Q. Why do you have questions here that clearly aren't Frequently Asked ?

Despite what you may think you read, the F in UA FAQ doesn't stand for Frequently. FNORD

Like isoma said, "possibly because no-one fancies calling the folder Seemingly-Random-Queries-Of-An-Arbitrary-Nature".

Q. How do I get to UA2 ?

telnet ua2.org

Q. How do I get to Macclesfield ?

Head out of Manchester on the A6 and follow the signs

Q. Where's Bowlers where they have the computer fairs ?

See http://www.computermarkets.co.uk/MANCHESTER.html. This also has the dates and times on, sometimes.

Q. When are the semester start/end dates ?


Q. How do I edit my message in UA ?

         ^B - Back a character           ^F - Forwards a character
^H,DEL,BKSP - Delete a character         ^W - Delete a word
         ^A - Start of line              ^E - End of line
      ^P,^U - Previous line              ^N - Next line
         ^K - Kill line                  ^X - Join lines
   Arrow keys
   ESCAPE - finish

Q. How do I set the title of an xterm ?

See http://www.linuxdoc.org/HOWTO/mini/Xterm-Title.html.

Q. Why aren't I getting syntax highlighting / color PINE / color UA on my terminal ?

Try setting export TERM=xterm-color

Note this is a "hacky" solution that can break other things (like MS telnet).

In vi, you also probably need to add ":syntax on" as well.

Q. Where can I get POSIX standards info ?

If you're on Linux, the man-pages have detailed standards info (make sure to get a recent package though). The POSIX standard is available for free here.

Q. How do I remove HTML tags from a string in Perl ?


Q. Is there a free cddb server ?

I'm sure there's several, but one is cddb.plig.net:888.

Q. How do I convert LaTeX into a suitable MicroSoft form ?

Take a look at http://www.tug.org/utilities/texconv/textopc.html.

Q. Currency converter, la ?


Q. Hummm, train timetables !


Q. Where are all these meta-shopping sites?

Q. How can I identify what nameserver/version a dns server is (remotely)?

dig @<nameserver> version.bind. txt chaos

Q. What's the UA development server ?


Q. What's a suitable .qUAckrc ?

<browse=1/> [Windows users]
<browser="/usr/bin/netscape"/> [Unix users]

Q. How do I read in a line in C ?

One reasonable way is shown at readline.c. The problems with this function are left as an exercise for the reader.

Note that the spd_malloc and spd_realloc routines used there check for NULL themselves.

Basically, don't do it in C. If you are foolish enough to be happy with a fixed-size buffer, you can use fgets() instead (don't).

If you care naught for portability and are on Linux, use getline(3)

Q. Which is which string stream header in GNU C++ ?

<strstream> contains the old incompatible string stream interface.

<sstream> contains the new standard-compliant version. You can use a sstream file with older compilers to remain standards-compliant with older gcc versions.

Q. Aren't there any standard specified-width integer types in C ?

There is stdint.h, which I believe is mentioned in the standard. There you will find uint32_t and lots of other fun things - have a look.

Q. What's MCC's newsserver called ?

localnews.mcc.ac.uk - and no, you don't get man.cs.* there. Don't use news.mcc.ac.uk.

Q. How do I find out what password is set in a Windows application ?

http://www.ntsecurity.nu/toolbox/snitch/ might help.

Q. What does 'DETAGGED' as the registrant for a domain in whois(1) mean?

That the ISP has given up control of the domain. See this explanation.

Q. How about another newsserver ?

news.cis.dfn.de apparently.

Q. SMS to e-mail gateway ?


Q. Who are these Agent guys ?

Info here.

Q. Where's that anagram generator ?

Q. Is there a multimedia search engine ?

http://multimedia.lycos.com/ or http://gallery.yahoo.com

Q. Is there a STD phone number searcharoo thing ?

http://www.brainstorm.co.uk/uk_std_code_search.htm, http://www.brainstorm.co.uk/stdcodes.csv

Q. I need the postcode for a street ...


Q. How do I find out h/w config on a UNIX ?

Look at http://perso.club-internet.fr/sgarnaud/unixtools/index.html for some shell scripts with the answer.

Q. How do I convert from a DOS ASCII file to a UNIX one (i.e. remove the trailing ^M's) ?

  • perl -pli~ -e 's/^V^M//' <files>
  • or TMUVCITWE :%s/^V^M//
  • or tr -d \\r <infile >outfile

Q. Is there a shell variable holding the return code of a process ?

Yes. For sh-like shells, the variable is $? and for csh-like shells, its $status.

Q. What is this randomfile.rxq ?

You can track down the meaning by extension (assuming file randomfile.rxq isn't helpful) at http://kresch.com/exts/ext.htm. Another good one is http://www.wotsit.org/

Q. Where can I get a list of the country TLDs ?


Q. What does s/something/something else/g mean ?

Substitute (implictly, in the above text) every occurence of "something" with "something else". As in UNIX utility sed. s/implictly/implicitly/g

Q. How do I play Mornington Crescent ?

What a great game ! The website http://www.thurible.co.uk/crescent.html has everything you need to know.

Q. But what about Mornington Croissant ?

Ah, the continental variation. This fell into disrepute some time ago and is not played any more, except by a few lone herders.

Q. Where's the damned TV guides ?

Q. Where's Beej's guide to network programming ?


Q. Where can I get the capon sample ?


Q. How do I change all occurences of a string in vi

For one line : :s/oldstring/newstring/g

For all lines : :%s/oldstring/newstring/g

Q. How do I change all filenames to lowercase, recursively, from the current directory ?

Try this :

# usage: lowerise <files/dirs>
# unbelievable programming brilliance by movement
for i in "$@"
   if [ -d "$i" ]
      (cd "$i"; lowerise *;)
      NEW="`echo \"$i\" | tr '[A-Z]' '[a-z]'`"
      if [ ! -e "$NEW" ]
         mv -f "$i" "$NEW"
   if [ -f "$i" ]
      NEW="`echo \"$i\" | tr '[A-Z]' '[a-z]'`"
      if [ ! -e "$NEW" ]
         mv -f "$i" "$NEW"

Q. How do I use screen with UA ?

exec screen telnet ua2.org

And : "Well, ^A d to detach, and "screen -r" to reattach."

Scrolling in screen : ^A then Esc, then vi-like keys (or arrow/pageup/pagedown/etc) to move. Then Esc to abort.

^A:scrollback <lines> to set the number of lines in the scrollback.

Q. How can I start putty with the settings of a saved session ?

putty @sessionname

Q. How can I run a process when I have logged out ?

If you want to run it at some particular time, you can set up a regular execution with cron, or a one-shot execution with at. If you want to start it immediately, you can use the nohup command to set the job as background, and it seems the standard ^Z then "bg" command pair seems to also work.

Q. Why doesn't pow(),sqrt(),log() ... work in my C program ?

You need to add -lm to the compile line. This will then dynamically link the standard maths library, where all these functions are stored. As a general rule anything that needs to include math.h will need to link with the maths library.

Q. I wrote a test program, but when I run it, nothing gets ouput !

Short answer: don't call your program test
Long answer: 'test' is a utility used in shell scripts. The shell will search along your PATH variable looking for the command you typed in unless you specify a directory as well. So you can either add . to the front of $PATH (not recommended), or you can invoke your program as ./test

Q. Why does screen keep telling me about collapsing dungeons and scrolls of logging ?

It's been compiled with nethack support.

Q. What's with all these "X-Topper" ratings ?

Let the esteemed Topper explain himself :
Topper Scale for URL sexual content rating v1.0(a)

0. Fully clothed.
1. Very slight nudity - bikinis, underwear, etc or 'Artistic' nudity, such as that used in perfume ads - you know she's naked, but they're not showing any of the /good/ bits.
2. Frontal nudity. Breasts on full view.
3. Full frontal nudity (British jazz-mag stylee). Breasts and genitalia (unstimulated) on view.
4. Full frontal nudity (Merkin jazz-mag stylee). Breasts and genitalia (stimulated by the hand, but nothing else) on view.
5. Full frontal nudity (European jazz-mag stylee). Breats and genitalia (stimulated by, or receiving insertion of, fingers or dildo).
6. Softcore pornographic. Faked/simulated penetration or oral sex.
7. Hardcore pornographic. Actual penetration (vaginal, oral or anal).
8. Mildly perverse. Insertion or penetration of foodstuffs, kitchen utensils, hardware, writing implements, sporting equipment, etc. Infliction of slight injury for sexual pleasure
9. Perverse. Involving live animals, really old people, inflicting /very/ nasty injuries for sexual pleasure, watersports.
10. Highly perverse. Involving oral consumption of faeces, urine or vomitus; infliction of fatal or near-fatal injury for sexual pleasure; use of corpses (human or otherwise).
The rating given to a URL is to be the highest relevant one. For example, if a fully-clothed couple are simulating sexual intercourse, it would receive a 6, rather than a 0.
If the content of the URL is entirely non-sexual it is to be given an 'n/a' rating. Other potentially offensive URLs will fall under another, as yet unnamed, rating scheme (the Phil, maybe? ;).

Q. I'm debugging with printf, but nothing gets printed !

You need to add a \n to flush the buffer. Depending on circumstances, you may also need to do fflush(stdout) or fflush(stderr) after the printf().

Q. Where are compsoc's web server access and error logs ?

Cunningly hidden in /usr/local/var/log/

Q. I get wrong System.map version warnings in Linux - does it matter ?

Short answer is : not really. System.map is a text file consisting of kernel symbol names and associated addresses. It is useful for debugging kernel errors (oops messages), though these are hopefully very rare. No harm will come to a running system if you use the wrong version of this file (i.e. from a kernel different to the one running). However, things like ps axl may display wrong info (possibly ?) for the WCHAN field.

Q. How do I create a static library (lib.a) ?

cc -c file.c
ar -r file.a file.o
ranlib file.a  

Q. What is a compressor ?

A compressor does not "make the quiet parts of a signal louder, and the loud bits quieter." Read the SOS article.

Q. How do I turn keyboard click off on the Suns ?

click -n

Q. how do i run exceed on the PCs to run Xwindows apps ?

first, telnet to a UNIX machine you are running the app from :

  • [telnet app to <machine>.cs.man.ac.uk and login]
  • now type "who" in telnet and pay attention to the value in brackets. this could be an IP number or a hostname, e.g.:
    moz      ttyp0    May  7 09:33 (
    alex     ttyp2    May  7 10:59 (taylor.ma.man.ac.uk)
  • now type (changing the IP number for the yours from the "who") :
    export DISPLAY=
    you'll need to change this line if you're not using bash or ksh.
  • now start up exceed on the PC (just plain exceed, ignore everything else). If you're using a UNIX instead, you can use the X server as normal, but you will need to do xhost +pg020.cs.man.ac.uk or whatever to allow remote access to your X server.
  • now you can run Xwindows apps by entering commands in the telnet window:
    xfig &
  • ba-da-bing !

Q. URLs:

TCP/IP Illustrated book http://www.dqc.org/~chris/
Mark Thomas, Hero http://www.mtcp.co.uk/
Fax gateway http://www.tpc.int
Chris Morris quotes http://www.koekie.org.uk/cgi-bin/quote.cgi
Installing a network PostScript printer on a Sun workstation running SunOS, as illustrated through interpretive dance http://www.randywanker.com/dance/docs/install.html
Weird band names: very weird :-) home.earthlink.net/~chellec/
instructions for women to pee standing up www.restrooms.org
Purity tests www.armory.com/tests/

Q. what does ... mean ?

OTIOSOTAAISATYSEPDNNCTIHBSSWIEOWIASBRMPISAWATMISE "Okay, this is other side of the argument, and I still acknowledge that your side exists. Please do not now claim that I have blindly said something way in excess of what I actually said, by rephrasing my point in such a way as to make it sound extremist."
NSVBBB New Server Version Blah Blah Blah (response to bug reports or feature requests)
ROTFL rolls on the floor laughing
LOL lots of laughter / laughs out loud
BTDT been there, done that
if you swim if you see what i mean
SORN song of right now
IOW in other words
HTH, HAND hope this helps, have a nice day
TIA thanks in advance
PITA pain in the arse
AFAIK as far as i know
AFAICR as far as i can remember
IIRC if i remember correctly
ISTR i seem to remember
FFS for fuck's sake
WTF what/why the fuck
BOFH bastard operator from hell
TYVM thank you very much
UA UnAxcess
UnAxcess pun on unix access, apparently
LAM look at me !
monce not gash
gash not monce
AIUI as I understand it
YA$personAICM$amount You are $person, And I Claim My $amount


There's a conference called LIMBO, where editors/witnesses are supposed to move messages that are irrelevant to the conference they were posted in, ready for the editor of a more suitable conference to grab it for theirs. The time when the message is invisible to normal users is when the message is in LIMBO, in 2 senses of the word, therefore.

Q. Why is this page such a mess ?

Because I'm lazy.

Contributions from Aho, isoma, Khendon, The Mountie, Topper, Anthony. Written by Movement.

Something missing eh ? Something wrong (on this page, not in your life or whatever. Although if you want to talk, Big Brother always there for you.) ? Then tell me all