Below are the current list of Birmingham Perl Mongers, who have been brave enough to have some of the details available on the site. Most of us are at each meeting, so hopefully you'll recognise at least one of us, if you want to come and join us. We're a friendly bunch, and always willing to meet new Perl Mongers.
If you wish to include your details, send a brief bio of yourself and photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. See examples of the bios below for an idea of what to include.
|Job:||Lead Systems Engineer, Fujitsu - Internet Managed Services (Server Team North)|
Guess I started programming by trying to copy thermal print-outs for the ZX spectrum comprising of it's own sort of 'Basic' and some machine code, doing all this badly and one day finding the spectrum was trashed. It just refused to boot so I got the money back deal from Sinclair to buy a bike. This is a long time ago so I can't remember what year it was, but after this I remember adolescence, unemployment and College. Been programming Perl since 1996. I had started work at a place called Staffordshire University as a technical support person and worked to start with on Linux and Dos/Windows boxes that quickly became NT 4.0 workstations and servers. NT lacked a shell I could program in aside of VB. I don't like VB and try to avoid writing in C as I am by nature a lazy person. I got bitten by the Perl bug soon after I discovered Perl could be downloaded freely from ActiveState for NT and Perl scripts would for the most part work doing basic stuff on both Windows and UNIX. What is more, I found that I didn't have to learn more than one language / scripting tool to automate simple tasks that would work on both platforms.
To my sheer astonishment and unbridled joy I also realised that this Perl thing may be really catching on in more places than the ground floor of the building I worked in. A thing seen at the time as rather 'anoraky' that is, the 'World Wide Web' or 'Internet' was becoming a bit of a thing. Apparently people on this new fangled 'web thang' were using Perl as a sort of 'core technology' in all sorts of things, even web sites but I couldn't at the time understand why or how. Yes, there were then, as there are now, many different languages and technologies to choose from. I could not though be bothered to learn about them all as I had found a programming language that was to me like a 'Swiss army knife'. After all, I thought, Perl may be around for a couple of years yet.
I used Perl in a vain attempt at a template driven static web site generator sort of thing that I must have coded hideously. It never took off amongst my then co-workers. One day much later, working for a company that makes trucks called 'Foden', I was asked to develop a web site on Microsoft IIS and chose to run ActiveState Perl to do this as I found that I could use Win32::ODBC to connect to a Microsoft database. This was a comparatively new thing at the time and you had to code in Microsoft VB or C (which makes me shudder even now) to achieve this, if, that is, Perl hadn't come to the rescue. I corresponded with the author of 'Net::Telnet' on a related project at the time and so discovered a strange and big thing called 'CPAN'. I was bowled over by this 'Comprehensive Perl Archive Network' thing, the likes of which I had never seen before.
Recent stuff I've done is a site management system re-write for the place I work at now (Fujitsu). This is a big one and takes a lot of time. I presently am known to dare to wear a #!/usr/bin/perl -w use strict; T-Shirt. People on occasions trust me to give them a sensible answer to Perl questions that they sometimes have. They claim that is easier asking me than reading a book, but that's their problem. If anything goes wrong, I didn't do it - OK !!
We are one of the UK's largest Perl user groups, representing Birmingham UK to the international Perl community since 2000. We hold monthly social and technical presentations, and several of our members are now regular attendees and speakers at the YAPC::Europe Perl Conferences.
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