Scroll Lock And Other Keys.

You mention the use of the key. This is actually very important in UNIX environments and hence UNIX tools ported to Windows. A command surrounded bys represents then the output from that command, not the text making up the command, e.g:

rm ls -a

This removes all the files in a directory (given permissions etc), differening from ‘rm *’ because it also zaps “hidden” files (those that start with ‘.’).

I guess anyone interested in my point will already know it!
But, you know, for the sake of completeness, I thought I’d throw it in.

Additionally, the pipe “|” key is used as a concatenation key in unix and some other languages (SQR for one) as a concatenation key.

In unix, ps -ef |grep XYZ
means get the full status of every process running that has a name like XYZ and display the results. This is combining the results of one statement with another. ps -ef displays every process. grep XYZ looks in every object. Concatenating them gives a subset of the results.

let $name = ‘Joe.’
let '$literal_name = 'Have a ’ || 'nice day, ’ || $name
gives the variable $literal_name a value of “Have a nice day, Joe.”

The “Sysreq” key, which on most computers also says “Print screen”, is also useful for capturing a screen shot and pasting it into another application. It seems to work with most, if not all Microsoft programs.

Yes, but that is the shifted version of the key. Just like the number 8 key has the shifted version produce an *, a lot of keys function differently when shifted.

I haven’t seen it used as a concatenation key in unix, and your description describes exactly the “pipe” funtion. I believe that the pipe character is called a pipe not because of its looks, but because the function it performs is to take data as the output from one process and “pipe” it to another process. That’s not concatenation.

My nitpick with the article is that it messes up the DOS “dir” command. Instead of “C:\Una\Lesbian Porn\DIR | more” it should say “DIR C:\Una\Lesbian Porn | more”.

Ah! Well, yes, and no. Yes, you are correct in the way that you are doing it. However - what the article should read as is more like this:

C:\Una\Lesbian Porn>DIR | more

That extra “>” shows I’m in the current directory. So your comment is 100% correct, and mine would be if I had added the “>” to it. FTR, this is a typo which a friend (hibernicus) who reviewed this for me late last month picked out, and I forgot to fix, so it’s entirely my fault, not Ed’s.

The statistical program Stata requires that left quotes <`> be distinguished from right quotes <’>, when referring to “macros”, which in Stata-speak are not programs but rather string-manipulation tools for coding variable names and the like.

[sub]From the Stata manual: “A macro is a string of characters, called the macroname, that stands for another string of characters, called the macro contents.”[/sub]

CurtC You’re absolutely right. “Concatentaion” is not the correct term for the function in unix. Your explanation was better.

It’s also a better explanation of how | works in DOS. “Dir | more” sends the output of dir through more.exe. I felt that the wording in the column was a little murky on this point. It makes it sound as if the pipe was causing the text to be paused, when in fact it is more.exe.

Just a note - when discussing command line syntax, it’s usually best not to include the command prompt. It tends to be misleading, particularly when a character in a commonly used prompt style conflicts with command syntax. Also, people tend to tailor their command prompts to their liking when using a shell that lets them do so. For instance, I use MKS toolkit on windows systems, and get rid of that “pwd” in the command prompt thing because I find it an annoying waste of real estate, particularly when working in deep file heirarchies (and most commercial development environments can lead to some astonishingly deep heirarchies).

And as long as we’re picking nits with the command syntax, when you use the directory as an argument, if the name of the directory is “Lesbian Porn”, UNIX style shells will need you to delimit it with quotes or escape the space with a backslash to avoid having it interpreted as two arguments.

But then she wouldn’t have been able to mention lesbian porn. Obviously, doing so was important to her.

Oh for the love of Pete…as a matter of fact I took it out and had it replaced with simply “c:\Una\Files” for a day or so, until Ed suggested it made the article more humorous and put it back in.

I feel this will satisfy your curiosity. If not, then I suggest you be more clear about what you are trying to ask here. Much, much more clear.

I wonder why everybody was searching for programming answers. There is one straightforward answer : the ´ and ` are for french (and maybe other accentued language users). How could I else type in , à, é and è ?

Welcome to the Straight Dope Message board, aepervius, glad to have you with us. I’ve taken the liberty of merging your thread into this thread, presuming that you meant to respond rather than to start a whole new topic…?

The SysReq key on the PC/AT keyboard was in many ways a “political” key. Think back to the time frame all this was happening and the mindset of the IBM “big iron” sales people. Here are these PC guys, saying all this stuff that you can do with a PC so that you don’t need a mainframe. The keyboard thus became one of the war zones (there were many) for control between the PC and Mainframe guys. It was one step in the “control the hearts and minds of IBM’s loyal big-iron customers”. By comparing the nextgen keyboard, which went to the 101 key “surfboard” layout of the 3270 style, you can see who won and who lost.

But there was another reason for that key that would have changed history, and that, alas, cannot be told. Not yet.

I’m not asking anything. I just felt the reference to porn was gratuitous. I know Cecil has answered questions about semen calorie count and other such topics, but in a technical article with no relation to sex, I don’t see any reason to include it. I can’t forward the link to people in the office, for example, when it has such a mention.

Una Persson? Well call me Catherine Cornelius…

Was this a psycho-active article? :slight_smile:



fierra - Both the shifted and unshifted PrtScn/SysReq keystrokes will take a snapshot of the screen under Windows (well at least on 2k+, but IIRC it works in 95/98 as well). The Alt version snapshots just the current window.

aepervious - Actually they are atomic characters that cannot be combined within a single character location. In other words “e”+"`" is not equivalent to “è” (even if your locale provides you with shortcut entry of those characters, it is performing a character conversion). Not that it isn’t useful. :slight_smile:

Tradnor - “I just felt the reference to porn was gratuitous.” - or funny depending on your persective, especially if you have read a substantial amount of Moorcock (or even just The Adventues of Catherine Cornelius and Una Persson).
“I can’t forward the link to people in the office, for example, when it has such a mention.” Bummer - and of course they are fine with an article on “Straight Dope” that doesn’t (briefly) mention lesbian porn, right? (And if the board will turn their attention to Straight Dope article #xxx…)

I just wanted to point out an exception: the TeX document preparation system uses it to specify a left quote (open quote) symbol. I wish word processors did too…

The System Request was used on other IBM operating systems, and was seen as a requirement for the PC keyboard because at one time IBM was actively marketing PCs and PS2s as TERMINALS to IBM mainframes/minicomputers. (In fact, some systems shipped with a PC as the main system console)

System Request was used to get the attention of the system and access supervisory functions, (at least on System 34/36 if I remember correctly).

At one time (before windows 3.1) the number one usage of IBM PC’s in academic environments was as 3270 emulators, with IRMA boards (interfaces to the IBM coax). The System Request was used to “switch between the LU-LU and SSCP-LU sessions.”

dr. andrew mossberg

Yes, but that is not an adequate reason to add the SysRq key when the PC-AT came out, for 3270 emulators had already picked a substitute keystroke for the 3270 SysReq key. If that had been the justification, it would have been much saner to add F11, F12, PA1, and PA2, far more important, and far more often used, whereas, in actual fact, F11 and F12 were not added to PCs (except custom-made 3270-PC devices) until two years later, and PA1 and PA2 have to be simulated to this day. An adequate reason, and one that matches well with the actual implementation of the SysRq key in BIOS, is that it was intended for calling up a task manager or similar function on a future, protected-mode operating system. (OS/2 was more than three years off, and the inept clone of OS/2 variously known over the years as “Windows NT”, “Windows 2000”, and “Windows XP”, more than eight, but IBM promised that a protected-mode operating system would be available when they announced the AT.) For reasons unknown to me (but probably having to do with Microsoft stupidity), Ctrl-Esc was chosen instead.