Greetings Netizens

Thu, Apr 6, 2017 in using tags humor , tools

First, an explanation. I don’t write quite as often as I might like at Jungle Coder, as writing there often happens out of an inspiration, rather than habit. I do write there as the fancy strikes me, but without regularity or consistency. But I will be saying something here on a weekly basis, planning on Thursday nights. Here, I sacrifice quality and heavy consideration for candor and consistency.

TL;DR This blog updates on Fridays

What could you expect? As the much less formal companion to Jungle Coder, some programming rants, discussion around video games, cooking, video games, poetry, memes, or whatever else strikes my fancy on a given week. Since the aim of this is to write more, I will aim to do a minimum of 250 words per entry, with an ideal entry around 500 words. This post will be a bit longer due to this introductionary bit.

TL;DR I’ll ramble here for about 500 words a week

With that introduction out of the way, onto a ramble:

Tools for thinking and analysing

PowerShell, Regex, Excel, Vim, SQL, Awk, LinqPad, Markdown. Each of these bits of software helps me solve problems. Each of these tools seems a bit like a mental lever once you get past the learning curve. And, for someone like me that prefers to avoid writing excessive code for a problem, as well as avoiding busywork, these tools have been very handy.

The first time I even came close to saving time from a bit of programming, it was using PowerShell to search for a document that my brother had misplaced. PowerShell has also allowed me to write very useful and flexible bits of automation for my work, such as a script for backing up databases, or one that reports to our team chat regarding remaining disk space. The only two things that PowerShell isn’t as good at: It runs a bit slow, and it is only really useful on Windows. If it had full Linux/OSXcos bash kinda sucks support, I’d be using it there.

Regex, especially in Sublime Text (or any editor that highlights matches as they are found), since it allows you to build a very simple templated approach to regular data. In fact, a text editor with Regex for Find/Search is the best place to experiment with such things. They become very useful in other places, such as for parsing specific date-time formats that the standard library for $YOURCURRENTLANG may or may not support.

Excel, because SUM(C:C) and other aggregates on cell ranges make for quick work of basic number crunching. This makes for easy budgeting, and all the what-if analysis it’s known for. The only thing I don’t like about Excel is that it doesn’t integrate very well with other tools (like Regex or Vim), to my knowledge, but often I don’t need it too. Excel is also about the fastest way I currently know to visualize data, whether for science, business, or pleasure If you’re a spreadsheet fancier.

Vim is a mental lever for two reasons: Firstly, and I’d argue pretty importantly, Vim is a Universal Editor Passport. It is the home away from home of editors. I can easily Vim in the Visual Studio high rises, in the concrete jungle that is Eclipse, the funky downtown of IntelliJ, even the Ivory Tower that is EMACS. Sojourning surreptiously to strange servers for supreme justice? Vim is there. Configuring a Raspberry Pi via Super Shell Helper (SSH)? Vim is there too. Secondly, learning the Vim editing model gives you a supremely command-line and laptop friendly keyboard tool-set. This means that not only can you travel to many and varied territories, but your ability to use portable hardware whilst doing so is multiplied.

LinqPad (or the scripting environment of your choice. I’m working on PISC, but python/ruby if that’s your thing), because sometimes Regex isn’t quite enough. Sometimes I just need to generate a bit of data, or do a one-shot on some boiler-plate code, or test an API. LinqPad is great for this, and I’ve been finding PISC to have some utility in the same area. When examining Elder Data from outer planes, it helps to have your own incantations for summoning aviary, nootropic, or (as show below) fishy abominations, knowing that it said enchantments can be easily twisted and warped as needed:

1 :i # You stand as one
${  # Lay the circle
    "!(" { 55 [  # The Elder's number is 55, so it must be.
    ${ "($" $i " ~ /NA/)" } ++i ] # Chant "NA", and  
            #so increase yourself, tO Be StONG
    times  } " && " str-join " # J0in w1th the 0TH3RS!
) { print $0 }" # HE IS THE ZEROTH

Markdown, because it gives the just the right amount of formatting to think in, but enough flexibility to express yourself well. Or at least it gets out of the way for a good ramble.

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