Today, programming languages have so much big standard libraries that it’s a pain to know everything: one of my programming teacher (a C and C++ addict) told me that the thing that hurts him with Java and .Net was the huge standard library and the difficulty of having a good knowledge of these toolkits. Maybe he was not wrong, and that documentation is sometimes a kind of unusable garbage, or even disappearing (for example when Oracle moved everything about Java to random locations).

However, it can be a bigger pain to re-write something that already exists than to learn and build easy tools to search for informations inside your standard library. A tool that allow to search for common modules names (like URI manipulation or JSON or IO, anything), it’s sometime too long to search on and on when you just need to use something in your code. This problem comes also from my bad (human) memory, I can’t remember all these tools that I used only a few times. I can even less remember oneliners whith more than 20 chars…

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Today I discovered that I was using Perl 5, version 14.2 (v5.14.2) from the Ubuntu 12.04 packages. It includes 57 registered patches. As it is a 2011 version, I’ve decided to switch from the Ubuntu packages to a more recent one (and considered as stable by the Perl community although it is not by the Debian one).

As I love to use local::lib and cpanm, I’ve chosen to use Perlbrew to achieve the installation of this last stable version. The tool seems as convenient as cpanm and local::lib, it is known for making your life easier when dealing with Perl installations.

Perlbrew is :

  • a tool to install different versions of perls and switch through them
  • an admin-free installation management system, means, as for local::lib, you don’t even need to have superuser rights to use it, so you don’t have to suck the admin’s ass
  • it’s just like RVM for those who know Ruby
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I have been in Lao PDR for a week and I don’t have my high-speed Internet connection. All I have is a cool smartphone without a SIM card for this country. Though, it doesn’t seem to be a problem to find a SIM card: just before the immigration point in airport, the application form already mentions an ad for one of the main telecoms company saying that to really communicate like a local, I should subscribe to that company.

Get an unlimited data plan

Anyway, I have to work for my french company (that kindly grants me some holidays, just in time to empty my french flat and have some time to find electricity and Internet connection in Lao PDR), just before getting back to work.

Finding a SIM card is not a problem (you can literally find credit sellers for mobile phones at each street corner), and you don’t even need to give an address or have a bank account. The main problem is you don’t speak Lao, and Lao people don’t speak English that much. So maybe they will not understand you need this killer-unlimited-data-plan and give you some cheap re-loadable cards. Anyway, you don’t speak Lao either…

You will understand very soon that unlimited data plan, including phone calls and SMS like the one I previously used with Free in France is not that easy to find. 5 x 50 000 kips (5€) cards later and two days of shurfing has been enough to empty my cards :( , that was supposed to allow 2.5G of data.

First sensations

Once I asked to the couple who sold me the cards where I can get bigger or unlimited ones, they redirected me to the nearest Lao Telecoms office where people were able to advice me a decent unlimited data-plan (still in alpha-test for me). Some impressions about it :

  • SSH is available through the phone hotspot but pretty slow
  • band-switch is pretty good
  • no outgoing SMTP (or don’t find it for my current ISP)
  • some obtained IPs seems to be considered as potentially dangerous (open proxies, low reputation for spam, e.g. blacklisted on Wikipedia)
  • band-switch speed is bipolar
  • Some websites are hardly accessible, I don’t know if they are locked or censored, or only hosted on too far away servers (?)
  • network and / or electricity can be down
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We love logs because it helps us to debug during development. We also need a quick way to enable / disable logs because it’s not necessary for everybody :

  • you maybe want logs during the development of your module
  • people who will use it don’t necessary want to watch it

When testing a module and building a distribution, you maybe don’t want to inject dirt in your tests output. In the case of debuging, I think it’s a good thing to write it to a file and tail on it.

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Hey, Google announce it will close it’s RSS Reader. So what? Do we really need it anyway? You can find plenty of friendly and beautiful clones of Reader, like Feedly or The Old Reader. Both of two seems nice. Both of two are clearly Readers clones and alternatives.

I first tryed The Old Reader for about a month, before all the Reader drama when Google announce it’s death. It was so slow that I was feeling asleep as waiting for a feed to load. I don’t notice anything particular in comparaison with Reader. The only thing is that you got some more hype AJAX stuff plus some special social bits that makes possible to share more fecal feeds with your friends. Just as if your friends weren’t full-time busy by their own feeds.

This is a very important thing. Feeds… Hey, if you want to share feeds with friends, please, open it, don’t close it for privacy reasons, use a tool without any account or password, open a Wiki or whatever.

Then, when the Reader tragedy came, I’ve tryed Feedly. Honestly, it seems wonderful. I’ve liked the Android App, hey it’s a wonderful tool. Everybody were recommanding it on the internet. It seems it’s gonna be my new RSS feeds reader. But this morning I read an interesting Lea Verou Tweet:

So. What if it will be true. What if Feedly disappear soon? It seems a good solution would be to select a good RSS feed free software like Tiny Tiny RSS, pick-up a random server, set-up a LAMP environment and make things by yourself (as describe in this sebsauvage post… I mention Tiny Tiny RSS because it’s realy simple, customizable and feature a great Android client that communicate with an API on your server’s instance featuring interesting synchronisation stuff.

You would not get a prettiest UI/UX as the Feedly one, you won’t get the Google Reader goodies, but your data will be safe. And you can hack your UI as you want… Ok, Reader was pretty, but we don’t like proprietary software. We would like to keep our feeds free, we don’t need these closing source web-apps that starve our feeds…

This is my second blog post and I still need a Markdown editor for Android with Github support.

Start to think to write it but I don’t need yet another side project. My phone is not rooted and can’t find a simple and free tool that support Markdown + Github.

But suddenly, I simply remember that you can edit Markdown files directly in Github…