Wednesday, March 17, 2010

bash for loop

Oooh, I just saw Bash for loop examples.

I definitely like:

for i in {1..100}

I don't usually need to step forward in increments greater than 1, but for that there's

for i in {1...100..2}

Of course there's also

for (( c=1; c<=100; c++ )) do ... done

which is what i've used in the past, but I always forget about the double parens.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

grandr on toshiba satellite karmic dual monitor setup

When I first installed a second monitor on Ubuntu Karmic, the dual monitor setup was trivial. The built-in method (System | Preferences | Display) worked very well.

Lately though (possibly due to a package upgrade) that method stopped working perfectly. It couldn't identify the external monitor model (showing it as Unknown), and when I'd select the correct resolution for it (1440x900), on gnome restart or laptop reboot, some icons on the left of the desktop would be all scrunched up together, dragging a window from the external monitor (left) to the laptop monitor (right) would have the window end up partly on the left and partly on the right. It wouldn't go all the way to the right edge of the laptop monitor. As if the virtual screen width had changed to something a *lot* shorter.

I just installed grandr and ran that. It sees better than an Unknown monitor, and the virtual screen width is back to normal. I don't know yet if this fix will survive reboots. But it probably will. And if it doesn't, well, it'll be a reasonable workaround until I upgrade to Lucid.

Friday, March 05, 2010

gnucash OFX

I started playing with gnucash a month or so ago. I ran into a bunch of problems and it turns out they're mostly due to export file format I chose.

My bank supports OFX-MS-Money, OFX-Quicken and Quicken. I saw a post that said to avoid quicken because there were issues with identifying transactions as having already been loaded (when loading the same transactions twice, either because the same export file was loaded twice, or because two export files intersect). So I avoided Quicken and OFX-Quicken.

Unfortunately OFX-MS-Money has a worse problem. For some reason, the export files produced by my bank (might be the bank's problem, might be a gnucash bug, or it might just be a bogosity in the file format, or an obscure interaction among these and other features), would load into gnucash, but for the checking account, some transactions would be lost. I doubt if the transactions were really missing, but gnucash was somehow not seeing them.

I tried the Quicken file format the other day. All transactions loaded correctly and so importing a month's worth of data was very little effort. Gnucash also asks for particular expense sources (this grocery, that pharmacy, that other restaurant, etc) to be identified as to which kind of transaction they were. That's nice since for future months, those expenses will be correctly allocated to the correct account.

Unfortunately, Quicken has a weakness in that the transaction entries were missing a lot of information. For withdrawals, for instance, OFX-MS-Money would indicate which ATM card (Sol's or mine), as well as what ATM branch the transaction was made at. The Quicken format would just have a description of WITHDRAWAL and a memo field of ATM. And it was similarly silent for a lot of other transactions.

So, while the Quicken imports very nicely and has some great usability shortcuts, I can't use it since I forget what particular transactions are about IN THE SAME WEEK, let alone a month or two later.

Fortunately the OFX-Quicken format (which gnucash calls QFX) has *most* (not all, but enough) of the information from OFX-MS-MONEY, and the accuracy of loading of the Quicken format. We don't have a *huge* number of transactions per month. It only takes 30 minutes or so to load a month's worth of transactions and correctly assign expenses to the correct account. And I don't have to walk through the checking transactions doing a binary search for missing transactions.

At some point we'll have bank accounts at other banks. When that happens I'll be able to compare accuracy of other bank OFX-MS-Money files and determine if the bug is in gnucash or in my current bank's export file :-). I'm betting on a gnucash bug, myself. But now that I've got OFX-Quicken working, I don't care enough to replicate the bug. Maybe I'll do that on the easter weekend, if we don't go anywhere.