Forgetting a whole language
I have been having some fun.
I use the word fun purely in the sardonic sense.
I had a little problem.
I use the word little in the trivial sense.
I have been using my Kindle on a daily/nightly basis. As a result I have been fairly hammering my reading list. I no longer have to ration myself in case I run out of books, because of course that isn’t a problem any more. The problem now is that I can’t remember all the authors I have enjoyed in the past, and can no longer just browse the library shelves.
The library does have a neat function in their on-line thingy: I can download a list of all the books I have borrowed in the past. However, this list includes all sorts of shit such as the location of every copy in every library in the country along with information on the publisher and stuff like that. The list is huge and if I were to print it off it would give me 146 pages of mostly crap.
Now the thought crossed my mind that it should be a simple enough job to write a little program to sort the wheat from the chaff. Basically all I was looking for was a list of my authors and preferably a list of books by each author. No sweat? After all, in the past I have written an entire e-commerce website from scratch for a major Irish company [in the days before WordPress] and also wrote a whole series of programmes to extract the Anna Raccoon information from a load of different types of file into one database. Manipulating one little file should be easy peasy?
I had forgotten how to code!
Fuck me but I had to look up every single command and function to remind myself how things work. It was like writing a story where I had to look up every word in the dictionary. My head was in a mess. I had forgotten everything even down to the most basic level.
I managed it in the end after a major struggle. It’s just a wee program with a mere 30 lines of code but it took a lot of sweat. The output has reduced my printout from 146 pages to just 4, with a simple list of each author and their books.
This growing old lark brings new challenges every day.
Mate if you can still cut code after a few years gap don't worry. Even better if you can still write a useful prog in 30 lines or so really don't worry.
I spent 35 years in the industry and most people either couldn't make 30 lines of code work or came up with 300 to do the same that still required an old hand to debug.
That cheered me up immediately. I suppose it's all just a matter of perspective?!
Remembering any code at all would be beyond me. I forgot my ATM PIN number and had to contact the bank for a new one.
I couldn't tell you what my PIN is without a lot of thought. I just rely on muscle memory and press by shape.
Yup, happened to me recently as well. Something to do with the computer which had something to do with something online. I had done this something so many times before that I never bothered thinking about it. Then a solution finally presented itself. I applied it and all was well. Fast forward two years (early this year) and the same something reared it's ugly head again (due to an update of course, I remember that) and I went to apply the solution…
…and I couldn't seem to recall what I did before. Nothing but mush up above. And did I write it down? Probably, but I couldn't remember where. A fix that usually took about 5 minutes ended up taking the better part of an hour as I searched frantically around my notes and online for that same something I didn't even have to think about in the past.
The trouble is, months later, I can no longer seem to remember what that something was in the first place never mind the solution to fix it. Plus, I can't recall whether I wrote it down or not. I'm not happy about this.
I blame masks. Breathing my own breath has fried my brain.
Aha! That was one of the main reasons I started "A Pipe and a Keyboard". It was jut an online repository for all the little problems [and solutions] I had come across for my own reference. Of course it helped others too which was just an added bonus. It's a bit obsolete now as most of the Linux problems have resolved themselves in the latest releases.
Apologies for being old-fashioned (computer-wise, that is), but wouldn’t it be easier just to highlight the whole lot shown on the library’s website and then just drop it into an Excel worksheet or similar? Then, with just a bit of tweaking, editing and sorting of whichever columns you choose (author, subject, date or whatever), you can simply delete all the ones you don’t want. You can then add new columns with whatever information you want (like how much you enjoyed that book, or how much you didn’t, or jog your memory with a couple of reminder words) and/or delete any information you don’t (like the publisher, ISBN number etc). Or is that just nowhere near technical enough for all you IT wizards ….
It did cross my mind but there was one simple problem – it was a plain text file which would just dump itself into a single cell. The logic of the programme was simple [just identifying the leading text in a record and outputting the remainder of the line to a new file]. The problem purely lay with trying to remember how the various inbuilt functions worked.
Of course I could have just edited the original file, but where's the fun in that?