Module 2: An Exercise in Frustration

Last week, it took more time than I thought it should to start understanding command line. This week I learned that while I seem to have clung to the idea of a few of the commands, I didn’t remember them in order, and I did not remember some of the commands at all. They say “practice makes perfect”, so I am fairly confident that by the end of this all, I will have mastered the command line.

Seriously though, this week I found that the instructions were relatively easy to follow and that while I am not yet sure what I would do with them myself, I understand the general purpose of how they worked. I really enjoyed searching through the databases and using the csv files of war dead to look for patterns by year, location, surname, etc. Within the search I did for Maier, I found that one entry was for a civilian woman killed in Jamaica. There are so many interesting things about this entry that I can see how the whole method would be useful in confirming theories (the Maier’s were German and mainly male) through big data. I can also see how it can highlight interesting cases to focus deeply on (the civilian woman in Jamaica).

Unfortunately, my troubles with the command line continued and I waged a war fighting incorrectly entered commands, non-existent commands, and out-of-order commands. I had trouble with Exercise 1 and 5 mostly. In Exercise 1, I failed to check which repo I was saving files to and accidentally pushed them to github in the wrong repo. I tried to fix it and ended up deleting the file, causing panic and confusion trying to see if I could recover it from my DH command line. The solution was to pull the incorrect repository from github, extract the files, create a new repository (the key step I forgot), and re-push it. I had help from my brother and sarahmcole kindly gave it a shot through her advice on Slack.

In Exercise 5, the majority of the problems now appear to have been caused by me not waiting long enough for the Twitter files to download, and then coming grouped as one line rather than many. Since I have completed the exercise, it appears others have had the same problem, so that is somewhat reassuring. Again, my brother and sarahmcole assisted me in creating a python code to turn the file into many lines in order to create a csv.

The good thing about all of this is that it forced me to really be aware of what I was inputting into the command line and start to understand the sequences of commands better. I now know it is important to check which repo you are in before adding and committing files. And as Dr. Graham pointed out, I now have first hand knowledge of the importance of version control.

For a much more detailed look at what commands I entered, see my command line files (Exercise 1, Exercise 4, Exercise 5) and my fail-log.

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