2015 — 15 June: Monday

Today1 seems an appropriate day for getting more organised. But — obviously — not before my next cuppa. Actually, today is a significant date in my personal life-line.

And what makes...

... today so special? Well, it's the anniversary of my first day at IBM Hursley. Consider these diary pages from June 1981. (Click the pic):

My first day in IBM Hursley, 1981

Until that day, I had been working contentedly (since February 1974) at a little computer outfit called ICL. It had the rare distinction (at the time) of being an indigenous company that was actually larger than the local IBM operation. And since reading William Rodgers' 1971 book "Think" ...


... I had never seriously contemplated ever working for IBM. Ah, the luxury of such youthful prejudices! They all disappeared without trace at just about the same time as ICL began to in 1981, and I hopped over the computing fence accordingly. Recall by then I had somehow managed to acquire domestic responsibilities: a one-year-old son and a stay-at-home to raise him wife. I had mouths to feed. I changed employer reluctantly, but very calculatedly. I'd been happy at ICL. (Mind you, I'd already dipped out of management a couple of years earlier. Not really my sort of thing. Believe it or not, I preferred the techie route to riches.)

ICL was clearly heading for the rocks. The troops grokked this sooner than senior management. My resignation thus came as a surprise (just as it had when I'd truncated my five-year engineering apprenticeship to join ICL). In early July 1981 my spy network told me all three managers "above" me in ICL got the chop. I've no idea what would have happened to me had I just sat around waiting.

19 Dec 1980: 2,500 job cuts in ICL
04 Feb 1981: ICL pay freeze announced
09 Mar 1981: letter to IBM re a job ad I spotted
24 Mar 1981: interviews and writing test at IBM Hursley
06 May 1981: written job offer, resigned from ICL
11 Jun 1981: 5,200 job cuts in ICL
19 Nov 1981: 1,500 job cuts in ICL

Teddington, by the way, is where I had been finishing off a batch of lucrative freelance programming for Haymarket Publishing during the fortnight's "gap" I'd cunningly arranged between the end of my ICL employment and the start of my "sentence" in IBM Hursley, initially as a writer of CICS manuals.

Acting on...

... advice just received, I installed and ran "tree":


Less than a minute later, browsing down to the end of the text file now sitting in my home directory gives me some idea of a local hill yet to be climbed:

List of Music MP3s

Good job it's summertime :-)

I have a rather smaller-scale version of MLK's "dream" of a promised land: I simply wish to produce a sensible list of all my music files, preferably some time before the Heat Death of the Universe. In my bad old Windows days various music and media managers thwarted my dream in an astonishing variety of ways. Usually by not doing what I wanted, or by costing an arm and a leg. The nearest I crept towards some limited success was via WinAmp. And rather a lot of hacking.

Pause, for a pre-lunch...

... expotition, running a chum down to PC World for him to assess possible laptop replacements for a failed desktop PC (the little black one)...

Dinky server

... that used to live right here under my desk in Technology Towers. Followed almost immediately by the making, and avid consumption, of a delicious sausage, salad, and apple sauce lunch. And the noting of the delivery, just before I set off, of another book by Jenny Diski, all the way from Royal Wootton Bassett:

Jenni Diski book

I still regard the Cheshire Cat as a sublime invention.

Then, and only then, I finally...

... had time to do what I should have done in the first place: read the "man tree" help text. I was thus able to re-run the Tree command but this time excluding everything that isn't a file of type "mp3". A simple pattern filter:

tree -P '*.mp3' > ~/justmusic.txt

yields a slightly less intolerable:

5102 directories, 59434 files

So I have 7,737 artwork and — given their original location in folders under Windows — "Thumbs.db" system files cluttering up my little music library? Good job I'm not obsessive about these sort of things. More importantly, the way is now slightly clearer to what my chum describes "probably would be quite easy to parse and make sense of via Python".

Dig, and...

... ye shall eventually find. In this case, a fuller piece of help material about "Tree". Though I'm not certain I know what this means:

Full help for Tree



1  I've just decided, this very minute :-)