Archives for April 2007

An Introduction to Rsync (part 2)

In An Introduction to Rsync (part 1), I described how rsync is a UNIX command that can keep two file folders synchronized, and I promised you a step-by-step example. To illustrate rsync, I’ll talk about how I manage the photos that I upload from my digital camera. This is just an arbitrary example, though. The files could be anything: business documents and spreadsheets, website pages, program source code, archived e-mails, podcasts, or other media files.

Synchronizing a Digital Photo Library: In this case, the hard drive on my desktop currently has about 24 GB of photographs that I have taken over the years. I upload new ones all of the time, and I like to have copies of the “interesting ones” on my laptop, but I don’t have room on my laptop for all of them.

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Quick Tip: Bypass the Recycle Bin (Windows)

Confirm RecycleIn the Windows Explorer, deleted files and folders are normally sent to the recycle bin. This requires extra resources (i.e. time), particularly if the recycle bin is full and part of it needs to be emptied first to make room. When deleting files and folders that are certain to never be recycled, the time delay can be avoided by holding down the shift key when deleting the item. Both methods present a confirmation dialog box, but with different icons and text to make it easy to verify that the recycle bin is, or is not, being used.

Confirm Delete

WARNING: This method of bypassing the recycle bin does not ensure that the deleted item(s) are safe from prying eyes. Portions, if not all, of the item can still be recovered by a technique commonly referred to as “dirty disking.” To prevent this, it is necessary to delete the file using a “wipe” utility, such as the one included in bfaCS. (See Software Review: File Encryption with Blowfish Advanced CS (Windows).)

An Introduction to Rsync (part 1)

Rsync is a UNIX command that can keep two file folders synchronized. (For Windows users, see Use Linux Commands and Shell Scripts directly in Windows.) In part one of this article, I will describe what rsync is and how it works, and I’ll give examples of how it can be used. In part two, I’ll go through a detailed example, step by step.

Rsync is basically a copy command on steroids. The number of options available for rsync is exhaustive (something on the order of 100 different switches). See the man pages for details (“man rsync”).

rsync -vrut --filter='. searchcopy_filelist.txt'
work /cygdrive/e/work_search

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Quick Tip: Searching for Program Source Code

Program Language NamesStudents at the University of California Irvine are working on some new technology for understanding and categorizing source code. They’re using it to power two projects, a source code visualization tool and a source code search engine. You can check it out at: – They’re just getting started, but click on the submenu items under the “Fingerprints” tab to get an idea of the heuristics they’re looking into (control structures, attributes, and micro-patterns).

In the mean time, us mere mortals will have to be satisfied with the current offerings of source code search engines. Just to name a few:

More TextPad Tips

In an earlier post, Software Review: TextPad 5, I listed five tips for getting the most out of TextPad. Here are five more:

TextPad LogoTip #6: Generating Sequence Numbers – Sequence numbers can be generated via the Search and Replace function by including “\i” (without the quotes) in the replacement string. For example, say that you have a list of items with hyphens for bullets, and you want to number them instead.

- This
- That
- Another

Highlight the lines, and then bring up Search and Replace. With the “Regular expression” box checked, and the scope set to “Selected text” replace “^- ” with “\i. “. (The caret before the dash means that the dash must be at the beginnig of the line.)

1. This
2. That
3. Another

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PasswordSafe vs. KeePass Password Safe

PasswordSafe vs. KeePass LogosLast month, I recommended a free program on SourceForge called PasswordSafe for keeping track of all your various and sundry passwords. There are actually numerous projects on SourceForge for keeping track of passwords, and two of them have the words “password safe” in the name. The one I spoke of is simply called “Password Safe” (sometimes written with the space between words, and sometimes without). An equally worthy and more popular project is called “KeePass Password Safe” (which I will refer to simply as KeePass from now on, to avoid confusion). Indeed, KeePass is currently the sixth most popular project of all the projects on SourceForge.

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