Archive for the ‘software’ Category


I’m so tempted


HP has apparently finally released a calculator that can be entirely reprogrammed for custom applications, and the software development kit (SDK) includes comments suggesting that they’ll change what’s printed on the keyboard too, if you order enough of them.

HP’s erstwhile calculator division in Corvallis were actually talking about doing this back in the 1980s, when they mooted making a blank Pioneer model available to third-party developers, such as Zengrange, so that we could create niche-market calcs.

I don’t know why they didn’t do it then (since they had many willing and able third-party developers using the HP-41 and HP-71 as a platform for applications, and a custom Pioneer would have been cheaper to make), and I really don’t know why they have done it now. Perhaps some single individual on their dev team, such as Cyrille de BrĂ©bisson, made a really impassioned case to management to fly a kite on this; I’d love to know what the business case was that finally worked.

Anyway, despite not having done any serious calculator-related development for over fifteen years, I’m still tempted to get one, and play around with some ideas for custom calcs. I still think there are plausible market opportunities for specialized calculators, and the shirt-losing risk in pursuing them is in the up-front hardware design and manufacturing cost, which it looks like HP has just taken away.


Extract and group SQL WHERE clauses


I’m just going through an exercise at the moment to check that an Oracle DB is properly indexed, and since all the queries are done from stored procedures, with 100,000+ lines of source sprinkled over hundreds of files, I wanted something to quickly snarf all the WHERE clauses out, rather than go looking for them by eye.

So I just scribbled down a silly perl script, catted all the PL/SQL source through it, and got a plausible-looking list of WHERE clauses, ordered by decreasing frequency of occurrence in the code.

Hooray! Time for a beer.


Copy by attribute


Here is a perl script I scratched together yesterday to help me file digital camera images faster (I keep them organized by date on our file server, but can never be bothered to run any of those feature-laden camera programs — I like having the camera, or its memory cards, just show to up as a file system I can yoink things out of).

I’ve written it in such a way that various other attributes of the files can be used as the basis for grouping them. It also supports only creating symlinks to files, rather than real copies, and doing that over multiple attributes per file (size, age, owner, etc.), so it could also be used to create sort-of attribute-based indexes of file systems, perhaps.

Or something.

Anyway, improvements and suggestions welcome.