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Posted by bloomcounty on Sunday, January 14th, 2018 1:47pm


370 likes, 154 retweets
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brennen
4 days ago
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Boulder, CO
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The Ohio state flag and a pirate flag (by Joan Stark) with a...

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The Ohio state flag and a pirate flag (by Joan Stark) with a coded wave effect by Sam Carrettie.

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brennen
6 days ago
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Does anybody know what happened to jgs? I really want to know if she's still out there somewhere, ASCIIing. I hope so.
Boulder, CO
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Hello! I made a music video for this song by pianist Nitai...

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Hello! I made a music video for this song by pianist Nitai Hershkovits. The video is about bugs!

Features painted backgrounds by artist/animator Zoë Medcraft (who is also my fiancée). This is our first time collaborating on a project of this scope, and is hopefully the first of many! You can check out more of her stuff at instagram.com/trugglet

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brennen
8 days ago
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Boulder, CO
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The Food Size Cycle

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There's data suggesting that this model may apply to deep-dish/thin-crust pizza. I've designed a thorough multi-year study to investigate this personally, but funding organizations keep denying my grant requests.
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brennen
9 days ago
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I hate tall sandwiches.
Boulder, CO
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More shuffling commands

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I just posted an article about a line-shuffling command I wrote no later than 2006. Adam Sjøgren immediately wrote to me to point out that there is a shuf(1) command in the GNU coreutils package, and therefore pre-installed on my very same GNU/Linux system. This by itself wouldn't be worth a followup post, but M. Sjøgren did a little software archaeology himself and discovered:

Interestingly, it was added to coreutils on August 8, 2006 …

     Author: Paul Eggert <eggert@cs.ucla.edu>
     Date:   Tue Aug 8 22:22:47 2006 +0000

         New file, introduced for shuf, sort -R, and/or shred.

The very day after your file's timestamp:

     % ls -l $(which shuffle)
     -rwxr-xr-x 1 mjd mjd 91 Aug  7  2006 /home/mjd/bin/shuffle

(!)

(!) indeed!

Given the nature of these tools, it has to be coincidence, right? :-)

Paul Eggert will be hearing from my lawyer first thing Monday morning.

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brennen
10 days ago
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Boulder, CO
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Software Archaeology

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Just now I needed a utility that would read standard input and emit the same lines in a random order. “Eh,” I said. “Maybe Linux comes with one already. I wonder if there's a shuffle command?” So I ran which shuffle and got an encouraging response:

   % which shuffle
   /home/mjd/bin/shuffle 

Have I been in this movie before? I was quite hopeful at this point; I guessed that either that shuffle would be exactly what I wanted, or else it would shuffle its command-line arguments and print them on a single line. So I ran:

   % shuffle

to see what would happen, and it did nothing, presumably because it was waiting for standard input. Better and better!

It did turn out to be exactly what I wanted, and I had no idea that I had it. I wonder when was the last time I used it? It might have been a very long time ago:

     % ls -l $(which shuffle)
     -rwxr-xr-x 1 mjd mjd 91 Aug  7  2006 /home/mjd/bin/shuffle

Wow. It's even possible that this is the first time that I've used it since 2006.

In Vernor Vinge's novels there are people who make a living doing “software archaeology”: you need to do some complex task, and maybe you don't have enough time (or enough understanding) to write a program to do it, but maybe you do have time to exhume and refurbish some thousand-year-old piece of software that does do it.

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brennen
12 days ago
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I have had pretty much this moment, but I thought this story was going to end with a rediscovery of /usr/bin/shuf, which seems to be in coreutils.
Boulder, CO
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