LINGUIST List 2.426

Fri 23 Aug 1991

Disc: Titles, File-processing

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  1. "Michael Kac", Re: Responses: data, titles
  2. John E. Koontz, Speedier Processing of Large Files

Message 1: Re: Responses: data, titles

Date: Wed, 21 Aug 91 20:04:37 -0500
From: "Michael Kac" <kaccs.umn.edu>
Subject: Re: Responses: data, titles
I can't contribute a title of a work of fiction making use of a linguistic
term but I did read some (well, many) years ago a novel called 'Oh's Profit'
about a signing gorilla and a plot to kill him by a linguist whose theory
of 'genesis grammar' was incompatible with the gorilla's linguistic abili-
ties. The novel, published in 1975 by William Morrow, is by John Goulet,
identified on the jacket as a teacher of creative writing at the University
of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Michael Kac
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Message 2: Speedier Processing of Large Files

Date: Thu, 22 Aug 1991 09:44:11
From: John E. Koontz <koontzalpha.bldr.nist.gov>
Subject: Speedier Processing of Large Files
Michael:
I can think of two or three things that might speed up your access to large
files, short of getting a new system with a faster system clock and/or a
wider data bus:
- get a faster disk, though it can be a bit problematic installing anything
 current (or even contemporary) on an 8088 system, due to the way that
 one has to describe the disk to the controller - with jumper settings.
 For example, replace the 30 MB unit with a larger faster unit like a 25 ms
 40 MB drive. Such a kit without controller is running c. $250 US.
 Note that with a program that uses the disk for swapping when accessing
 large files, the disk is really most of what is holding you up, not the
 processor.
- use an in-RAM disk cache, especially a large one.
 There are several commercial disk caching programs, e.g., the disk cache
 program in the Norton Utilities, the one in PC Tools, and the PC-Kwik
 product, but to use them you will need more than 640 KB of RAM.
 For example, I have an older 286/12 with "1 MB." The 384 KB section that
 sits in the range 1 MB to 1 MB + 384 KB is devoted to a disk cache, and
 this definitely seems to speed up my disk accesses. I have used a cache
 of 1.5 MB on a 386/16, too, in the past, and it was very nice. Very
little
 real disk access even with a 1 MB data file (in an AWK run, not WP).
- An alternative to the cache, not as useful, is a large RAM disk (1-2 MB).
 You can tell WP to use a large enough RAM disk as a swap drive (see
 appendix K of the 5.1 manual). Too small an overflow disk would probably
 fill up and crash your editing session.
- WP has some technique for splitting up large files into smaller ones,
 albeit what I remember of it is that it was very awkward.
- If you don't have a current version of WP, get the current version. The
 newer versions of WP and MS Word are faster than the older ones.
- Try a faster word processor like XyWrite (or, better, its academic variant
 Nota Bene). Nota Bene has a nicer scheme for working with split up files,
 too, for that matter.
Note that I have virtually no experience with WP.
John Koontz
Disclaimer: All observations are supplied on my own authority.
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