in reply to cleaning up control characters

Take a look in perlre. \D is the non-digit class, but maybe that isn't what you want. You'd better look up which control chars you can encounter there and use an custom class. Something like:
s/^[\001-\017\s]{0,2}//; # char 0 to 15 (and whitespace)
While we're at it, why not simplify it to a one-liner?
perl -pe 's/^[\001-\017\s]{0,2}//' infile.txt >outfile.txt
See perlrun for nifty options... the 'i' is also very useful.


"We are not alone"(FZ)

Update Listen to blackmateria. Of course you use the :cntrl: POSIX class.. much more convenient.