http://qs1969.pair.com?node_id=176722


in reply to Efficient coupling/decoupling of serialized data

doing weird karussels with pack (maybe);

You want unpack, which was made for exactly this sort of thing (in addition to scaring off newbie programmers):

my ($year, $mon, $day, $ver) = unpack 'A4A2A2A2', $serialdate;
   MeowChow                                   
               s aamecha.s a..a\u$&owag.print