Using ferret as a base64-encoded numerical db

I’m using ferret to store random base64 strings of length 72 (courtesy
“dd if=/dev/random … | mmencode”), with the long-term goal of
storing floating point/integral numbers (converted to
base64). Problems:

% Ferret regards the base64 characters “+” and “/” as word
separators, so a search for “content:[xji xjj]” yields things like
where “xji” appears after a plus sign. How to avoid this? I could
change “+” to “_”, but I’m not sure changing “/” to “.” or “:” or “-”
or “!” would work.

% Ferret’s default search is case-insensitive, so I get things like
which match “xJi” but not “xji”. How to fix?

% When I do a range query, does ferret return all documents
matching the query or only the highest scoring 10? For my purposes, I
need all documents matching a query, not just the first few.

Is anyone else using ferret as a db? Since it’s hash-based, it’s much
faster at indexing large numbers of strings than sqlite3.

I realize I could just 0-pad my numbers (eg, “000005” for 5), but I’ve
got a LOT of data (400M pairs of floating point numbers), so I prefer

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