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FutureTech Reference List Format

You will probably be curious as to the nature of the layout I've chosen for the FutureTech Reference List (132 columns max). The reason is that I want this file to be processable by grep and other pattern matching programs (grep, for those who don't know, is a UNIX command which, given an input string and a file, will output all lines in that file containing the target string). UNIX users should use a wide terminal window when doing grep operations, or redirect the output into a file. Yes, it's a pain that the file is not a nice neat 80 columns wide, but the layout gives one the ability to retrieve all article references for a particular date, issue number, author, subject, etc., using a piped series of grep commands - such an ability is a simple but powerful search tool; eg. one could do:

   grep FOX futrtech.txt | grep '95/' | grep S04

and get back a list of all articles written by Barry Fox during 1995 on the subject of memory and storage technologies. I think this facility far outweighs the desire for a 'neat' 80 column layout; it also makes the file alot shorter in lines by about a third. Note that most grep operations are safer with the operands enclosed in quotes.

Obviously, one can't use grep to search a web page, so if you want to search the list using grep then download the FutureTech Reference List (115K non-HTML version), or alternatively the compressed versions if your Internet link speed is low: [zipped version (42K) | gzipped version (42K)]; use your mouse right button to save to disk. The text search functions contained in web browsers will work ok, but they won't bring back complete lists of results like grep can.

Reference format:

<section>/<magazine>/<date>/[<optional issue number>/]<author>/[F]<page ref>: 'header' "subheader"

Feature articles include 'F' before the page reference, and the page spread is given too, separated by an underscore (eg. Fp23_27, means Feature article on pages 23 to 27. The underscore is used so as not to conflict with the hyphen character, used in dates, when using grep). If an article title is obscure, my own subheader is given in brackets () instead of double-quotes "".

The date is always day-month-year (my apologies to US readers, but month-day-year has always seemed a little illogical to me), two digits each (eg. 12-01-95 is 12th January 1995). Some magazines don't use issue numbers (they use months instead). For such publications, the issue number is replaced with a month abbreviation, ie. one of JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JLY AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC. To aid grepping, the date is given too but the day is shown as 00.

The author key is given at the end of the file. To grep for just an author name, do something like this:

   machine% grep SVJ futrtech.txt | grep =
     SVJ = Svetlana Josifovska


   machine% grep John futrtech.txt | grep =
     BOB = Bob Johnstone
     EMS = John Emsley
     GRB = John Gribbin
     HRG = John Horgan
     JCS = John Casti
     JMC = John McCrone

Web references use code numbers and may not include a date or issue number at all (for obvious reasons). The web reference index is at the very end of the file. Format: WRxxx, where xxx is a three digit number. Grep will help alot when looking up web references; eg.:

   machine% grep WR001 futrtech.txt
S02/CIC/31-12-94/WR001:               1994 CPU Announcement Archives
   WR001 = http://infopad.eecs.berkeley.edu/CIC/announce/index-1994.html

(grepping with '/WRxxx' instead of 'WRxxx' would show only titles)

If an article reference is split over more than one line, then the the reference block is repeated at the start of each line. This makes grep retrieve the complete subheader during searches which find articles whose subheaders do not fit onto a single line.

If you're wondering why the reference format has things such as 'i' before issue numbers, it's because it allows one to do more accurate grep operations.

New additions to this file are always marked with a '+' at the start of each line. Thus, doing a grep on the file with "+" will dump all the latest entries since the last edition of the file.

Finally, regarding the downloadable ASCII version of the reference list: if you want to pass the list onto someone else, please give them the entire original file (ie. include the introduction and instructions). Do not distribute the list in an altered form (I don't want emails moaning about the wide format).

I hope you find the reference list useful. Comments, suggestions and additions are most welcome.

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Ian's SGI Depot: FOR SALE! SGI Systems, Parts, Spares and Upgrades

(check my current auctions!)
[Future Technology Research Index] [SGI Tech/Advice Index] [Nintendo64 Tech Info Index]