Tag Archives: test

tlf: I’m so superficial sometimes

I’m going to list tlf here today, just because it’s Friday and because I’m feeling frisky.


It’s in both AUR and Debian, if you’re keeping score. Borrowing from the home page, tlf is “a curses-based console mode general logging and contest program for amateur radio.”

Having said that, I still haven’t got a clue what to do with tlf. It’s very pretty though, and we all know how I get all wobbly-kneed when I see a text-based program that uses color.

I suppose a long time ago I should have started filtering out all the software that I have no frame of reference for. It would have saved me the embarrassment of holding out programs like tlf (or a lot of other ham radio applications) and not knowing a single soul-loving thing about it. 😳

I haven’t been this lost since dxcc.

But I suppose arbitrarily lopping off titles from The List would have left me without the experience of learning a lot of new things. So perhaps it’s for the better.

And like the man said, knowing that we know what we know, and knowing that we don’t know what we don’t know, that is true knowledge.

Now if only I knew what that meant. …

For now I’m going to go back and look at how pretty tlf is, and watch the numbers spin past as I type. I’m so superficial sometimes. … 😐

cwcp: Learn to walk before you run

I found qrq a week or two ago, and while qrq is probably a very useful program for people who need to improve their skills with Morse telegraphy, it might be geared more towards those who have already mastered the basics.

If you’re a newbie, cwcp might be more to your liking. Here’s the Linux Mint version.


Much is the same between qrq and cwcp, but it’s also clear that their target audiences are different. cwcp has speed and volume controls, but also has controls for adjusting tone and other audio cues.

qrq seemed to focus on recognizing call signs and building proficiency and speed, while cwcp starts with letter and number groups, and works up through English words and into other categories. cwcp also lets you type in your own text, and will replay it as tones.

Like qrq, cwcp will need a little nudge with the alsa-oss package. I don’t see where that’s listed as a dependency in Debian, but I don’t know that oss is necessarily out of fashion, particularly among Debian fans.

In any case, if you’re not hearing anything, that might be the reason. cwcp is part of the unixcw package, so it might be that you get more “modern” sounds support by bringing in the qt rendition. Try it and tell me.

cwcp alone is not in Arch, but the unixcw suite is in AUR. If you only want the one program, it may be possible to carve it out. And if you’re an Arch user you probably can handle that. 😎

cwcp has color, as you can see, and I should note that cwcp seems comfortable arranging its layout to just about any terminal size, but only on startup. If you change dimensions after you begin your tutorial, cwcp might not notice it.

I think that’s about all I can think of to say about cwcp. It’s definitely every bit as fucntional as qrq, but intended more as a learning activity than as a speed and proficiency drill. Enjoy. 😉

qrq: How little I really know

I found qrq by way of a brute search through the Debian archives for anything text-related, and even though I haven’t a clue what to do with qrq, I’ll show it here out of fairness.

2014-12-11-6m47421-qrq-01 2014-12-11-6m47421-qrq-02

That’s only partly true — I do have a small idea what to do with qrq. The home page is very helpful, and the program itself has more than enough help just in its startup screen to keep me from shrugging with complete bewilderment. And I imagine if you’re learning or use Morse telegraphy at all, it will be very interesting.

It’s also worth highlighting that qrq involves some sound support. Very few console applications take the time to incorporate an audio element, unless they’re specifically intended for audio playback.

At this point I should mention that I have no training whatsoever with Morse code aside from learning about it in primary school. Or maybe tinkering with morse. So properly using qrq is well beyond my ability.

On the other hand, I do like the interface, even if it is pinned to 80×24. qrq has no flags that I could find, and the man page gives only a little more information than you’ll get from starting the program.

I noticed that qrq is in both Debian and Arch, and the Arch version will pull in alsa-oss when you install it. That might suggest that qrq is a little beyond the most recent developments in Linux audio, but I had no problems with qrq’s sound playback.

Other than the fact that I have no clue what those beeps and boops mean. :\

Between this and yfklog, I’m beginning to expect more from text-only applications intended for the amateur radio demographic. … 😐

shellcheck: I should probably keep this around

I have all the programming ability of a wet dog. I am aware of that shortcoming though, and I try to keep things on hand that either (a) make me look like I know what I’m doing, or (b) will discreetly tell me when I don’t know what I’m doing, so as not to embarrass me in front of the hired help.

Hence my affinity for things like perltidy, tidyhtml and even txt2regex. 😛

Even if I don’t keep shellcheck installed, I’m keeping a bookmark to its online version, because it definitely lets me know when I’ve done something stupid.


That’s my goal in life: to stop doing stupid things. And shellcheck has already told me that I’m doing one or two in that script.

Things I like: the colored output, the arrow-pointers to tell me exactly where I made my mistake, and the error codes that I can use to get more information online. And by extension, the ability to exclude specific errors, if I know they are in there but don’t want to be teased about them.

Things I would suggest: It’s a little difficult to take some errors out of context, particularly if they break over a line or if something earlier in the script is related. As things stand, shellcheck only seems to point out lines that have errors, regardless of where they stand in relation to lines above or below.

As a side note, it seems like this is an obvious candidate for some kind of two-pane output display, with the text of the shell on one side, and an arrow-key-driven selector that bounces between errors, with the error code and explanation changing in a second panel, as the highlight moves. Imagine how some file managers show file information as you scroll through the contents of a directory, and that’s what I have in my mind.

But what do I know. Maybe I’m just dreaming, and what shellcheck has is good, but that’s what I’d look for in an updated version.

shellcheck in its local form is a bit of a heavyweight, when it comes time to build it. I usually have rotten luck with Haskell-based software, but this time the AUR package worked fine. The home page warns that you’ll need about 1Gb just to build shellcheck, and I think that’s where my machine peaked while it was building. So don’t put this together on your leftover 300Mhz K6 with 128Mb. You will regret it. 😦

yersinia: Points awarded for style

I will show you as much as I have seen of yersinia, a network security tool that can run strictly in the console.


And now you’ve seen all that I have. If you’ve witnessed yersinia doing more than that, please feel free to share your experience.

Because after that screen, yersinia invariably comes to a screeching halt for me. I’ve tried different interfaces, different protocols, and even different options within different protocols. I also took a little time to see if there was information on the Intarnet about why it stopped so abruptly, but I walked away with nothing.

And all of this is disappointing because yersinia seems to have a good grasp on the console application approach. The colored boxes and pop-up messages had my interest almost immediately, and bring back memories of kismet. It has a good layout, and a visual appeal.

But it invariably came crashing down without the least bit of actual work done.

As always, I’m willing to take the potential blame and say my configuration or hardware or arrangement were at fault for yersinia’s inability. I can’t be sure, but I’m willing to hold my hand up.

But it’s still just sad to me. I’ve never seen a help page so colorful and animated as yersinia’s … 😦

speedtest-cli: Not the answers I wanted

Months back, when I discovered bing, I was sickened to realize that my landlord was throttling our apartments’ bandwidth, with malice aforethought.

So speedtest-cli can only be a disappointment — not in what it does, but by what it tells.

kmandla@j05sdg1: ~$ speedtest-cli
Retrieving speedtest.net configuration...
Retrieving speedtest.net server list...
Testing from ---------- (---.---.---.---)...
Selecting best server based on ping...
Hosted by -------------------- (----------, ---) [149.92km]: 171.661 ms
Testing download speed ..........................................
Download: 0.42 Mbit/s
Testing upload speed....................................................
Upload: 0.43 Mbit/s

That sounds awful generous. Knowing that the best line speeds I’ve ever seen into my apartment have never crossed 62 Kbps, I have hard time believing speedtest-cli is measuring between the target and my computer. It’s certainly not getting 0.42 Mbit/s from my measly Latitude D830 to Destination X.

And knowing that the speed between the apartment router and the ISP connection is much, much faster, I’m starting to wonder what exactly speedtest-cli is measuring. Or at least from where to where.

All the same, I suppose on a proper line, perhaps on public wireless, speedtest-cli might have a more realistic number to offer. Perhaps it will be a little more accurate for you.

reflector: One more for Archers

In the interest of parity, and since there have been a lot of Debian-only posts in the past, here’s reflector — an Arch-only trick.


Mirror management is usually an easy-to-forget, one-time task when building a system, but it might be worth keeping reflector in mind.

I’ve used rankmirrors plenty of times, and if there’s no other available option, it does a fine job. But rankmirrors does expect you to do a little background work, and at times can be a bit time-consuming. All of which is easy to work around, of course.

reflector, in my humble opinion, has the added bonus of being able to filter mirrors by geographical area, which is great if you’re a world traveler and want to update between stopovers.

Or it might just be that some of the mirrors rankmirrors gave you are sluggish or remote, in which case reflector might have a few better ideas for you.

And of course, the best place to learn about reflector is on the one-and-only Arch wiki, which is only the best source for Linux information in the universe. Regardless of your distro. 😉

nbtscan: So polite and helpful … and still I am clueless

Adding to the list of network tools that I’m not 100 percent sure how to use, here’s nbtscan, which is probably short for NetBIOS scanner.


I am not sure about that either though, because the home page for nbtscan is unresponsive. So all I have to go on is what appears on the Arch and Debian package pages.

nbtscan seems to be searching for replies from IP addresses within my network, and reporting on the information returned.

See, I’m not totally ignorant. 😐

Part of my flimflammedness might be the side effect of such a small network. Only one machine on the access point right now, which means there’s not much to report.

The Debian page suggests it can return logged-in user names, which I’d like to see. I need to fiddle with it a little more and see what I can glean.

nbtscan serves up its results in a table format, but if you want to pluck its pearls of wisdom and serve them to another application, I see there are flags to adjust its delivery.

Now if only I understood what it was telling me. 😐

nast: A feeling of incompleteness

I am reminded of kismet when I start nast.


And I know very little of the finer points of networking, but I get the impression they both do similar things: probe networks and read the traffic going by.

It’s my unfamiliarity with such endeavours that suggests to me maybe I don’t fully understand them. But at the same time I get the feeling that nast isn’t quite finished.

You can see where there’s a smudge of menus at the start of the program. And nast has locked up twice when I tested it.

It may be that it’s busy doing something, but aside from the little that you saw in the gif, I can’t seem to make it do much else.

If I knew what I was doing, and if I knew what tool I needed, and if both nast and kismet could do it, and if I had to choose, right now I’d probably go with kismet.

But that’s a lot of ifs. 😕

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. … 😐