in reply to Confession of a Perl Hacker

First: you are not alone ... see this and this remark by our fellow monk Dominus (search for word "pack" to find remark).

Second, I liked the explanation of pages 220-223 of Effective Perl Programming. The rest is about finding good examples.

Third, I think that the declining popularity of pack() and unpack() might be a consequence of the increasing emphasis on text-based protocols, e.g., XML and friends. You just don't need pack() and unpack() that often anymore (at least, that's my experience).

Christian Lemburg
Brainbench MVP for Perl