[If you don’t get the reference, look here.]
A colleague had an odd question. There were more than a thousand little log files, all just text. She needed to scan all of them for problems. If only they were one big file, it would be a snap. But was there a way to combine lots and lots of little text files into one big text file in one or two steps?
I said, “There must be, but I wouldn’t be the one to know how.” [The files are on a Windows box, but could always be moved to a Unix box, I suppose.] Then, she said, “You know, like in Word, if you have a bunch of chapters and you want to combine them all into one big manuscript…” Well, making a multichapter document’s a little more complicated, but I knew that you could actually attach multiple files to a document in a single step, using shift-mouse or control-mouse directory selection.
Hmm. Would Word import a whole bunch of text files in one step just by highlighting them all in a directory? If so, that would be a crude but entirely effective solution.
Sure enough: Works great. I happened to have a directory with 30 little .txt files. Opened a blank Word document, clicked on Insert File, chose .txt in the bottom menu, selected everything in the directory: Five or ten seconds later, I had a combined file. Since they were .txt files, Word wasn’t asking me whether to retain formatting or any of that stuff: It just appended everything. A thousand files might take a minute or two.
Of course, all you high-tech folks already knew this. But I didn’t. And it will save the colleague a couple of hours of inquiry…