The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Saturday, February 17, 2001

Offices of times past

I'm not sure why the thought came up, but I'm thinking back to the time I worked on the Math Department at FAU. While technically I shared the office with one or two other people, they were rare, if ever, there and I practically had the office all to myself.

And it wasn't a small office either—a decent 15' X 30' office, filled with books on every conceivable topic, a real blackboard, beautiful desk lamps (I would often turn off the overhead flourescents and light the office with nothing but the desk lamps) and an SGI workstation pretty much to myself.

Okay, the only down side was the lack of windows. But man, it still was a cool office.

Twisty maze of directories all alike

One of the techs called me over to check something out. I get there and he's showing me a recursive listing of a directory on one of the Unix systems here. And it's going deeper, and deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper and …

“Hmmm,” I said. “Looks like it's cyclically linked.”

“It's not symbolically linked,” the tech said.

“Could be hard linked,” I said. I did a listing to show the inode nubmer. Then went down another level, and did another listing. Different inode numbers. “Guess not.”

“Guess the customer had a buggy script,” said the tech.

“Guess so,” I said.

I think it finally bottomed out around 40 or so levels.

Collapsing tumblers

I had a long discussion with Mark about this journal. Specifically, about how to handle multiple tumbler requests.

Generally, I'm trying to support a generalized syntax to select single entries, such as “2000/2/3,” but I can also handle ranges, like “2000/2/3-18” or even “2000/2-7/6.” I can even handle multiple requests, such as “2000/2/3-18,4/8,5/1-5/10” but the problem is how to handle overlapped requests? How should I handle something like “2000/2/3-18,2/15-20?” Or even something as silly as ”2000/2/1-10,10-1?”

Mark was of the opinion to give the user what they typed, and if they get repeated entries, so be it. I was more of the opinion that ranges should be collapsed, so that “2000/2/3-18,2/15-20” be collapsed as if you selected “2000/2/3-20.” Mark didn't agree, and I don't fully agree with him.

His next suggestion was to make it an option for either case.

For right now, I'm not allowing multiple selections.

I want to get this code out someday!

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You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site:, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

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