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>*'s suggestion is the simplest

Well I just picked it up on one of the n-tips for ruby lists. This isn't the list I originally studied but it does contain the same idea in tip #9:

9. Pretty print strings decimals. The format descriptors are pretty
much similar to those used in C printf so I won go intoetails.

my_string = "%01d %06d %02d" % [type, code, age]    
http://alexbrie.net/2002/10-ruby-programming-tips-you-should-already-know/

These lists are an invaluable resource to improve your code.

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