Tag Archives: monitor

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. … πŸ˜‰

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

driftnet: Dutifully duplicating

I’ve been tinkering with driftnet over the past day or so, in a little experiment born out of a suspicion that a web site was preloading images before a link was clicked. It’s completely out of context for this site, but it did introduce me to another console tool.


Mostly I want to keep a note of driftnet here, because I have a feeling I will want to use it again in the future.

And to be honest, as far as driftnet’s console output, there isn’t much to see. In its “default” form, driftnet sends its findings to a viewer window, which suggests it is more intended for a graphical audience anyway.

But it does have an “adjunct” mode that omits that. Instead it keeps a running list of images it senses, and otherwise follows its standard operating procedures. Armed with that much function, you could make a case that it has a nongraphical format as well. (It supposedly can also sense audio files that are transferred, but I didn’t test that.)

And as you can see in that wide and spacious screenshot above, it does a good job grappling with images that pass through an interface, and stashing them for your later perusal.

Of course, the obvious uses for driftnet would be threefold: (1) too keep a local copy of images that your machine retrieves, (2) to access images that are otherwise unsave-able from a browser, or (3) to later accuse some miscreant of abusing their Internet access privileges by requesting images that are inappropriate. 😑

There may be other applications; however you use it, in its console-only format it should be lightweight enough to run in a spare tty, and duly make duplicates of what activity transpires.

driftnet is in Debian-based distros as you can see above. It’s also in AUR but neither the GTK nor Debian patch version would build for me. I didn’t work to hard to get an Arch copy though; it may be acceptable just to hijack the binary from Debian and run from there. πŸ˜‰

httping: Lots of flash and dash

When I first read the description for httping I took it to be a ping tool intended specifically for HTTP addresses. I couldn’t really see how that would be terribly different from plain old ping, since I’m in the habit of just feeding URLs to ping anyway.


Oh, but this is something even better than that. :mrgreen: httping has a lovely ncurses mode that shows all kinds of flashy, splashy, dashy color and metrics. And manages to cram it all into one small display.


I have a lot of the fancier effects turned on there; if you install the FFTW libraries from your distro (fftw in Arch; probably something from here in Debian) you can play with the phase meter and traffic history bars too.

Or turn all that off and get just the plain ncurses display. Or just feed it an address with no flags, and get something a lot like straight ping. But where’s the fun in that? πŸ˜‰

You could make the argument that pressing the phase display and the history graphs directly over the displayed text makes things hard to read, and I’d probably have to agree for the most part. However, I don’t remember too many other ping tools — or other network monitors, for that matter — that tried that, except perhaps for the venerable iftop, or its offshoot iftopcolor.

But personally, I like it. I think it works, and you have the option to remove it. httping is different, it’s colorful, it approaches a specific case and handles it completely but adroitly.

An easy decision: One gold star for httping: ⭐ Don’t spend it all in one place. πŸ˜‰

horst: Not at all colorless, for your wireless

It’s been a while since I found a pure wireless monitor — in fact, I think the last one was WiFiScanner back in October, although you could say wifite had some scanning features, even if its purpose was a little different.

I’d like to say that horst is a monitor that ranks among the best, but I should probably tone that down just a little, and say that it’s among the best I’ve seen.

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After all, I tend to be a bit of a dunce when it comes to all the nitty gritty points about networking issues, and to complicate that, I am easily dazzled by flashy colors or bouncing ASCII graphs. Which makes me the least qualified judge of software, now that I think about it. … :\

In any case, horst does a lot of things right — a lot. Plenty of color, menu-driven, a thousand options controlled through pop-up menus, on-screen keyboard help, clean and efficient use of screen space … I could go on for a while.

In fact, I don’t know if I prefer horst or wavemon, the gold-standard tool for wireless monitoring and the utility I’ve been using to measure up just about everything wireless-ish since the beginning of 2013. 😯

So yes, horst is that good … to me at least. It may be that you have more knowledge about wireless technology and how it works, and therefore have another tool you prefer. In that case, I can only admit my shortcomings and endorse it as a well-designed, attractive and fully functional wireless monitor. Which is not empty praise.

horst is in Debian and AUR, but will take a little nudging to get working. The AUR package tries to assign horst to the group “horst,” which will cause the build to fail; edit out the group assignment and you can run it as root without difficulty.

Both versions will balk if your wireless interface isn’t set to monitor mode, so you’ll need to bring down your interface and set that with iwconfig (deviceid) mode monitor. I should mention that not all devices are created equal, so it may be that your physical hardware refuses to switch to that mode, in which case I think horst is not going to work for you.

Once that’s set, you should be able to run horst just with horst -i (deviceid) and enjoy all the text-based glitter. πŸ˜€ When you’re done, don’t forget to re-set your interface (probably to “managed”) so you can reconnect to your network. (I’m mentioning all these details for my benefit as well as yours; I’ll probably be scratching my head at some time in the future, wondering how I got horst running.)

Now that my daily dose of splashy color is out of the way, I can focus long enough to give out the first gold star of 2015: ⭐ Enjoy! πŸ˜€

ips: Intelligent process monitoring

My apologies for the quiet space yesterday; I had some holiday-related travel to suffer through, and it wasn’t possible to update until this morning.

In return for your patience, I would like to offer ips, an intelligent process monitoring tool that has a lot in common with things like top, or perhaps procps.


If I understand ips correctly, most of its data is procured through /proc, and translated into an abbreviated format that is displayed in the style you see above. The details of the Summary section would require a little more space than I can afford today; take a look at the man page for a breakdown.

ips strikes me as both highly flexible and relatively easy to control; what you see above used the loop, curses, sort, noroot and a few other flags, for a relatively easy-to-follow top-like monitor. There are a lot of other options to pull from though.

ips also has a “graphical” mode that I feel I should mention, but it’s not particularly spectacular. Take a look if you like.

ips is in Debian, but I don’t see it in Arch/AUR, and I can’t find an original home page. It’s a little difficult to pin down since the name is “ips,” and quite a few other things obscure my searches. It’s a piece of cake to build ips in Arch from the Debian source though, so it’s not a huge issue.

I like ips, but it’s a little overkill in some respects, and isn’t quite as brief and quick as something like htop or just plain top. Still, if you’re looking for something unconventional and less popular than those two, ips is an idea. ips … the hipster process monitor. πŸ™„

pscpug: Nothing to do with pugs

The world needs good, accessible system monitors. It’s just a generalized rule. I can complain about an overabundance of music players or Tetris clones, but I don’t think anyone ever gets weary of seeing a new way of viewing their system information.

pscpug is a simple vertical scrolling process monitor that displays its results as a sparse bar graph.


It took me a while to get a decent screenshot, mostly because the applications I use are usually text-based, and it seems their process usage over time seems fairly flat. Pale Moon didn’t let me down though.

pscpug is terrifically simple, and terrifically useful. Feed it the pid of an application and you get a bar graph that refreshes at intervals, showing CPU drag. That’s all. There are only three flags — one for a different refresh rate, one to suppress its closing display of statistics, and one to switch to a generic data collection mode.

No color, but I’m willing to overlook that. No line-drawing characters, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your system.

It’s very simple to control, very simple to read, and very simple to run. And it would look good on a shelf with top, tload or maybe nload.

And that’s all I can say about it. It does what it promises and doesn’t make a mess of things. Nice work. πŸ˜‰

dfc: The way it should be done

This is dfc, and this is how disk usage tools should behave:


That’s just clean, and easy, and clear. Well-labeled, with human-readable denominations and consistent use of color. Adjustable to the width of the terminal, with the addition of filesystem types, and a few other points of interest.

I can’t find a fault to report, unless I want to pick at its choices in color. And given that I can fix that in a few moments by editing .config/dfc/dfcrc, my complaints would be weak indeed.

Plus, dfc wins mega points for converting its output into vanilla HTML. That means you’re only a few keystrokes away from converting the above output into:


You Latex fiends get special attention from dfc too, as do the csv warriors in the crowd. dfc is that helpful. 😎

In fact, I can’t find a thing unlikeable about dfc. I’m more than willing to hand out a coveted-yet-valueless K.Mandla gold star to this one: ⭐ Enjoy! πŸ˜‰

nbwmon: An ncurses bandwidth monitor, of course

The world must have taken my abrogration of further text-based network monitors to heart, since we haven’t seen many of those lately. Here’s one that managed to escape my evil clutches: nbwmon.

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And I’m glad it did. nbwmon has just about all the right moves: Color display, clean arrangement, adjustable refresh rate, automatic rescaling for peaks and valleys in the display, and so forth.

It’s all very nicely done. And dare I mention that it seems to hearken back to slurm and ifstatus? No shame in that. πŸ™‚

I might have to close off this post early, because honestly, I can’t find anything wrong with nbwmon. Ordinarily I’d pick around and complain about this or that, but nbwmon seems as feature-complete as I’d like in a network monitor, without any shortcomings that I could find. No crashes (unless I resized the terminal to 12×8 πŸ™„ ), no artifacts, no funky error messages.

So either nbwmon is almost perfect, or I’m losing my critical touch. Let’s hope for the former. :\

cpubars: More processors equals more fun

This is kind of a pointless screenshot for cpubars, given what it’s intended for:


If I had two cores, or maybe four, or maybe 16, or one of these, cpubars might really put on a show. As it is, my lowly non-hyperthreading P4 will only animate one row of CPU stress bars. More’s the pity. 😦

The home page says cpubars is intended for multicore machines accessed over ssh, and I do believe that cpubars could do just that. It wisely sticks to block characters and simple colors, which should cause minimal stress while offering a still-pleasing display.

After all, what good is a CPU monitor that puts the CPU to task while running? πŸ˜›

Aside from that, I don’t know there’s much to say about cpubars. The binary is 23K. There’s an option to set the refresh delay. I think that’s it.

Good enough — color, animation, low profile and a straightforward design. Huzzah, I say. πŸ™‚