Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Robots Have Me (aka I switched to Android)

The positive reasons why I moved to Android are that it is new, I wanted to play with it, I love Linux, I think Google is on to a good thing, and I can put my music on my phone without the need for software that doesn’t run under Linux*.  I switched from an iPhone 3G to a Motorola Atrix … and wow the change is unbelievable.  I know I was using very old technology**, but even comparing the performance of this phone to various iPhone 4 phones, I haven’t yet seen one perform as well.  After about a month of ownership, I don’t think I can name anything I really dislike about this phone***.  There are, however, things I had trouble with at first and had to fix.

Edit (8/24):  Corrected “iPhone 4” reference.  Added Amarok2 remote app to the “things I just love”.

Edit (8/24):  Added FTP app (like)!

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diff in ‘nix environments

After a long silence… he surfaces!  I have a couple of things to say, but I’m going to start with a very simple pleasure: diff.  First, let me clarify that I generally love the command line.  But in a world of many different pieces that all have different importance, I have come to appreciate what GUI tools have to offer.  I find the compare functionality in something like eclipse to be handy in an efficiency++ way.  So when I go back to the command line for something like this, it is because nothing else can truly replace it… like the beauty that is vi.  ;D

The short story is this:  diff -w -B -y -W 200 {file1} {file2}

Now some of you are reading that and saying, “No kidding.  Welcome to the real world.”  The rest of you may be saying “gonk… gonk… goo gonk.”  So to quote the help on diff:

  • -w:  ignore all white space (like tab expansions and changes to white space)
  • -B:  ignore changes whose lines are all blank (just in case the above is finicky)
  • -y:  output in two columns
  • -W 200:  make the output 200 columns wide (this permits both files to be displayed in full width, with room, assuming 80 char width)

I have yet to find a graphical diff tool that can manage that so nicely.  The side-by-side output is very clean and I can redirect it to a file if I want to.  Smooth, simple, elegant.  And if there’s a way to improve on this, I hope a casual passerby will comment!