Tag Archives: organizer

tdl: A task organizer in its own right

These days, it seems I’m either looking at to-do organizers or tcp doodads. My hope is that somewhere in the next 85 posts or so, something a little different will come along. At least before the U section. 😐

Not this time though. tdl is another task organizer, and this time it’s not built off taskwarrior.


Over the past year and a half it has become clear that, of task managers that are not fullscreen applications, the trend is either to perform every operation as a single command — like taskwarrior, for example — or to enter an interactive mode and handle all management in a captive terminal — like yokadi, for example.

tdl seems comfortable in either mode, giving you the chance to send off single-shot changes to your to-do list, or to settle in and make serious changes.

And tdl is no joke. It can set priorities, generate reports of done tasks, search through tasks for specific strings, undo changes, revert from an unsaved series of changes, postpone or defer tasks … it’s quite impressive.

I’d even go so far as to say it might rival taskwarrior and some other organizer suites in its complexity. Just moving through the man page took me quite a while.

tdl seems very much under-the-radar, but that may just be the side effect of my relative inexperience with it. It’s probably worth noting though, that the home page shows no changes within the past few years.

So it might be that it’s so far under the radar that it’s gone invisible. But that wouldn’t intimidate me. I’m quite used to using software that’s been out of development for decades. 😉

taskopen: New ground for taskwarrior

Just for the record, I’m not some huge taskwarrior fan. I have a feeling that someone, a long time ago, fed me a list of taskwarrior derivatives-stroke-variants, and I’ve finally gotten around to wading through them.

taskopen allows you to use taskwarrior to annotate tasks, and connect them to files, hyperlinks, scripts or whatever you like.

It might be easier to see, than to explain. Imagine you add a taskwarrior entry like this.

kmandla@jk7h5f1: ~$ task add Check home page

taskwarrior dutifully responds with

Created task 1.

Now suppose you annotate that item with the actual home page to check. Do that like this:

kmandla@jk7h5f1: ~$ task 1 annotate -- https://inconsolation.wordpress.com

taskwarrior, unaware of its newly found superpowers, replies with:

Annotating task 1 'Check home page'.
Annotated 1 task.

“Hey, wow, K.Mandla,” you say. “That’s like, sooo amazing.” 🙄

Trust me. When have I ever steered you wrong? (Okay, don’t answer that.) Here’s where the fun starts:

kmandla@jk7h5f1: ~$ taskopen 1
START /usr/bin/palemoon "https://inconsolation.wordpress.com"

and pow, the address for the page opens in your alpha-male browser. 😯 Just like magic.

That’s a rather primitive example, and the one more or less afforded by the readme file on taskopen’s main page. If you extrapolate from there though, you can imagine

  • Reminders that can link straight to PDF forms.
  • Tasks that are connected to specific web sites, like tax forms, conversion charts or bookmarked pages.
  • Chores that trigger scripts that do whatever, like performing a backup or encrypting a file.
  • To-do items that open their respective files automatically, in $EDITOR.
  • Tasks that connect to abstract things not usually allowed in a text-only environment, like images or audio files.

Think of it as a way of preserving bookmarks within a task manager, at the command line.

taskopen is nifty because it stacks something interesting on top of an already powerful tool, and takes it in an unexpected direction. I’m sure you can think of a use or two that was beyond me.

taskopen has its own set of individual options, so you’re not just slinging tasks into Firefox. There is more than enough available to keep you interested.

Now let’s move on, before someone thinks I’m spamming for taskwarrior. 😀

tasknc: These aren’t the droids you’re looking for

You probably thought we were finished with taskwarrior. The fact is though, that taskwarrior is sufficiently influential to warrant mention of a few of its derivatives and offshoots.

tasknc is one of those, even though it seems to fall a little short of target.


tasknc is not the “official” console application interface I hinted about the other day. This is a home-grown effort, and it does a pretty good job.

It follows vi-like controls, has onboard help pages, has a few color options, and otherwise makes a good show of arranging your tasks data in a more navigable format.

Unfortunately, it seems like some of the puzzle pieces are missing from tasknc. Deleting an item, for example causes tasknc to lock up for me, and CTRL+C is the only way out.

I had some similar problems when viewing item information, but there is the chance that I had done that to myself, by mistaking viewer controls for list controls. And sorting is a bit cryptic, with just a prompt for “sort by”. Meaning … name? date? I’m lost there.

On the whole it appears that tasknc has a pretty good grip on what taskwarrior itself can do, and manages to incorporate most of those tenets into a proper fullscreen interface.

On those points I’m willing to give tasknc a tentative seal of approval, and credit it as a step up from taskwarrior’s traditional rolling text display.

It’s not, however, the “official” interface you might be waiting for. That’s still at least a month or two into the future. 😐

t: The shortest possible route

urukrama first sent mention of t, years ago, and I am sure I spent a little time with it soon after. It never latched on to me though, and still hasn’t … though that’s not anyone’s fault.

The homepage for t includes the tagline “It Does the Simplest Thing That Could Possibly Work,” and I think that’s an accurate statement.


t is simplistic without sacrificing practical function, and attacks each feature with the least amount of interference.

For example, as you can see in the screenshot, adding a task is the default, and is done just with

t Task to be added

t slots them, and lists them with just t. Removing or marking as “complete” is a single-letter flag.

Asking to see done tasks is a slightly longer step, but again, I’m sure the author of t would insist you should be working on those tasks, not waxing nostalgic over what you’ve finished. 😉

t is nowhere near as complex as taskwarrior, or as some others we’ve seen. But it does have all the major functions without occluding the final product.

Think about t if you just need a quick-fix solution to your task organizing problems, and don’t want to build an entire database just to remind yourself to wash the cat.

t needed a little nudging to get started; until I made a directory called “tasks” with a file in it called “tasks,” all I got was python errors. Slightly inconvenient. 😦

My only other complaint about t? That name. t is a little tough to pin down; it’s in AUR as “t-hg,” and if it’s in Debian, I couldn’t find it through the web-based package search. It’s mercurial-based, so it shouldn’t be hard to build.

I like t, but as I said at the start, it just never latched on to me. There are plenty more to choose from though. … 😕

taskwarrior: Send in the next victim

I’m going to start off this time with a complaint against taskwarrior, even though I know that’s in poor form.

Here it is: The application is called “taskwarrior.” The home page is labeled “Taskwarrior.” The documentation refers to “taskwarrior.” The executable is called …



Maybe that’s not an issue for you, and if you’re a fan of taskwarrior it’s probably not. But for people like me carrying around a tinge of OCPD, it’s something that needs to be brought into line, for the sake of uniformity. 👿

It probably nags at package managers too; I see that both Arch and Debian call their versions “task,” and only use “taskwarrior” in the descriptions. 🙄

That small irritation aside, I can tell you that taskwarrior is probably what stands as a role model for many of the task organizers available to the console. You can see bits of this in taskcmd, sh-todo and even devtodo, just to mention a few.

And taskwarrior has been around for a while, so it has adopted a lot of features that its imitators don’t have quite yet — or probably don’t plan on adding, like syncing between devices.

This isn’t the first time I’ve tinkered with taskwarrior though, and I must admit that my overall impression hasn’t changed much. taskwarrior reaches a level of detail that I never need, and in that sense I fear it may have obscured itself. At least to me.

Of course, that feeling might be compounded by the whole taskwarrior-task thing. I’m like that sometimes. 🙄

P.S.: We’ll revisit taskwarrior in the months ahead, when we look at its new fullscreen console interface! Oooh! 😀

taskcmd: Let slip the dogs of … command line task organizers

I’ve had it in my head for well over a year now, that the T section would be swamped with task managers. And it looks like the first to do battle will be … taskcmd.


Installing it was the first trick; I don’t recall working directly with npm before, which is part of nodejs in Arch. Ergo …

sudo pacman -S nodejs

and once that’s done …

sudo npm install -g git://github.com/dparpyani/TaskCmd.git

Just task at the command line is enough to get started; you should get a multicolor acknowledgment from taskcmd if all went well.

taskcmd works like some of the other task managers we’ve seen over the years; it keeps a devoted list in your home directory, uses ID numbers to identify and prioritize, and parses commands to manage them.

task add "wash the cat" should yield something like this, if all goes right:

kmandla@6m47421: ~$ task add "wash the cat"
id: 1	priority: none
description: wash the cat
created at: 16/05/2014 8:27 am
saved at: /home/kmandla/.tasks.json

TaskCmd: "wash the cat" successfully added.

Except in color, of course. 😉

taskcmd can prioritize, filter and even prune out tasks depending on their completed or uncompleted state. You can add details and individual projects as well.

I like taskcmd for keeping a straightforward arrangement and for using color (of course), but I find it a little cryptic at times, and the published help pages are sometimes off-kilter from what taskcmd actually does.

I also believe that the directory tree that you’re in — in other words, your $PWD — is part of how taskcmd arranges its notes. Odd though, that I can’t seem to get things like task init to work in the way that the readme pages suggest.

An aside: With as many task organizers as there are out there, relying on task as the executable, and not taskcmd seems to invite confusion. Of course, I’m not a programmer, so I have no blinking clue what I’m talking about, but we wouldn’t want to cause errors, now would we? 😳

All things considered, taskcmd has the potential to be a useful and productive member of your command line arsenal. Now … who’s next? 😈

P.S., in case you were wondering: sudo npm uninstall -g TaskCmd 😉

id3tool: Quick tag control

If you’re keeping track, id3tool will be about the fourth or fifth command-line id3 tag tool I’ve seen this year.

Moral of the story? If you’re a budding coder, don’t bother writing a command-line id3 tag tool. 🙄

Just kidding. Here it is, in action.


Fairly straightforward. No flags displays the data currently written. Adding a flag or two lets you change the date, title, genre, etc.

I don’t see any provisions for reading the filename to set a tag, or reading a directory tree, or screening out underscores, and so forth.

I am sure though, that someone with some respectable command-line skills, will be able to pipe up and show how that’s done.

Is id3tool better than any of the other command-line id3 tag tools? It has simplicity on its side, but you decide. 😉

id3fsd: A clever idea, nearly to fruition

I like clever ideas, although it’s nothing unique to say that out loud. Cleverness attaches itself to projects, and sometimes I see it and sometimes I just don’t.

Here’s one I like: id3fsd. The idea is to create a directory tree that has symbolic links drawn by music tag, not file name.

So ideally, you should be able to navigate a directory with a structure like “decade/1970s/OR/prog/” to get to your Rush collection. Everybody has a Rush collection, right? 🙄

Unfortunately I don’t have a screenshot to show, because in both Arch and Debian I came only marginally close to getting things set up right.

I admit I had better luck in Arch. The dependencies are listed in the README file in the tarball, and all the ones needed were in AUR if not the regular repos.

Once it was in place I could get most of the configuration working, but for some reason the relationship between id3fsd and fuse was not exactly copacetic.

I had some tag tree structure though, and that was satisfying.

In Debian I had even less luck, even though the home page for id3fsd has a .deb package available. I’m no Debian expert, but a lot of the dependencies for the package relied on the perl structure, which apparently has shifted a lot in Debian.

If you’re more familiar with Debian or maybe if you’re just running Squeeze, it might behave better for you.

I’d love to see this working fully, if only because I think it would be fun to follow the tag trees and see how the tags arrange themselves. If I can find some free time I’ll keep an eye on it; for now, I’ll call it an also-ran. 😉

Bonus: Missing … presumed having a good time

I am a little shy these days of listing applications I suspect are dead. It didn’t work out well last time.

But I suppose this is one small way of soliciting assistance from beyond my own four walls. Without further ado. …

  1. redrogue bills itself as a side-scrolling nethack, but the AUR version segfaults for me, and Debian doesn’t carry it. Which is a shame really, since the flash version is kind of fun. Then again, maybe there is no console version. … 😐
  2. I think I found argus while I was looking at aide. Unfortunately the AUR version wouldn’t build, even if the build notes were amusing. Half a point, sir.
  3. elmo has been on my wish-list for the better part of a decade, and it still just doesn’t seem to have anyone’s love or attention. We were promised a new developer four years ago, but that panned out too. Efforts to build it on my own were met with looks of disapproval from my terminal screen.
  4. I could swear I have seen alleytris at work, but all my attempts created hideous streams of errors at the console. Remind me if I have somehow overlooked a winner here.
  5. raggle I am very sure I have used. In fact, I wrote about it a few years ago. Since then though, Debian has apparently dropped it, Ubuntu has it but only in Hardy, and I can’t get that version to splice with Linux Mint because of dependency issues. Oh, and the AUR version goes bonkers. I can take a hint. …
  6. amap in its AUR form supposedly was updated only a few months ago. I had no luck building it though. And Debian apparently doesn’t carry it.
  7. tdu is another one I am sure I have tried before, but the newest builds just hang when I try to run it, and again, Debian doesn’t keep this one in its repertoire.
  8. adresownik I believe is an address book in console form, but the home page was inaccessible to me last time I looked, the source link was likewise dead and Debian again, doesn’t know about this one. I even went so far as to scour the world of ftp sites, hoping to dig out an old source tarball. No luck.

I think that about does it. If there’s anything here that jumps out at you, or if you find it lurking in some dark corner of the web, crying … send me a note.

I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong, wrong, wrong. :mrgreen:

Edit, 2 p.m.: niski pointed out that adresownik is apparently back online. 🙂

calcurse: Simple is best … usually

I mention calcurse today, knowing full well I am of two minds on it.


(Warning, another big gif.)

I used calcurse for more than a year and never felt shortchanged or underpowered.

However, I also left it for wyrd when I realized how much more detail and power I could get out of the remind substructure.

calcurse was a winner for me for a long time, just for its simplicity.

Controls are obvious, menus are terse but complete, and there is enough customization that you can make it feel like home.

But I’ve told you about remind and wyrd already, and as soon as you see — or need — the detail and precision that they offer, you’ll probably shift.

So basically, if your life is simple, you’ll like calcurse. The instant it gets complicated … hello, wyrd. 😐