Nat Torkington

Nat Torkington

Nat has chaired the O'Reilly Open Source Convention and other O'Reilly conferences for over a decade. He ran the first web server in New Zealand, co-wrote the best-selling Perl Cookbook, and was one of the founding Radar bloggers. He lives in New Zealand and consults in the Asia-Pacific region.

Perl Cookbook Perl Cookbook
by Tom Christiansen, Nat Torkington
Second Edition August 2003
Print: $49.95
Ebook: $39.99

Perl Cookbook Perl Cookbook
by Tom Christiansen, Nat Torkington
August 1998

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Four short links: 12 June 2014

June 12 2014

Norbert Weiner (The Atlantic) — His fears for the future stemmed from two fundamental convictions: We humans can’t resist selfishly misusing the powers our machines give us, to the detriment of our fellow humans and the planet; and there’s a … read more

Four short links: 11 June 2014

June 11 2014

UK Copyright Law Permits Researchers to Data Mine — changes mean Copyright holders can require researchers to pay to access their content but cannot then restrict text or data mining for non-commercial purposes thereafter, under the new rules. However, researchers … read more

Four short links: 10 June 2014

June 10 2014

Trusting Browser Code (Tim Bray) — on the fundamental weakness of the ‘net as manifest in the browser. Deep Learning in the Raspberry Pi (Pete Warden) — $30 now gets you a computer you can run deep learning algorithms on. … read more

Four short links: 9 June 2014

June 09 2014

textql — execute SQL against structured text like CSV or TSV. Social Network Structure of Fake Friends — author bought 4,000 Twitter followers and studied their relationships. Hidden Biases in Big Data — with every big data set, we need … read more

Four short links: 6 June 2014

June 06 2014

Ethics and UX Design (Slideshare) –We are the thieves of time. This excellent talk challenges you (via Aristotle) to understand what a good life is, and whether you’re designing to bring it about. (via Keith Bolland) Pepper Personal Robot — … read more

Four short links: 5 June 2014

June 05 2014

beaglepilot (Github) — open source open hardware autopilot for Beagleboard. (via DIY Drones) IFR Robot Sales Charts (PDF) — 2013: all-time high of 179,000 industrial robots sold and growth continues in 2014. (via Robohub) The Top 5 Claims That Defenders … read more

Four short links: 4 June 2014

June 04 2014

Swift on GitHub — watch a thousand projects launch. HTTP API Design Guide — extracted from work on the Heroku Platform API. End-to-End PGP in Gmail — Google releases an open source Chrome extension to enable end-to-end OpenPGP on top … read more

Four short links: 3 June 2014

June 03 2014

Machine Learning Done Wrong — [M]ost practitioners pick the modeling algorithm they are most familiar with rather than pick the one which best suits the data. In this post, I would like to share some common mistakes (the don’t-s). Bandits … read more

Four short links: 2 June 2014

June 02 2014

PirateBox 1.0 — turns a wireless router into a filesharing joy. v1.0 has a responsive ui, among other things for use on tablets and phones. Dystopia Tracker — keep on top of which scifi dystopic predictions have been realised. I’d … read more

Four short links: 30 May 2014

May 30 2014

Video Quality Report — transparency is a great way to indirectly exert leverage. Control Your Traffic Flows with Software — using BGP to balance traffic. Will be interesting to see how the more extreme traffic managers deploy SDN in the … read more

Four short links: 29 May 2014

May 29 2014

Beyond the Stack (Mike Loukides) — tools and processes to support software developers who are as massively distributed as the code they build. Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2014 (PDF) — the changes on slide 34 are interesting: usage moving away … read more

Four short links: 28 May 2014

May 28 2014

Maciej Ceglowski on Our Internet — If you haven’t already read this because someone pushed it into your hands, read it now. If these vast databases are valuable enough, it doesn’t matter who they belong to. The government will always … read more

Four short links: 26 May 2014

May 23 2014

Car Alarms and Smoke Alarms (Slideshare) — how to think about and draw the line between sensitivity and specificity. 101 Uses for Content Mining — between the list in the post and the comments from readers, it’s a good introduction … read more

Four short links: 23 May 2014

May 23 2014

How to Educate Users (Luke Wroblewski) — help new users in your app, not in a video. Hardware By The Numbers (Renee DiResta) — slides from her keynote at the Solid conference. The mean success rate across all sectors is … read more

Four short links: 22 May 2014

May 22 2014

Ferry — helps you create big data clusters on your local machine. Define your big data stack using YAML and share your application with Dockerfiles. Ferry supports Hadoop, Cassandra, Spark, GlusterFS, and Open MPI. What Google Told SEC — For … read more

Four short links: 21 May 2014

May 21 2014

EventHub — open source funnel/cohort/a-b analysis tool. Mantra — a collection of free/open source security tools, integrated into a browser (Firefox or Chromium). Reverse Engineering Mac Malware (PDF) — fascinating to see how it’s shipped, bundled, packaged, and distributed. Everything … read more

Four short links: 20 May 2014

May 20 2014

Basics of Machine Learning Course Notes — slides and audio from university course. Watch along on YouTube. A Primer on Deep Learning — a very quick catch-up on WTF this is all about. 3D Printers Have a Lot to Learn … read more

Four short links: 19 May 2014

May 19 2014

Your Coffee Machine is Watching You (Mary Beard) — the future of surveillance isn’t more CCTV cameras, it’s every device ratting you out, all the time. Economics of Apologies — apologies work to restore relationships but are costly for the … read more

Four short links: 16 May 2014

May 16 2014

Mozilla’s Winter of Security — Students who have to perform a semester project as part of their university curriculum can apply to one of the MWOS project. Projects are guided by a Mozilla Adviser, and a University Professor. Students are … read more

Four short links: 15 May 2014

May 15 2014

Pervasive Monitoring is an Attack (Tim Bray) — if your ap­pli­ca­tion doesn’t sup­port pri­va­cy, that’s prob­a­bly a bug in your ap­pli­ca­tion. Reconciling Mozilla’s Mission and the W3C EME — essentially, “we don’t want to put a closed source bolus of … read more

Four short links: 14 May 2014

May 13 2014

Data Jujitsu — new O’Reilly Radar report by the wonderful DJ Patil about the exploration and problem solving part of data science. Me gusta. Style Finder: Fine-Grained Clothing Style Recognition and Retrieval (PDF) — eBay labs machine learning, featuring the … read more

Four short links: 13 May 2014

May 11 2014

Reverse Engineering for Beginners (GitHub) — from assembly language through stack overflows, dongles, and more. Incident Response at Heroku — the difference between good and bad shops is that good shops have a routine for exceptions. 3D Petrie Museum — … read more

Four short links: 12 May 2014

May 11 2014

Questions I Ask When Reviewing a Design (Jason Fried) — a good list of questions to frown and stroke one’s chin while asking. Bro — open source network security monitor/IDS. Seven Deadly Myths of Autonomy (PDF) — it’s easy to … read more

Four short links: 9 May 2014

May 08 2014

Hardening Android for Security and Privacy — a brilliant project! prototype of a secure, full-featured, Android telecommunications device with full Tor support, individual application firewalling, true cell network baseband isolation, and optional ZRTP encrypted voice and video support. ZRTP does … read more

Four short links: 8 May 2014

May 07 2014

OpenStack: A Plea — critical take on OpenStack, also in this presentation. Notes the proliferation of inefficiency, devops bolted onto the side, and the long feedback cycle. You code differently when you have a pager. (via Sam Ramji) What Could … read more

Four short links: 7 May 2014

May 07 2014

Observations of an Internet Middleman — Five of those congested peers are in the United States and one is in Europe. There are none in any other part of the world. All six are large Broadband consumer networks with a … read more

Four short links: 6 May 2014

May 05 2014

Letter to Google from CEO of Axel Springer — very well-written and articulate challenge to the positive Google frame: your company will play a leading role in the various areas of our professional and private lives–in the house, in the … read more

Four short links: 5 May 2014

May 04 2014

This is What Comes After Search (Quartz) — it’s “context”, aka knowing what you’re doing and thinking to the point where the device can tell you what you need to know before you search for it. Also known as the … read more

Four short links: 2 May 2014

May 02 2014

NewsPad: Designing for Collaborative Storytelling in Neighborhoods (PDF) — Microsoft Research report about tests of a tool to address needs in community reporting. Burying the URL — makes you suspect that “users interact with the web directly instead of via … read more

Four short links: 1 May 2014

April 30 2014

US Providers Must Divulge from Offshore Servers (Gigaom) — A U.S. magistrate judge ruled that U.S. cloud vendors must fork over customer data even if that data resides in data centers outside the country. (via Alistair Croll) Inside Google’s Self-Driving … read more

Four short links: 30 April 2014

April 30 2014

Critical Making — essays from 70 contributors looking at the politics, choices, and ethics of a lot of the makery going on. torrent-mount — mount a torrent as a filesystem in real time using Javascript. (via Joe McCann) Continuous Integration … read more

Four short links: 29 April 2014

April 29 2014

Bionic Legs Let Patients Walk Again — The Ekso costs about $100,000 and was purchased with a grant from Baptist Health Foundation. Chara Rodriguez, a physical therapist and neurologic clinical specialist at University Health System, called the machine “the Maserati … read more

Four short links: 28 April 2014

April 28 2014

UK Government to Sell Its Students’ Data (Wired UK) — The National Pupil Database (NPD) contains detailed information about pupils in schools and colleges in England, including test and exam results, progression at each key stage, gender, ethnicity, pupil absence … read more

Four short links: 25 April 2014

April 26 2014

UX of the Internet of Things — a Pinterest board of IoT designs and experience. parallax.js — Javascript library for tilt, shake, etc. interactivity on iPad. NICE demo. Gov.UK Local Government Dashboard Prototype is Live — not glorious, but making … read more

Four short links: 24 April 2014

April 24 2014

Depthy — new Google Camera app lets you capture some depth information, stored in metadata in the image. Nifty effects become possible. Coping with Stress and Burnout: Explanatory Power of Different Coping Strategies (PLoSone)– interesting taxonomy of burnout (overload, lack … read more

Four short links: 23 April 2014

April 23 2014

Samsung UX (Scribd) — little shop of self-catalogued UX horrors, courtesy discovery in a lawsuit. Dated (Android G1 as competition) but rewarding to see there are signs of self-awareness in the companies that inflict unusability on the world. Tools for … read more

Four short links: 22 April 2014

April 22 2014

PourOver — NYT open source Javascript for very fast in-browser filtering and sorting of large collections. LibreSSL — OpenBSD take on OpenSSL. Unclear how sustainable this effort is, or how well adopted it will be. Competing with OpenSSL is obviously … read more

Four short links: 18 April 2014

April 18 2014

16 Interviewing Tips for User Studies — these apply to many situations beyond user interviews, too. The Backlash Against Big Data contd. (Mike Loukides) — Learn to be a data skeptic. That doesn’t mean becoming skeptical about the value of … read more

Four short links: 17 April 2014

April 17 2014

Playbook for Strategic Foresight & Innovation — MANY pages of framework and exercises. Good for what it is, but also as a model for how to disseminate your ideas and frame for the world to consume. Why I’m a Crabby … read more

Four short links: 16 April 2014

April 17 2014

morris.js — pretty time-series line graphs. Open Source CT Scanner — all the awesome. Alan Kay’s Reading List — in case you’re wondering what to add to the pile beside your bed. (via Alex Dong) Foldscope — origami optical microscope, … read more

Four short links: 15 April 2014

April 15 2014

Funders Punish Open Access Dodgers (Nature) — US’s NIH and UK’s Wellcome Trust are withholding funding from academics who haven’t released their data despite it being a condition of past funding. It’s open access’s grab twist and pull move. Digitize … read more

Four short links: 14 April 2014

April 14 2014

dategrep — print lines matching ranges of dates. Genius! Business Case Guidance in Agile Projects ( — how the UK govt signs off on Agile projects, which normally governments have no clue over how to handle properly. Hyper Growth Done … read more

Four short links: 10 April 2014

April 10 2014

Rise of the Patent Troll: Everything is a Remix (YouTube) — primer on patent trolls, in language anyone can follow. Part of the campaign. (via BoingBoing) Petabytes of Field Data (GigaOm) — Farm Intelligence using sensors and computer vision … read more

Four short links: 9 April 2014

April 09 2014

Jasper Project — an open source platform for developing always-on, voice-controlled applications. Shouting is the new swiping—I eagerly await Gartner touting the Internet-of-things-that-misunderstand-you. DeepBeliefSDK — deep neural network library for iOS. (via Pete Warden) Microsoft Spectrum Observatory — crowdsourcing spectrum … read more

Four short links: 8 April 2014

April 08 2014

Next Five Years for Robots — plausible summary of the near future progression, taken from Helen Greiner’s DEMOlabs talk. Raspberry Pi Compute Module — a Raspberry Pi shrunk down to fit on a SODIMM with onboard memory, whose connectors you … read more

Four short links: 7 April 2014

April 07 2014

Can We Design Systems to Automate Ethics — code in self-driving cars will implement a solution to the trolley problem. But which solution? My First Post on Medium (Andy Baio) — one or two glitches but otherwise fine demonstration of … read more

Four short links: 4 April 2014

April 04 2014

C# Compiler Open Sourced — bit by the bit, the ship of Microsoft turns. The Web’s Declarative Composable Future — this. For the first time since 1993, I feel like the web platform is taking a step towards being a … read more

Four short links: 3 April 2014

April 03 2014

dat — github-like tool for data, still v. early. It’s overdue. (via Nelson Minar) Novena Open Laptop — Bunnie Huang’s laptop goes on sale. Crowd Forecasting (NPR) — How is it possible that a group of average citizens doing Google … read more

Four short links: 2 April 2014

April 02 2014

Resilient Distributed Datasets: A Fault-Tolerant Abstraction for In-Memory Cluster Computing (PDF) — Berkeley research paper behind Apache Spark. (via Nelson Minar) Angular Tour — trivially add tour tips (“This is the widget basket, drag and drop for widget goodness!” type … read more

Four short links: 1 April 2014

April 01 2014

Connected for a Purpose (Jim Stogdill) — At a recent conference, an executive at a major auto manufacturer described his company’s efforts to digitize their line-up like this: “We’re basically wrapping a two-ton car around an iPad. Eloquent critique of … read more

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"In short, this book allowed me to learn the ins and outs of Perl at my own pace, making this a wonderful cookbook for any Perl chef."
--Jacob Allen, Computer Science House