Tag Archives: site

rtv: Arr tee vee

And the hits just keep on rolling.

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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. … 😉

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

iimage: Index your images

A long time ago we looked at album, which ran down a directory of images and created a clickable album as an HTML page. Here’s one that does much the same thing: iimage.

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iimage is just a bash script that relies on imagemagick‘s convert to create thumbnails, and adds the remaining touches to a folder called .tmp. It does not alter or move your original files, but all my attempts (and the instructions) suggest you have to call the script from the folder where your images lie. Let me know if you find a way around that.

iimage’s output page is very clean and modest, so if you’re looking for something a little more outlandish, you might have some HTML editing in your future. iimage is nothing if not exceptionally neat, with all its product files arranged and ordered. I like that a lot.

Judging by the help flags, iimage can recurse through folders, but I didn’t try that, so I don’t know if recursed directories produce linked pages in the final product. iimage can also update files it has created previously, so you should be able to simply add or remove images to the folder, and generate fresh files without rebuilding everything from scratch.

iimage also will apparently generate an AUTORUN.INF file, which I believe would trigger a full desktop environment to open the index, if you were to burn all of this to a CD and spin it up. I might be wrong on that, but it’s an excellent addition if it’s true.

I see that the date on the most recent version is 2009, but I had no problems aside from dropping the script into the right folder to get everything built. I don’t expect there will be many inconsistencies or technical issues, at least until imagemagick or one of the underlying programs shifts gears.

iimage is apparently not in either Arch/AUR or Debian, which is a shame. But perhaps you can say you got something new from K.Mandla today. … 😉

httrack: The website copier

I could have used httrack about four months ago, when I wanted to mirror a fairly large website for my offline perusal, and lacked a proper tool. I tried bew and another graphical webcrawler, and even fell back on wget, but nothing was 100 percent successful. I ended up mass-downloading most of what I needed, and it wasn’t a pretty sight.

httrack might have saved me the trouble, and probably would have done a much better job.

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httrack is more than capable of patiently stepping through the architecture of a website, and bringing you a copy of everything there.

But on top of that, httrack, like a lot of good network-based software, has so many options, it can be a bit bewildering. If you open the --help flag, be prepared. It’s a couple hundred lines long at least.

For example, there are flags to save files in a cache, to skip files that are available locally, four options for logging, flags to create an index, screen for particular types of files (ie., HTML only, etc.), set directions for following directories (only up or only down), disable bandwidth abuse limits, cap the number of links, continue a broken-off mirror attempt, enter an interactive mode, confine the search to a single site, and dozens upon dozens more.

Most of those other ones are far and beyond anything I would ever need, let alone understand. If you know what they mean, you might find them quite useful. And maybe best of all, httrack has about a dozen shortcuts for common flag combinations, meaning you can ask for just --spider, instead of typing out -p0C0I0t.

The first time you use it, I’d recommend just httrack though, since by itself the command steps you through a simple wizard, letting you pick options menu-style. If you’ve never used httrack before, it’s a good introduction, and will finish with the command line needed to recall the same options you set. Very helpful, if you’re like me and you learn by example. 🙂

Once you get the hang of it, try things like httrack http://example.com -W%v2, which will give you a nice fullscreen progress display and prompt you if it finds any eccentricities. Quite useful.

I’m going to go back now and re-mirror the site I mangled back in July, and hope I can get a cleaner, more complete copy. 😉

cortex: In a very similar vein

Since I just mentioned reddit-top, it’s probably only fair to drag cortex into the sunlight.

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Much the same idea as the previously mentioned tool, cortex adds quite a few features — things like line-by-line highlighting, jumping straight to the link or the comments, and so forth.

You can direct it straight to a subreddit with the s key, jump back to the home page with h, and refresh the list at will with r.

Again, you’ll probably have to do a little finagling to get the bulk of the cat photos displayed, if you’re using cortex outside Xorg. But that’s up to you to solve.

cortex’s main advantages over reddit-top should be very obvious though: Better access to cat photos.

Here’s where I acknowledge that I have similar difficulties between cortex and elinks as I did between reddit-top and elinks — something goofy regarding the scrollback buffer.

I bet it’s somehow related to elinks, and not the spawning software. If I get a few more hours in a day, I’ll have to solve it. 🙄

{hacker,reddit}-top: Monitoring at your pleasure

Two-for-one today, and you can use whichever one you prefer: hacker-top and reddit-top, both of which do basically the same thing.

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Scour a news aggregator site and dump the results into a text-only form.

Now before you go all berzerk and wonder what practical use that is — particularly when one or both of those sites tends to be collections of pictures of cats — there is a rationale for this sort of tool.

And rather than belabor the point like I did years ago, I’ll just say that some people prefer to strip away the distractions (and yes, pictures of cats are distractions) and focus on actual information.

Regardless, both hacker-top and reddit-top work in almost identical fashion, skimming designated pages at regular intervals and cueing a browser when you want to take a closer look.

As they are both intended to mimic top (you do remember top, don’t you?) there are only a few practical options for them.

Pressing o opens your $BROWSER to that page — but only the topmost item in the list.

So you have to scroll up or down to get the link you want in the first line, then open it. Not ideal, but functional. Pressing m cycles through a few more details. Pressing u updates out of turn.

After that there are only a few flags for update intervals, and so forth.

So I suppose, in a much more broader sense, neither is a true feed reader, like newsbeuter or some others.

As a side note, I ran into a little scrum between both programs and elinks. Apparently there’s some scrollback buffer issue between the two.

Most of the text on the page disappears when elinks exits; scrolling back through the list brings some of them back to light, little by little.

I’ve checked my elinks settings, but I don’t see much about this, and the Internet is little help this time.

No fear, this is no giant tragedy. It does make for a slight inconvenience though.