Tag Archives: rss

rsstail: One of two possible reactions

This is one of those times when I’ll show you something, and it will either mean next to nothing … or it will reach out, grab you by the throat and pull you face-first into the screen yelling, “That’s what I’ve been looking for!” 😯

Here’s rsstail:


Not much to look at, but this is definitely one of those tools you have to get close to, if you want to see the potential.

Yes, as you can see there, rsstail basically watches a feed, then spits out the title of the newest entry. No more than that.

But it also has options to show links, comments, authors and more. You can customize text, yank out “Title” or “Link,” and in short, wrangle with the results to a high degree.

Again, that might not enthuse you, but the clever among you will have already started work on a way to jam this into conky, or hotwire it into an IRC client.

And the truly dedicated will attempt to run this through an SMS portal, and send themselves text messages for truly critical events.

rsstail is simple, flexible, intuitive and best of all, begs to be put to use in a dozen ways. It’s one of those rare tools that makes me wish I cared more for news feeds. And if you’re into multitail, the home page says it can work as a plugin. 😐

rsstail is in Debian and Arch, although the AUR version will require a few oddball dependencies to get it going. Enjoy. πŸ˜‰

rss2email: Almost plain to see

There are times when I wish I handled my own e-mail locally, just so I could try out some of the neat tools I’ve found.

As it is, I’m afraid my introduction of rss2email will have to stand at this:


And unfortunately, that means I technically haven’t seen it in action.

As I understand it though, rss2email should poll feeds at your prompting, and send you an e-mail if something has been updated. For the record, I can give rss2email the run command, but of course nothing appears in my GMail box; I’d need sendmail or something similar to actually do the sending.

Perhaps it’s worth setting up, just to see if it works. πŸ˜•

If you’re interested, and if you’re a GMail user too, you might want to take a look at this page, written about a year ago in the runup to Google Reader’s demise. It seems to have all the answers, as far as setup goes.

And when you’re done with that, come back and tell us about it. I am curious, to say the least. πŸ˜‰

rawdog: Trim away the useless bits

I first ran across rawdog a long time ago, and were I a passionate reader of news feeds, I would no doubt prefer rawdog to a lot of other options.

Maybe this screenshot will help explain that.


I’ve not seen many programs like rawdog, and perhaps that’s because for most people, what rawdog does is apparently counterintuitive.

rawdog pulls rss entries and can recast them in simple HTML format. And of course, for most people, there’s not much ground gained in converting a page to a page, given that there’s probably a page out there they can visit anyway. Cue the rolling of the eyes: πŸ™„

On the other hand, you have to admit that rawdog’s output is a good deal lighter than the original. And in a text-based browser, it’s quite clean.


So take the most cluttered, obnoxious news site you can think of, hook up rawdog to it, and with any luck you should get a much cleaner, quicker version. Not a bad idea, huh?

rawdog is in Debian and in AUR, but the AUR version doesn’t include python2-feedparser. Just so you’re aware.

raggle: Yesteryear’s newsreader

I can’t be sure, but I think raggle was one of the first console-driven newsreaders I test-drove, almost seven years ago.

Unfortunately, the years between the final 2005 release and now have not been kind.


You have to look close, but raggle has run aground on an issue or two that, while I would be honored to try, I doubt I could do much to fix.

That’s the AUR version, by the way, which is abandoned. Unfortunately, if raggle was ever in Debian, it has since disappeared. The list of ignominies goes on.

I guess raggle’s denouement is nothing new though; I made a note in 2009 that said it didn’t work anymore, in spite of past successes. I probably should have listed it among the crippled and broken things at the end of the section.

So I hope you’ll forgive me if I list it in a spotlight one last time. Perhaps some talented coder will see it and take pity, and give it a new home. … πŸ˜₯

olive: A “totally sweet” newsreader is right

The startup screen for olive calls it “a totally sweet newsfeeder,” and I’m totally in favor of that sweet subtitle.


Menu-driven, lots of colors, onboard help screens, scrollbars on the sides, a popup options menu, plenty of on-screen information, intuitive and obvious controls … the list goes on.

I’m not an expert on console news feed readers, but I can’t seem to find anything negative to say about olive.

Except that it seems to have escaped the attention of the Arch Linux crew, because it’s not in Arch or AUR, as best I can see.

And that might be the most surprising thing. For as many tiled window manager screenshots as adorn the forums, and as many of those have some rendition of a text-only news reader, you’d think olive would be among them.

To complicate things, the home page for olive — in case you didn’t click on the link up there yet — is apparently dead. 😐

Debian to the rescue, as happens so often. You’d think that would be enough to get me started, but I’m a bit timid about trying to build it myself from Debian’s framework.

It carries a lot of dependencies, if aptitude is to be believed, and I’m short on the time it would take to sort them all out, and make the jump to Arch.

All that, lumped together, means I will probably stick to olive on machines that run Debian. That is, of course, if I ever feel a need for a news reader at all. πŸ˜•

hdlns: It’s the simple tools that impress most

While Peter was helping me get heirloom-mailx running, he also pointed out a script called hdlns that is well worth checking out.


hdlns — I’m guessing it’s pronounced “headlines” — scrapes the UK, US or international editions of the BBC News for major stories, then gives a quick blurb and a link, if you want.

Very neatly arranged, nicely presented with enough options to be functional without suffering from feature creep. And if you’re not a huge RSS user — like me — this is preferable to installing an entire application to get a note or two about world events.

My only complaint would be that there seems no way to adjust the output to fill the terminal space. As you can see, I could include quite a few more entries if the entire width of the screen were used.

A minor point, and not one worth wringing my hands over.

And really, if you’re at all talented at coding, you might want to take a look at the guts of hdlns. I don’t know proper code from lorem ipsum, but the inside of hdlns has the look of a finely tuned automobile. 😯

Simple tools like this are well worth keeping around. πŸ˜‰

P.S.: Arch users might need to install par to get this to run. Other dependencies are listed in the script comments; I only needed to install that one to get it working.