LJ Archive


Aussie Admirer

I had a couple hours to kill at the shops while I was waiting for new tyres on my car and found an April edition of your mag for $13.95 AUD (today's date is June 6). The people at the news agency stated it cost that much because they had to get it from America, and it was two months old because it would cost even more to send via air freight! A quick check of exchange rates shows the Aussie dollar paying $1.07 USD, making the price in USD close enough to $14.95. Would you sell many copies for this price, I wonder? It's a crying shame that Australian retailers charge this absolutely stupid markup. The reasoning I was given is utter garbage—a hundred issues and I could fly them on a seat first-class with free champagne and still show a profit!

Enough with the whining. I purchased the mag anyway and had a very interesting read while I waited. Compliments to your team. This won't be my last purchase; however, I likely won't be purchasing retail again any time soon.

Word of mouth spread of Linux in this country can get only so far, and the lack of reasonably priced journals on the shelves of our shops sparking the interests of new users is quite an impediment to our plans of world domination.

Scott K.

Thank you for picking up an issue, even if the price was painfully high! The cost of international shipping and printing is one of the reasons we switched (starting with this issue!) to a digital-only format. For the same subscription price as anyone here in the US, you get the same experience, regardless of your location. We think this recent change will really level the playing field for international subscribers. Hopefully you agree!—Ed.

Magazine Locations

I'm sitting in a hospital room watching my father recover from liver cancer surgery and a fall on the way home. I recently discovered that my subscription expired, and I'm going to renew it next week. In the meantime, I thought I'd pick up a copy locally, and this is why I'm contacting you. I'd like you to consider an application for your Web site that would display nearby magazine/bookstore locations that carry your fine magazine. Perhaps an Android app would be nice too. Yes, I can read the on-line version, but I'd really prefer a hard copy. Perhaps Shawn Powers could assign this little Google smashup to someone? Thank you for your consideration.

Michael Soibelman

As someone who lives in an area with no local retailers stocking Linux Journal, I feel your pain. I'm not sure how to create an app like that myself, but hopefully, your letter will spark someone's interest in doing such a thing. As far as assigning it goes, I always could pick you if you like. Hope your dad is doing well.—Ed.

Google Maps

I enjoyed the mapping article by Mike Diehl in the April 2011 issue (“Find Yourself with the Google Maps API”). Like Mike, I would not be without Google Maps. You may not be interested in the content (unless you are a train buff), but take a look at these sites. I think they are truly awesome and are done by an “amateur” at that. It just goes to show what skills are out there, and it makes me very envious: traintimes.org.uk/map and traintimes.org.uk/map/tube.

Roy Read

What Day Is It?

I'm sending a little feedback to Dave Taylor's “parsing the cal” output (see Dave's column in the June–September 2011 issues). There's no need to use regular expressions in the awk script at all, because you can compare numbers directly. Below, you'll find the script you can call by the following command line:

$ cal | awk -f day.awk 25

# day.awk
 for(i=1;i<=NF;i++) wd[i]=$i
     print wd[i+($0~/^ /?(7-NF):0)]

In the BEGIN block, ARGC=1 prevents it from taking the last argument (25 in this case) as an input file. Then, the script fetches the first two lines and stores the weekday names in an array.

The rest of the script compares the argument number with every field in every line. On a match, the day name is output, wd[i]. The month does not always start on a Sunday, so the script has to fix the index for lines starting with a space (condition $0~/^ /). For those lines, the first item starts with index 7-NF. Note that this fix also works fine for the second line of numbers (which also starts with a space), since 7-7 equals 0.

You can make the script a one-liner if you like. It was written in multiple lines for readability reasons. And, last but not least: great OS, great magazine, keep going.

Eric Miller

Dave Taylor replies: Thanks for your note. I realized that there was a way to break down the input and process it with a multiline awk script (just as I could do much of the task more easily in Perl or, for that matter, a short C program), but my goal with the Work the Shell column is to force myself to stick with standard Linux shell commands and capabilities as much as possible and see what I can accomplish. Sometimes the result is a bit, um, Byzantine and unquestionably inefficient, but the upside is that it's always interesting and, I hope, informative and entertaining reading.

Installfest 2001

Installfest goal: adapt seven older desktop computers for use by fourth-grade teacher Mike Steins at Shenandoah St. Elementary School and learn how to install/configure Linux. (We had two Linux experts in the group.)

Outcome: we got four computers working with Linux by scavenging parts from various other machines.

Linux installfest at 419 N Vista St., Los Angeles (circa 2001). Left to right, top row: Danny Olster, Abhijeet Chavan, Christian Peralta Madera, Mike Steins, Charanjeet Singh, Christian's Dad. Bottom row: Chun Wong, Chris Steins.

Although the Linux installfest event ten years ago may not have been hugely productive (eight people @ six hours = four working Linux computers), it got the ball rolling to get computers at the school. Since then, every teacher has received a laptop, projector and document camera. The school has multiple interactive whiteboards, a fully functioning computer lab (actually two—one is made up of aging computers), digital microscopes, cameras and video cameras, a completely wireless network with networked printing and storage capabilities, an in-house server, student e-mail accounts, and we're slowly looking to integrate tablet devices during the next few years as the technology becomes more inexpensive and funding levels rise (if that ever happens). So, Linux (I believe it was the Red Hat distribution) laid the red carpet for technology at our school. Thanks.

Mike Steins

LJ Archive