Bonus: Tying up loose ends

I seem to have reached a milestone: I’ve run aground with practical entries that start with the letter A.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t any more out there; of course there are plenty more. No doubt I will brush up against them in the weeks and months to come.

And technically speaking, my list is not complete. I have a dozen applications that I either lack the expertise, hardware or source files to run.

So I’ve split them into two categories for the convenience of rounding out the A list, and it’s the same two categories I always use: those I just don’t understand, and those I suspect are dead. Help me out with either, if you can.

First, the stuff I lack the expertise or hardware or ambition to appreciate.

  • 7za: Yes, I know, it doesn’t start with A. But it’s at the top of my list. I’m going to pull rank here and say that, given that there are dozens of archive formats, and given that each one has its own esoteric command-line decompression tool, there’s little point in me scraping through each one. Much like audio formats, for each codec there’s a tool, and they all work much the same. I hope you’re not disappointed.
  • aaquake2 and aaut: The source code for Quake II is freely downloadable, but won’t compile for me. As far as I can tell, you need the original data files for Unreal Tournament to make the ASCII version work. I am afraid I lack that.
  • adplay: This is a command-line player for a specific audio format — adlib. I just explained why I won’t tinker with this: I talked about mpg321 and ogg321 a month or two ago; there’s little I could say about this that would be much different from those two … or any of dozens like them.
  • aes2501-wy: This is command-line scanning software for AES2501 USB fingerprint readers. Its output is a pnm file, if I understand correctly. I don’t have one of these scanners.
  • aften: This encodes audio files in A/52 format, which I think is (or was) used with DVDs. That’s a bit esoteric for me to pursue.
  • agsync: A tool to synchronize between the AvantGo data service and specific handheld devices. I think that says it all.
  • amap-align: “AMAP is a command line tool to perform multiple alignment of peptidic sequences.” I don’t even know what that means, which says to me I probably don’t have any business installing this. 🙄
  • apmd: apmd allows users to control advanced power management systems in some laptops. I believe this is outdated though. Arch does not have this as a standalone package, and Debian’s version complains that there is no support in the kernel. I can take a hint.
  • arping: arping is probably already on your system; in Arch, arping is part of iputils. For what I have read about arping, the only clear benefit over regular ping is the ability to ping specific MAC addresses. Correct me if I am wrong.
  • ash: ash apparently is a subset of dash? 😕 Regardless, shells are not quite applications in my mind and I’d prefer not to delve too deeply into those. There are a half-dozen popular ones and a dozen unpopular; they deserve a blog of their own.
  • asql: “asql is a simple console shell which allows you to run SQL queries against an Apache logfile.” I don’t have an Apache server, and if I did I wouldn’t know what to do with it. If you do, please try this out.
  • asterisk: A long, long time ago I worked with PBX systems, but I haven’t a clue what this would do now or how to use it. It’s on the list, so I mention it.
  • asymptote: “Asymptote is a powerful descriptive vector graphics language that provides a natural coordinate-based framework for technical drawing.” If you can tell me what that means, maybe I’ll have an idea how to get started with it.
  • aucdtect: I deliberated long and hard about trying this, but I still can’t figure out what use it would be to anyone, really. If I am testing an audio file to see if it is an actual CD … don’t I already know that it’s a file, and therefore not a CD? Maybe I misunderstand. That happens sometimes.
  • auctex: If you have experience with LaTeX, you might find this useful. I would be starting from ground zero with it, and by the time I got to the point where auctex might be interesting, it would probably be 2017. If you know LaTeX, you’ll have a head start on me.

These last few may or may not be dead. Some of them might be phantom entries on my list, or I might just have them spelled wrong. Or they might have been pulled by their authors. There’s only one way to be sure: Ask the Internet. 😉

  • apercu: This is listed on Softpedia, but the homepage is gone and the source is not downloadable. I found two other projects called apercu, but one is graphical and the other is an empty site.
  • aqsis: I can find nothing on the web about this. It’s not in AUR and not in Debian’s vast repositories, either.
  • astwar: I found this on the Games on the Linux console site, and it looked like fun. Unfortunately, my attempt to build it with cvs threw out a lot of compiler errors that I am unprepared to deal with.
  • audio burn: I can’t find anything called “audio burn” out there in the world. I don’t think it’s a real application; I might have mistyped this.
  • autojump: I managed to build and install this, but then it crashed every time I tried to use it. I never got past adding the first directory, because it exploded as soon as I did. I might have been using it wrong. I have seen where other people got it working, but I’m not sure how.

And I think that’s it. Shall we start the B section? 😉

6 thoughts on “Bonus: Tying up loose ends

  1. Ethan

    For the record, asymptote is used with LaTeX to make pretty graphs. With the right code, you can embed fancy drawings/diagrams in Latex documents using asymptote. I am sure it can be used for much more, though. Have you ever heard of Inkscape? I believe that asymptote can be used to create diagrams from markup code, much like LaTeX uses markup to make pretty PDFs. However, I know LaTeX, which is not nearly as scary as it looks, but I have only dabbled with asymptote. Latex is to word as asymptote is to Inkscape.

  2. gewg_

    An asymptote is a line that a curve (e.g. a hyperbola) approaches but never touches.
    It sounds like you supply an equation (e.g. x^2 – y^2 = c) and specify limits (or, as Ethan says, supply a data set) and the app plots the curve/points.

    This reminds me of an old joke.
    The stunning female academic proposed a game to two educated men:
    When either of the men gave a favorable response, he could halve the distance to her.
    The mathematician, realizing that he could never reach her location, declined.
    The engineer, realizing that he could get close enough for practical purposes, accepted.

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