Tag Archives: management

xcv: Taking the long way around

Sometimes it’s difficult for me to see the practicality of someone’s invention. I understand that their perspective brought them to a particular point and they solved a problem with a program, but it appears they’ve taken the very long way around.

This is xcv, which in my eye seems to be taking the aforementioned circuitous route.


If you can follow the steps there, xcv seems to work by either copying or moving files (at your request) to a third location, then waiting for the command to paste them into a target. A breakdown, step-by-step, is on the home page.

In that sense it seems to break down the cp or mv command into steps, and give you more control over the results. I suppose the practicality of that would be in cases where you have files from many different locations, all moving to one new directory. xcv technically reduces the number of commands it would take to do that … I think.

That’s about the only time I can think where xcv would be preferable to the standard tools available, and only if other things like find and some advanced commands are ruled out. It may be that you can see xcv at work in another situation.

As for myself, I probably won’t keep this around. I can see one, perhaps two cases where this would benefit me, and they’re so rare as to be annual events, at best. And in one of those, an extended find command does the trick quite well.

All the same it may be a useful tool for you, if you can see where it would be to your benefit to break down your task, and take the long way around.

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. … 😦

create_ap: Something to brighten your day

There aren’t a whole lot of things that overwhelm me any more with Linux; I’ve seen miracles happen and I know too many cool things are possible. Unless it’s something that I’ve run aground with personally, I will take for granted that this operating system can solve just about any issue.

I did get a pleasant surprise with create_ap today though. There’s not much I can show for it, aside perhaps from this screenshot:


And if you have experiences setting up software access points, that might not even enthuse you. For me, it was a far less painful process than picking through the Arch wiki to get one machine to relay its network connection through another.

And it worked exactly as it said it would, with all but the most trivial setup: Give your network a name. And now I have two or three machines (both Linux and Windows, if I must be honest) piped through a fourth, and reaching the world beyond.

Sorry if I sound over-enthusiastic. I am sure everything on the wiki page is a cake walk for some folks. But I can remember as far back as Internet Connection Sharing between Windows 98 and 2000 machines, and recall weeping over their obtuse refusals to work.

So a script like create_ap, that just makes it into a whiz-bang one-line magic trick, is pretty darned cool. And I can also testify that there have been times, even in the past year, when a machine without a proper ethernet port is suddenly just an expensive flyswatter, because there’s no wireless access in range. 😦

I should mention that there is a small hardware requirement — your wireless card has to allow itself to be put into master mode. One machine with an Intel PRO/2200 wouldn’t do it, but a PCMCIA card with an Atheros 5K chipset would. Good to know.

Either way, this I will definitely keep around, because it simplifies the procedure and prevents me from pulling out my hair. And hey, it just might put a smile on your face. It did that for me. :mrgreen:

yaourt: In the interest of parity

For someone who uses Arch Linux on almost every machine that passes through my hands, I seem to have spent a lot of time looking through Debian-based tools. Perhaps that’s a hint of my subconscious affiliation. … :\

Out of fairness, I’ll mention yaourt today. I know there are a lot of add-ons and frontends to the venerable pacman, but I’m a yaourt user for a couple of simple reasons.


The first is color. No, just kidding. πŸ˜‰ The first is congruency: With very few exceptions that I know of, yaourt is almost command-for-command a match with pacman. Of course there are a few embellishments here and there, but I haven’t found anything yet that makes one or the other terrifically uncomfortable.

The second is transparency: What I really want as a bump up from pacman, is the ability to mesh cleanly with the AUR for searches and installation. I’m comfortable at this point in my Linux experience with installing “unsupported” software in Arch, and I’m generally clever enough to spot a malformed PKGBUILD and kick it into a working state. The only thing pacman lacks is the ability (permission?) to continue its searches and installs with the AUR.

But that’s enough about that. I think using yaourt puts me into a minority of Arch users. But it’s hard to tell because there are quite a few tools that embellish or boost pacman, and I know of no survey that sets us all into our individual camps.

To be honest, I’d prefer it stay that way. We’re all on the same team, whether you’re in with yaourt or pacman, Arch or Debian. One thing the world needs is a little less division. πŸ˜‰

googlecl: Cutting corners with everything Google

My office uses Google Documents for almost everything it does. We all have GMail addresses and even our primary site is managed through Google, although the intricacies escape me.

I concede that it does streamline some things, but only because I have to. I’m still no fan of the cloud, and I never have been, and probably never will be.

Having said all that, I can see where googlecl would be very, very useful in our office for bulk management of e-mail lists or contact information. Just as a very brief example:

2014-09-06-6m47421-googlecl-01 2014-09-06-6m47421-googlecl-02

That’s the same example that appears on the home page, so I suppose pixellating much of those images was unnecessary. All the same, I think you should get the point. With something as simple as google contacts add and a little data, I get a corresponding addition to my online Contacts list.

Which is what you would probably expect. And it likewise goes without saying that googlecl can handle not only GMail Contacts, but also Blogger posts, YouTube uploads, Calendar events, additions and edits to Documents, and just about every other aspect of your collective Goo-perience, from the command line.

I can’t go into too much detail on invididual commands and configuration, mostly because each Google aspect has its own rasher of options and specifics. If you’re genuinely interested — and again, for my daily workload I already see a few places this can be useful — you’ll need to look closely on your own.

Probably the one thing I like best about googlecl is what you see in the terminal screenshot above: Rather than require a configuration file setup, googlecl simply links you to the API authentication page, and prompts you for the passcode. It does save a step, and gets you moving a little faster with the entire Goo-perience.

And I tip my hat to that. I never have and never will concede my own private and personal information to The Almighty Cloud, and have serious worries on behalf of anyone who does. But I’m taking this to work on Monday, and seeing if it will help cut a few corners. 😐

rtcwake and the ghetto alarm clock: Wake up on time

This one comes from Alfredo Palhares, and I don’t have much to add to his description: It’s essentially a one-liner using rtcwake to power up a machine from suspend, and immediately begin playing music. Setting the exact time makes it into an alarm clock, of sorts.

I’m shamelessly copy-and-pasting here:

sudo rtcwake -m disk $(date +%s -d 'tomorrow 08:30') && amixer -c 0 set Master 100% && mpv /home/masterkorp/Music//Mozart\ Discography\ \(5\ CDs\)\ 320kbps//

I see that it uses mpv for playback, but I suppose almost any music player would work, so long as it takes a music file or folder as a target. And I suppose it’s worth saying it will require some ALSA support. πŸ˜‰

I have to be honest on two points. First, I haven’t actually tried this personally, mostly because I almost never use suspend on any machine, despite the fact that I only work with laptops. Suspend has never been of much interest to me; I prefer to zip from cold boot to command prompt. :mrgreen:

The second issue is geographical: I keep my arsenal of junky laptops in a completely different part of the house, and even while belching out their best tinny volume, I doubt the sound would carry. So I’ll probably stick with the old-fashioned beeping clock alarm. πŸ™„

For those reasons and reasons of protocol, if you have questions or suggestions, you should probably direct them to Alfredo. πŸ˜‰

rtcwake, by the way, is in util-linux, which is probably, maybe, possibly … on your system already. πŸ™‚

who and whoami: Two more quick Five Ws

After the rampant indecision of whatis, whereis and which, even more uncertainty is addressed by who and whoami.

Only this time, there’s a better sense of uniformity between the two. But that should also be expected, since both who and whoami are part of that magical package called coreutils. Regardless, this will be quick.

who, as you might imagine, shows users logged in at the moment, when they signed in, and from what console.

kmandla@6m47421: ~$ who
kmandla  tty1         2014-06-28 05:08

who can show a little more information, which is probably a good idea.

kmandla@6m47421: ~$ who -a -H
NAME       LINE         TIME             IDLE          PID COMMENT  EXIT
           system boot  2014-06-28 05:08
kmandla  - tty1         2014-06-28 05:08 08:02         180

In this case, the -a flag prods who for the most information available, and the -H supplies the header line. So you know what you’re looking at, of course. πŸ˜‰

whoami, in case you thought it impossible, is even simpler. It only does one thing — reminds you who you are — and its only options are --version and --help … and --help isn’t hard to figure out.

kmandla@6m47421: ~$ whoami

As if I didn’t know that. O_o

I debated leaving these tools out, since they’re from the same package and the latter one is hardly worth mentioning. But you never know, perhaps this post will help someone with their identity crisis some day. … :mrgreen:

trash-cli: Would you like a safety net with that?

I like to live life dangerously. When I delete something, it’s gone forever. No trash cans for me. No recycle bins, .local/share/trash or anything wimpy like that. I like my files deleted with extreme prejudice. 😎

For those still going through life with training wheels, you might consider trash-cli.


I’m kidding. The real benefit to using trash-cli, as I can see it, is that it gives you practical access to the same trash systems that most graphical desktops use.

Supposedly, this should mesh nicely with the Gnome, KDE or XFCE trash protocols, although I am not about to install three different desktops just to see if it’s true or not. o_O

For me, it’s an odd idea to think that you would need trash-cli if one of those desktops is already installed, but I’m all for following standards, and just rm isn’t really meant to play well with the FreeDesktop.org style.

trash-cli does a lot of things right, too. There are separate mini-commands for listing the files in the trash, a dedicated “interface” for restoring files, and a lot of flags that are backward-compatible with rm. It certainly shows a measure of forethought.

Of course, all that is lost on command-line kamikazes like me. We don’t need no stinking recycle bins. I hard-wired the rm command straight to shred. No turning back. Do it or don’t. Make up your mind, and live with it. Real men don’t use trash cans.

But they’ve had plenty of experience with these things. O_o

tcpkill and tcpnice: Let’s be fair for once

In the past I have been somewhat rude, dismissing tools out of the dsniff suite without giving them their chance to shine. I should probably look at one or two, just to be fair.

Starting with tcpkill and tcpnice might be a mistake though. This could be one of those times when I inadvertently shoot myself in the foot, trying to learn how to use a program.

So I’m going to be somewhat vague. For example, I know that one program should throttle a connection’s speed, and the other should kill it outright. To wit. …

tcpkill -9 host inconsolation.wordpress.com

should prevent you from reading my dull and worthless blatherings. Designate ports by substituting port for host above. Multiple hosts and/or ports can be connected with the and term.

So in all, it’s clean, fast, intuitive and for what I’ve seen, works like it says it will.

tcpnice should behave in much the same way. This alone

tcpnice -i wlp4s0 'net'

unless I’m mistaken, should slow down a connection by speckling it with unwanted noise or misdirections. Again, I’m being vague here. I’m sure that there are more professional, expert and elegant ways to use either tool.

“Well, that wasn’t so difficult to understand,” you might say. “Where’s the potential for harm in that?” you might ask.

I suppose there isn’t any. But seeing as most of the dsniff package is intended for serious endeavours, my fear is that some random command nonchalantly thrown into a terminal emulator would suddenly disconne

tcpreen: It’s that time again

I’ve been lucky thus far, and been able to wrangle with most of the network tools I have encountered in the T section, and gotten them to play nice with my system.

I’m afraid tcpreen caught me unawares though, and again I find myself smacking random sequences into the computer, and finding no more success than what is suggested on the Internet.

So no screenshot this time; my inability to get things properly configured seems to have returned.

Once more I have no reason to suspect that the issue is with tcpreen; it’s not in AUR but it is in Debian, and I (more or less) trust the Debian infrastructure to tell me when a tool has fallen into disrepair and just doesn’t work any more.

But it’s in Wheezy, so I must assume that the error(s) is/are mine. I’m more inclined to believe my own lack of ability than the random chance that the actual software is in error.

tcpreen should work as a basic redirection tool, binding one connection to another — apparently on the same machine or different ones — and allowing data from one port to flow into another.

Supposedly. Unfortunately I lack the requisite geek credentials to get it working that way, and all I receive in reply are misconfiguration messages from the tcpreen gods.

I like banging my head against a wall … because it feels sooo good when I stop. πŸ˜•

So rather than burn up more time reinforcing my general state of non-understanding, I’ll put this out there as part of the “should work, but I am too dense to configure it” crowd.

Much to my disappointment, that crowd is slowly growing. 😦