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On 11 March, 2004, the Israeli Perl Mongers held their regular monthly meeting. The program:



  1. David Baird
  2. Eitan Schuler
  3. Gaal Yahas
  4. Gabor Szabo
  5. Herve Guez
  6. Hezi Golan
  7. Mikhael Goikhman
  8. Oded Resnik
  9. Ran Eilam
  10. Ran Tene
  11. Roman Parparov
  12. Shaul Karl
  13. Shlomi Fish
  14. Thomas Maier
  15. Uri Itscowits
  16. Yehuda Tzadik
  17. Yuval Kogman
  18. Yuval Yaari

Meeting Summary by David Baird
I've just recovered from one of the most dangerous assignments in my career as a software engineer. It started when months ago, in the trenches of an email war with a certain support department which will remain unnamed. I sent a report of my battle advances to one Gabor Szabo, who then promptly handed me an assignment to report to headquarters.

The mission: Teach a group of aggressive Perl experts the intricacies of SOAP::Lite in one hour or less.
The time: March 11th, 2004 at 18:00
The place: Dapay Zehav in Ramat Gan

I was negligent in planning my approach to the meeting site, and so called Gabor en route only to get a set of cryptic directions. I quickly found my way to within 500 meters of the site, and was then overcome by confusion and found myself several kilometers in the wrong direction on the wrong side of the Ayalon. After making my way back, I decided to park in the nearest underground lot to the tune of 10 shekels. I wandered the streets, made a phone call, and eventually found the mongers in front of Dapay Zehav and free parking to boot. I commented that a map might be a better choice for a link on the Perl in Israel web pages to finding Dapay Zehav, rather than a link to their Internet web site.

Gabor quickly ushered me to the depths of the building, not even the security guard had a chance to ask if I had my weapon on me. I did. A 3.5 inch disk with a set of HTML files which would be the battleground of my discourse. I was invited to partake in various pastries and cola. I was later informed that I should cough up dough to cover the costs, or cough up the pastry and return it. I decided on the later.

Many books were arranged on a group of tables shaped like the Hebrew letter Het. I found one which had something to do with my lecture, but already knew had no intellectual value. I needed to warn them that this book was misleading and dangerous. Everyone, including Larry Wall himself, signed a sheet to acknowledge their presence.

We then sat down to a five minute presentation on a module written by Roman Parparov (WHOIS this?). Twenty minutes later, we all understood how simple it is to find the latitude and longitude of any web surfer through IP analyzing, or at least their country of origin, or the country of origin of their ISP, or the location of something related to computers.

Then it was my turn to face the wolves. It was not easy. Somehow, I succeeded in convincing 17 experts that I knew something about what I was talking about. I dazzled them with my Perl golf code, and they all sat mesmerized (memoized?) No one raised an objection. Everyone decided that SOAP and XML are the worse mistakes in computer science, we should all go back to basic TCP protocols like X.25, and we should switch to writing code in C#.

We had a break, there wasn't anything to do, so we went back to the meeting. Yuval told us what was new about CPAN. It is called CPAN++, because that "plus plus" metaphor still isn't dead, and no respectable open sorcerer would call something "sharp!" I complained that with all the improvements, no one pays attentions to my ratings or bug reports. We also learned that smoke testing means checking under the hood of a car for pearls.

Shlomi, world famous CVS hater, told us about a fantastic book I chose to read about building a web service. He had used it to build a server to hunt down and hide all BitKeeper open source projects.

We then made our way across a dangerous ten lanes of high speed racing cars to the home of the Godfather. They didn't have horse head on the menu, so we ordered coniac and vodka, and planned a take over of the local Linux user group. We would give them a merge they couldn't refuse.

I somehow made my way home, and just woke up to write this report.

Meeting Summary by Shlomi Fish
I was among the first to arrive at the meeting. After I arrived and before Ran Eilam arrived to help us arrange everything, I encountered Yuval Kogman who was set to write a LaTeX Prosper document, and someone else whom I forgot his name. Then, Pinkhas Nisanov arrived and we talked about the fact that GNOME's Evolution on his computer started consuming a lot of memory after a while, and he switched to KMail and Kroupware which were better in this regard, but a bit buggy. He hoped these bugs would be fixed in KDE 3.2.1, but it did not ship with his distribution.
Afterwards, came our esteemed leader Gabor Szabo, who called Ran Eilam on the phone and we could enter the room. Ran and I collected money from everyone to buy refreshments. Everyone gave 20 NIS or so, and we were able to collect quite a lot of money this way. Then, Ran, Gaal Yahas and I went to buy the refreshments, and on the way Ran and Gaal talked about Aspect Oriented Programming, isa, can, and other monsters. We had enough money even to buy drinks, and we even had some left (which we gave to Gabor).
Either before that or after that, Gabor instructed us to go and carry some boxes from his car. They were filled with books, that were passed to the custody of our librarian. In between, Ran kept nagging people about contributing money to buy refreshments, even though all the money was already collected. (I did not understand this). He also set his eyes on a certain managament book and then we were frantically looking for it. (until we found out Pinkhas Nisanov had borrowed it and left early).
Before the presentations, we talked between ourselves about many things. (hopefully, I or others will recall some of them). We had a very large attendance, and almost all the seats were taken.

Then the the presentations came. Roman Parparov gave a nice talk about utilizing the WHOIS protocol from Perl to analyze log files.
Using it one can get a good approximation of the geogrpahical location of an Internet address. It was supposed to be a lightning talk but got longer to about 30 minutes. People asked him why he did not use other modules on CPAN for this.
Afterwards, came the main course, with a longish presentation by David Baird about the SOAP::Lite module. He explained various problems he faced with it, and the kludges he did to resolve them.
Afterwards, we had a break. During it, we helped set up Gabor's laptop to read the USB disk-on-key that Yuval Kogman brought.
We previously had voted on whether to have a book report. Very few voted for it, but I was up to give a book report anyway. (we decided it would be a good idea so more people will write book reviews). So I gave one about "Programming Web Services with Perl".
Then came the last presentation of Yuval Kogman about what's new in CPAN. He talked about Module::Build, the new incarnation of !ExtUtils::!MakeMaker, CPAN++, various new CPAN services, etc.
The presentation was OK, but Yuval should work on captivating his audience.
Then everyone helped place the books into the boxes, and carry them to the car of Thomas Maier (who is our librarian). Many people went to a pub, but I took a ride with Thomas back home.

These meeting summaries were written by David Baird and Shlomi Fish.