Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Paul Johnson
I create beauty out of chaos
I create beauty out of chaos

Paul's posts

Post has attachment

Post has attachment
Perl has been accepted for the Google Code-In 2011. Many thanks to everyone who has provided tasks or volunteered to act as a mentor. Now we just need students.

Rather than transcribe my blog post I'll just link to it. Please read it and, if you can, act on it.

Post has attachment
I saw Cults tonight in Zürich. It was a great show, but they need to write a few more songs. It may have been the shortest set I've ever seen.

Fortunately the support act, Lia Sells Fish, was also excellent.

I got a bug report today that said "when I do <this very specific set of things> <this strange thing> happens".

After a while I found this, in header.comp:

if (this very specific set of things) {
this strange thing;

Post has attachment
Watching live streaming of the launch of Russia's Zenit rocket, going to Phobos.

Post has attachment
Following on from my previous post ( I see that Zuckerberg is recruiting Harvard students personally ( No great surprise there, I suppose, and it shows that he is serious about his company's future. More companies should pay more than lip service to "our employees are our greatest asset". I do still think it is a shame though.

And yes, I do realise the irony of moaning about this on a social network.

Post has attachment
Mark Zuckerberg said:

"So I mean, does Facebook build any games? No. We build no games."
"I’ll tell you why. Because building games is really hard. And what we’re doing is really hard. And we think that we’re better off focusing on this piece. I think that building a great game service is really hard. Building a great music service is really hard. Building a great movie service is really hard."

I won't argue with him that these things are really hard, especially at the scale he is aiming at. But I really do wish that the people who are solving these really hard problems were actually working on really important problems instead. And I really wish that the people who could solve the sort of problems which come up in bioinformatics, for example, were able to make (almost) as good a living doing so as they can working for Facebook, or for a bank.

+Steve Yegge gave a good talk about this at OSCON. It's only 15 minutes long, but skip the first five and a half minutes or so if you want to get straight to the meat. O'Reilly OSCON Data 2011: Steve Yegge, "What Would You Do With Your Own Google?"

Post has attachment
Please share this and support Perl.

The Google Code-in 2011 (GCI - will be starting shortly. This is the programme under which students aged between 13 and 17 years are encouraged to get involved in open source projects. The Perl Foundation would like Perl to be a part of this programme, bringing both short and long-term benefits to Perl and the students alike.

Many of you will have seen my previous post ( asking the Perl community for help in creating tasks for students. A few of you have subsequently added tasks to the ideas page ( For this we are extremely grateful. Some of you may well be planning to add some tasks. We'll also be very grateful for these tasks.

It's almost time to submit our application. But for our application to be successful we really need to add more tasks. So I'm renewing my appeal for your help.

We need help from all sorts of people. From developers, from designers, from technical writers, from managers, from marketers, from QA people and testers, from architects, from trainers, from user interface specialists and from anyone who can speak more than one language. And if you're reading this and don't fit into any of those categories then you undoubtedly have other talents and we probably need you even more.

We need you to visit the ideas page ( and read about the sort of tasks we need. Then create a login and add a task. If you can't or don't want to create a login, please mail your task to me at

Here are some suggestions for tasks:

- Develop a new feature.
- Port to a new operating system.
- Fix a bug. (Go and check your RT queue.)
- Add tests for a feature.
- Add tests to improve coverage. (Take a look at cpancover
- Add to or improve documentation.
- Write a tutorial.
- Make a tutorial video.
- Make a promotional video.
- Add internationalisation (I18N) to a module.
- Translate documentation, tutorials or web sites.
- Investigate API changes.
- Research new ideas. algorithms or libraries.
- Compare and contrast modules.

But feel free to let your imagination run wild. Any task that a young student could perform that would be beneficial to the project is fair game.

In addition, if you really cannot think of a task to add, but you would be willing to act as a mentor please add your name to the ideas page ( and note any areas in which you would be willing to mentor. In particular we are in need of mentors who would be able to assist with translation tasks, so if you speak more than one language please add your name and note which languages you speak. We also need mentors who would be happy to work with students on bugs in modules where the author is unable to do so. But we're very happy to accept all volunteers. So please either add a task or sign up as a mentor. (Or both.)

But this is getting very urgent. Our application needs to be on Tuesday so please don't delay and sign up today!

Thank you very much for your assistance. I trust that with your help this year's GCI will be even more successful than last year's.

Post has attachment
Please share this and help spread the word.

The Perl Foundation is hoping to take part in the Google Code-in ( once again this year. This is a programme under which students aged between 13 and 17 are able to undertake short, well defined tasks for open source projects, and in return they will get a tee-shirt, a certificate, gain credits and can also be paid up to $500 for their work by Google. The ten students with the most credits at the end of the programme will also be invited to visit the Google headquarters.

This is a wonderful opportunity that we have to get young students involved in open source software in general and Perl in particular. One of the aims of the GCI programme is to find those who will become long-term contributors and ensure the future of open source projects. So if you want to help ensure the long-term viability of Perl, then please get involved with GCI.

If you are a module author, or you are involved in a Perl project, WE NEED YOUR HELP! But you can also benefit, so this is a win-win proposition.

We need a set of tasks to make available to students, along with mentors willing to help students complete the tasks, if necessary. We need tasks in the following eight categories:

Code: Tasks related to writing or refactoring code
Documentation: Tasks related to creating/editing documents
Outreach: Tasks related to community management and outreach/marketing
Quality Assurance: Tasks related to testing and ensuring code is of high quality
Research: Tasks related to studying a problem and recommending solutions
Training: Tasks related to helping others learn more
Translation: Tasks related to localization
User Interface: Tasks related to user experience research or user interface design and interaction


We need to submit our application by 1st November 2011 supported by a list of tasks. Ideally we should have at least eighty tasks covering all the categories above. Half of the tasks will be for the first phase of the programme, and the remainder for the second phase.

So, we need at least eighty tasks in the next five days. If every module author or project member were to provide just one task we could easily do that. Please take ten minutes to read up on GCI, select a task and add it to the wiki ( today.

Tasks might include such items as fixing bugs (check your RT queue), adding tests for specific areas or to improve code coverage in general, writing a tutorial, translating documentation, making a video promoting the project or demonstrating its use, adding new features, researching potential new areas, or anything else which could help the project.

Please take a look at the wiki ( for more information and add your tasks to the ideas page (

Please help! Every module author and project member can make a difference in helping to ensure the future of open source, Perl and your own project. Add a task now. Really, Just do it. Then add another one tomorrow. And the next day. We can't have too many. We already know that you are generous and happy to give back to the Perl community. Please consider this new way of doing so. If you don't think you would be able to act as a mentor, please add the task anyway, and we will find someone else to mentor. Join us in #gci on Thank-you for your help.

Oh, and it's great for the students too, so if you have any way of publicising this to appropriate students too, please do that. But add a task first! (

Post has attachment
This should provide some nice images.
Wait while more posts are being loaded