Friday, November 2, 2012

Thoughts on learning KSH

Thoughts on learning KSH (Korn Shell)

Suppose you're a person with minimal Unix experience, several years in the past, but now you have a job with some opportunity for KSH (Korn Shell) scripting.

What's a good way to go about learning it?

Here's a reasonably good "Korn Shell Beginner's Guide".  A good place to spend and hour and learn the basic concepts:

It's from IBM, and mentions "AIX",  but ksh is portable software and should work the same everywhere.

The next step depends on your goals.

Scenario 1: If you have simple ksh scripts you need to create, pick one that seems relatively easy, and start writing!  Some tips:
- Lots of simple questions can be answered by Googling. For example: "How to count to 10 in ksh" yields
- But Googling won't work for everyting so find someone that can answer your questions. Someone in your company or area that knows ksh and can help you when you get stuck is best.  But, if you can't find a local human, you might get help from:
- To learn, just keep writing and writing. It takes time, but every time you learn something or write something you're making progress.

Scenario 2: But, if you want to learn KSH, but don't yet have scripts you need to write, but you want to learn ksh?
- I used to buy books, but now believe I can learn almost anything I want from online resources.
Here is more info about ksh:
And there is:
In fact here is a pretty good book you can apparently read on-line!

I had hoped to find a good, free "how to learn programming with ksh" website, but I didn't. Sigh.

In any case, good luck!
-- Bryan

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tricorder - an Android App

In Star Trek, when Spock landed on an unfamiliar planet he pulled out his trusty tricorder to scientifically analyze the world around him.

"Tricorder" is an Android app that, rather amazingly, allows you to do the same thing.

It's a lot of fun to see the data pouring out of the phone's amazing set of sensors (accelerometers, magnetic field, microphone, GPS, network speed, etc.). The GPS view also shows a nifty compass.

You can read more about Tricorder at

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Radio stations on my Android phone

I have almost a thousand mp3's on my phone, but sometimes I'm in the mood for something new.

Pandora is not a bad idea.

Another is the I Heart Radio app. You only get the radio stations in their "network", but that's dozens or hundreds of stations. So far it's working well for me (but I do have a WiFi connection here).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Google Sky for Android - just pure fun

I noticed Google Sky on's list of Top 10 Android Apps You Must Have.

A quick download and I was amazed. Just point your phone at the sky and it displays the starts, constelations and planets you're seeing (or would be seeing if it wasn't cloudy). See a bright object that's probably a planet? Now you can instantly figure out which planet it is.

While not "essential" to your life, Google Sky Map is a lot of fun, and great to show your friends.

You can also see Google Sky on your PC. It's a feature of Google Earth.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Uploading photos

My phone has a great 8 megapixel camera. This morning I took a photo of the dawn sky, and of course I wanted to upload it to my blog.

My HTC Evo phone has a "Gallery" app for viewing photos, but I suspect it's part of the Sprint or HTC factory load. Whatever way you view photos, you should have a "share" button to upload.

Uploading to was a snap. The first time I needed to login to my Flickr account. You can add a description or upload multiple photos, and then the photo uploads in the background.

I was surprised the upload took 2 minutes 15 seconds, using Wi-Fi. I tried 3G and the upload only took 1 minute 25 seconds! I don't know if that was network speed, or possibly load on (I don't have 4G at my present location.)

I wanted to try Google's Picasa to compare speeds, but I hit a roadblock Apparently there is a bug if you do not have Picasa setup when your phone is initially setup. When I try to upload to Picasa, it wants me to login or create a Google account, I login, but then I'm just stuck in an account screen. In a forum there was a recommendation that you had to do a Factory Reset, something I don't want to attempt now. I don't know what data I would lose . . .

Here's another blogger's comments on uploading pictures:

Friday, June 25, 2010

Find a movie and show times on your Android phone

Yesterday I wanted to see a movie, and my Android phone was a lot of help.

First, I grabbed the "Movies" app (from Flixster Inc.), which seems to be the top rated movie app (4 1/2 stars).

It quickly showed me the theaters, sorted by nearness to my current location. I picked the closest theater, and got a great list of movies, including show time and Rotten Tomatoes critic score for each show. Open the movie and you can see the cast, comments from critics, or link to iMDB.

I can even watch preview trailers on my phone! Helps make up your mind. Most of the trailers downloaded in 30-60 seconds ( Wi-Fi), but one took over a minute, so your luck may vary.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Android's Speech to text works surprisingly well

Whenever I enter text on my Android phone, there is also a microphone icon. I didn't even try it at first because previous speech-to-text products I've tried were not worth the effort.

To my surprise, Android 2.1's speech-to-text works well enough to be useful, and is even kinda fun and impressive.

I even use it to show off my what my new phone can do.

Naturally, it works better if you speak clearly and not too fast. With a little practice, you get better at it. You can only enter five or six words at a time, but that probably helps keep the accuracy high.

Sometimes it captures the text exactly right, other times you have to fix a word or two. But, it might be the fastest way to enter text!

Here's a 3 minute video showing Android Speech-to-text on the Nexus One.