Tag Archives: list

memo: Not bad, just average by comparison

About three weeks ago, I got two links for memo from readers, and saw another two sites that mentioned it as a new notes and/or to-do list manager. And judging by the enthusiasm, it seemed to be winning a few fans.

I may be an inherent skeptic, but after a certain level of hype, I begin to doubt an application is “all that.” My skepticism was well-founded earlier this year when betty was suddenly the go-to CLI application, and it turned out to be no better than a ragged list of aliases.

todo.txt is another hotly applauded title that I don’t see as particularly wonderful, but in that case it’s just the Lifehacker endorsement that clues me in. I don’t need my spider-sense for that one.

My spider-sense doesn’t seem to be leading me astray this time though. memo isn’t a bad program, but I have yet to see where it suddenly upends the entire category of text-based note-taking to-do list manager tools.


memo takes flags as functions and strings and dates are added. memo can handle done and undone states, can of course delete tasks, but can also weed out finished tasks. It can show notes within current dates, and mass-set tasks as completed.

You can pipe strings into memo, which makes it fairly flexible as the target of another program. memo can handle plain text and regex searches, and even export its contents to a simple HTML page.

And … that’s about it. The home page offers a few tips and tricks, but I don’t see anything earth-shattering, or anything that couldn’t necessarily be done with another to-do list manager. Sending memo’s (or any other application’s) output through conky is fairly pedestrian, and wiring it through mutt or procmail is probably well within the grasp of … anyone who relies on either mutt or procmail on a regular basis. 🙄

To be clear, I don’t see anything wrong with memo. It has a simple focus that, yes, could be called Unixy. It has predictable output and stores its data in a flat file that is strikingly similar to what you’ll see on screen.

But I don’t get the sense that it’s terrifically innovative, or has a new approach to CLI note-taking. I’ve seen dozens — literally dozens — of text-based to-do list managers in the past six months, and memo doesn’t particularly stand out against the heavyweights (like taskwarrior or the aforementioned todo.txt) in that category.

Tools like sncli, tofu and tudu are far more avant-garde than what memo offers. Even sh-todo can match memo feature-for-feature, then adds proper tagging, and does it only from a shell script. 😐

memo works, I don’t deny it. If you prefer it, you use it with my sincerest blessing. But I think this is another time when a swirl of enthusiasm around a particular application has clouded the fact that it’s comparatively average.

sncli: For cloud-based to-do lists, and more

About a month ago, Eric sent me a note about sncli, which works as a command-line interface to Simplenote. I’d never used the site before, and I have some reservations about using cloud services for all but the most mundane of data, but I’ll try anything once. Especially if it has this much color:

2014-08-23-6m47421-sncli-01 2014-08-23-6m47421-sncli-02

And true to form, sncli kept the online version up-to-date with my changes. Quite quickly too, I might add. Simplenote had my changes from sncli online before I had clicked on the tab.


And no, I don’t really wash the fish. The fish washes himself, constantly. 😉

As I can see it, from what I’ve learned about Simplenote and from working with sncli, the real value in this is the ability to access to-do lists and reminders from devices other than your old 133Mhz Pentium laptop. I don’t have a smartphone (only dumbphones) but if I did, it would be nice to see those lists update between sncli and the web interface and the mobile phone.

sncli itself has more to love than just the color scheme. Off the bat it’s easy to see how it works, and if you’re a fan of the vi-ish control scheme, navigation will appeal to you immediately. You can add a note with “C”, edit one in your $EDITOR with “e”, sync with your online account with “S”, and so forth. Easy to use and remember.

Provided you have a Simplenote account, you can configure sncli with little more than your account name and password. Add those to .snclirc and you’re ready to go … keeping in mind that those are stored in plain text.

That would be only one of my very few suggestions for sncli at this point: Find a way to manage an encrypted password, perhaps along the lines of how gcalcli handles it. Considering gpg is available on just about every system out there, it should be an easy dependency to fulfill.

My only other observation is that the command to view a note in a pager jumps straight to less, while my $PAGER is set to most. Perhaps that could be an option. Oh, and maybe add arrow keys for navigation. Some people will expect that. 😉

I like sncli a lot — particularly for the easy setup, good use of color, excellent use of screen real estate, near-immediate synchronizing with the online service, intuitive commands and onboard help. … Oh heck, what’s not to like? Well done. Have a K.Mandla gold star: ⭐ 😉 Enjoy!

sl: The other sl

I spent my obligatory 30 minutes this morning trying to figure out what had broken to spew garbage all over my screen in the place of Firefox. Then I realized it was Firefox, in some new and mutated flavor.

Once the hate had flowed through me, I sat down and started looking for options, and so I type to you now from Pale Moon, and so far things are as good, if not better.

All that aside, it’s time to look at the other sl, the one kwlblt mentioned and nobody seems to know about. Or at least I sure didn’t know about, until last week.


I really, really like this. Rather than just rely on the strict ls rundown, sl categorizes files, shows you how big they are if they’re unusually large, how old they are if that is also unusual, if links are broken, if files are executable, etc., etc.

sl is also smart enough to lump directories according to their contents. So for example, my wallpaper directory shows up under the “images” heading, and not just as a folder.

It’s a much more practical, human-ish approach to directory contents. And it has color! 😀

I don’t see this as a replacement to ls, so much as an amplification. There’s information that is more handy from ls, and there is some that is more intuitive in sl. I hope to use both.

And all this time, it was hiding behind that ascii locomotive. Tsk, tsk. … 🙂