FAQ for London.pm

Is the answer to this question in the FAQ?


How do I subscribe to the mailing list?

See the mailing list page.

If I turn up for a meeting how will I recognise London.pm

Look for a cluster of noisy geeks. It's usually quite easy to spot us. The meetings page may say something about where in the pub (as well as in which pub) we're likely to be found.

Who is Dave, and why did he tell us to?

Dave (Cross) is the founder of London.pm and was considered 'our leader' until Dec 13th 2001; if there are any problems (or, occasionally, as an excuse) then the standard response is 'Dave told us to'. Due to his no longer being our leader we are not sure of the status of this statement.

I'm a recruiter, is it ok to come to a meeting?

The simple answer is 'yes', however to try and make sure everyone is happy and remains that way we've put together a few guidelines/suggestions that we hope are useful.

    Social meetings are open to anyone.

    If people are using them for a commercial purpose, then it's considered good form to throw something extra into the kitty. After all free beer/soft drink always tastes better than normal beer/soft drink.

    People conducting commercial activities should remember that mongers are typically unwinding after a hard days work, so a hard sell is not welcome.

    It's considered bad manners to join a group who are chatting and to ignore the current topic and simply steer the conversation to your objective as fast as possible. Even if you are coming to a meeting for a purely commercial reason please attempt to get involved. Who knows you might even find it interesting.

    General sentiments were summarised well on list by one member as "As long as those with commercial intent remember that we're a community, not an audience all should be fine."

We look forward to seeing you - the best way of hearing about upcoming meetings is to join the announce list.

Do you know of any London (or SE UK) trainers?

We asked this question on list in May 2008 and got only two responses, both from people who had been involved in the course creation or delivery so we don't have any ratings. There are as follows ...

  • Learning Tree

    There is an intro course and an advanced course, student feedback is available. More details can be found here. n.b. my sources tell me that the Advanced course is only available if you talk to LT sales directly.

  • IBM

    It's a 5 day course including module usage, it can be run at their facilities in Blackfriars or on-site. There are both Linux and Win32 versions, more information can be found here.

You can find a general UK list over at The Perl Foundation's Perl 5 Wiki.

Do you have any advice about recruiters?

No but Harry Jackson wrote a page with some really good advice on it. You can find it at http://www.uklug.co.uk/sharp_practices.html.

Oooops, I missed a load of posts. Are there any archives?

Yes, on this very site there are mailing list archives, from June 2001 onwards. There are fragments of older archives: details are in the 'join us' section.

What's the IRC thing?

The IRC channel is #london.pm on irc.perl.org.

You can talk to people about all sorts of things- as with the list, occasionally there are Perl questions, but a lot of it is banter. It's also a good place for your oneliners. There's more about it on the IRC page.

Who is Dipsy?

Many years ago Kevin Lenzo wrote the veneral Infobot and one such example, called purl, lives on #perl.

#london.pm aquired their own infobot and called him/her/it dipsy. The bot quickly aquired its own set of modifications.

Several years later, frustrated with the quality of the Infobot code some members of London.pm ported the extensions to be Bot::BasicBot::Pluggable plugins with a Bot-Infobot frontend.

You can see what plugins are installed by asking dipsy for "help" in a privmsg.

People wanting to change the bot's functionality are strongly encouraged to write a new plugin or provide patches against svn.

Who are these Heretic people?

Initially London.pm had a very simple rule for meetings (at the time, there were only social meetings), namely that they were on the first Thursday of the month.

As you'd expect, though, sometimes that meant that the meeting was on the first day of the month. However, one prominent member once missed this meeting, and turned up on the following Thursday -- the 8th -- and posted to the list the following day wondering where everybody was.

As a result there grew a heretical sect around this member who maintained that meetings were held on the first Thursday of the month, unless that was the first day of the month; this was later shortened to 'meetings are on the day after the first Wednesday of the month'.

This was how things stayed for a while, and in 2001 there were two meetings in February and March on both Thursday 1st and Thursday 8th. Plans were brewing, though, and in August, at YAPC::Europe, the date of London.pm meetings was put up for auction, and Dave Cross [his explanation of the term] lost.

Hence, official meetings now follow the 'day after the first Wednesday' rule and the 'new heretics' recognise the original formula, meeting whenever a Thursday that is the first day of the month happens.

How do you find venues in London?

London.pm uses a lot of venues - we rely on generous companies for the technical meets and for the social meet we phone up pubs who don't hate us yet and ask if we can reserve an area at no cost. The criteria we use include good beer, quiet(ish) i.e no cheesy europop being blared out at a 1000Db, food served, near a tube and, if possible, good disabled access. Not necessarily in that order.

Paul Makepeace has thoughtfully done a page on this subject.

You've got a server?

Originally we had a server called penderel after the Penderel's Oak and it's what hosts london.pm.org. People that once paid cash for this have shell accounts on it. It's currently in state51 and what jolly nice people they are too.

You could get accounts on penderel for 20 GBP waged, 5 GBP unwaged; the money went to buy the inevitable upgrades.

Post a distasterous RAID crash in 2005 we're now hosted in a lovely FreeBSD jail by Mark Blackman.

You've got a camel?

Not any more, but we did sponsor a camel at London Zoo for nearly two years (late 2000 to 2002). Some of the people who put money towards it (and some others who didn't, but we don't mind) went to see it in August 2001. Paul has photos on his site, if you're interested.

We also have a page about the camel.

Why has someone just criticised muffins at conferences or muffins in general?

Well, when we were planning YAPC::Europe 2000 one of the things that came from the North American YAPC was the obsession of American conference attendees. Or at least a playful charicature of American conference attendees, in that they seemed to be obsessed with muffins, and one of the hardest things we had to deal with at YAPC::Europe 2000 was catering. Not providing muffins (it was after all 40 quid for 3 days) almost became our little rebellion against the expectations of conference goers. In the end we provided one of the best buffet lunches that will ever be had at a Perl conference including free wine, which I believe set some attendees up for a very drunken afternoon. But we didn't provide muffins.

Why do some posts about Perl get prefixed '[OT]'?

There are so many off-topic posts on london.pm that some people find it amusing to mark posts that are about Perl with [OT]. Whether in this case they mean on the list's topic or off the list's offtopicness is a matter of debate.

What is a spoiler?

A spoiler is giving away an important or unexpected plot element in a film or TV series that someone hasn't seen yet.

People generally don't like knowing too much of what's going to happen in advance, so we have a spoiler policy on the mailing list that you don't reveal important plot details of a TV series until it's aired on UK terrestrial television, and similarly that you don't reveal plot elements from a film until a month or so after release (although some warning is still appreciated then.)

People in the US or who have non-terrestrial (eg Sky) television, in particular, need to be careful when discussing such TV series.

What is Buffy?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (official site, US based) is a television series that a lot of people on London.pm enjoy, partly because it is a sharp, witty, well-written synthesis of teen drama with b-movies and partly because of the attractive lead characters. Both Buffy and the spin-off series Angel are probably the most common TV series to be referenced on list, and also the series where spoilers are least welcome.

*Update* - both shows are no longer produced so spoilers are probably ok now, unless our good friend and loyal member Herbert Wells is on channel at the time.

What is a TiVo?

A TiVo is a hard-disk based 'video' recorder for television programmes. Some members of London.pm use it to 'timeshift' programmes, and we try not to annoy them with spoilers either.

What are Acme::Buffy and Acme::Pony?

Acme::Buffy and Pony are perl modules of dubious practical value which will reformat your code in a more london.pm friendly way. In this case Damian Conway and his Acme::Bleach module are to blame.

What is it with the ponies?

If people think you're acting stressed on IRC, then they may well offer you a pony to stroke, since stroking a pony makes it all better. For more extreme times, there may even be a 'pony drop' of many ponies.

Who or what are the dancing monkeys?

The dancing monkeys or, if we're being cultural, les singe qui dansent, are those London.pm members who on any given subject will make a lot of noise, offer suggestions, make proclamations, fling faeces, indignantly post about people who they perceived have slighted them, the list, the IRC channel or Perl in general and, by and large, create more noise than signal.

Occasionally amusing but more often annoying no-one is entirely sure why they do this since it is widely known that such posturing is not big, clever or hard.

The monkeys who will dance for any given occasion is fairly predictable but we keep them around for the few times that they are actually amusing.

What is Wistow's Law?

"The likelihood of anything being achieved is inversely proportional to the number of cavorting simians involved."

See also jfdi.

What does JFDI mean?

It's an acronym for Just F**king Do It - or, in other words, "stop talking about it and just get on with it"

Our good friend from Boston, obra, might have been the person to make it popular - he certainly printed the t-shirts

What were the Perl Is My Bitch t-shirts?

When London.pm were organising YAPC::Europe 2000, the group produced a set of t-shirts with the YAPC logo. At the same time, Simon Wistow was planning to produce a run of t-shirts with the slogan 'Perl is my Bitch'. When the news of this reached the list (and two others), there was a massive flame war over the misogyny and business-hostile nature that some people perceived in the slogan.

As a result, the shirts weren't produced as part of the YAPC fundraising, but did get produced in a much more low-key unofficial manner later that year. Occasionally Simon threatens to do another run, but at the moment there are only fifty t-shirts in existence, none of which are for sale.

*Update* at YAPC::Europe 2003 Simon auctioned off one last t-shirt that he'd found and donated the money to YAS. The lucky winner was Philippe 'BooK' Bruhat who paid an astounding 250 Euros for it.

What and where are dim sum?

Dim sum is a facet of Chinese cuisine consisting of a hotpotch of little dishes which you pick and mix from to create a meal. London.pm has seemingly become fond of going to places like the New World in Chinatown to eat dim sum for lunch, and you'll see messages on IRC and the mailing list asking about meeting there sometimes.

You can find out more about it at Open Guides, the open source guide to London.

*Update* Sometime around 2007/2008, Leon became the 'official' Dim Sum Tsar and is currently conducting a Dim Sum tour, visiting different restauraunts (and repeating) every Thursday lunch from 1pm->2pm ish.

What is a TVR?

TVR is a cocktail of tequila, vodka and Red Bull that is available at the Penderel's Oak and other places. Some of London.pm's most debauched meetings have been held under the influence of this substance.

What's the kitty?

At social meetings, the first few people there should procure an empty, dry pint glass for keeping money in. People are requested to add a note (usually a tenner) to the kitty, and then when people go to the bar they just take the kitty. This saves the tedious nature of buying small rounds, and worrying if you get to the end of the night and feel you should have bought more people drinks.

To further confuse you, one of our members has the nick name 'kitty'

What's 'slap the Yank'?

'Slap the Yank' appears to be one of Greg's fevered ideas from his time at eBookers, but you'd have to ask him about it really.

Why do people remark about Leon and orange?

Leon Brocard seems to make wearing orange (and using it as a colour in web page design) his point in life; or at least, that's how some people perceive it.

Is that why the site is this hideous orange colour?

Yes. Leon and a cabal of supporters bought the 'official London.pm colour' at YAPC::Europe in 2002. Since there's not really anywhere for it to manifest itself other than this site, london.pm.org is now bright orange, with brown bits.

Why was/is this site in Esperanto?

At YAPC::Europe in 2003, the language of the front page of London.pm.org (and Paris Perl Monguers) was auctioned, and Esperanto was the winning choice. Paul Makepeace has translated the text (see the archives ) and the page has been http://london.pm.org/index_eo.html.