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Showing posts from September, 2015

What He Sed

I recently came into possession of an ancient O'Reilly book on the utilities sed and awk , tools that I use occasionally at work but have really only scratched the surface of. There's a passage right at the start that chimed with me, and here it is as a command line call: $ echo 'Initially, using sed and awk will seem like the long way to accomplish a task. After several attempts you may conclude that the task would have been easier to do manually. Be patient. You not only have to learn how to use sed and awk but you also need to learn to recognize situations where using them pays off. As you become more proficient, you will solve problems more quickly and solve a broader range of problems. You will also begin to see opportunities to find general solutions to specific problems. There is a way of looking a a problem so you see it related to a class of problems. Then you can devise a solution that can be reused in other situations.' | sed 's/sed and awk/new t

Only Kidding

For the last week of the recent school holidays I was off work to look after my daughters, Hazel (7) and Emma (6). Amongst other things designed to occupy time and tire them out we went to the Centre for Computing History  in Cambridge and on an adventure walk. The Centre for Computing History is a bit of a nostalgia trip for me - Atari VCS , ZX Spectrum , Gorf (sadly not playable when we went) and the rest - but my girls don't carry that baggage and for them it stands or falls on its own merits. Although we did enter and run the classic BASIC program on the BBC micros (they chose to PRINT insulting things about their dad, naturally) the two things that really got them fired up were Big Trak and an Oculus Rift headset. Big Trak is a 1980's toy moon rover with a keypad on the top for entering simple programs in a Logo-like language. The programs control forwards and backwards movement, rotation and the rover's lights. We spent ages experimenting with what they could