27 Sep 2003 auspex   » (Journeyer)

Unix crack

Before I went to bed last night, I decided I should leave myself a note to try something later. I don't use a sticky note program or anything like that, and I figured I would miss a file containing the note. I decided to touch a note:

touch "Try blahblah for the blahblahblah"

That way, when I run ls, as I'm sure to do, I see my message.

But 'M' comes before 'T', so I was dissatisfied with the result. I renamed the file with a numeric prefix.

Then, I thought, "Why restrict myself to one line?" Indeed, I could insert newline characters in the filename, so I did so. But ls just showed question marks instead of newlines. A check of the man page revealed the --show-control-chars option. It worked, except for scatterring all the other filenames about. A wildcard fixed that easily enough.

So now I have these two (surely not portable) shell scripts, note and notes. The first takes a string argument and touches it with a little modification. The second lists, "showing" control characters, files matching those made by the first. Neither checks input or anything like that; I was about to fall asleep.


touch ".^HNote from `date +"%-I:%M%P %A %e %B %Y"`
(That's '^H' the backspace character, not "^H" the string caret and 'H'.)


ls --show-control-chars .?Note*
(The '?' is a wildcard to catch the backspace.)

The backspace character rubs out the '.' which is there to keep normal ls clean. I sacrificed my initial purpose.

With a little modifcation, like using ui -in $USER, notes could include author information or whatever else. Of course, filename length is limited.

Well, for whatever reason, I only slept about two hours. I think I'll go back to bed now.

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