Tag Archives: client

goobook: Command-line contacts

My workplace relies heavily on Google Documents and GMail right now, and so something like goobook should come in handy.

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What you see there is very primitive, but as I understand it, goobook is mostly intended as an ancillary tool for mail agents, like mutt or perhaps alot. Adding goobook to those tools means you can manage Google contacts without the need for a browser as an intermediary. Which is always a good thing.

goobook needs a little configuration before it can get started; at the very least, you can add your e-mail address and password to .goobookrc, and if you need more help than that, It will generate a template for you with goobook config-template > .goobookrc. I was able to get to most of goobook’s functions just by uncommenting and editing two lines in that file, although the help pages show how to properly encrypt your password and so forth.

From there, you should be able to build your local cache (or refresh it) with goobook reload. Adding addresses works with goobook add, and so forth.

goobook probably looks simple and for what I’ve seen, it is. But I also feel like the usefulness with goobook is in splicing it with your mail client. So don’t mark it down just for seeming basic. That’s probably intentional.

goobook is in AUR in several flavors; I don’t see this in Debian but I don’t think it would be hard to add by hand. πŸ™‚

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alot: With notmuch help involved, and little more

Up front, let’s say that alot is a “graphical” interface to notmuch, which you might know or remember as a mail indexer and search tool.

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And as you can see, alot has a lot πŸ˜› of the right stuff — good color, very flexible terminal space, on-screen help and an intuitive interface. Navigation is with enter keys and a few other mnemonics, and some keys have global behaviors, regardless of what you’re doing at any moment in time.

I would bet that, once your mail setup is complete, you’ll only need about three or four minutes to learn how to use alot, and after that, you’ll cruise through your mail folder at ludicrous speed.

A few things to remember though. … alot needs notmuch on board, which means you’re dealing mostly with the local mail concept, as opposed to relaying directly to an online mail source. If you’re looking for something that will pull down messages from GMail and let you pick through them, I don’t think this is it.

On the other hand, it does mean that you’re free to latch alot (and notmuch) on to your home-grown mail system — or as I showed above, latch notmuch onto something like offlineimap, which can yank messages off GMail and store them locally.

So technically speaking, there are options. The question becomes, how much do you want to step backwards through programs, just to take advantage of alot, when things like alpine can more or less handle the entire process in one fell swoop? Again, if you use a local mail system, alot might be preferable. For me … well. … 😐

All in all, I have to give alot a gold star for catching every point in my checklist for a good console application. I don’t think this is a game-changer for me though, since I’d have to rely on two or three other programs before alot became my mail reader, even if setup is fairly straightforward for all of them.

In AUR as alot and alot-git, but the git version wasn’t working at this exact moment in time. In Debian. And of course, as promised: ⭐ Enjoy! πŸ™‚

mpfc: Doing everything so right

Once I knew what mpfc stood for, it made perfect sense — it is, after all, a music player for the console.

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And a very nicely done music player too, I might add. You can learn how to handle 90 percent of mpfc within the first 15 seconds of starting it, which is a delightful thing.

The opening screen will cue you to use the question mark for help screens at any point in time, and the available keys are listed with their function in a popup window.

mpfc has a playlist-and-browser approach that might remind you of the good old days of cplay. Pressing “B” puts you into a file navigation mode, and highlighting a file is done with the Insert key — much like Midnight Commander.

Once you have selected a file or two, add it to the playlist with the “a” key, or swap out the playlist for your current selections with the “r” key (for “replace”). It’s very intuitive, and very easy to master.

The playback screen has balance controls, volume indicators, an animated progress indicator and a live-update status display for bitrate and so forth. And as you open popups, a tab bar along the bottom shows your “breadcrumb trail,” in case you get yourself lost in layers of windows. πŸ™„

And as you can see … glorious, glorious color. :mrgreen:

I really can’t find anything bad to say about mpfc; if I had any warnings or advice, they would boil down to a note that mpfc relies on gstreamer for playback, and to remember that your music filetype will require certain support for gstreamer. It’s a slightly different model than what most players use, but I find no fault.

mpfc is in AUR, but not in Debian. The home page is on Google Code, so if you like it and want to preserve it, you probably should export it to Github so it doesn’t disappear when Google Code shuts down in January.

Oh, I almost forgot — a gold star for mpfc, for doing everything so right: ⭐ Enjoy! πŸ™‚

ssh-chat: And a question for which I have no answer

About a six weeks ago I discovered ssh-chat, as a side note to a post on medium.com that asked, “Why aren’t we using SSH for everything?” A good question.

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Just to be clear, that is not me running ssh-chat. That is, I believe, me connecting via ssh to a system that is running ssh-chat. I can show you what it looks like when I connect to my own system running ssh-chat, but it’s not very exciting.

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So I think the thing to remember here is, ssh-chat itself is the server-side application that allows others to connect via ssh and join the chat session. If you have ssh installed on your machine, you already have the client.

Most commands are what you might expect after working with things like irssi or weechat, with some omissions for joining channels and so forth. You can drop out of a session with CTRL+D, much like you might use to exit an ssh session anyway.

It’s very clever, although it might not satisfy you if you’re entrenched in another chat client. And needless to say, this is probably more interesting to people who host the chat, and not the people who connect to it. I wouldn’t look for it on Freenode any time soon.

I only see this in AUR, and considering it’s quite new (with updates within past weeks), it might be a while until it reaches more venerable distros. If you can get your hands on Go though, you should be able to build it yourself.

As for the original question … I haven’t got an answer. I am just a solitary pedestrian on the grand information highway. If everyone used it, I probably would too. Until then. … 😐

emms: Your one-stop text editor, music player and operating system

I suppose it had to come to this:

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It’s emms. It’s emacs, playing music. Because emacs can check your e-mail, run a spreadsheet, chat with your friends, read your newsfeeds and now play your music.

Because it’s emacs, and that’s what it does — everything. πŸ˜‰

I will not speak ill of emms since it’s doing exactly what it claims it will do. But I will hint that mplayer is running in the background while emms “plays,” which says to me that the heavy lifting is accomplished elsewhere. (I believe it can use other player tools too.)

It does manage playlists and control the actual playback, so I give it credit for that, and doing it from within another application. Given that you can navigate emacs to start with (note for future self: M-x then emms-play-directory πŸ˜‰ ), it shouldn’t be difficult to handle.

And emms is not terrifically new, and is in both Arch proper and Debian.

It’s interesting that by this point, if you could get all five or six of those other tools working, you’d have an entire “desktop” ecosystem in place, and in ostensibly riding upon one program. And if you can rig your whole machine to run emacs on the kernel, you’re golden.

Like I always say though, I’m not enough of a fan of emacs (or its main competitor, which shall go unnamed) to see this as much more than a nifty gimmick. If you’re already an emacs user, you might be able to slim your list of applications by one or two, if you adopt it. Have fun. πŸ˜‰

P.S.: Thanks to Greg for pointing it out. πŸ™‚

nget: Sometimes a hammer is just a hammer

I take a sidelong approach to a lot of the newsgroup tools I try. Many of them seem well-thought-out, and are no doubt of considerable use to the people who rely on them. But newsgroups on the whole tend to disappoint me, so a lot of the usefulness is a side note.

nget is probably a good example of that. As a straight-shot command line tool, I have no doubt it does marvelous work for some people.

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It hammers out the job in a very old-fashioned, traditional way, with an .nget5 folder holding an .ngetrc file that needs to be edited with the name of a news server (I used news.aioe.org again, and had no problems) before it will run.

Then you have a long list of flag options for nget, depending on what you want it to do — download unread messages, pull in attachments based on a name filter, or whatever you like. In that sense, it’s very very flexible.

But from where I sit, it’s not very exciting. You can see some of its output in the images above, and that plus error messages or connection reports seems to be all it will tell you.

I could expect more, but that’s where my general disinterest in newsgroups starts to kick in. Perhaps you’ll find it more interesting or useful than I did; in any case, I can vouch for it working acceptably, and as promised.

But if you’re looking for something a little more interactive, a little less cryptic and maybe even a little more colorful, there are other tools available that can simplify the newsgroup experience. Keep an open mind.

After all, sometimes a hammer is just a hammer. And sometimes what you want and need … is a hammer.

gmail-attachment-downloader: You don’t want to know

Yesterday was the last work day of the month, and in my job that’s both a blessing and a curse, since it’s extraordinarily hectic, but it’s also payday. So my apologies for missing a day, but that job pays, and this one doesn’t. πŸ˜‰

To complicate things I got two tips via e-mail, one from Rashid and one from Lewis, mentioning gmail-attachment-downloader. I like to check things before I add them to the list, and at first glance it looked like a simple python script that scrapes through attachments in your account, and gives you a local copy.

That’s true, but I should be clear: It downloads attachments. All attachments. Every last one. From the beginning. Of all time. 😯

So while I don’t have much to show for gmail-attachment-downloader, I do have about 10 years of junk to sort through as a result.

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Aside from that warning, there are some other notes I should offer.

I ran into errors when I tried gmail-attachment-downloader in straight python in Arch. python2 appears to be the preferred framework here. Aside from that, I needed no peculiar dependencies. It takes no flags or options.

I gave my account with the @gmail.com suffix; the first time I tried with only the prefix and it wasn’t as successful. That I blame on GMail though, since I know it tends to want full addresses as “user names.”

As you can see, gmail-attachment-downloader is clever enough to avoid name collisions, and will skip over files that are identical and rename files that are similar. I don’t know if that means it is performing some sort of hash check or if it is just looking at file size. Either way is fine with me, but if you have a better idea, talk with the author.

My only suggestion for an improvement would be some sort of date stamping addition. Pulling down years of stashed .config files is fine, but without preserving the original date of the message, or perhaps prefixing the name with original date, everything is just swirled together.

And I suppose I should mention — again — that this is an all-or-nothing adventure. There’s no way (yet) to prompt to download a file, screen messages and pull down attachments by filter, or otherwise control the product. Start it up, set it spinning, and come back a few hours later.

And then spend the next day or two wondering what the context was for the half-dozen Anpanman wallpaper images buried somewhere in your account. Did I really e-mail those to myself … ? πŸ˜•