Lazy Reading for 2013/12/08

Links are a bit rushed this week cause I’ve been on the road, but here you go.

explainshell – help for arbitrary shell commands.  It’s a really good idea, implemented in a pretty way.  (via)

True X-Mouse Gizmo for Windows.  I’m also saving this for later, just like the person who found this link.

From the same place: The ARPANET IMP Program: Retrospective and Resurrection.  Recreating the entire Internet, when the Internet could be summed up as a list of 5-6 locations.

How ALL CAPS and punctuation is now used to communicate mood.  Communication methods still tied down by ASCII, and then UTF-8.

I miss USENET.  (via)

A Testament to X11 Backwards Compatibility.  Watch the video at the end.   (via)

Your unrelated comics link of the week: There are more comics and illustrated works out there than there ever have been.  A decade ago, I could buy a few art comics and a reprint each month and feel like I was keeping up.  Now, it’s like a firehose of minicomic, self-published books, and prestige reprints that completely refreshes every week.  The Comics Reporter 2013 Holiday Shopping Guide is huge but barely touches on it all.  Read through and order something you aren’t familiar with; I can almost guarantee there’s several items in there you’ve never heard of.

In Other BSDs for 2013/12/07

Happy birthday to me!

Book Review: Perl One-Liners

No Starch Press noticed that I keep talking about Michael W. Lucas’s BSD-related books, and I’ve linked to Peteris Krumins’s catonmat site before, so they sent a copy of Krumins’s new “Perl One-Liners” book to me.

Stole image right from the site.


Here’s the hook for me: Perl was the first language I wrote a program of any real use in.  Years ago, I had the Perl Cookbook.  It was a pretty simple formula, where I’d have a problem.  I’d look it up in the Perl Cookbook.  If there was already a recipe that matched what I needed, I was set.  I ended up having to stuff the book into a binder because the spine broke.

This reference is essentially what the Perl One-Liners book is, though this is less about  programming and more about the solution you need right now. The book realizes this and it’s laid out like a menu.  Flip through the index to find your problem, and then type the answer.  The book even includes a link to a text file that you can copy down and grep for answers – I won’t link to it because it’s not mentioned on the author’s page, though he does include example chapters.

It’s not about learning Perl, and it’s not about technique – these are one-liners, after all.  If you are doing the sort of thing Perl excels at, like text mangling, this will be a book full of tools for you.  I think the author is going to continue in this style; he’s done a lot of one-liner articles and even some previous e-books.

Probably a good idea to make this disclaimer: As with other books, I get no reward for this review, unless you count me having another book in the house.  That’s more of a problem than a benefit for me.

Lazy Reading for 2013/12/01

Now that I’m going into more descriptive detail with these, I’m going to try without the bullet points.  It’s less of a Wall Of Text that way.

Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Learning How to Code.  Really, very good advice.  (via)

‘vr’ mentioned the Space Cadet and Symbolics Macivory keyboards in comments for last week’s Lazy Reading keyboard links.  I didn’t know what they were, so searching around found me this Symbolics keyboard image (the model itself is apparently dearly missed)and the inevitable Wikipedia Space Cadet entry.  I also found this study of keyboards that mentions some other ‘special’ modern models I’ve heard of in passing – Das Keyboard and Happy Hacking models.

Also found as part of that search: one man’s quest to get his own Lisp Machine.  That appears to be about 10 years old, so my guess is that you’d go for emulation these days.

Sorting information that isn’t quite numeric.  This bites everyone sooner or later.

The death and life of great Internet cities.  “Whatever we may ultimately make of our move towards sites like Facebook, it’s almost certainly the case that, for the average netizen, it was a movement away from online literacy.”  An excellent article about how communities are no longer built online – at least not through social networks.  (via)

Farming hard drives: 2 years and $1m later.  Data-driven analysis of hard drive prices, and how they’ve recovered poorly from the Thailand floods.  I always like it when a company takes data from doing something on a large scale – something very few people are doing or could do – and releases it.  (via)

Systems Software Research is Irrelevant.  Rob Pike pointing out how the system ecosystem was becoming monocultural.  It’s over 10 years old, so some of the problems have changed.  The interesting thing is to look at it and see which parts were identification of upcoming trends.  (via)

DragonFly 3.6 video review.  This person doesn’t realize the shell is tcsh, not bash, and it really, really messes him up.  I had to stop watching about 6 minutes in.  (via blakkheim on IRC)

Your unrelated link of the week: The Church of the Subgenius is selling 2-for-1 deals on ordainment.  It’s really a legal ordainment, too, at least in the U.S.  You can perform weddings, funerals… circumcisions?  Not sure about the legal restrictions on that, and maybe I don’t want to know.  Anyway, you get an entertaining pack of literature which you can take either completely seriously, or not at all.