Wandering Thoughts archives


My secret mouse fear

One of my little computer terrors is that someday I won't be able to find good quality plain three button mice any more, because everyone will have stopped making them. In fact it may already be too late to get decent USB three button mice, which worries me; although I have a stash of PS/2 ones, I may someday have to migrate to a USB-only machine.

(Searching the web is basically no help in finding out, and since I have a reasonably large stash of suitable PS/2 mice I haven't had to go out into the computer store wilds to find out.)

What I would really like is something that I am not sure is even made: a mouse with three regular buttons on top and then a scroll wheel somewhere on the side. This would handily deal with my major objection to the scroll wheel, that it gets in the way of easy and fluid use of the middle mouse button.

tech/MouseFear written at 23:08:53; Add Comment

The appeal of GNU tools

I admit that every so often the freakish superintelligence of the GNU versions of programs has its appeal. Consider, say, units:

You have: 7 feet + 2.5 inch
You want: mm
        * 2197.1
        / 0.00045514542

GNU date is another good one:

; date -d 'last sunday'
Sun Apr 13 00:00:00 EDT 2008

Or even better:

; date -d 'last saturday -1 week'
Sat Apr  5 00:00:00 EDT 2008

(Judging from the manpage, BSD date may also have some freaky superintelligent date math stuff, and judging from some experimentation, GNU date is not all that superintelligent, or at least not that well documented, since I couldn't see an obvious way to do something like 'the third Saturday in January 2008'. As an aside, the GNU date documentation perfectly illustrates the downfall of the GNU's (text)info documentation format.)

Also, I will admit that sometimes GNU is plain right about things. For instance, I'm pretty convinced that the -h option to df, du, and ls just is easier for people to read; I find myself usually using it unless I am going to feed the output to something else.

sysadmin/GNUAppeal written at 23:07:30; Add Comment

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