Tag Archives: memory

mnemonicode: At long last we meet

I’ve been waiting quite a while to see mnemonicode pop up in the rotation. I remember adding it to the list a long while back and thinking, “That is really cool.”

mnemonicode is not a new tool; in fact, the GitHub repo I linked to is just a six-year-old (?) mirror of the original, which is apparently no longer online (but is archived, thank goodness). But I’m really glad I found it, and that Stephen Paul Weber uploaded it there.

What’s so great about it? Well, if you’re like me, and your passwords are just 12-digit strings of random letters and numbers, they can get a little clunky to remember. (But they are fairly time-consuming to force.) Unless the password actually has some intrinsic meaning to it, which mine don’t, it can be a challenge. Of course, that’s the purpose of having such an obtuse password.

But here’s what mnemonicode can do, with its mnencode and mndecode tools:

kmandla@6m47421: ~$ echo TxFX0rxNFkVN | mnencode 

See where this is going yet?

kmandla@6m47421: ~$ echo "nova-figure-peru--george-side-ninja
> jargon-contact-ninja--airline" | mndecode

No longer do I need to remember a string of 12 characters or letters. If I can recall the normal English words, hyphens and line breaks that mnencode gave me, I can translate it back as a matter of course.

To the best of my knowledge, this is not an additional layer of encryption. I’m not actually making the password any more secure than if I had converted with something like rot13. But it does make it easier to remember.

I’d also be a little more comfortable relaying words or sequences of numbers to someone, perhaps written down or face-to-face, if I knew they were going to pipe it back through mndecode later. Which may be part of its history, actually.

mnemonicode could use a little attention these days; aside from the archived explanation of the original program, the GitHub version doesn’t seem to have any documentation. What little I know is through experimentation.

mnemonicode is in AUR and in Sid; I’m glad to see that since I have a feeling this could be something useful in my encrypted live system. It would at least help me remember some of the more eccentric passwords I use. 😐

P.S.: No, those are not my real passwords. You should know better than that.

sar: One small part of a larger suite

I’ll go ahead and throw sar out here today, even though it might be more appropriate to save it for its parent suite, sysstat.

2014-04-16-6m47421-sar-01 2014-04-16-6m47421-sar-02

sar is a system analysis report, and in a nutshell, spits out statistics for a system either periodically, or as collected over a longer period of time.

By itself sar is only marginally useful, as you can see above, but it does share some interesting data.

And the ability to poll over some time means you can collect data through a rough patch, such as loading WordPress.com’s big fat backend. 🙄

There are a lot of options for sar, but if you’re not using the entire suite, it might not be able to tell you much.

If you want a few quickshot examples of how to use it, take a look at this page. Again, without the entire suite working, only some will work right.

I’ll probably revisit this when sysstat comes around. To be continued. 😉

mbw: A surprising little utility

Network bandwidth monitors are a dime-a-dozen at the console in Linux. More rare is an I/O transfer monitor, but they exist.

Did you know there was a memory bandwidth monitor for the console?


mbw is difficult to pin down — the home page was unresponsive for me today — but it’s out there, and it works great.

As you can see, it’s a tiny little tool that as a few options for memory tests, and reports the average bandwidth on your host. Nice and simple.

I saw no AUR package for this (which surprised me), but seeing as the home page couldn’t be reached I just stole the source from Debian and it built without error.

The host machine there is a Thinkpad X61, by the way. This machine tested at less than a tenth of those speeds. This is definitely an interesting tool to watch. … 😐

free: Little to say that hasn’t been said

This will be a very short post. free is a simple, one-shot tool to display the amount of free memory in a system.


I am guessing that, unless you began working with Linux yesterday, you have already seen and used the free tool. It’s in procps (or a derivative) in most distros I’ve seen, and is probably the meterstick everyone uses to measure what’s left of their precious memories.

Unfortunately free can be a bit confusing to decipher. Interpreting it has been the topic of countless forum debates, plog boasts, Internet hatefests, TED talks and G8 summits.

I won’t add to the swirl of sewage surrounding free and it’s correct interpretation. No more than I would dare add my own tiny voice to the clamor around the Oracle of Delphi.

If you’re looking for a tutorial on free, I honestly suggest a few passes through your favorite search engine. I’m not dumping you off to DuckDuckGo; there honestly is a lot of information out there on free and how to read it.

I will only add that I have found other, less contentious methods to gage memory use, and have a tendency to stick to them instead of free. I know, it’s Unix heresy, but sometimes the best way to end debate is not to enter it in the first place.

Now go forth and study the gospel of free.