Meet The Champion: March 2023

Thursday, Apr 27, 2023| Tags: Perl

Get to know about David Ferrone

Welcome to the monthly series Meet The Champion.

Last month we spoke to Solathian, the winner of February 2023.

Today we are talking to David Ferrone, the winner of March 2023 of The Weekly Challenge. I hope you are going to enjoy the interview.

Mohammad: Tell us about your technical background?

David: We had a PC in the house around 1992, I was eight and it ended up in my bedroom. I sometimes wrote journal entries in DOS, and created a few batch files. My father used The Print Shop and Corel Draw for his work as a graphic artist, so I was familiar with plenty of cool software. I liked this game Mad Maze but it was a long-distance call for us to use Prodigy so we couldn’t afford to play it often.

In high school I was editing autoexec.bat to annoy my friends. I learned a bit of QBasic, Pascal, C, and C++ during high school, as well as HTML/CSS and Javascript at home to make a few websites. (Thank you Angelfire and GeoCities!) I started college in 2001 and abandoned Computer Science for Pure Mathematics - except for a tiny bit of Linux and Perl. I played nethack on, hung out on and, learning about computers as a hobby between classes at the library.

I had minored in Statistics as well, and was familiar with SAS and R. I started really using Linux (i.e. not dual booting) around 2009. I was a few years into graduate school and it just seemed more useful to have a handful of programming languages pre-installed. Not long after that I was using Matlab and Python to generate some pretty graphs or to verify some conditions related to wavelet coefficients.

Mohammad: How/When did you start using Perl?

David: The book Learning Perl was on sale around 2002, and I fell in love. Having tinkered with C, C++, and Linux, Perl always felt natural and fun. I’ve used Perl for a bunch of projects, basic scripting, sys admin stuff, web scraping tasks, streaming, and websites. It’s hard to overstate how useful it’s been as a hobbyist.

Mohammad: How did you come to know about The Weekly Challenge?

David: I stumbled across the weekly challenges on github this past December, while I was working on Project Euler and Advent of Code.

Mohammad: What do you like the most about The Weekly Challenge?

David: I love puzzles, these are typically a bit challenging but not too much. And you can challenge yourself to write the shortest script, or make it obfuscated, or practice good coding habits.

Mohammad: How much time you dedicate every week to The Weekly Challenge?

David: I try to spend a few hours early in the week. Once in a while they are harder, or I misread something and it takes a few days.

Mohammad: Do you checkout others solutions and who is your favorite?

David: A lot of the blogs are very well done, even inspirational - I check them out afterward, if I have time.

Mohammad: What do you suggest to someone who just started The Weekly Challenge?

David: Have fun!

Mohammad: Anything else you would to like to share with us?

David: Thanks for providing such a huge collection of exercises!

That brings the end of the conversation with David Ferrone. Please do let us know your view. We will come back next month with another champion.


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