A script! and a site!

My favorite e-mails are the ones with lots of exclamation points. It’s usually a sign that someone is quite enthusiastic about the program they want to share. Or quite incensed at something I wrote. :(

karl sent an orchard of exclamation points (happy ones, that is) on Saturday along with a note about, which apparently has its roots on the Crunchbang forums.

And there you can see my very bland color scheme, which probably wouldn’t win any exclamation points from karl.

Aside from drawing the classic invaders in colors that you have set for your shell, doesn’t really do much. And there are lots of similar tools, that really only show what colors you set, so you can see if your desktop is something worth sharing with the wide, wide world. :???:

Part of karl’s enthusiasm though, was for a website that lets you experiment with colors and returns the codes necessary to implement them. karl didn’t say where that came from or if it was his own invention, but I don’t think it is.

I am sure there are other sites that similarly streamline the coding portion of custom shell colors; if there is a better one, feel free to mention it. And if you have a script or tool that displays shell colors in a more inventive fashion, pass it along too.

I am sure at least one person — mostly likely karl! — would be happy! to hear about them! :mrgreen:

P.S.: For what it’s worth, I don’t usually run a custom color scheme, and that’s by choice. A long time ago I was looking at the colors in a program and wondering why some things were hard to see, and realized I had inadvertently mashed two similar colors together, making the program somewhat difficult to read. I keep it plain now. Sorry, karl. ;)

peat: Pete and Repeat are sitting on a fence. …

Here’s a simple python tool that jumps into action when a file changes: peat.


peat is built to execute a command of your choosing, and requires only a list of files to watch as input. As you can see above, probably its most basic use is just to send a message to the screen to announce a change.

But it seems capable of executing almost anything as its target, so you could set it to clean up files, compile a code snippet and run it, or … something completely different.

The syntax to get peat running can be a small challenge; by default peat wants a list separated by whitespace. Check the flags if you want to feed it a list separated by newlines or blank spaces.

I should also mention that in Arch, peat wouldn’t run without calling specifically for python2. On the other hand, it seemed to run without any oddball dependencies or bizarre python libraries, so it may be that it will run well on a vanilla system with no added weight.

I feel like I should mention the long list of file event watchers that are available, so it may be that using python as the basis for a file watcher is still too cumbersome.

And given that their list of features is as wide and long as the list itself, the choice becomes a little more academic. peat is worth investigating if you are comfortable with python and if its advanced handling doesn’t intimidate you. But remember there are many others in the running.

talkfilters: All that computing power, and this is what you come up with?

After falling flat with yesterday’s attempt at an amusement for the console lifestyle, I thought perhaps talkfilters might be able to give me a quick giggle.


Well, I smirked at one or two.

talkfilters is exactly what you think it is — a series of filters that exchange certain words or letter sequences for analogues spelled or arranged to poke fun at certain dialects or speech patterns. Or individuals.

In some cases, it’s not so much a filter as an insertion tool though, with sporadic phrases interjected at points. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s just an obfuscation. And sometimes there’s probably a joke in there, but I don’t know what it is. :\

Like any attempt at comedy, talkfilters is likely to insult you if you think you’re the target of its humor, and I see one or two in there that might even be jabs at me. Not personally of course, but probably at my own demographic.

I don’t really care though. If your sensibilities are so fragile as to take offense at a juvenile filter that translates into an “accent,” then you haven’t been exposed to the real problems that can happen in life.

Regardless, I can see where one or two of these might have an application beyond the comic, and the buccaneer filter is likely to be of use sometime in September. Aside from that, I don’t know if there’s much other than comic relief they can offer. If they even do that. … :|

P.S.: In Arch as talkfilters, in Debian as just filters.

trek73: The best part is the site that hosts it

I somehow escaped playing trek73 at any point over the past 40 years, because I think today was the first time I’d ever seen it.

It’s always possible I did glance past it at some point in the past, but it doesn’t look familiar, and if I have to remember a Star Trek-ish game from some time in the past, it’s more likely to be sst2k or just plain trek. trek73 doesn’t really ring any bells.

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On the other hand, that does suggest I can approach it from a fairly neutral angle, and given my long-standing infuriation with games like Star Fleet Battles or my long-standing infatuation with games like the Star Trek arcade game, I think I am familiar enough with the genre to make an honest appraisal.

And my appraisal is … it stinks.

I’ll apologize up front if you’re a big trek73 fan, but the ncurses version I built from the source code is barely playable to me. I have no idea what the controls should be, and there seems to be a huge list of coded commands to pick from.

Which would not be an issue if there were onboard help, or even just a tip to let me know which commands were likely to do what. Even just the question mark for a list. But nobody is willing to clue me in, even if the entire cast of the original Star Trek series is more than happy to yell at me when I’ve got it wrong. Hey, screw you guys for not giving me a break. :evil:

Even further complicating things is the lack of line-editing keys, to include any sort of backspace key that I could find. Half my commands are polluted with ^D^D^G^C, so I guess it’s no wonder that they’re yelling back at me while the ship is pummeled by Orion Pirates. They probably think their leader is possessed by Evil Captain Kirk.

I will give it a begrudging point for looking good, and another begrudging point for obviously having a combat and gameplay system that seems to work. But that’s all. It will take me too long to figure out just how to quit for me to get too deep into it.

But before we go, I do feel obligated to mention that the site hosting trek73, in its multitudinous flavors, is probably the nicest, cleanest and most impressive tribute to a program I’ve ever seen. trek73 may stink like a skunk to me, but the host of that site (the only link I have, by the way; trek73 is not in Arch or Debian that I could find) has managed to fluff it up to look like a rose. I can respect that.

Now someone tell me the command code for the self-destruct sequence. >:(

Edit:, 1 p.m.: Wow, talk about bad timing. Just for the record, I set this post up two days ago, which you can see on the dates of the image links. I did not pick the day Leonard Nimoy dies as the day to flog a text-based Star Trek game. How insensitive would that be? :(

bashmount: Another seemingly roundabout solution

Mounting volumes from the console, without the need for background daemons or automounting tools, has been near the forefront of my Linux experience for years now. If it makes any difference, I’ve tried other options but still rely on mostly the same solution and setup that I did eight years ago.

Which could mean I am stuck in my ways, old-fashioned or just haven’t found a better solution yet. Or it could mean I don’t see any need to reinvent things — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Adding a mount point to /etc/fstab and allowing any user to mount it seems to do the trick. I’ll let you know if it stops. ;)

It’s not a very flashy way to handle things though, and if you want something with a little more pizazz, bashmount might deliver for you.

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As you can see, bashmount gives you a full array of attached volumes and their status, as well as options for even more information. A lot more than my hotwired solution, anyway. :\

And further, bashmount doesn’t need any fancy daemon packages or weird dependencies, and as far as I can tell, will do its job with only bash as a background framework. Supposedly it will work with udisks2, or some automounting tools, but I didn’t test it on that point.

Although it’s informative, and pretty, and colorful, and easy to use … I don’t think I’ll be adopting it over my home-grown solution.

For one thing, it doesn’t seem to eliminate the need for my fstab solution, since attempting to mount to an unlisted location triggers an error asking for root access. Well, in that case, it would just be quicker to su to root and do things manually.

So again I have a fairly clever tool that seems to do what it’s told, but using it implies a step or two in a roundabout direction before arriving at the same destination. Sort of along the same vein as xcv, which we talked about a week ago.

It may be that you can coax bashmount into avoiding those root permissions requests, or it may be that bashmount works as you expect without any heavy editing on your part. If that’s the case, I encourage you to use bashmount for as long as it satisfies.

I think I shall stick with my direct and straight solution. Not that bashmount doesn’t scratch the itch, only that there wasn’t an itch to start with.

groove-dl: Jumping the shark

I was tempted to skip over groove-dl because my list of stream ripper tools is starting to devolve into a tool-per-service array, and when things become discrete and overly precise, I start to fall toward the same rules that say, “no esoteric codec playback tools.”


I can’t complain too loudly though, because things like gplayer and soma are past titles that were more or less constrained to one site or service, and suddenly chopping off a portion of The List wouldn’t be fair.

But it wouldn’t be a terrible disservice, since most of what I was able to discover about groove-dl is encapsulated in that screenshot. Follow the command with a search string, and groove-dl will return a list of matches and the option to download a song.

Very straightforward, but also very rudimentary. Beyond the first 10 results, there’s no apparent way to continue through search. groove-dl itself doesn’t have any command flags that I could find; in fact, using -h or --help just pushed those strings through as search terms. Entering a blank line just brings groove-dl to a halt. Entering an invalid character causes a python error message. And yet entering a number beyond the list (like 12 or something) starts a download of some unidentified tune that matched your search, but wasn’t shown on screen. Go figure. :\

groove-dl will allow you to pick multiple targets though, and does use a generic but informative download progress bar to follow your selections. I can’t complain about that. And I see that there is a graphical interface, and it may be that there are more functions available to you from that rendition, than in the text-only interface.

But overall, with such a narrow focus and a narrow field of options and wide array of ways to confound it, I think there might be other, better utilities around for pulling tracks from Grooveshark.

groove-dl is in AUR but not Debian. If you try to install it, you’ll also need python-httplib2, which wasn’t included in the PKGBUILD. Happy grooving. ;)

mined: Long overdue

I could swear that I had looked through mined a year or two ago, and found it worthy. But I got an email yesterday from martintxoz saying it wasn’t anywhere on this site, which would be a dire oversight. And now, looking through the Index I find nothing, and both DuckDuckGo and Google agree: I have been remiss.

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mined is a text editor that comes in a variety of flavors and versions, and one of the reasons I should have visited this long before now is that it goes to great lengths to satisfy weirdos like me.

Perhaps the most satisfying being, it has the option for commands and keystrokes that mimic WordStar, so I don’t have to suffer to learn unintuitive keystrokes. (It will also pretend to be pico, or even emacs, although I shudder at the thought.)

And it uses color, has pulldown and popup menus at every turn, syntax highlighting, on-screen cues, mouse support and a man page almost as long as mplayer‘s. :shock:


If that isn’t enough for you, I can honestly claim that I’m amazed at the length and breadth of options available to you — all the way down to whether a paragraph end is coded with a non-blank line end, or an empty line. That is considerable detail.

Supposedly, mined’s real claim to fame is support for multicode characters or alphabets beyond the stale 26 letters that comprise Western language. If you need access to those glyphs, mined might be something to look into.

Of course, that lack of character support is what causes some of the goofy images you see in the screenshots. I could do everyone a favor and install something a little more visible than just the garble you see here and there, but I’m lazy today. ;)

mined is good stuff. It has just about every feature you could imagine, makes no excuses for pulling in the keystrokes and styles of other popular editors, uses colors and a menu approach, and even has features that will appeal to specific groups of users. It’s well arranged, well thought-out and has a clean visual appearance.

With that much going for it, this shouldn’t be a surprise: :star: Enjoy! ;)