Friday, December 28th, 2012

What’s New on Shlomi Fish’s Homepage


Here are the recent updates for Shlomi Fish’s Homepage. Most of the work this time was done on the look, feel, and infrastructure of the site, such as the navigation menus, but there is still some new (and hopefully interesting) content. So without further ado, here is what is new:

  1. The main navigation menu to the right now comprises of most of the pages that were navigable and previously were present only in the section navigation menus. Since its HTML markup was quite excessive, I decided to load most of the content using an AJAX (= “Asyncrhonous JavaScript And XML” or “XMLHTTPRequest”) fetch of a JSON document, while keeping a smaller subset still usable as plain HTML for browsers with JavaScript disabled and for search engines and other web user agents.

    I made sure that the expansion state of the navigation menu is preserved between the pages. Moreover, the much maligned section navigation menus are now hidden by default, but can be enabled using the button and should remember their state between pages.

  2. There is a new HTML Tutorial in Hebrew under work. Currently, there is only one section, and some aspects of it are lacking.

  3. There is a new list of text processing tools and a list of networking clients in the software resources section.

  4. I added new quotes to the fortune cookies collection:

    • Yaakov: It's on offer half price today.
    • Yaakov: The regular price is free of charge.
    • rindolf: Yaakov: oh nice.
    • * rindolf buys Yaakov's GREAT HUGE LOVE.
  5. The third version of my essay “Open source, Free software, and Other Beasts” is now live. It was converted from DocBook 4 to DocBook 5 and greatly enhanced.

  6. Also new is the countdown program which is similar to the UNIX sleep command, only displays the amount of time remaining.

  7. There’s a new and open source solver for the so-called “Binary Puzzles”. It is still incomplete.

  8. There is a new geek song parody (under work) titled “Can I SCO Now?” sang to the music of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s “Can I Go Now?”:

    Can I SCO now?
    Sue who you wanna sue,
    it doesn't matter anyhoo,
    it's time to litigate.
    Can I SCO Now?
    Say what you wanna say,
    we don't care anyway,
    we're going to inflate.

    Can I, can I, SCO now….

  9. I now mirror The Fountainhead’s parody “The Fountainhead Starring Skull Force”, whose original link went offline, but which I was able to find a mirror of. Enjoy.

  10. There are now a page with some links against Java and a page with some links against “SOAP”.

  11. Support for the MathJax JavaScript library was added to the pages in the MathVentures section enabling most modern JavaScript-enabled browsers to pretty view the mathematical formulae there.

  12. There are some new additions to the original Aphorisms and Quotes page:

    The English Wikipedia: now you don’t see it - now you do.

  13. I restored the display of the images in my “There are Too Many Ways to Do it” lightning talk.

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Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

What’s New on Shlomi Fish’s Homepage


Here are the recent updates for Shlomi Fish’s Homepage. The first item of note is that I implemented an automated test suite for the site, with a test for lack of trailing whitespace, and a spell checking test (powered by Text::Hunspell and Hunspell). The many problems pointed by these checkers were fixed, resulting in a very large patch to review this time.

Aside from the spelling corrections, here are the items of interest:

The meta section now has a section navigation menu.

I added the incomplete geek parody song “I’m the Real Tim Toady”:

May I have your attention, please?
May I have your attention, please?
Will the real Tim Toady please match up?
I repeat: will the real Tim Toady please match up?
We’re going to have two problems here.

jnoakes’ page about Graduate Student Jokes, which I have enjoyed, and which has gone offline, has been restored on the site:

You know you’re a grad student when…

  • you can identify universities by their internet domains.
  • you are constantly looking for a thesis in novels.
  • you have difficulty reading anything that doesn't have footnotes.
  • you understand jokes about Foucault.
  • the concept of free time scares you.
  • you consider caffeine to be a major food group.
  • you've ever brought books with you on vacation and actually studied.
  • Saturday nights spent studying no longer seem weird.

A page with a List of Text Processing Tools has been added to the software resources sub-section.

There are new additions to the Aphorisms and quotes collection:

If it isn’t in my E-mail, it doesn’t exist. And if the whole world says one thing and E-mail says another, Email will conquer

(Said to me in a private conversation by an Israeli Linux enthusiast.)

There are also some new quotes in the Chuck Norris Facts page:

Chuck Norris is the reason why the Knights who until Recently Said “Ni”, are no longer saying “Ni”.

Finally, there are some new fortune cookies:


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Thursday, June 14th, 2012

New and Updated Material on My Homepage


Here are the recent updates for Shlomi Fish’s Homepage. There are quite a few changes this time.

The humorous document “It’s not a Fooware - it’s an Operating System.”, mostly written by me, was restored from the wiki which is currently down:

Lots of people heard Emacs haters complain that “Emacs is not an editor - it’s an operating system” or something along these lines. So here we're trying to concentrate other such programs that are no longer limited only to their original purpose, but rather expanded to cover lots of other stuff. So you'll know that Emacs is not alone.

I also added a a new aphorism:

We agree. But do we agree to agree?

There are some new Factoids:

If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad will go to the mountain. If the mountain will not come to Chuck Norris, then the mountain will suffer Norris’s wrath for not complying with his whims.

And there are also some new fortune cookies:

  • Botje: desperation is for wimps
  • anno: prosperation?
  • Altreus: deprecation is an outdated concept and we prefer not to do it
  • Su-Shee: let’s deprecate deprecation.
  • alpha--: agreed.
  • alpha--: oh wait.
  • Su-Shee: that would be a deprecation
  • rindolf: Who will watch the watcher?
  • rindolf: Who will deprecate deprecation?
  • Su-Shee: shouldn’t someone deprecate the deprecator in that case?
  • * rindolf deprecates the deprecator who is deprecating deprecation.
  • Altreus: that's OK, it's not deprecated yet

I found many typos in the fifth part of the Perl for Perl Newbies series before and during giving the talk at the Tel Aviv Perl Mongers and also prepared some notes for it in Hebrew (which can be found in the series’s front page).

The Transcript of the Perlcast interview with Tom Limoncelli, about his book Time Management for System Administrators has been restored from the currently offline wiki:

Josh: Getting back to where we had started on that planning your day at the beginning of the day, before you check your email. You claim there, that whenever you're prioritising your activities, you really only need three categories and not, you know, a top-ten list, or anything like that. Could you explain that a little?

Tom Limoncelli: that comes from the fact that I used to try to really be specific about the priorities of my action items. So I put something in my to-do-list, and I'd say well, you know I'm ranking their importance from 0 is not important, and a 100 is the world is going to explode if I don't do it right now. And I spent so much time calculating "Wow, is this more like a 63 or a 67, is it a 67? Wow!". And I just spent so much time trying to get an exact priority. In some cases, the task would have been done already. You know I've spent too much time prioritising.

I'm not sure where I picked this up, but someone recommended three priorities: A - it's due today; B - it's important; and C - everything else. Generally, if it's a day where I have any A's at all - that's all I'll be working on. And the way projects go, I'm generally working on that for the whole day. So that's sort of the exception. Most of the time I'm working on B's, which are things that are important, and C's are sort of those would-be-nice-kind-of-things.

And the nice thing about breaking it into this a simple A, B, C priority scheme is that first of all, you're spending less time picking your priority. And secondly, when you're planning your day, in that 5-minute planning period, you can look at your tasks and say "You know, I wanna work 8 hours today, I have one hour of meetings, so I'm down to 7 hours", and then you can look at your tasks and say "Is this more than 7 hours worth of work?". Because it's written, I can start actually doing this kind of planning, and say "That's more like 14 hours worth of work, so those C priorities and B priorities - I'm gonna move them to the next day's to-do-list." Or maybe, OK, I have time for my A's and my B's and the C's get moved.

The third version of my essay, “The Case for Drug Legalisation”, is now live, with several major improvements. They are in large part, thanks to someone who commented on my essay, and allowed me to use their text, and who chose to remain anonymous.

I have set up project pages for MikMod, a module files player, which I now maintain, and for Website META Language, a sophisticated HTML preprocessor, which I have also been maintaining and recently released its 2.2.0 version.

Also in the software section is a How to Contribute to my Projects sub-section with a concentrated and ongoing “HACKING” document.

And, naturally, there are also many smaller enhancements, such as new links, fixes for broken links, new <meta name="description" /> tags, and corrections of typos. I’ve also moved the site’s version control repository from a Subversion repository that required a username and password to access to a publicly-accessible Mercurial repository. More details can be found on the Site's Source Code page.

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Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Fifth Part of Perl for Perl Newbies and New Humour Items


Here are the recent updates for Shlomi Fish’s Homepage. I know I have not posted an update to this blog in a while, and in part it’s due to the fact that I have not done as much work on the site as I have before the previous update. But there is still some new things to look forward to.

There are some new items on the original aphorisms page:

Sophie: I’m hungry today.
Jack: well, wait until tomorrow - maybe this feeling will pass.

I’m now mirroring the “English is a Crazy Language” bit I found somewhere.

The fifth installment in the Perl for Perl Newbies series of presentations is now available online. This part covers good programming practices such as using a version control system, writing automated tests, and using accessors for objects. As with the previous parts, this talk is licensed under the Public Domain/CC-Zero.

There are new factoids in the factoids collection:

Larry Wall can make shit up, and the computer will understand what he means.

There are also many new UNIX-like fortune cookies:

  • buu: PKRUMINS
  • rindolf: pKrumins
  • pkrumins: BYY
  • rindolf: pkrumins: BUU
  • rindolf: pkrumins: buu is back.
  • pkrumins: rindolf: i know
  • rindolf: pkrumins: he said he was close to disappearing.
  • pkrumins: WHAT
  • pkrumins: buu, is that true
  • rindolf: pkrumins: he was sick.
  • pkrumins: HE WASNT
  • buu: =[
  • buu: I was
  • pkrumins: HOW
  • buu: Genetic defects!
  • pkrumins: OH NO
  • pkrumins: OH NO NO NO
  • mauke: substance abuuse
  • buu: Owch
  • buu: That joke almost qualifies as abuse
  • mauke: now that I've hurt mst and buu, my work for today is done
  • pkrumins: you still havent hurt me
  • rindolf: mauke: hold on! You haven't hurt me yet.
  • buu: haha
  • * rindolf is hurt that mauke didn't hurt him.
  • rindolf: Oh wait.
  • mauke: just as keikaku.
  • rindolf: mauke: OK, now your work for today is done.
  • pkrumins: NO

I have added a review of Kent Beck’s Test Driven Development: By Example to the recommended books page.

The ABC Path game's generator module is now being mentioned in the Games ABC Path page, and the solver and generator were also ported to JavaScript.

More prominent editors and IDEs were added to the editors and IDEs page.

And as usual, there are many additional links on various pages of the site.

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Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

New and Improved Stories, Screenplays, Aphorisms and Bits


Here are the recent updates to Shlomi Fish’s Homepage since the last update. A long time has passed and there are many big and small changes, and I hope this summary will compensate for it.

There are new English and Hebrew versions of my story, The Enemy and How I Helped to Fight it, and some text was added to the front page. An even better version is currently being worked on in the Mercurial repository of the story.

There’s new text in the screenplay Star Trek: “We, the Living Dead”, in both parts of “The One with the Fountainhead” and in the Hebrew story “The Pope died on Sunday”:

[ Cut. End Credits. Phoebe is sitting on the coach reading the Fountainhead. ]

Phoebe: wow, I forgot how great the Fountainhead was. So what did Rand do afterwards?

Ross: well, she wrote the screenplay for the movie adaptation of the Book that starred Gary Copper…

Phoebe: oooh, yummy…

Ross: yes, well, and then she worked on Atlas Shrugged.

Phoebe: [in a lyrical fashion] “Atlas shrugged from side to side. ‘Alas, my end is near!’ the lady cried.”

Monica: ehmm… Pheebs? That’s “The mirror crack’d from side to side”.

Phoebe: oh! Ayn Rand wrote “The Mirror Crack’d” too?

Ross: no, Phoebe. That was Agatha Christie.

Phoebe: Oh! Everybody knows that Ayn Rand wrote all of Agatha Christie’s stories.

Chandler: [tongue-in-cheek]I can totally believe that, Pheebs.

After an almost complete lack of inspiration since its inception, there are now new Larry Wall Factoids:

Larry Wall does know all of Perl. However, he pretends to be wrong or misinformed, so people will think he’s not as awesome as he really is.

And as usual, there are also some new Chuck Norris Facts:

Chuck Norris once wrote a 10 million lines C++ program in Microsoft Notepad without having to use the backspace key. And it compiled without errors or warnings, and was 100% bug-free.

There’s now a script for displaying an individual quote of the UNIX-like fortune cookies with a random feature.

Speaking of fortune cookies, there are some new fortune cookies, and many of them have fixed typos:

Real programmers use a nice editor and a nice programming language and get it done in less than O(N!).

(Vanguard in Freenode’s ##programming)

Some of the aphorisms now have Hebrew translations:

אלהים נתן לנו שתי עיניים ועשר אצבעות, כדי שנקליד פי חמש יותר ממה שאנו קוראים.

Likewise, there’s now a Hebrew translation of “Ways to do it according to the programming languages of the world”:

  • Perl - יש יותר מדרך אחת לעשות זאת.
  • C++‎ - ישנן חמש דרכים לעשות זאת. שלוש מתוכן לא אמורות לעבוד.
  • Visual Basic - הדרך היחידה לעשות זאת היא להשתמש ברכיב צד שלישי.
  • ANSI C - יש, בדרך כלל, דרך אחת לעשות זאת, אבל יש יותר מדרך אחת לבצע אופטימיזציה.
  • Java - יש בקושי דרך אחת לעשות זאת. (אבל בניגוד ל-C++‎, היא בטוח תעבוד.)
  • Python - יש דרך אחת לעשות זאת. הדרך האחת האמיתית לעשות זאת. וישנן גם דרכים אחרות.

The funny bit “The S Stands for Simple” (about SOAP) is now mirrored on the site. I have also placed the stories by a writer by the name of Oded C. that he had sent me in the past (in Hebrew) on the site, and converted them to OpenDocument Text and to HTML using

The Copyrights Page now spells out my interpretation of the various Creative Commons licences that I’m using:

The Public Domain / CC-Zero

If the work is marked as public domain, then you can freely redistribute it, modify it or build upon it, even without giving me credit. If you wish you may consider the work as licensed under the MIT/X11 licence, the CC-by licence (see below), or any other licence. What you cannot do is claim that you originated the original version, or sue me for any damages caused by using or misusing the information.

All of that put aside, if you find works under this licence useful, you are encouraged to credit me; share them under similar liberal licences; make a small donation, either in money for me and/or for a good cause, or by buying me interesting books, cool T-shirts, or alternatively audio or video files (only as digital files, for I lack the energy for pesky circular physical media), and naturally by sending me an appreciation note that you enjoyed them or found them of value. But I’m not forcing you to.

I’m using this licence for most of my photos (but not all of them), for some of my presentation material, and for some of my old code, or code that I find useful to dual-licence under it and the MIT/X11 licence.

The solver for the game ABC Path (by Otto Janko) is now available in the software section.

The XML-Grammar-Fiction homepage was improved with new content and some links to the similar efforts of Celtx and AsciiDoc.

There’s a new FAQ about the “EvilPHish” emblem in the top-left corner of this screen.

The technical talk “There are Too Many Ways to Do it” now contains notes in Hebrew which have been prepared in advance when giving it to the Tel Aviv Perl Mongers.

The main navigation menu on the left was revamped and converted to use JavaScript (which is not required to operate it). I’m planning to do further work on tweaking it in the near future. Moreover, there’s now a language switching widget on such pages as the “Ways to do it According to the Programming Languages of the World”.

Finally, I added some description of my psycho-medical condition to my Bio.

Hopefully, you enjoy these changes. More are upcoming.

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Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Essays about Bipolar Disorder and Open Source, new open source programs, and new humour items


I’m sorry for not updating the site’s news feeds for a long time, and as expected there’s quite a lot new.

There’s a new humorous bit in the Aphorisms collection:

Shlomi’s Father: If you don’t sort the dishwasher, the dishwasher won’t be sorted.

Shlomi: No, it won’t be sorted by me.

Shlomi’s Father: No, it won’t be sorted at all. We will throw away the dishwasher.

Together: Along with all the dishes.

There’s a new Chuck Norris fact:

Chuck Norris can make the statement “This statement is false.” a true one.

There are new fortune cookies.

Due to an incident where one of my domains was blocked by a anti-spam blacklist, we now have an anti-spam Policy

I have a new page about me mentoring others in the world open source and/or open content. Also related is the new page about how to start contributing to open-source software.

I have made my essay titled “Dealing with Hypomanias” live and previously announced it on my non-technical blog. Also see a recent related post on the Just 1 Random Guy comics/blog about his experience as a person with Bipolar disorder.

There’s a a new greasemonkey script for expanding the descriptions of

The Black Hole Solitaire Solver page now includes a description of the tables in the SQLite dump that collected the data from running the solver on the first 1 million deals of PySolFC.

There’s a new solver for Kakuraso which is a puzzle game that can be found on the Brain Bashers site. That solver was written in Python using lp_solve.

Another new project is Module-Format, which is a Perl 5 module to perform bulk operations on the various notations for Perl modules.

The Linux Kernel “make xconfig” enhancement patch was updated for the newly released 2.6.37 kernel.

There are some new links in the pages against bad software.

I’ve also updated my resumes.

The site’s building instructions were updated but may still be incomplete.

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Saturday, October 9th, 2010

New humorous bits, fortune cookies, and updated software


There’s a new humorous bit titled “Copying Ubuntu Bug No. 1”. It was also featured on my tech blog where it received several comments.

Tel Aviv, Israel: “Ubuntu can’t have all the fun only for itself”, open source distributors are saying as they rush to copy its Bug No. 1 titled “Microsoft has a majority market share”.

Debian, Ubuntu’s parent distribution, has set up Debian Bug No. 1 which also reads “Microsoft has a majority market share”. Mandriva, another competing distribution has set up Mandriva Bug No. 1: “Microsoft has a majority market share and Ubuntu has a majority market share on the Linux desktop”. Fedora, Gentoo, Archlinux, Slackware and other distributions are expected to follow suit.

Speaking of Ubuntu, tomorrow it would be 10-October-2010 - 10.10.10 and it would be the release date of Ubuntu 10.10 codenamed “Maverick Meerkat”.

There’s a new page with a Hebrew translation of the song “Buy the Fish” from my Humanity - The Movie screenplay.

There are new fortune cookies in the fortune cookies collection and the RSS feed has now been fixed (the corresponding Atom feed is still broken due to a bug in the XML::Atom CPAN module).

Often when I ask the people I train if they know Perl, they tell me “I don’t know Perl. I can only read it.”. I wonder whether it indicates that Perl is not a write-only language as some people like to claim.

-- Gabor Szabo (Perl Programmer and Trainer)

The solver for Black Hole solitaire was converted to C, which made it much faster and less memory-hungry. The results and statistics of running it on the first 1 million PySolFC Black Hole deals are available in the link.

Version 1.03 of libtap, a C library for testing using the Test Anything Protocol (TAP) is now available with several improvements.

Many of the code excerpts in the Perl for Newbies series were corrected for Modern Perl practices.

The website also now has a better “404” page, and as usual there are many new links in the various pages. Enjoy!

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Friday, November 13th, 2009

New Material for the Stories and a Page for the XML-Grammar Project


The texts of the lists of stories and their descriptions in the Humour page and its Stories section were merged, updated and enhanced.

There are new Chuck Norris Factoids:

Chuck Norris is the greatest man in history. He killed all the great men who could ever pose a competition.

There’s also a new factoid about XSLT: redirects to XSLT.

The text of The Pope Died on Sunday was converted to XML-Grammar-Fiction (see below) and was continued a little. The story is written in Hebrew, and there is still no English translation.

The original screenplay The Blue Rabbit’s Log has new text and its ideas page has also been updated:

[ Mordox disappears. The Blue Rabbits arrive. Bryte sees Galku who tries to look innocent, but Bryte rushes to him and lifts him up in the air. ]

Clover: you, where’s Mordox? Tell us what you know!

Galku: What are you looking at me? I’m completely innocent!

Galku: See no incredible selfishness and total in-consideration of everybody else’s welfare and interests. Hear no incredible selfishness and total in-consideration of everybody else’s welfare and interests.

Bryte: you mean “See no evil - hear no evil”?

Galku: I knew it was a good definition.

There’s also some new text in Star Trek: “We, the Living Dead”:

[ Katie is sitting on a table in DS9. She is busy writing something on a qwerty-like keyboard attached to a small text pad. Jake approaches her. ]

Jake: Katie, oh there you are. I thought that OTF-1 left DS9 already.

Katie: yes, it did, I’m still technically working for them.

Jake: really, how?

Katie: with the marvels of technology: remote access and Q-ness.

Jake: Q-ness?

Katie: yes, check this out.

[ Katie stands up, makes a gesture with her hand. A portal appears near the ground showing a different part of DS9. She steps into it, and the portal closes. A few moments later, a normal Star-Trek door opens and Katie steps out of it. ]

Katie: tada!

Jake: wow! So you are now “Qatie” with a Q?

Katie: Qatie [with a Qoph sound] heh, I like it.

The XML sources of the fortunes cookie files are now viewable as HTML from the web, and naturally, there are newer entries.

There’s a new design for graphics based on an old aphorism of me.

There’s now a page for the Web-CPAN XML-Grammar meta-project, which aims to create re-usable XML grammars and related tools for various purposes, and there’s a page for the XML-Grammar-Fiction module for writing works of prose.

The page design and layout were slightly improved with some important links at the bottom (Web 2.0-style), old cruft removed from the left side bar, and other changes.

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Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Spark, Perl for Newbies Part 5, and Template Toolkit Presentation


I added some pages about Spark - a new dialect of Lisp under planning, including its mission statement:

While other general purpose Lisps such as Common Lisp, Scheme, Arc or Clojure have been influential and have some followers and users, none of them are actively used with the same popularity as Perl, Python, Ruby or PHP are. Spark aims to be a popular lisp dialect which will be actively used for real-world tasks, not just toy or experimentation code.

Eventually, it is our hope that some people will get paid to maintain Spark code. Some of them against their best preferences, like some people now are maintaining Perl 5, PHP or even Python code while preferring a different language. (Simply because it puts bread on their table, and they cannot get paid to write something else.)

I added the fifth part of the Perl for Newbies tutorials/presentations. Furthermore, the Larry Wall presentation, “The Taming of the Camel” is now available there (with a working link). Moreover, there’s now an up-to-date summary of the material covered.

The slides of the lightning talk about the Template Toolkit now has the up-to-date slides in OpenDocument and PDF formats.

There’s now a recommendation of Monty Python and the Holy Grail on the recommended films page.

Many of the fortune cookies were enhanced with better markup, hyperlinks and some corrections.

File-Find-Object was added to the FOSS contributions page.

Finally, the sources for the various Quad-Pres talks are now kept inside the homepage’s version control, which simplifies their build process. This is an infrastructure change that should help in the site’s maintenance.

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Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

New Look, New Humour Items, Updated Software Pages and More


The biggest news this time is that the site has an opossum new look based on an adapted version of the smoked WordPress Theme by iconstantin. There may be some more quirks lurking in the design, so please report them to me if you find them. I’d also like to thank Zoffix Znet and other IRC people for some insights on how to fix problems I had with adapting the CSS.

There’s a new joke on the Aphorisms page:

What does “IDK” stand for? I don’t know.

It was also added to fortune cookies collection

New original bit - “Programs Every Programmers Has Written”, new fortune cookies and a a new bit I’ve copied from elsewhere: “How Many [Usenet] Newsgroup Readers does it Take to Change a Lightbulb?”

The Toggle Squares Game now has better accessibility.

The per-song volume Amarok script is now available for Amarok 2.x too.

Added OpendDBX to the portability libraries page

The page of File-Find-Object was greatly enhanced with new modules and a new blog post.

Added a page about Docmake - a Perl-based tool to render DocBook/XML.

There’s now a page with screenshots of CPANHQ, a web-interface for CPAN under development.

There are new links on the anti-bad-software pages.

The “Add This” button which sometimes caused a Flash applet to be displayed on the page was replaced by a much superior Share This button. Hope you enjoy it.


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