google: Baptist, Methodist, Jehovas Witness, 7th Day Adventist. I see many attempts, but no clear description like Joseph Smith. Ironically, the only clear descriptions in many of the search results are either in criticism of the LDS church, or quotes from LDS church members themselves. Have the Mormons been the only ones to actually try to explain the mysteries of God? Why is that a bad thing, especially if the attempt is through a belief in a Prophet who has talked to God?

Here is the Jewish belief, as I understand: “Although Jews have certainly considered the nature of God, man, the universe, life, and the afterlife at great length, there is no mandated, official, definitive belief on these subjects, outside of very general concepts such as the thirteen listed above.” (http://www.mechon-mamre.org/jewfaq/beliefs.htm)

And the Islamic belief: “Muslims hold to a monotheism which is closer to that of Judaism than Christianity, rejecting the Christian concept of a “Trinity.” Muslims believe that God, creator of all of existence, is just, omnipotent, and merciful. Muslims also reject the anthropomorphization of God which occurs in the theology of other monotheistic religions like Christianity or Judaism. For Muslims, God is completely “other” – God does not talk, does not walk and does not do anything like humans.” (http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/islam/blfaq_islam_basic.htm)

I love my God. He is a personal God. I can talk to him. He talks back. My God actually lives somewhere. Yes, I worship my God, and my God only, and I treat Him as my Creator. He sent His Son to redeem me. The thing is, my God makes sense! I don’t want any other God than the God I believe in. Other religions seem to miss the Character of God in their doctrines. They seem scared to approach it – I don’t get it, as I need something to back up my faith. If my God weren’t the God Joseph Smith explains, hey – Bhuddism looks kind of appealing… Who is your God and why do you believe in Him? Do you have a better God than the one Mormons believe in and can you explain it with reason? Or do we really believe in the same God, and you’re just missing some of the details? I’m very curious on other Christians’ thoughts about this.


I will be in Houston next week for YAPC::NA. I’ll try to post updates to the conference as I can, in particular Larry Wall’s report on Perl 6. If anyone has any questions or items you’d like to me to look up or keep note on, let me know. I’m totally excited, as Houston is where I grew up, and I haven’t been back in around 10 years! I’ve got to get the Texan back in me.

Call for Open Meta Standard

Over the weekend I have been thinking about new ways to categorize and target specific sections of content within larger areas of content. The thought came to mind when I was discussing with a friend about how my scriptures from church were getting too old, but we were both afraid to switch to a new set because of the notes and highlights we had made in the old set. What would be nice is to be able to easily transfer notes, highlights, and other meta data about large documents from one of the same document to another without worry of data loss.

One example would be a program written for PDAs and SmartPhones for easy access to scriptures, called MarkMyScriptures. This program is commonly used by people in LDS Wards and Branches. MarkMyScriptures gives a paid option that gives you all kinds of features to be able to highlight, mark, and take notes in your digital scriptures. I would like to take those highlights and notes, and save them in an open format that I could then use in other programs. For example, what if I could take those same highlights, and place them on as a template to the LDS.org version of the scriptures? I could have different templates for different things I’m studying, and store them all in different XML files (or other format as decided by the standard) – I could then choose the template I’d like to apply based on the way I want to study for the day.

This could be applied in other ways beyond religion too. What if I wanted to take notes on a particular wikipedia article I’m studying, and only save the extracted portions to a Word document for later? Educational and study ramifications would be incredible, and all programs would know how to interpret the data.

So I’d like to make a call for a new open-meta standard. I suggest XML or something very well understood and easy to parse as the format. In the case of XML, a WSDL should be decided on that works well across various document formats. We then need support from the community in adopting this standard into their applications in various ways. I think the applications of this standard are endless, and will provide for numerous opportunities for business, marketing, and community building. I’d like to hear others’ ideas – feel free to mention in the comments below. I will also be bringing this up on the LDSOSS mailing list – you don’t have to be LDS to join, just have to agree and tolerate the things we talk about. Feel free to pop in and join the discussion there as well.

digg_url = ‘http://digg.com/linux_unix/Call_for_Open_Meta_Standard’;

Yes, Google to Enter Health Care

It appears I was right about Google entering the Healthcare industry (I’m always right!). In my previous post I linked to an entry in the Google blog where one of Google’s VPs was reporting on being at a major Healthcare conference. Being in the Healthcare industry myself (I program Healthcare EDI), I know for a fact you don’t just go to these conferences unless you have some vested interest in Healthcare. So I thought, “What?” when I saw them reporting on a talk they gave at a recent conference. Then, this was written today:


It appears my theory has been confirmed. No real specifics yet, but my guess based on the post and their previous talk is that they’re going to start with technologies making Health Care information more accessible. I can also see them attacking the Health Histories market, as there is definitely a need there. However, I would not put it past them to attack the EDI services market (how your money gets between your Doctor and your Insurance company) as well – they have a lot of strengths in this, and reconciliation and rerouting of such data, a task Clearinghouses spend years building their model around is not an easy task to partake. A good search and matching engine is needed – hmmm…I wonder who has one of those?

digg_url = ‘http://digg.com/health/Google_to_Enter_Health_Care_Services’;

Dabbling With Facebook Apps

My post yesterday got the gears (pun originally not intended) going in my head. I’ve got so many ideas I want to push out to Facebook Apps. Apparently I’m not alone either, as in just the last couple days of it being live, there are already hundreds of apps being published. Digg is full of them today, and I noticed Digg even has an app of their own – you can see it in my profile below.

So I decided to give it a whirl. I followed the tutorial on the wiki and set up their basic application. It was way easy! Just a little PHP or programming knowledge and you could have a pretty powerful application utilizing the vast network of Facebook. You can see my little app on my Facebook Profile by scrolling all the way down to the bottom. It’s called PicasaSync because that’s what it will be eventually – an app to sync your picasa web images. Go ahead, fill in the form and watch it reproduce the text you just typed. Ooooooh… I’ll post more here as I develop more.

On a side and more serious note, my sister, Michelle’s (the singer) in the ICU from a bad car accident. She’s okay, but she could use your prayers…