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    Greg and Beth

    the political and personal musings of two
    mountaineers living in west-central Florida
     
    The joys of Grad School Software
    Gregory Morris, 9/23/03 8:22:43 pm
    Don't be fooled by the advertisements. Don't let your parents kid you about it. The colorful fliers are lying. Grad school isn't fun. Ok, so it isn't awful, but after spending 8 caffeine induced hours in a computer lab full of international students, each speaking their own language, but strangely enough, never english... can make you go a little nutty.

    On top of that, the main point of this project is to prove to our professor that we have enough brain cells hanging on for dear life to write bash and awk scripts. No, not just "list some files, move some around, and replace the word 'hello' with 'goodbye'"... we are writing relatively complex sets of scripts to handle big 'ol chunks of data, organizing them, evaluating them, analysing them, plotting the results... and building HTML!!! Lord, whoever decided awk was a good language for building HTML must have been dropped headfirst into a bucket of rusty nails as a child.

    Perl... sure. PHP... sure. Heck, i'd even give python a go... but awk has one purpose, and that is to make annoying little tasks easy for people who don't like writing complex regular expressions (does anyone like that?)

    With awk, you still have to know your tildes from your asteriks, but you can throw around a bunch of text, parse it out, and drop it in its home without hardly thinking.

    But building HTML requires real string manipulation, on the fly, with lots of built in functions to handle any possible thing you'd want to do to a string (ala perl and php.) It requires more than line-by-line handling of files. It also requires the ability to build classes, complex functions, handle arrays (not the cheesy awk-style "multidimensional arrays are really one dimensional arrays".)

    Ok. Rant rant rant. Blah.

    Let me go back to my commodore 64 and play Ghostbusters. When the Commodore became obsolete (not that I think it ever did, but anyway) computers just ceased to be fun. With my C64, I could type papers, do desktop publishing, connect to the BBS, and play games. How have gigahertz processors, gigabytes of RAM, powerful blah blah yackity schmackity changed all that? All that has happened is I have more buttons to click on now. BUTTONS! Just what I need is more buttons. I don't think it is too much to ask to just have a CLI, and lotsa nice little modular tools. I don't want my text editor to rely on some graphical libraries built into the kernel. I don't want to have to use my mouse just to do something that my C64 handled just dandy without one.

    And all besides that, my caps lock key lights up a frickin' LED instead of clicking in and out. Talk about a waste of electricity. IF YOU DON'T KNOW THAT CAPS LOCK IS ON WITHOUT AN LED, then you should join that guy who thinks awk is a good language for building HTML!

    Well, break is over. Back to the thumbscrew task of convincing gawk to play nice with bash and gnuplot.

    [Comments are closed after a month.]

    Re: The joys of Grad School
    Beth, 9/16/03 9:11:25 pm
    I think I will be missing you for a while honey. I just might be lonely 'til you get all your work done.
    Re: The joys of Grad School
    todd., 9/16/03 9:47:19 pm
    you don't enjoy writing regular expressions? i think perl's terrific.

    why do you have to use awk? i thought half the point of perl was to provide the utilities sed & awk with less trouble.
    Re: Re: The joys of Grad School
    Gregory Morris, 9/16/03 10:14:52 pm
    you got that right. but some professors don't like perl.

    and no, i don't like writing regular expressions that are 2 pages long.

    little ones like /^[0-9][a-zA-Z0-9]*[;]$/ i'm just fine with.
    Re: The joys of Grad School
    monica, 9/16/03 11:00:32 pm
    the problem was that this post was supposedly written by beth.
    Re: Re: The joys of Grad School
    Beth, 9/17/03 8:56:53 am
    HUH?? I have no idea what you mean....
    Re: The joys of Grad School
    Gregory Morris, 9/17/03 9:11:20 am
    oops. damn database. fixing it now.
    Re: The joys of Grad School
    Andrea, 9/25/03 1:05:38 pm
    Isn't it great Greggy? You should be taking classes online like your older, wiser sister... Of course trying to balance classes with the insanity of work kinda stinks right now... but that's 4th quarter and te Holiday sfor retailers... BTW everyone... Go shop at Michaels!!!! (my client)... They are gonna have lots of coupons coming out in the DP in the next 6 weeks!
    < "Water buffalo make me cry!"
    "Beth gets mad....." >


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