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From: Kent Che-Wah
Subject: Bugs found in article

"Creating Online Help for Vi" by Michael Harold on Page 93 "Listing 5," some codes look like this:

DATE=`date|awk '{print $1 " " $2 " " $3}'`
TIME=`date|awk '{print $4}'|cut -c1-5`
USER=`who am i|awk '{print $1}'`
#MAILMSG='grep Message-Id: $MAIL|wc -l'
echo $DATE $TIME|awk ' { printf("DATE: %-4s%-4s%-45sTIME: %-5s\n", $1, $2, $3, $4) }'
#echo $MAILMSG $USER|awk '{ printf("MAIL: %-53sUSER: %-15s\n", $1, $2) }'

echo "exit" > formkey
exit 0

The $MAIL variable is never declared anywhere. I believed that it was an environment variable setup. The codes hang up because it was undeclared in my environment. I use Sun OS4.1.3.

Thank you for your comments.

You are correct about the MAIL variable. It should be set in the user's .profile using commands similar to the following:

MAIL=/usr/spool/mail/`logname`; export MAIL

The location of user's mail files vary among systems. The example shell script identifies the number of mail messages by counting the number of lines in the user's mail file containing the string "Message-Id."

I developed the script on SCO Unix and ported it to DG/UX. In addition to changing the path to the user's mail files I had to substitute egrep for the grep command since DG/UX's grep does not support the "-e" argument.

Michael Harold <>

From: Dennis G German <>
Subject: Sys Admin Paper&font

I have been meaning to mention this. It appears since the new ownership there has been a change in the paper used in the Sys Admin journal. The new paper seems glossy and thinner. It appears that the type font used is also a little smaller. I had always found it a pleasure to read copy that had a very matte finish, didn't reflect, and graphics from the opposite side of the page don't show through.

The articles always somehow manage to discuss a problem I just started having and I continue to look forward to every issue. I hope I can keep up with a monthly issue.

Thank You,
Dennis G German
Warner Insurance Services, Inc.
Fairlawn, NJ USA

Thanks for noticing the matte finish. For several years I've "bucked" other opinions in the company and insisted that we print on a matte-finish coated stock -- purely because I know it's an easier read. I think you are perhaps the first reader who has commented on that. It's nice to know someone noticed.

We did, recently change to a lighter paper -- but it's the same matte finish we've always used, just a lighter grade. Sys Admin is now on the same paper as our other matte-finish publications. That results in some economies at the printer and some substantial savings in mailing costs. We needed those economies to help offset the increased production costs associated with going monthly.

We are now doing the typesetting on Macs under Quark. That platform offers some significant advantages over our prior setup (Ventura on a PC). But like everything, it also has some disadvantages -- and the type problem you've spotted is one of them. The main book typeface is the same font and size we used in our earlier Ventura setup. But, we're using a different font for the code and code fragments. I think that font is what creates the impression that the type is smaller.

Personally, I'm pretty unhappy about the change. Previously we used a letter gothic font which I had heavily modified to better display certain characters important to programmers. The custom font was extremely condensed -- which allowed us to use a larger point size and still get entire URLs and other code structures to fit in a column. Equal signs and minus signs had been changed to print well, even when compressed. (I hate it when the C increment, decrement, and logical equality operators run together.) Without the benefit of that condensed face, we have to use a smaller face to get meaningful "chunks" of text to fit in a column.

Unfortunately, that font didn't make the transition to the Mac environment. Even though the modified font was available as a Postscript outline, the MFI support staff was unwilling to install it. I think it amounts to their not wanting to take long-term responsibility to support one of my kludges. I understand that unwillingness in the abstract, but not in this specific instance. The font is Postscript. What's the difference?

At this point, I've pretty much given up on getting acceptance for my "homebrew" font, but Martha and I are still trying to find ways to beat this problem. Perhaps someone out there knows a commercially available, highly-condensed, mono-spaced Postscript font that would be appropriate? -- rlw