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Three tech tips

Here are three items that I’ve found useful in the past, but aren’t worth an individual post because of their triviality.

1. Sometimes file archives are only available in .zip format. There are unix programs out there that can unzip such archives, and linux often ships with one. But sometimes it’s not installed. Lately, I’m almost always doing some kind of java development, in which case, you can use the jar command to extract the archive.

2. I generate an html page of all my rss feeds, using a custom perl hack (I wouldn’t go so far as to term it a script). (No newsgator for me! Did I mention I still use pine for email?) This can produce quite a big file, since I’m querying around 80 feeds. In an effort to reduce my bandwidth, which I pay for, I now gzip my rss feeds page, using CPU that I don’t pay for (well, not directly). And, while gzip may not be the most efficient of compressors, files in gzipped format can be transparently read in all the browsers I cared to test: Mozilla, Firefox, IE, and even lynx.

3. Sometimes you just want the data from a mysql query in an easy format that you can pull into a spreadsheet and manipulate further. In the past, I would have written a quick perl script, using DBI, but after investigating the client options, I found another way. mysql -u user -B -ppass -e 'select * from my_data' databasename gives you nice tab delimited output. I’ve used this with the mysql 4 client; since I couldn’t track down the mysql 3 manual, I’m not clear what version of the mysql client supports these features.

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