bashtagger: Joining the coalition party

I eagerly await the arrival of the console tool that replaces EasyTag on my system — even more so now than I have for the past five or six years, because EasyTag took it upon itself to make the leap to GTK3, and now splatters my screen with all kinds of ungodly ugliness. :oops:

I’ve come close, with both stag and cursetag, and my hope is that the prophet appears soon who will herald the arrival of the chosen one. I did get another tip from hakerdefo that bashtagger might be close, but I’m withholding my endorsement until the miracles can be verified. ;)


bashtagger works in a menu format, allowing you access to tag information in flac or ogg files (no mp3, which suits me fine). You can set and erase tags over single or multiple files at once, and most every interaction is done through a line-editing prompt.

Color use is good, and the menus are exceptionally easy to navigate. In fact, the only difficulty that I had with bashtagger was its preference to run from the same directory as its target files. I am not sure why my attempts to feed it a target directory were turned down, but it was easily sidestepped by moving the script to the same folder as the files.

bashtagger does allow for a configuration file, and apparently that’s where the options to rename files based on their tags must reside. I tried once or twice to rename music files according to their internal tags, but the results I got were different from what I expected. I will take responsibility for those errors though.

By my experience, bashtagger lacks the one small feature that might rank it with things like stag or cursetag — the ability to reverse the rename function, and fill tag data based on the file name.

It’s a bit of an oddball feature, but it’s the one I look for as a sign of a true believer. I looked long and hard at bashtagger, but I don’t think it includes that feature, which makes me sad. If I have overlooked it, please help me.

bashtagger does seem to streamline the omnipresent console tools that can fill data or erase tags via command-line flags, which I count as an improvement. I’d like for it to make the last remaining steps toward the few features it doesn’t yet have, but I am patient.

The collective irony is that between these three — stag, cursetag and bashtagger — and the built-in tagging tool in ncmpcpp, EasyTag might no longer be needed. … :???:

Bonus: From the deepest depths of Debian

I have some long-standing additions to the list that I’ve been putting off and putting off, mostly because they require hardware or arrangements that I can’t fulfill. I wanted to mention them here rather than just omit them outright, because they are probably fully functional and worthy of recognition, even if they require knowledge or components that I just can’t muster.

Most of these come out of the depths of Debian or are esoteric Arch packages, and in some cases they may appear in both. I’ve tried to annotate each one, to show which distribution they belong to, what they do, and what my impediment was.

It may be that you find a use for these things through your own daily travels, and I’d prefer not label them as somehow “unworking,” just because my brief dabble was unsuccessful or impossible. Try them and see if they are useful for you.

  • ap-utils: Tools for managing or administrating wireless access points. I do use wireless connections, but nothing so specific that I have direct experience with these tools. In Debian and AUR.
  • apachetop: As you might guess, a top-like tool for Apache servers. I could install it, but without a proper Apache arrangement, it wasn’t very successful. In both Debian and AUR, but the home page is empty. Use the source code from the Debian page and rename it to match the PKGBUILD, and it will build correctly.
  • argus-client: In Debian. Server network statistics tools that waaay outstrip my meager home setups.
  • ax25-tools: In Arch and Debian, although the package names flutter between ax25-tools, ax25-apps, and some other things. Network daemons and setup tools for ham radio arrangements.
  • bfgminer: A bitcoin miner, which is too much of a task for my pitiful little arsenal of leftover laptops to tackle. In Arch; in Debian for Jessie.
  • bist: bist made it into my list somehow, but I’m 99 percent sure it’s a graphical program for drawing chemical arrangements. If there’s a console application in there, I didn’t see it. In Debian and AUR.
  • btscanner: A Bluetooth scanner utility for the CLI. Believe it or not, I don’t have any Bluetooth equipment. I know, and it’s 2014. :( In Debian and AUR.
  • burp: There are a lot of programs called “burp;” this one is an AUR uploader utility. As you can imagine, that means it’s mostly intended for Arch users, even moreso for people who need to streamline their contributions to the user repository. In that case, its focus is a bit narrow, so I’m including it here rather than on its own.
  • cgdb (and gdb too, I suppose): An ncurses interface for the GNU debugger. I like the looks of cgdb, but I wouldn’t have the first clue as to how to use it. In both Debian and Arch.
  • cgminer: A bitcoin miner, which is not impossible, but not really practical for the hardware I use. In both Debian and Arch.
  • ckermit: “Network and serial communication software.” I am not 100 percent sure what that means, but I’m confident it’s beyond my scope. In both; Debian gives this as the home page.
  • cmake-curses-gui: Debian lists this as a curses interface to cmake, but again, I wouldn’t know where to get started with it.
  • colrconv: “Colrconv is a modified version of VA3DP’s ttylink client. In addition to the basic split screen session it gives you color and sound support plus some line editing capabilities, a scroll buffer and a status line.” I really don’t know what to make of that, but I think it’s intended for ham radio operations. Sorry, I honestly don’t know any more than that. :( (There are other utilities that use this name, by the way; more on those later.)
  • coop-computing-tools: Computing tools and utilities intended for high-end multi-user systems. Some of them may be of use on single-user, desktop-ish systems, but you’ll have to try them out to be sure. In Debian only, unless they’re in Arch under a different name.
  • cpmtools: Tools for accessing ancient and venerable CP/M file systems. I’m actually sad that I have no experience working with CP/M environments, in the same way I am disappointed with myself for never learning French: It’s a worthy pursuit that will pay off from time to time, but I just failed to pursue it. :( In both Debian and AUR; from the author of teapot and fe.
  • crash: In Debian and Arch community; described as a kernel debugging tool. I don’t count myself among the wise who look within the kernel itself for software problems. I have more than enough software problems without picking apart other peoples’ work. :|
  • dnet-progs: Console tools for DECnet users. I don’t have two PDP-11 machines to string together and try this. ;) Debian only, I think.
  • ecatools: I mentioned ecasound a long time ago; ecatools are ancillary programs for that utility. In Debian as a separate package, but the same executables might be mixed in with Arch.
  • erlang-nox: Programming utilities for Erlang that don’t require X. I thought this might be another case where Debian split out the console-only portion of a suite, but apparently Arch follows suit here. If I knew anything about programming in Erlang, I’d try something with it. … :(
  • fbb: I was hoping this was a framebuffer utility, but in fact it’s another tool for amateur radio operators. Not in Arch that I could find.
  • gambas3-gb-ncurses: Similar to erlang-nox, above, this splits out the text-only portions of Gambas. In Debian for Jessie, and in Arch.
  • gpsd-clients: In Debian this is a suite of tools for GPS-equipped computers. Personally, the idea of having a GPS device attached to my computer is a little unattractive … which is why I don’t have anything that this would support.
  • mariadb-client-core-5.5: I’m using the package name from Sid here, but the support for mariadb is in both Arch and Debian. I’m even less well-versed in mariadb than I am in other database suites, which is rather frightening.
  • mod-gearman-tools: Again from Debian, tools for managing servers that run Mod Gearman. There’s something called “gearmand” in Arch, that might be the same thing but has a different home page listed.
  • pinentry-curses: This is part of both Arch and Debian, as a text-only passphrase entry dialogue for GnuPG. I don’t know if it is possible to split out this portion of gpg and use it in another project, but I have my doubts.
  • rethinkdb: A fresh entry from just a day or two ago, but a distributed database is beyond the scope of my daily adventures.
  • scilab-minimal-bin: I’m using the Debian package name here again, this time because I don’t see SciLab in any context in Arch proper, but some variants are available in AUR … but nothing that appears to be text-only. I’m a little suspicious of the Debian version too though, since it claims to offer a graphical editor of sorts, and has some graphical dependencies. So it may be that this isn’t a real text-only title. :???:
  • sooperlooper: I see this is in Debian, but I don’t know if this is truly nongraphical either. Occasionally people make suggestions that have CLI components as part of an entire graphical suite, which isn’t verboten, just off-the-mark … since hundreds of graphical “applications” are just frontends for CLI tools.
  • statserial: In Debian; I think other than network engineers, a tool for probing serial modem lines might not be of universal appeal. … Also, I don’t have a modem. :(
  • xwiimote: Software to interact with Nintendo Wii controllers. I never bought a Wii, although I might try one if I see one in my local recycling shop. :roll: In Debian and in AUR in a few variations.

I’m going to stop there, but as you can probably tell, I’m working through a huge list in alphabetical order. That means I have quite a few of these titles left to sort and report.

And just to be clear: Most of these come from Debian but require hardware or arrangements that I just can’t duplicate. More than likely, there’s nothing wrong with them at all.

Just the fact that Debian (and to a lesser degree, Arch) includes them in its corpus suggests they are at least functional — but that’s no guarantee. I’ve seen things from Debian repos that didn’t work on first run, and there’s quite a bit in AUR that sputters and dies before it ever gets installed.

In any case, if you have the hardware to try them, please be my guest. Report back to us, in the name of science. ;)

nwipe: Great trepidation and fierce consternation

Both AUR and Debian agree that nwipe is the core tool once found in the dban disk annihilator tool. I say “once found” because the home page seems to have changed from what I remember, and it appears to be pitching another utility called “Blancco.”

But to add to the confusion, AUR and Debian have different home pages for the nwipe project, one pointing to Sourceforge and another to a Github page, respectively. It’s possible those are just mirrors for the project, but I do wonder if there are differences.

No matter; what you see here is the version available to Arch users.


And it doesn’t look much different from the core dban program. Select a drive, step through your options, and start with F10. If you ever used the dban live system, this single program works much the same way.

You have the ability to set your erasing options as command-line flags, which is something that was technically available to the original project, if you were willing to remaster the ISO.

And the infamous “autonuke” option is still around, which starts up and immediately begins exterminating every bit of data on any drive it can find. The implications are frightening.

I see a few improvements here and there, possibly most unusual being the ability to blank the screen — not erase the screen, just empty it :oops: — while nwipe runs, ostensibly saving you the screen burn-in while nwipe eats up your hours … and your hard drive.

It might also be important since the version I used had a once-per-second flicker effect as it updated the screen. Blanking the screen was the only solution for stopping the flashing blue box in the corner of my eye.

nwipe is comfortable running outside of 80×24, but oddly, all the text will remain in those dimensions even if the frames are drawn larger. Odder still, the on-screen help along the bottom gets arbitrarily cut off at 24 characters, which seems like an oversight.

dban is a time-honored tool that I’ve been using off and on for the better part of a decade, and so I hold it in high esteem. I’ve run it for weeks on end, 24 hours a day for various reasons, and gotten great results with it.

As an offshoot, nwipe is equally regarded, even if I bundle my meager endorsement with a stern warning: Be very very careful when you use it. nwipe does not make apologies. Use with care. >:(

morsegen and morse2ascii: Since we’re on the subject

I have a couple of other small Morse telegraphy tools in my list, and since we covered cwcp in the last post, it’s probably a good time to throw them into the mix. Here’s morsegen, from Luigi Auriemma.


As you can see, morsegen is very straightforward, and really only reads text files and converts the contents into dash-or-dot sequences. No flags or frills, unless you consider the readout of Luigi’s fixed header to be a frill.

In that sense, I would prefer morsegen work a little more like morse, and accept text either as a target, or through a pipe. morsegen seems hard-coded to look for a target file, and read through that.

Which is all neither here nor there, and perhaps if you like, you can ask Luigi’s permission to adjust morsegen. I wonder if that wouldn’t make morsegen nearly identical to morse, though.

Here’s something a little more ambitious, by the same author: morse2ascii.


The inner workings of morse2ascii are beyond me, but suffice to say that it reads through a wav file, senses the tones, and converts them into text. You can see the analysis and the results in the screenshot, taken from a random sound file borrowed from The Internet. :???:

As far as I can tell, as someone unskilled in the art of decoding Morse telegraphy, morse2ascii is doing a good job. The file I borrowed was supposedly a training session, working through basic letters and digits before moving into specific sequences. It looks right, anyway.

morse2ascii has the same arrangement as morsegen though, and won’t accept strings and wants a target file. So if you want to stream audio through morse2ascii, you might need to first capture the broadcast, then feed it to morse2ascii. I leave it to you to solve.

Both programs compile and run fine in Arch; morse2ascii is in AUR if you prefer. Debian has both prepackaged. Debian users get all the cool toys. … ;)

cwcp: Learn to walk before you run

I found qrq a week or two ago, and while qrq is probably a very useful program for people who need to improve their skills with Morse telegraphy, it might be geared more towards those who have already mastered the basics.

If you’re a newbie, cwcp might be more to your liking. Here’s the Linux Mint version.


Much is the same between qrq and cwcp, but it’s also clear that their target audiences are different. cwcp has speed and volume controls, but also has controls for adjusting tone and other audio cues.

qrq seemed to focus on recognizing call signs and building proficiency and speed, while cwcp starts with letter and number groups, and works up through English words and into other categories. cwcp also lets you type in your own text, and will replay it as tones.

Like qrq, cwcp will need a little nudge with the alsa-oss package. I don’t see where that’s listed as a dependency in Debian, but I don’t know that oss is necessarily out of fashion, particularly among Debian fans.

In any case, if you’re not hearing anything, that might be the reason. cwcp is part of the unixcw package, so it might be that you get more “modern” sounds support by bringing in the qt rendition. Try it and tell me.

cwcp alone is not in Arch, but the unixcw suite is in AUR. If you only want the one program, it may be possible to carve it out. And if you’re an Arch user you probably can handle that. 8-)

cwcp has color, as you can see, and I should note that cwcp seems comfortable arranging its layout to just about any terminal size, but only on startup. If you change dimensions after you begin your tutorial, cwcp might not notice it.

I think that’s about all I can think of to say about cwcp. It’s definitely every bit as fucntional as qrq, but intended more as a learning activity than as a speed and proficiency drill. Enjoy. ;)

bibcursed: Light and speedy reference management

I think bibcursed might actually qualify as an office application, in the same way sc and slsc are spreadsheets, and jed and textadept are word processors.

bibcursed manages and edits BibTeX bibliography files, and does it through a series of menus and a captive interface.

2014-12-17-6m47421-bibcursed-01 2014-12-17-6m47421-bibcursed-02

I’ve used some bibliography tools in the past, and even some reference management sites or plugins, but they were usually browser based, and quite taxing on single-core machines. That’s the way things are going, to be honest.

Finding bibcursed now makes me wish I had known about BibTeX a few years ago. It probably could have saved me a little time on more than one university project.

Getting back to bibcursed specifically, everything is arranged through the startup menu, with options to search, change and add as you see fit. bibcursed can’t do much unless you are ready to work with a .bib file, and the one you see above was chosen at random from the vast information repository we call The Internet.

No color, and controls are very simple, but given that bibcursed is more functional than frilly, I find no fault with that. Onboard help is a bonus, and I should mention that bibcursed gave me no grief for very small terminals or very large ones.

I don’t have any context for using bibcursed aside from this brief adventure. But should the opportunity arise in the future, I should like to give it a try, and see how it behaves in a real-world situation.

It can’t be much worse than those online reference managers, that weigh down on my old Inspiron like a ton of bricks. … :(

cscope: The code navigator

Short post this time, since I have almost no frame of reference for cscope. I have all the coding ability of a day-old banana peel, so a tool that searches, arranges and navigates source code files is far and beyond me.


That’s cscope picking through the source code for curl, which was just an arbitrary choice. Nothing to be inferred in that.

It’s a very smooth tool though, and if you spend any time at all navigating large files or skimming through trees of code, I can see where cscope would be a huge asset.

From my very cursory inspection, you can set search strings or patterns through the prompts at the bottom of the screen. Matching lines will appear in the top half, and you can use the arrow keys to pick through them. Press enter, and cscope opens your $EDITOR for you to make changes.

Help is available at the ? key, and you can exit with CTRL+D. Just so you know. …

I know very little about coding, even less about cscope, and have only a brushing knowledge of some of the search tools aimed at developers — programs like ag or ack. I can see where cscope might be preferable though, since it offers an interface to your activity.

But of course, you are the best judge of that. ;)