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Dired Problems

My immediate problem:  I have a huge number of files in a directory.
I would like to move a large subset of these into a new directory.
There are too many files to comfortably "Rename" each by hand; I require
a way to do this automatically.  I assume that this operation is routine
and basic, and should be well-supported.
  After reading the Dired manual (v.3, pp. 163-173) carefully for ten minutes,
I can find no way to do this.  (Normally, it takes me a day of chasing down
all possible references before I find out something's undocumented...)
Can anyone help me out with this problem?

Related problems:
(1) Apparent typo at bottom of p.172, 8th line from end:  The command is listed
as "Applying Arbitrary Functions to Files  ." in bold face.  However, the "."
command is also listed as "Dired Change File Properties".  Take the bold "." out?

(2) The obvious method for copying, renaming, changing file properties, etc., of
multiple files, is to "select" all the desired files, and then to do a single
operation on them.  One method of "selecting" a set of files is to put an "A" in
front of each desired file.  A second method of "selecting" is to do a C-@ to
mark a point, and then C-N to move through a contiguous region of files.  This
underlines the apparently selected files.  Following through with an "R" does not
work for either method.

(3) There is no apparent way to select noncontiguous file-names with C-@.

(4) There is no apparent way to "Apply a Function" once the files have been
selected using "A".  There is no example given.  In the v3 manual, the only entries
for Applying a Function in the index point to p.172, there are no other entries
in the index.  How do I invoke the function?  m-X Apply Function does not work.
m-X Dired Apply Function does not work.  (Note it is also unclear how to write
a function that renames a file, even if I could Apply it.)

(5) I perceive a paradigm gap between some Dired functions, which operate
directly on the current/selected file, and other Dired functions, which do not
operate immediately but instead select or mark the file to be processed later.
I wish that all of the commands followed the same paradigm.  Perhaps there
could be a generic select that chooses a number of files for processing,
and then the particular command could tell what to do with them.  If no series
of files is selected, the command could still operate on the current file.
I realize due to historical reasons this will probably not change, but
the designers should be aware of this.

  John Myers~~