Thursday, March 27, 2008

Loving Perl

Oh yeah. My work day ended on a high note. You see, one of my coworkers needs to be able to take large amounts of delimited data and convert it to XML, or something similar. So, I got to spend some time earlier this week and late last week working on a Perl program that will take an input file and export it using a template. It works well and he even likes it.

Today, he asked if I could look at some more complicated data sets. By virtue of good design and the ease of making coding changes, I was able to get two of these data sets into a new format while fixing bugs and creating an extra helper script in less than two hours.

One of the other cool things is that I created a script this morning that performs some cleanup on XML files, namely removing empty tags and blank lines. I built it as a package that could be run from the command line, which is a nice bit of flexibility. I got to actually import it into the program described above and it worked like a charm. Not perfect, but pretty close.

Anyway, hopefully tomorrow I can make some improvements to these helpers scripts/packages and get the last data set taken care of.

Perl rocks!

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Elive no more...

Well, at least not for my desktop. I got sick of not having newer versions of some packages, so I decided to try out something Ubuntu-based. I first tried OpenGEU, however it kept trying to run something gtk+ related as SUID and failing. This was disappointing because it looked great if not somewhat buggy off the livecd. Since I prefer a lightweight desktop environment, I tried Xubuntu and it's working well. Not quite perfect, but I can live with it. It runs fast and doesn't get in the way.

I did try to install Enlightenment, however it was DR 16 and after using DR 17, it's not very nice. I tried to launch Gnome, but I ran into the same gtk+ problem. No idea why.

Anyway, so far it's working out very nicely. The XFCE desktop works very well. Hell, even the PasswordSafe try icon shows up in the icon tray.

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Cool Template Package

I recently found a new template package called Template::Recall. Dear lord, it is nice. You have complete separation of presentation, like HTML, and your Perl code. I used it in a piece of software at work to convert from a tab delimited format to XML and it works great. Very easy to set up and get working.

For more, search for it on CPAN.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pcal in your browser

Recently I installed and set up a calendar using pcal. While I like the postscript output, I came up with a good idea: why not make my homepage the HTML version of the calendar? So, what I did was I set up my calendar file to include all important holidays and some birthdays. Then, I wrote a quick script:

pcal -H -o ~/cal.html

Now, I made this my default homepage. I also wanted to have it be my default page in new tabs, which is needed since I tend to leave tabs open, so installed the New Tab Homepage extension for Firefox.

The last step was to set up a cron job so that a new calendar would be created at the start of every month. This hasn't been tested yet, but it should work.

So, now whenever I open a new tab, I see what events are occurring this month. Simple, but effective. Gotta love good tools. And Linux :-)

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Sunday, March 02, 2008


Well, I finally did it. I installed Linux on my desktop. After years of having it on for when I played games, I can finally move on. All I have to say is DAMN! It feels so bloody fast, it's insane.

Btw: I use Elive as my distro of choice. A nice blend of lightweight and powerful. That, and Enlightenment is the best windows manager you can get :-)

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