This post is part 24 of 37 in the series Taming the Terminal

In the previous instalment we took a big-picture look at how TCP/IP networking works. As a quick reminder, the most important points were:

  • Networking is complicated!
  • Our computer networks use a stack of protocols known as TCP/IP
  • We think of the stack of protocols as being broken into four layers:
  • The Link Layer – lets computers that are on the same network send single packets of data to each other
  • The Internet Layer – Lets computers on different networks send single packets of data to each other
  • The Transport Layer – lets computers send meaningful streams of data between each other
  • The Application Layer – where all the networked apps we use live
  • Logically, data travels across the layers – HTTP to HTTP, TCP to TCP, IP to IP, ethernet to ethernet, but physically, data travels up and down the stack, one layer to another, only moving from one device to another when it gets to the Link Layer at the very bottom of the stack.
  • In this instalment we’ll take a quick look at the lowest of these four layers – the Link Layer. Specifically, we’ll look at MAC addresses, the difference between hubs, switches, and routers, and the ARP protocol.

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    This post is part 23 of 37 in the series Taming the Terminal

    This instalment is the first in what will probably be quite a long mini-series on computer networking. Before we can look at the terminal commands that allow us to interact with the network, we need to gain an understanding of how computer networking works. This is a complex topic, ad there’s a lot to take in. The individual pieces don’t make sense without keeping the big-picture in mind, and yet the big picture doesn’t gel together until you start to understand the detail. Bearing that in mind, this instalment starts the series with a big-picture overview. We’ll flesh this overview out over the instalments that follow, adding in the detail that will hopefully make the whole thing click for you. Ultimately, it’s actually a very elegant design, but that elegance may not be immediately obvious!

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    This post is part 22 of 37 in the series Taming the Terminal

    This instalment is a little breather between the fairly heavy instalments on searching, and the upcoming set of instalments on networking. We’ll start with a look at some tips and tricks for getting the most out of BASH, and then transition to some tips and tricks for getting the most out of the OS X Terminal app.

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    This post is part 21 of 37 in the series Taming the Terminal

    This is the third and final instalment on searching. In the first instalment we learned how to search for text within files and streams using egrep. In the second we learned to search for files based on all sorts of criteria with the find command. In this final instalment we’ll start by looking at one last feature of find, its a ability to execute commands on the files it finds. Then we’ll end by looking at an OS X-only alternative to find that makes use of the Spotlight search index to really speed up searches.

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    This post is part 19 of 37 in the series Taming the Terminal

    In the previous two instalments (17 & 18) of this series we learned how to represent patters with regular expressions, or, to be more specific, with POSIX Extended Regular Expression (or EREs). We used the egrep command to test our regular expressions, but we didn’t discus the command itself in detail. Now that we understand regular expressions, it’s time to take a closer look at both egrep, and it’s older brother grep, both commands for filtering and searching text.

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    This post is part 18 of 37 in the series Taming the Terminal

    In the previous instalment we introduced the concept of Regular Expressions, and started to learn the POSIX ERE regular expression language, noting that POSIX ERE is a sub-set of the very commonly used Per Compatible Regular Expression (PCRE) language.

    In this instalment we’ll learn more POSIX ERE syntax, and have a look at some examples of REs in GUI apps.

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    This post is part 17 of 37 in the series Taming the Terminal

    This instalment is the start of a series of instalments relating to searching from the command line. Searching is all about patterns, and that means getting to grips with Regular Expressions (also called RegExps, RegExes or REs for short). Regular Expressions are languages for representing patterns, and are used throughout IT, not just on the command line. While this series focuses on the Terminal, an understanding of regular expressions will be helpful in many other places, from programming languages to GUI apps like programming editors, search utilities or file re-namers. It’s going to take us two instalments to properly describe regular expressions, but when we’re done we’ll have gained a very useful skill.

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    This post is part 16 of 37 in the series Taming the Terminal

    In the previous instalment we introduced the concepts of streams, and looked at how every process has references to three streams as part of their environment – STDIN, STDOUT & STDERR. We went on to introduce the concept of operators that manipulate these streams, and we focused on the so-called ‘pipe’ operator which connects STDOUT in one process to STDIN in another, allowing commands to be chained together to perform more complex tasks. We mentioned the existence of operators for connecting streams to files, and the possibility of streams being merged together, but didn’t go into any detail. Well, that’s what we’ll be doing in this instalment.

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    This post is part 15 of 37 in the series Taming the Terminal

    Right back in the very first instalment we described the Unix philosophy as being Lego-like, that is, having lots of simply commands that do one thing well, and then assembling them together to do something really powerful. So far, we’ve only been working with a single command at a time, but that changes with this instalment. We’ll be introducing the concept of streams, which can be used to connect commands and files together.

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    This post is part 14 of 37 in the series Taming the Terminal

    In the previous instalment we looked at how to make permanent changes to our environment. We made a permanent change to the PATH environment variable to demonstrate how it’s done (by editing ~/.bash_profile on a Mac, or ~/.bashrc on Linux). In this instalment we’ll look at two other kinds of environment changes you may wish to make by editing these files – specifically, aliases, and custom prompts.

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