Tag Archives: feed

rtv: Arr tee vee

And the hits just keep on rolling.


I’m only a lukewarm fan of reddit; it’s useful in some cases, but rather bewildering to me at other times, and I find the blind structure a little confusing.

All the same, we’ve seen reddit-specific console tools in the past, and ordinarily I’d step over something that was specific to one forum or site. But this seems particularly well done.

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rtv claims to be compatible with a lot of terminal emulators, but my preliminary tests suggested it was quite comfortable with a framebuffer terminal too, and didn’t lose out any text or characters over font limitations.

Configuration is very straightforward, with a brief rtv.cfg file you drop into .config/rtv/ and edit with your account name and password (in plain text). You can also define a default subreddit (thereby avoiding unnecessary pictures of cats) and jump from subreddit to subreddit with the slash “/” key.

Right arrows open the discussion in a nested format, which is very convenient, and the “o” key will bounce you into your XDG browser. There are also keystrokes for refreshing a page, searching a page and posting a reply. If you’re a die-hard reddit fan and need something lighter than Firefox (what isn’t lighter than Firefox?!) to get your daily fix, this might be the droid you’re looking for.

Like I said, I’m not a huge fan, but I can’t mark down rtv for working specifically with a site that I am only ambivalent about — particularly when it does everything right. Beautiful color, very flexible display, easy controls and keystrokes with a visual representation that makes following discussions easy. Piece-of-cake configuration and on-screen help displays make rtv an clean sweep.

So here goes: ⭐ Don’t spend the whole day looking at pictures of cats, now. … 😉

P.S.: In AUR only, as both rtv and rtv-git. The -git version worked fine for me.

rsstail: One of two possible reactions

This is one of those times when I’ll show you something, and it will either mean next to nothing … or it will reach out, grab you by the throat and pull you face-first into the screen yelling, “That’s what I’ve been looking for!” 😯

Here’s rsstail:


Not much to look at, but this is definitely one of those tools you have to get close to, if you want to see the potential.

Yes, as you can see there, rsstail basically watches a feed, then spits out the title of the newest entry. No more than that.

But it also has options to show links, comments, authors and more. You can customize text, yank out “Title” or “Link,” and in short, wrangle with the results to a high degree.

Again, that might not enthuse you, but the clever among you will have already started work on a way to jam this into conky, or hotwire it into an IRC client.

And the truly dedicated will attempt to run this through an SMS portal, and send themselves text messages for truly critical events.

rsstail is simple, flexible, intuitive and best of all, begs to be put to use in a dozen ways. It’s one of those rare tools that makes me wish I cared more for news feeds. And if you’re into multitail, the home page says it can work as a plugin. 😐

rsstail is in Debian and Arch, although the AUR version will require a few oddball dependencies to get it going. Enjoy. 😉

rss2email: Almost plain to see

There are times when I wish I handled my own e-mail locally, just so I could try out some of the neat tools I’ve found.

As it is, I’m afraid my introduction of rss2email will have to stand at this:


And unfortunately, that means I technically haven’t seen it in action.

As I understand it though, rss2email should poll feeds at your prompting, and send you an e-mail if something has been updated. For the record, I can give rss2email the run command, but of course nothing appears in my GMail box; I’d need sendmail or something similar to actually do the sending.

Perhaps it’s worth setting up, just to see if it works. 😕

If you’re interested, and if you’re a GMail user too, you might want to take a look at this page, written about a year ago in the runup to Google Reader’s demise. It seems to have all the answers, as far as setup goes.

And when you’re done with that, come back and tell us about it. I am curious, to say the least. 😉

rawdog: Trim away the useless bits

I first ran across rawdog a long time ago, and were I a passionate reader of news feeds, I would no doubt prefer rawdog to a lot of other options.

Maybe this screenshot will help explain that.


I’ve not seen many programs like rawdog, and perhaps that’s because for most people, what rawdog does is apparently counterintuitive.

rawdog pulls rss entries and can recast them in simple HTML format. And of course, for most people, there’s not much ground gained in converting a page to a page, given that there’s probably a page out there they can visit anyway. Cue the rolling of the eyes: 🙄

On the other hand, you have to admit that rawdog’s output is a good deal lighter than the original. And in a text-based browser, it’s quite clean.


So take the most cluttered, obnoxious news site you can think of, hook up rawdog to it, and with any luck you should get a much cleaner, quicker version. Not a bad idea, huh?

rawdog is in Debian and in AUR, but the AUR version doesn’t include python2-feedparser. Just so you’re aware.

olive: A “totally sweet” newsreader is right

The startup screen for olive calls it “a totally sweet newsfeeder,” and I’m totally in favor of that sweet subtitle.


Menu-driven, lots of colors, onboard help screens, scrollbars on the sides, a popup options menu, plenty of on-screen information, intuitive and obvious controls … the list goes on.

I’m not an expert on console news feed readers, but I can’t seem to find anything negative to say about olive.

Except that it seems to have escaped the attention of the Arch Linux crew, because it’s not in Arch or AUR, as best I can see.

And that might be the most surprising thing. For as many tiled window manager screenshots as adorn the forums, and as many of those have some rendition of a text-only news reader, you’d think olive would be among them.

To complicate things, the home page for olive — in case you didn’t click on the link up there yet — is apparently dead. 😐

Debian to the rescue, as happens so often. You’d think that would be enough to get me started, but I’m a bit timid about trying to build it myself from Debian’s framework.

It carries a lot of dependencies, if aptitude is to be believed, and I’m short on the time it would take to sort them all out, and make the jump to Arch.

All that, lumped together, means I will probably stick to olive on machines that run Debian. That is, of course, if I ever feel a need for a news reader at all. 😕

nrss: Reaching back through the years

If you click here in hopes of seeing the nrss home page, you might be a little disappointed. It seems that nrss was superseded by canto, a similar-minded newsreader.


Come to think of it, for as long as I can remember, nrss played second fiddle to canto. And that may be as the developer intended.

Either way, I don’t remember much about how nrss worked, and might not ever, since the version I built in Arch segfaulted at any keypress.

So beyond opening the initial screen and watching it auto-refresh, nrss wouldn’t do much for me. Of course, if it’s prepackaged in your distro, you’ll probably have better luck.

A note on configuration: There’s a folder marked “feeds” inside ~/.nrss/ but nrss only worked if I put this line inside ~/.nrss/config:

add "http://feeds.bbci.co.uk/news/rss.xml" "BBC Top Stories"

It may be that there is a better way to configure nrss, but it might be late to figure it out.

Between the two, nrss or canto, you can decide which you prefer. I don’t use news readers much, and don’t really see a difference between them.

If you use them and need certain features, see if nrss has them.

goldenpod: Again, against my better judgment

For reasons that will become obvious later, I’m going to include another application that I am not 100 percent sure is working.

But again, it’s probably an issue of application — not the application. If that makes sense. 😦

This is goldenpod, at the peak of what I was able to do with it.


There are a couple of issues here, and half of them might be mine.

First of all, I confess I’m not much of a podcast listener. I only really know about the “Linux Lifestyle” one, and I’ve only listened to two or three. I used it as an example, but I honestly don’t know a good one from a bad one.

So it may be that the problem here is that I’ve (not again!) misconfigured goldenpod, and it’s trying to pull podcasts in the wrong way. On the other hand, it may be that they’ve published their files in an unconventional manner.

I am more than eager to accept my error, if that’s the case. Again, I don’t know much about these things.

On the other hand, and in a larger way, there’s the issue of the curl errors that are cropping up. That’s not promising.

If I check the goldenpod home page, it’s a few years out of date, as far as updates go. I’m not a curl expert, so I don’t know if there’s some sort of change on curl’s end that perhaps goldenpod didn’t catch.

All this swirls around into my vague apology for including a program, again, that may or may not be 100 percent functional. Like I said, probably within a few days the reasons for these halfhearted posts will be obvious. 🙄

cortex: In a very similar vein

Since I just mentioned reddit-top, it’s probably only fair to drag cortex into the sunlight.


Much the same idea as the previously mentioned tool, cortex adds quite a few features — things like line-by-line highlighting, jumping straight to the link or the comments, and so forth.

You can direct it straight to a subreddit with the s key, jump back to the home page with h, and refresh the list at will with r.

Again, you’ll probably have to do a little finagling to get the bulk of the cat photos displayed, if you’re using cortex outside Xorg. But that’s up to you to solve.

cortex’s main advantages over reddit-top should be very obvious though: Better access to cat photos.

Here’s where I acknowledge that I have similar difficulties between cortex and elinks as I did between reddit-top and elinks — something goofy regarding the scrollback buffer.

I bet it’s somehow related to elinks, and not the spawning software. If I get a few more hours in a day, I’ll have to solve it. 🙄

{hacker,reddit}-top: Monitoring at your pleasure

Two-for-one today, and you can use whichever one you prefer: hacker-top and reddit-top, both of which do basically the same thing.

2013-03-20-solo-2150-hacker_top 2013-03-20-solo-2150-reddit_top

Scour a news aggregator site and dump the results into a text-only form.

Now before you go all berzerk and wonder what practical use that is — particularly when one or both of those sites tends to be collections of pictures of cats — there is a rationale for this sort of tool.

And rather than belabor the point like I did years ago, I’ll just say that some people prefer to strip away the distractions (and yes, pictures of cats are distractions) and focus on actual information.

Regardless, both hacker-top and reddit-top work in almost identical fashion, skimming designated pages at regular intervals and cueing a browser when you want to take a closer look.

As they are both intended to mimic top (you do remember top, don’t you?) there are only a few practical options for them.

Pressing o opens your $BROWSER to that page — but only the topmost item in the list.

So you have to scroll up or down to get the link you want in the first line, then open it. Not ideal, but functional. Pressing m cycles through a few more details. Pressing u updates out of turn.

After that there are only a few flags for update intervals, and so forth.

So I suppose, in a much more broader sense, neither is a true feed reader, like newsbeuter or some others.

As a side note, I ran into a little scrum between both programs and elinks. Apparently there’s some scrollback buffer issue between the two.

Most of the text on the page disappears when elinks exits; scrolling back through the list brings some of them back to light, little by little.

I’ve checked my elinks settings, but I don’t see much about this, and the Internet is little help this time.

No fear, this is no giant tragedy. It does make for a slight inconvenience though.

newsbeuter: A simple and clean news reader

I don’t have much experience with news readers, so I really can’t tell a good one from a poor one.

They are fun to tinker with, for a few minutes anyway. Beyond that I usually lose interest and they gather metaphorical dust somewhere in my system.

If you’ve had a different experience though, you might find newsbeuter interesting.

2013-03-18-solo-2150-newsbeuter-01 2013-03-18-solo-2150-newsbeuter-02

It’s incredibly easy to set up — just paste feed URLs into a configuration file and start it up. From there, most of the controls are listed on-screen.

Again, I don’t know a good feed reader from a bad one, so maybe it’s not worth the effort … as little as that is.

On the other hand, some folks take newsbeuter quite seriously, and given the impending departure of Google Reader, it might be worth making a transition.

But you can decide. It might be easy to set up newsbeuter and it might take over all your Google Reader responsibilities, but there may be something better out there.