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Why I Love Perl

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 8:50 PM

I just wrote a complete XML-RSS aggregator that pulls in data from 137 feeds that are in a MySQL table, parses each feed, adds new entries into another MySQL table, and then changes the first table's entries to represent the last fetch time, last processing time (if the feed retrieval was successful), and last update time (if there were new entries added to the other table). I accomplished all this over today while doing other things, likely spending less than three hours on the actual project, including time studying a legacy MySQL table to which I am trying to conform.

That's why I love Perl. I am not someone who just loves to program, but Perl makes things efficient and sensible enough that at least I can get what I need to get working done in as little time as possible. cough Unlike cough PHP cough.

More on just how this fits into yesterday's post later.

Maintenence

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:56 PM

I've been doing maintenance work on my company's sites tonight. I would rather keep using something until it totally breaks than rewrite the code for it, but sometimes you just gotta fix things before everything falls apart. So I am. Exciting, huh? ;-)

Taxes and Economic Profits

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 3:42 PM

Well, everyone knows it is tax time right now. Normally that doesn't bother me much, but this year it was a bit depressing since it forced me to revisit how my business performed last year. Due to some “capital investments” and changes in the services Universal Networks provides, the business was barely in the black in the services segment. Ad revenues helped out, but if I was speaking as an economist, I'd probably say I had an “economic loss” last year (i.e. when I add in non-monetary costs, such as my time, on top of the monetary ones). Note that I am not complaining, I'm not hurting from this, just observing how things went and thinking about how to improve this year.

The past few years have been pretty good, even during the dot-bomb times, so having one bad year isn't all that bad in the big scheme of things. Essentially what I need to do is use this revisiting of the year 2004 to remind me of where I need to focus my energy, where I need to improve and what parts of the business really aren't worth messing around with.

On the other hand, it reinforces my general feeling that unless I want to spend my days cleaning off adware and similar maintenance tasks, my eventual transition out of the computer services industry is probably a good idea from a business standpoint as well as from a personal one.

There Goes Another Night

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:08 AM

I've just spent the night trying — well, I guess I shouldn't post quite yet, since I post under my real name. Let's just say sometimes I feel even more reassured than normal that I am doing the best thing getting out of the consulting business.

I'll also say that this incident can be blamed for it being at least tomorrow before I'll get the new site design up here. sigh

Fellow consultants and others that must deal with “users” trying to figure out computers, feel free to share your “war stories” below.

Spoke too Soon

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 7:45 PM

The Hosting Life

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:20 PM

C+SR Returns

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 8:43 PM

Mac Woes

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 8:40 PM

Too much to do...

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 9:03 PM

Billing...

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 8:02 PM

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