Truly, the life of the amateur, cargo-cult coder, can be a vale of tears.

There’s a little program I use to keep a vague eye on how many people are looking at my websites. It is called Bise and is actually rather lovely because it gives a bird’s eye view without going into useless detail and without tracking anything. The big drawback is that it is written in Perl, a language I know little about. Still, by assiduous use of magic incantations, I have had it working nicely for a couple of years. Occasionally, however, something somewhere gets updated and error messages appear.

In the past, these have generally told me that such-and-such module cannot be found, which I quickly learned could be solved by cpan install Missing::Module. This time, the incantation failed to work sometimes. This time, although the log whizzes by at inhuman speed, I paid attention. There were, it seemed two kinds of fault. One couldn’t find the module, so I learned to let it look elsewhere. The other proved trickier; something hidden under ~/.cpan/sources/authors/id/ could not be written to because I lacked permissions. I was a little hesitant at first, because messing with permissions can be scary, but I figured that because this was all on my desktop machine, why not give it a try.

And so it went. Try to install a missing module. Change permissions if necessary. Try to run Bise. Install the next missing module, try Bise again, until suddenly, there was the program output I expected, rather than another error message.

From all of which I take away a few things. I still have no idea which update of what broke everything. Paying attention to error messages usually helps in the end. And maybe I should make an effort to translate Bise into something I understand very slightly better.

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