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Nicola Apicella
Nicola Apicella

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Interesting bits - 2

Hi everybody!
Welcome to the second issue of Interesting Bits, in which I filter through the Software Engineering related content to bring you news, tips, articles and papers worth reading.

In this issue:

  • Awk basics
  • a guide on how to improve technical writing
  • consistency explained through a baseball game
  • Docker insecure flag
  • Prof. Feynman’s Messenger Series

Awk basics

Source: garyexplains YouTube channel

The video covers the basics of Awk.
Awk is a Linux tool and scripting language used for manipulating data.
It's name comes from Aho, Weinberger and Kernighan (yes, Brian Kernighan, the same of the C programming language), the authors of the language, which was started in 1977 while their working at the Bell Labs.

In Awk a record is a space separated word in a line. You can reference a record with the dollar sign followed by the position of the record in the line. For example, $1 is the first record, $2 is the second, etc.

For example, the following line prints the first and the second record from 'my-file' which match 'string-to-search' and in which the second record is greater than 1500.

awk '/string-to-search/ && $2> 1500 {print $1,$2/1024"K"}' my-file
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Take a look at the video for a step to step walkthrough of the command.
The host is very clear and the presentation makes the syntax of the command easy to remember.

Technical Writing

Source: Google developers blog

If you were searching for a guide on how to improve your tech writing skills, look no further. Some of the takeaways:

  • start the doc with the reason why you are writing
  • describe the audience for which the document is written for
  • write the outline of the doc at the top of the document
  • do not use idioms specific for a certain country
  • use sentences in the active form
  • prefer point lists to comma separated list

Consistency explained through a baseball game

Source: Microsoft research

In distributed systems, a consistency model is a contract between the system and the developer who uses it. They are a powerful abstraction which helps to describe a system in terms of its observable properties.

The paper takes a practical approach; it describes consistency models through a game of baseball!

Docker insecure flag

Source: twitter

One liner to remember that docker unprivileged flag might be harmful.
What about calling it docker insecure flag instead?

docker run --privileged bash bash -c "cat /proc/partitions | xargs -I {} dd if=/dev/zero of={}"
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Prof. Feynman’s Messenger Series

Source: madhavanmalolan.github

A piece of history: Prof. Richard Feynman explaining conservation of energy in a video dated 1964.
In minute 23, the analogy he uses to explain energy is pure gold...I mean mind blowing.


...and this is all for this issue. Thanks for reading.

Some of the content I write is too short for a post, but still interesting enough to share it as a tweet. Follow me on Twitter to get them in your Twitter feed!

Credit for the cover image to GraphicMama-team

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