I’ve just upgraded my V6 box to Virgin TV 360. I’m starting to think that was a mistake.

When Liberty Global took over Virgin Media in 2013, it seemed likely that at some point in the future VM would stop using TiVo software to run its set-up boxes and switch to something based on Liberty’s Horizon platform. That something is Virgin TV 360, which was announced last year and is now being rolled out to any VM subscriber who asks for it. I asked for the upgrade last week and my new kit arrived today. …


Freelancing is becoming a really popular way to make money. Sites like Upwork and Fiverr are booming. But how do you decide which jobs to take on? Here are three questions that might help you decide whether to take on some work you’ve been offered.

Question 1: Do I need the work?

Obviously, when you first start out in freelancing, you’ll be grateful for all the work you’re offered and you’ll be happy to take it all on. But, if things go well, you will eventually reach the point where you’re offered more work than you have time to do…


Two weeks ago, we learned that the CPAN Request Tracker was closing down early next year. I proposed a plan that CPAN authors could follow to ensure that their users can still find somewhere to report bugs in modules (and, perhaps more importantly, to see what bugs have already been reported in modules).

But that’s only part of the problem. In fact, it’s probably a minor part of the problem. If you’re an active CPAN author, then you probably already knew about the impending closure and had already made plans to deal with it. It’s likely that you had already…


CPAN RT is going away. CPAN authors have until the beginning of March to extract any useful information from it.

RT is the “Request Tracker”, a bug tracking system that is written by Best Practical. For almost as long as I can remember, anyone who uploads a module to CPAN gets a free ticket queue for their module at rt.cpan.org. MetaCPAN assumes that’s where people should report bugs in your module and helpfully adds an “issues” link that goes to the appropriate page in RT.

But now that system is going away. It will be switched off on the 1st…


Blog posts are like busses. You wait months for one and then two come along on consecutive days!

Yesterday I wrote about how we didn’t need a blogging platform for the Perl community — all we really needed was a good-looking feed aggregator. I mentioned Perlsphere as one such aggregator.

Then Matthew commented, saying that Perlsphere looked a bit broken as Dave Cantrell’s posts from a few years ago frequently pop up there as new posts. I had a quick look at the problem and couldn’t quite work out what was going on. …


I think it was at YAPC Copenhagen in 2008 that a small group of us first discussed the idea of building a shared blogging platform for the Perl community. It was over a year later that we launched blogs.perl.org.

I remember a lot of discussions over that time where we tried to thrash out exactly what we wanted to build. I know that one of my main drivers was that I wanted to replace the journals feature of use.perl. For those of you too young to remember, use.perl was a Perl community web site from the dawn of time. The…


When researching your family tree, you should start by writing down everything that you and your parents know about your ancestors. Genealogy has traditionally been a hobby that people take up in their retirement — and that means there’s less chance that their parents are still around to answer questions, so it’s good to get in as early as possible.

In 1992, when I started on my research, I was living in London but my parents were in North Essex very near where parts of my family had lived for as long as anyone could remember. So we had a…


What do you do when you’re stuck inside because Coronavirus means that your country is in lockdown? Well, you write a book, of course. Or, to be more accurate, you cobble together fifty or so old blog posts into a book.

So that’s what I’ve done. Now you can read some of your favourite Perl Hacks blog posts in a handy Kindle book. Other ebook marketplaces are, of course, available — but I haven’t had the time to make a version that’s available from anywhere else yet. That might follow if enough people ask for it.

The book is, predictably, called The Best of Perl Hacks and it’s available from Amazon now (that link goes to the UK store, but it should be available on all Amazon sites).

Please buy it, read it and let me know what you think.

Originally published at Perl Hacks.


If we’re just talking about your ancestors (and not their siblings or their descendants) then genealogists have developed a way of numbering them that has a few interesting properties.

It’s called Ahnentafel numbering. “Ahnentafel” is just a German word that literally translates as “ancestor table” (but that is, more usually, translated as “pedigree”) and this is how it works.

Call yourself person 1, your father person 2 and your mother person 3. Then call your father’s father and mother people 4 and 5 respectively and your mother’s parents people 6 and 7. You’ll have this list.

  1. Me
  2. Father
  3. Mother
  4. Father’s…

We all have two parents (genetically, if not practically or emotionally). And they both have two parents, giving you four grandparents. And eight great grandparents. And so on.

If we go back six generations, we all have sixty-four great, great, great, great grandparents. And, if you do the maths, you’ll find you have a total of 126 ancestors back to that generation. Adding you into the mix gives you 127 people.

So that’s where the name of the group came from. It’s a slightly cut-down way of viewing your family tree. We’re only interested in your direct ancestors and we’re…

Dave Cross

Geek, Fintech, SEO, Lefty. Feminist, Atheist. Skeptic. Rationalist. Secularist. Humanist. Republican (UK Meaning!). Londoner. Music lover. Writer. Genealogist.

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