Steve Dowe dowie@identi.ca

United Kingdom

Blogger, PHP web developer, free software advocate, yada yada...

  • $89 LINUX LAPTOP!? | Pinebook Review on YouTube

    2017-08-07T09:56:46Z via Spigot To: Public

    $89 LINUX LAPTOP!? | Pinebook Review on YouTube https://dowe.io/89-linux-laptop-pinebook-review-youtube/

    A $99 (USD) laptop with pretty similar approach as the old Samsung XC303 Chromebook of 2012.

    But if you’re strapped for cash, it’s still a worthwhile buy!

    The post $89 LINUX LAPTOP!? | Pinebook Review on YouTube appeared first on dowe.io.

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    Roelof Pieter, McClane likes this.

    McClane, McClane, McClane shared this.

    I tried to order one, but sadly I'm quite set on getting the 11" one and they no longer ship that.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2017-08-07T10:13:54Z

    Steve Dowe likes this.

  • Rapid Realisation: System Design is Hard. Even for Simple Systems.

    2017-08-04T09:57:04Z via Spigot To: Public

    Rapid Realisation: System Design is Hard. Even for Simple Systems. https://dowe.io/rapid-realisation-system-design-hard-even-simple-systems/

    I am rapidly realising that system design is hard. Even for simple systems.

    The post Rapid Realisation: System Design is Hard. Even for Simple Systems. appeared first on dowe.io.

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  • Experiencing The Life-Changing Magic of Decluttering

    2017-08-02T09:57:15Z via Spigot To: Public

    Experiencing The Life-Changing Magic of Decluttering https://dowe.io/life-changing-magic-decluttering/ Minimalist image by Ovan (https://www.pexels.com/u/knownasovan/)

    Marie Kondo’s bestseller, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Amazon link), is quite an inspiration. She takes what is, essentially, a slightly mundane activity – decluttering – and transforms it into a ritual; a rite of passage for one who wants to transcend from disorganised hoarder, to cleansed, enlightened minimalist.

    Ok, perhaps that is slightly strong an example, but this is the idea.  The KonMari method of tidying is quite simple: do this, then do that.  Kondo hand-holds her reader through the treacherous caverns of uncertainty and out into a bright, new world.  Her two basic tenets are, that one must organise (and purge) by category, not by room, and that one should also focus on what to keep, but only if it “sparks joy”.

    It’s simple, but it works – and surprisingly well, too. When followed correctly, it’s an efficient way to declutter, reorganise, and reset.

    Starting the Journey

    Getting started is remarkably easy.  KonMari dictates that purging one’s superfluous clothing is the best starting point.  I’d agree.  It’s interesting how you can start clinging on to item from your past, instead of looking forward to wearing something in the future!

    I have since discovered what I like, what suits me, and what I feel comfortable in

    It’s surprisingly easy to start in this way.  It teaches very effectively to be selective and mindful about what you keep for your wardrobe, and why.  The key lesson, letting go, is learned here.

    Like many minimalists, I have since discovered what I like about my clothing, what I think suits me, and – perhaps most importantly – what I feel comfortable in.  And, like many, my wardrobe now features a number of more plain black, grey and white items.  But I don’t subscribe to monotone styling; blue is the colour I love, so I have a lot of blue in my wardrobe too, plus warmer hues.

    Minimalism, to me, is far more about quantity.  It doesn’t mean I need to sacrifice style.

    Decluttering the House

    Decluttering produced these three boxes of books
    Many old books, that no longer “spark joy”, being taken to my local library. Decluttering FTW!

    After clothes comes the decluttering of books, paperwork, CDs/DVDs and miscellanea (random bits and pieces, called komono by Kondo). How much you have kept will determine how long this takes.  But a little dedication can bring surprisingly quick results.  Several hours are really all that’s needed for decluttering.

    Five bin bags of clothes, and four boxes of books later, I feel well on my way to simplifying and minimising.

    And what a great feeling, being unburdened.  

    As I proceeded with old paperwork, the voice in my mind became yet more balanced.  I had to double-check on certain items, and felt freedom and empowerment to change my mind part way through – sometimes choosing to discard what I initially wanted to keep, and vice versa.  This process is mentally decluttering, and (if I were spiritual), spiritually cleansing.

    Decluttering the Mind

    Computing, for me, is a big thing.  As soon as I could record stuff on computer, I did.  I have databases and documents dating from the early 1990s onwards. Sadly, the file formats used for those documents are not widely supported any more.

    This creates a problem: Do I keep those old documents, which probably serve no purpose to me now? If not, why did I keep them for so long? Or, do I go to the trouble of getting an older computing platform to convert them from, into a more modern, or at least less-encumbered, file format? Do I still need them? Will I ever? Or do I just archive them all off and save myself the time and effort?  (Do you see how all this digital clutter is causing angst and complexity?  Why am I thinking about this stuff…? etc.)

    These questions have haunted me for quite some time, but eventually I came to realise that while it would be nice to have access to all my data, in reality, I don’t need it. And having access to it would increase the amount of digital clutter that I don’t need to be concerned with.

    Am I Swapping Physical Hoarding for Digital Hoarding?

    Although previously I wanted to convert all my old files into modern formats, I am beginning to realise that there really is little benefit to doing this.  Up to roughly 1999, I would have used my Amiga computer for word processing and other work (e.g. editing images).  When I got a PC in 2000, and installed SuSE Linux 7.2, I started using StarOffice (the precursor to OpenOffice/LibreOffice) instead.  StarOffice files are still supported in modern versions of LibreOffice, much to my delight.

    But for pre-2000 data, I must accept that without significant time, energy and devotion, I cannot easily liberate my files.  This means all my university essays, college assignments, personal notes, documents, databases, images and other data are now part of that fabric of digital cruft.  The best I can do is securely archive them off, hoping that one day an easy conversion solution will be available.

    Yet, in some ways, this is for the best.  What good does reading my own essay on Chaucer do, for me, in 2017? I am too busy with other things that are contemporary and relevant, right now, to indulge in that.  Digital decluttering is as important as physical decluttering.

    Closing Thoughts

    I have observed that, during this decluttering process so far, I have had a tendency to hang on to things because of their value to me in the past.  My mindset in the present has been influenced by past events, of course, but this has also lured me into some complacency with regard to my beliefs and philosophy on life.

    When we start becoming defined by the things we have, instead of the things we do, there is little value in “having” those things whatsoever.

    I am looking forward to doing more, and having less.


    Have you had a similar experience with de-cluttering?  Please comment – I’d love to hear about it!

    The post Experiencing The Life-Changing Magic of Decluttering appeared first on dowe.io.

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    Roelof Pieter, Ben Sturmfels, Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), George Standish and 1 others likes this.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) shared this.

  • 2017-07-20T07:08:18Z via Identi.ca Web CC: Public

  • Use #firefox? Best to still expect information leakage.

    2017-07-19T09:58:43Z via Spigot To: Public

    Use #firefox? Best to still expect information leakage. https://dowe.io/use-firefox-best-still-expect-information-leakage/

    A tweet was recently posted featuring an advert claiming Firefox is the better browser in terms of respect for privacy:

    Sadly, this isn’t the case, as this Pale Moon update clearly describes:

    https://forum.palemoon.org/viewtopic.php?t=16154&p=117375#p117375

    So, if you use #Firefox, best to expect information leakage back to #Google anyway.  If you value your privacy and want a functional browser, check out Pale Moon!

    #palemoon

    The post Use #firefox? Best to still expect information leakage. appeared first on dowe.io.

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    herco, maisun, Dana likes this.

    Dana, Dana, Dana shared this.

    can't find a debian package :/

    Matteo Bechini at 2017-07-19T13:07:37Z

    https://software.opensuse.org/download.html?project=home:stevenpusser&package=palemoon  its easy to use this repo - dont forget to add the repository key  :)

    herco at 2017-07-20T22:31:29Z

    Matteo Bechini, Steve Dowe likes this.

  • The Independent: Brexit: Theresa May’s letter of notification to leave the EU is ‘unlawful’, declares judicial review to Brussels

    2017-05-24T09:59:31Z via Spigot To: Public

    The Independent: Brexit: Theresa May’s letter of notification to leave the EU is ‘unlawful’, declares judicial review to Brussels https://dowe.io/the-independent-brexit-theresa-mays-letter-of-notification-to-leave-the-eu-is-unlawful-declares-judicial-review-to-brussels/

    The Independent: Brexit: Theresa May’s letter of notification to leave the EU is ‘unlawful’, declares judicial review to Brussels. http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwmvzQ9jQ

    The post The Independent: Brexit: Theresa May’s letter of notification to leave the EU is ‘unlawful’, declares judicial review to Brussels appeared first on dowe.io.

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  • Just bought some 8TB NAS disks… £££ Feel a bit sick now.

    2017-05-16T10:20:25Z via Spigot To: Public

    Just bought some 8TB NAS disks… £££ Feel a bit sick now. https://dowe.io/just-bought-some-8tb-nas-disks-feel-a-bit-sick-now/

    Buying a 1TB drive is fairly inexpensive these days.  The price of 8TB of storage is a bit harder to swallow.

    The post Just bought some 8TB NAS disks… £££ Feel a bit sick now. appeared first on dowe.io.

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  • Suggestions for an epic #sci-fi movie please?

    2017-05-14T10:41:34Z via Spigot To: Public

    Suggestions for an epic #sci-fi movie please? https://dowe.io/suggestions-for-an-epic-sci-fi-movie-please-2/

    Suggestions for an epic #sci-fi movie please?

    The post Suggestions for an epic #sci-fi movie please? appeared first on dowe.io.

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  • Suggestions for an epic #sci-fi movie please?

    2017-05-14T09:55:35Z via Spigot To: Public

    Suggestions for an epic #sci-fi movie please? https://dowe.io/suggestions-for-an-epic-sci-fi-movie-please/

    Suggestions for an epic #sci-fi movie please? Must be 2011-onwards!

    The post Suggestions for an epic #sci-fi movie please? appeared first on dowe.io.

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    Hmmm, nothing comes to mind ATM.


    Could you give an example of one you consider "epic"? =)

    JanKusanagi at 2017-05-14T16:15:42Z

    I'm still looking too ;)

    Epic... er... The Matrix?  Sunshine.  Alien.  The Empire Strikes Back? :D

    Steve Dowe at 2017-08-03T08:43:28Z

  • How to Speed up WordPress Leveraging Browser Caching via .htaccess • Crunchify

    2017-05-05T10:42:29Z via Spigot To: Public

    How to Speed up WordPress Leveraging Browser Caching via .htaccess • Crunchify https://dowe.io/how-to-speed-up-wordpress-leveraging-browser-caching-via-htaccess-%e2%80%a2-crunchify/

    Leverage browser caching to make your webpages faster. If you can leverage browser caching, you can increase website speed considerably. As Google starts c

    Source: How to Speed up WordPress Leveraging Browser Caching via .htaccess • Crunchify

    The post How to Speed up WordPress Leveraging Browser Caching via .htaccess • Crunchify appeared first on dowe.io.

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  • Mass-surveillance just took another step forward. :(

    2017-05-05T09:56:32Z via Spigot To: Public

    Mass-surveillance just took another step forward. :( https://dowe.io/mass-surveillance-just-took-another-step-forward/

    UK Gov reaches an all-time low as it tries to monitor everyone.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/04/uk_bulk_surveillance_powers_draft/

     

    Protect yourself now, with Signal (iOS/Android).  (Intro Video)

     

    The post Mass-surveillance just took another step forward. :( appeared first on dowe.io.

    >> Steve Dowe:

    “[...] Protect yourself now, with Signal [...]”

    With a centralized system? That's no protection.


    Protect yourself now, with a federated standard, Jabber/XMPP =)

    JanKusanagi at 2017-05-05T10:00:46Z

    Steve Dowe, Tom Tishken likes this.

    That's true, but at least with Signal you have a published protocol, despite the centralisation.  It's not perfect, but for those people out there for whom the "App Store" is the one and only source of software, it's one of the better options.

    Steve Dowe at 2017-08-03T08:44:49Z

    Well, Jabber/XMPP is something perfectly present in the "App Store", and Google Play ;)

    JanKusanagi at 2017-08-03T12:16:10Z

    » Steve Dowe:

    “Enjoy explaining that to a Facebook junkie.

    May as well chuck in GNU/Linux while you're at it! ;-)”

    Been there, done that (the first part, the second makes no sense).


    But still, why would the Facebook junkie be interested in Signal? ;)

    JanKusanagi at 2017-08-04T12:47:58Z

  • aeroplane vs friendly fires vs flight facilities – i crave paris – YouTube

    2017-04-14T09:58:38Z via Spigot To: Public

    aeroplane vs friendly fires vs flight facilities – i crave paris – YouTube https://dowe.io/aeroplane-vs-friendly-fires-vs-flight-facilities-i-crave-paris-youtube/

    Enjoying a little retro electronica…

    The post aeroplane vs friendly fires vs flight facilities – i crave paris – YouTube appeared first on dowe.io.

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  • #friendica installation set up

    2017-04-13T09:58:45Z via Spigot To: Public

    #friendica installation set up https://dowe.io/friendica-installation-set/
    Screenshot of my friendica profile

    Out of the creepy gaze… my friendica profile.

    Now that I have a #friendica node, I am looking forward to sharing more out of the creepy gaze of the other #socialnetworks

    The post #friendica installation set up appeared first on dowe.io.

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    Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

  • #monday #fail

    2017-03-20T10:58:32Z via Spigot To: Public

    #monday #fail https://dowe.io/monday-fail/

    I just had to look up the meaning of nescience.

    There is no hope.

    #monday #fail

    The post #monday #fail appeared first on dowe.io.

  • Stallman on Apple & Steve Jobs

    2017-03-17T11:20:51Z via Spigot To: Public

    Stallman on Apple & Steve Jobs https://dowe.io/stallman-apple-steve-jobs/
    <header> </header>

    Steve Jobs “figured out a way to make computers that are jails for their users, and make them so shiny that millions of fools would beg to be jailed”.

    Absolutely classic Stallman quote (at 18:00).  😀

    The post Stallman on Apple & Steve Jobs appeared first on dowe.io.

  • Optimising fluxbox for multiple monitors and power events (ACPI)

    2017-03-15T10:59:03Z via Spigot To: Public

    Optimising fluxbox for multiple monitors and power events (ACPI) https://dowe.io/optimising-fluxbox-multiple-monitors-power-events-acpi/ Screenshot of GNU/Linux Fluxbox desktop

    [ this article is an incomplete draft, published for posterity ]

    If you want to learn more about the GNU / UNIX operating system, and how Linux interacts with it, using a minimal installation of GNU/Linux will help.  It is harder work than installing and using GNOME 3 or KDE, but the benefits soon outweigh the costs.

    Preface: Migrating to a leaner window manager

    This article was created on fluxbox, but can probably be applied to any minimalist window manager for GNU/Linux.  My current operating system is Devuan, a fork of Debian.

    If you are coming from Linux and have used XFCE, GNOME or KDE, or if you use macOS or Windows, prepare to invest some time in learning a new, yet more basic way of doing things.  Many people will claim that manually doing things in a terminal window is “old fashioned” or slow.  Actually, the more cloud-based and cloud-focused the world becomes, the more all of our programmatic and systematic workflows will rely on Linux.  Having a reasonable understanding of the GNU operating system software can only be an advantage for people these days.

    But I digress.  I have written to some length about my love/hate relationship with GNOME 3.  Many of the design decisions of GNOME 3 are admirable but, in implementation, some of its features can become burdensome.  Using fluxbox, there is enough of a window manager for general productivity, but no more.  fluxbox is fast, yet it is so minimal that there is/are:

    • No native GUI tools to adjust its settings
    • No way of handling multiple monitors
    • No built in sound management
    • No native network management
    • No concept of power management
    • No icons on the “desktop”, and in fact, it’s not really a “desktop” at all – just a screen
    • A menu!  Yes, right-click on the desktop to access a menu and launch your programs! 😉
    • Workspaces.  Yep, that bastion of GNU/Linux productivity that us “open sorcerers” all enjoyed for years, before Windows 10 and Mac OS X (Lion) copied on…
    • Settings.  If you’re happy editing a text file, that is.  But if there’s one thing most people know how to do, that’s edit text files.

    So, if none of the above phases you, then either you already use fluxbox, or you’re planning to and have now realised that this article is not about installing it for you!  Ah no… if you want some good guides to fluxbox, check out fluxbox.org, Arch’s fluxbox page or Debian’s fluxbox page.

    Configuring easier multi-monitor support

    Laptop with additional monitor connected.

    My ThinkPad with an external display attached.  Yep, snapped while creating this post.

    Being such a minimalistic “desktop”, fluxbox is not built to handle multiple monitors.  In GNU/Linux, a popular tool to handle this task is xrandr.

    xrandr is handy.  It provides descriptive text output that can be used fairly easily as logical input in a script.

    Here’s an example of xrandr on my dual display set-up:

    # xrandr
    
    Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1920 x 1980, maximum 8192 x 8192
    LVDS1 connected 1600x900+0+1080 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 309mm x 174mm
     1600x900 60.01*+ 40.00 
     1440x900 59.89 
     1360x768 59.80 59.96 
     1152x864 60.00 
     1024x768 60.00 
     800x600 60.32 56.25 
     640x480 59.94 
    VGA1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    HDMI1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    DP1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    HDMI2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    HDMI3 connected 1920x1080+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 478mm x 269mm
     1920x1080 60.00*+
     1680x1050 59.88 
     1280x1024 75.02 
     1440x900 74.98 59.90 
     1280x960 60.00 
     1280x800 59.91 
     1152x864 75.00 
     1280x720 59.97 
     1152x720 59.97 
     1024x768 75.08 70.07 60.00 
     832x624 74.55 
     800x600 72.19 75.00 60.32 56.25 
     640x480 75.00 72.81 66.67 60.00 
     720x400 70.08 
    DP2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    DP3 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)

    My laptop’s display is identified as LVDS1, and my external monitor is HDMI3, despite that I connect via DVI.  This output was generated with my laptop in a docking station, so without this it may report a DVI connection as HDMI1 or HDMI2.  The T420 also has a DisplayPort++ interface, which would appear to be one of DP{1-3}, and a VGA output too.

    The sections we’re interested in here are:

    LVDS1 connected 1600x900+0+1080 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 309mm x 174mm
     1600x900 60.01*+ 40.00 
    [...]
    HDMI3 connected 1920x1080+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 478mm x 269mm
     1920x1080 60.00*+

    Two things of note:  Firstly, when a monitor is connected to a display interface, xrandr reports this as “connected”.  Otherwise, it’s “disconnected”.  Secondly, a monitor may be connected but may not be active.  How do we tell this?  Well, the resolution line displays an asterisk if the display is active, and omits an asterisk if not.  Working on the basis that the xrandr output will always list resolutions from maximum to minimum, and that we would want any monitor to run at best (native/highest) resolution, we can assume that it’s ok to test for the presence of this asterisk in the line that follows the main display line.

    (UPDATE: 8 Dec 2016)

    Next steps

    Since drafting this article in August, my computer and computing needs have changed drastically over the past few months.  Despite a happy 16+ year relationship with Linux on the desktop (YMMV, BTW, but for me every year for me was the “Year of LOTD“), my working and personal computing needs came to an impasse which could only be resolved by moving over to a Mac.  My feelings and initial impressions of Mac usage are still true; for a better desktop, get GNOME – even if there have been several annoying problems.

    Coming back to configuring xrandr, I’m afraid I never completed this exercise and instead opted for a quick and dirty logic script that determined which monitors were connected.  Because monitor positions would rarely change, I hard-coded the positional relationship into the script.  The scriptis will be below (when I’ve found it).

    As I continue on with the Mac, I will dump more of the old Linux-y stuff into my blog, to use mainly as a reference for myself should I every have the pleasure of going back there one day.

    (UPDATE: 14 Feb 2017)

    After 10 months of trial and error, I am finally giving on up the Mac as a means to do work.  I’m faster and happier on GNU+Linux, so that’s where’s I’m headed.  Again.  Happy times! 😀

    I’ll still post the script when I find it.

    The post Optimising fluxbox for multiple monitors and power events (ACPI) appeared first on dowe.io.

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  • How S Note + Samsung account works

    2017-03-12T10:59:21Z via Spigot To: Public

    How S Note + Samsung account works https://dowe.io/how-s-note-samsung-account-works/
    1. Get Galaxy Note device 
    2. Create your documents in S Note
    3. Place your trust in it
    4. Create a Samsung Account
    5. Log in to Samsung account on device
    6. Sync S Notes to Samsung account
    7. NEVER, ever remove Samsung account from phone and delete it online immediately afterwards. It will delete irrevocably all your S NOTE files on your device
    8. Let’s just repeat that. Your data, that you created on your device, which you choose to  then sync with Samsung, will be deleted.
    9. Accept that Samsung now pwns your data.
    10. Never make that mistake again.

      #proprietary shame 

      #samsung

      The post How S Note + Samsung account works appeared first on dowe.io.

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      To be expected =)

      JanKusanagi at 2017-03-12T13:56:38Z

      Steve Dowe likes this.

    1. Looks like quitter.is is down?!

      2017-03-10T10:59:33Z via Spigot To: Public

      Looks like quitter.is is down?! https://dowe.io/looks-like-quitter/

      Looking like quitter.is is down… Has been for past 24-48 hours.

      #gnusocial #quitter

      The post Looks like quitter.is is down?! appeared first on dowe.io.

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      Back up now. Guess they were spring cleaning... ;)

      Steve Dowe at 2017-03-13T10:26:11Z

    2. Why a viral video of a cyclist’s revenge on catcallers may not be all it seems

      2017-02-26T11:45:41Z via Spigot To: Public

      Why a viral video of a cyclist’s revenge on catcallers may not be all it seems https://dowe.io/viral-video-cyclists-revenge-catcallers-may-not-seems/

      Why a viral video of a cyclist’s revenge on catcallers may not be all it seems. http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwoL3DsDQ

      The post Why a viral video of a cyclist’s revenge on catcallers may not be all it seems appeared first on dowe.io.

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    3. Wishlist: The Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series), by Brian W. Kernighan, Rob Pike

      2017-02-26T10:59:42Z via Spigot To: Public

      Wishlist: The Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series), by Brian W. Kernighan, Rob Pike https://dowe.io/wishlist-unix-programming-environment-prentice-hall-software-series-brian-w-kernighan-rob-pike/

       

      The Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series) by Brian W. Kernighan, Rob Pike (ISBN: 9780139376818)

      Source: The Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series): Amazon.co.uk: Brian W. Kernighan, Rob Pike: 9780139376818: Books

      The post Wishlist: The Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series), by Brian W. Kernighan, Rob Pike appeared first on dowe.io.

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