Monthly Archives: May 2011

Unit 2 – tutorials and the command line!

Working through the tutorials was fairly easy – I remember many of the concepts from DOS and from working on the old DEC-10 mainframes here at the UA back in the late 70s-early 80s.  The hierarchical file structure of the directories is the same, so navigating was not a problem. Manipulating files was also familiar, since the wildcards work very similarly to what I remember.  I/O redirection also worked much as I had remembered, including the pipes and filters. That part was really fun, trying new combinations in order to get just what I wanted — I had forgotten how powerful they can be!  The file/directory permission commands were new to me; they make sense, but the codes are going to be difficult to remember, especially since I don’t read binary. I seem to recall an alternate method being shown in one of the online video tutorials, but I will have to go back and check. Job control was also fairly straightforward.

The main problem I had was getting stuck without a command prompt. Several times this happened with variations on the cat command; I couldn’t figure out how to quit; I tried ctrl-c and quit and exit, but nothing worked. I had to close the terminal window to kill the process. I read on someone else’s blog that ctrl-z will get the prompt back (and this was also mentioned in the kill section of the tutorial – which I came to AFTER I had the problem). I’m still not sure exactly how the cat command works; I think you need to indicate a file name, or it just ends up echoing back what you type in – which makes sense, since it expects the standard input to be the keyboard and the standard output to the the terminal. I guess I could pipe the output to a file; but then I wouldn’t be able to see what I was typing (I’m guessing). The script command described in one of the other tutorials seems better for this – but anyway I’ll have to experiment.

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Filed under Operating systems, SIRLS 672, Ubuntu Linux How to find help and searching the site

In our introduction to Ubuntu Linux, this forum was helpful. The “Asking For Help” thread by ugm6hr was especially useful, especially the posts “How to ask the question to get the right answer” and “ZabiGG’s How-to search or ask for help.”

How to ask the question to get the right answer
ZabiGG’s How-to search or ask for help

Second, somewhere in the forums I found a suggestion to use, not only the search box provided on the site (upper right hand corner of the screen), but also Google to search the site, using the terms followed by the search terms, e.g. “How to Ask for Help”

A comparison of the two ways to search:

  • The Google search returned hits from several different threads, these are the top two:

How to ask for help – Ubuntu Forums

2 posts – 2 authors – Last post: 20 Jul 2006

How to ask for help Desktop Environments. These Aren’t Roasted! bensexson’s Avatar. Join Date: Mar 2005. Beans: 189. How to ask for help › … › Desktop EnvironmentsCached

How to ask for help – Ubuntu Forums

5 posts – 3 authors – Last post: 20 Jul 2006

How to ask for help General Help. These Aren’t Roasted! bensexson’s Avatar. Join Date: Mar 2005. Beans: 189. Re: How to ask for help › … › Main Support CategoriesGeneral HelpCached

  •  The search “How to Ask for Help” in the searchbox on the site failed to return any results, whether the search string was placed in quotes or not. It seems the search box on the forums site is probably expecting keywords, even though ZabiGG suggested using strings in quotes in the searchbox.

Posts in the forum also suggested two search engines that search ubuntu sites that may prove useful:


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Filed under SIRLS 672, Ubuntu Linux


Hi, my name is Mary, and I’m excited to begin the DigIn (Digital Information) graduate certificate offered through the UA School of Information Resources and Library Science. I’m a Ph.D. Candidate in British literature, and I intend to move into the exciting field of digital humanities. Hence the blog title.

My technical background includes a minor in math and computer science (albeit many moons ago); work experience as a database specialist/statistical analyst for research data; and an interest in exploring new data technologies, especially as they apply to the digital humanities. My Ph.D. research uses digital collections and repositories of nineteenth century materials to aid in my assessment of the discourse of shame in the nineteenth century novel.

Anyway, I’m excited to begin this course and look forward to blogging about my experiences.

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Filed under Digital Humanities, LAMP architecture, SIRLS 672, Ubuntu Linux