Sundry #8: Around the year in 80 posts

The first anniversary of this website is still a week away and this happens to be the 81st post, but it was too good an opportunity to pass in terms of word play. I am pretty sure that Jules Verne has stopped turning in his grave a long time back. I would have pretty much liked to hit the 3-figure mark in the first year but writing on this blog ends up taking the back seat ever so often, even as ideas continue to flow. I am afraid that even matching this number might be a tall task in the second year, though I hope to make up in quality for what might lack in quantity.

The numeric labelling of each post gives the complete picture in terms of how the posts are divided across the various categories, but here is a visualization of the same. Apparently, I am more of a critic and a philosopher.


I have already lamented the fact that I don't write as often as I can and the distribution of the posts over the year indicates how inconsistent I can be in putting my thoughts down. It is pretty much a function of free time.

Lastly, it is time for me to revisit the Word Cloud. Last time it was generated from the RSS feed which limited the extent of posts considered. However, this time I have gone the extra mile in extracting all the text and hence it should provide a better representation. Apparently, I need to be less possessive.

P.S. Around the sun in infinite ways?

Sundry #5: Word Cloud

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. In the case of a word cloud, it can't get any more literal. It is always interesting to get a visual representation of words for it paints an altogether different picture (pun intended). It is quite evident that the sheer size of my article on bitcoin dominates the word usage as well, so it will be interesting to see how it pans out as I post more articles. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the latest word cloud should be available at the following link:

Tutorial #2: Replace a specific string in Word using wildcards

A recent task I had to perform was to remove a list of item numbers from a document while keeping the item name intact. The syntax was <ITMxxx – Item Name> which was required to be changed to only <Item Name>. The task seemed straight forward up front but the tricky part was that the spacing around the hyphen was inconsistent and so was the usage of a dash instead of a hyphen. The various forms taken by this element were:

<ITM123-Item Name>
<ITM345 -Item Name>
<ITM546- Item Name>
<ITM729 - Item Name>
<ITM189 – Item Name>

The idea was to replace all of them at one go while ensuring that nothing else was inadvertently replaced. Thus, the use of only the common wildcard character ‘?’ wouldn't have sufficed. Fortunately, Word provides a very powerful set of wildcards detailed at the following link:

To illustrate my case, the following strings in ‘Find What’ and ‘Replace With’ did the trick:
Find what: (ITM[0-9]{3}*[-–]*)(<*>)
Replace with: \2

[0-9] captures the presence of any number while {3} ensures that the search is limited to 3 occurrences of these digits thereby capturing the ‘ITMxxx’ part.

The part *[-–]* captures the presence of space preceding or following the hyphen or dash.

The round brackets () represent a complete search expression. Thus, in this case the search is split in to two expressions, the first being the entire text leading up to the ‘Item Name’ and the second being the first word of the item name. The Replace With string ensures that these two expressions are replaced by the second expression alone which happens to be the first word of the item name. The rest of the text is kept as-is thereby producing the requisite result.