Tag Archives: web

boa: Run a server from anywhere

Usually I steer away from server daemons on this site; I don’t have enough experience setting them up and the configuration can be a little tricky.

boa was fairly straightforward though, even when I added the complication of yanking the Debian binary and jamming it down the craw of my Arch installation.


No major accomplishment in the grand scheme of things, but I at least have a real screenshot to show off. :\

Everything I know about boa is off the Debian page or the help flags, with a little more added in the configuration file. If you point everything at the current directory when boa runs, it will serve up its own folder, much like you see above.

On the one hand, that might be preferable to some of the complexities for members of the high-end server market.

Apparently boa runs on an exceptionally small amount of resources, and can even do its business on Pentium-grade equipment. I don’t have a Pentium machine now that I can put that claim to the test, but perhaps the next one that comes along, I’ll try. (Actually I do have one now, but it’s so badly battered that I’m considering setting it free.)

That’s about all I can say about boa, but that’s mostly because I’m fairly ignorant about web servers to start with. If you’re in that racket and need something with a smaller profile, boa might be for you.

In Debian. Not in Arch. πŸ˜‰

ngincat: Four lines of bash, plus netcat

Sometimes I run across small feats of wizardry that don’t really impress much as a solid and whole application, but are worth mention anyway.

Lonnie sent a note about ngincat, a tiny http server written in bash around netcat.


It’s not bulletproof, it’s not secure and probably not a great idea outside your home network or maybe as an intra-office gizmo. But doggone it, that’s pretty darned cool for four lines of bash.

And in part it’s no surprise, since netcat is only the ultra-wickedest network tool out there, save maybe socat or nmap.

As for a true case use, I’ll see if I can combine this with vee, and end up with the leanest functional in-house blogging site known to man. And I’ll surf it with the world’s smallest graphical browser, just to be sassy. πŸ˜‰

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.

2014-11-06-2sjx281-iimage-01 2014-11-06-2sjx281-iimage-02

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. … πŸ˜‰

linkchecker: Relax your mouse clicker finger

I seem to be on an Internet-based kick these days. It started yesterday with httpry and html-xml-utils; now I’m on to linkchecker, which cascades through pages or sites and checks that the links are … linking.


linkchecker came at a good time, since I got an e-mail a week or so ago, mentioning (not really complaining, just mentioning) that most of the software I touch on seems to have been around for quite a while. The suggestion was, “When are you going to show us some fresh stuff?”

Well, linkchecker has updates within the past few days, and I’d bet wummel is working on it even as you’re reading this. How’s that for fresh? 😈

What linkchecker does and how is probably obvious just from the name, without looking at the screenshot. And of course, you should probably be careful where you aim linkchecker, because as you can see, it had stacked up several thousand links to check within only a minute or two of looking at this page.

Perhaps it would be better kept in-house first, before turning it loose in the wild. 😐

linkchecker has a long, long list of options for you to look over, in case you want to check external URLs (gasp!), use customized configuration files or filter out URLs by regex. Or a lot of other things.

Perhaps the greatest part about using linkchecker though, is that it allows you to relax your mouse clicker finger, and do other things. Interns everywhere will rejoice. πŸ˜‰

And just for the record, without any snarky undertones, I do have a tendency to pull in a lot of old, or outdated software. If it still works, I’m still willing to use it. I hope you feel the same. πŸ˜•

sncli: For cloud-based to-do lists, and more

About a month ago, Eric sent me a note about sncli, which works as a command-line interface to Simplenote. I’d never used the site before, and I have some reservations about using cloud services for all but the most mundane of data, but I’ll try anything once. Especially if it has this much color:

2014-08-23-6m47421-sncli-01 2014-08-23-6m47421-sncli-02

And true to form, sncli kept the online version up-to-date with my changes. Quite quickly too, I might add. Simplenote had my changes from sncli online before I had clicked on the tab.


And no, I don’t really wash the fish. The fish washes himself, constantly. πŸ˜‰

As I can see it, from what I’ve learned about Simplenote and from working with sncli, the real value in this is the ability to access to-do lists and reminders from devices other than your old 133Mhz Pentium laptop. I don’t have a smartphone (only dumbphones) but if I did, it would be nice to see those lists update between sncli and the web interface and the mobile phone.

sncli itself has more to love than just the color scheme. Off the bat it’s easy to see how it works, and if you’re a fan of the vi-ish control scheme, navigation will appeal to you immediately. You can add a note with “C”, edit one in your $EDITOR with “e”, sync with your online account with “S”, and so forth. Easy to use and remember.

Provided you have a Simplenote account, you can configure sncli with little more than your account name and password. Add those to .snclirc and you’re ready to go … keeping in mind that those are stored in plain text.

That would be only one of my very few suggestions for sncli at this point: Find a way to manage an encrypted password, perhaps along the lines of how gcalcli handles it. Considering gpg is available on just about every system out there, it should be an easy dependency to fulfill.

My only other observation is that the command to view a note in a pager jumps straight to less, while my $PAGER is set to most. Perhaps that could be an option. Oh, and maybe add arrow keys for navigation. Some people will expect that. πŸ˜‰

I like sncli a lot — particularly for the easy setup, good use of color, excellent use of screen real estate, near-immediate synchronizing with the online service, intuitive commands and onboard help. … Oh heck, what’s not to like? Well done. Have a K.Mandla gold star: ⭐ πŸ˜‰ Enjoy!

howdoi: Because the Internet knows more than you

I picked howdoi as a complement to betty today, because in some ways, they both do similar things.


Whereas betty would reply with set answers (provided she knew the questions πŸ™„ ), howdoi acts as a conduit between you and that vast cesspool in the sky, The Internet. Give howdoi a few key terms, and it will give back what it hopes is an answer to your conundrum.

howdoi is aimed mostly at coders, as I understand it, but as you can see, it will handle system admin or just bash issues too. I even asked it a question or two about vim, and I think it gave the right answer. It’s hard to tell with vim. 😐 I didn’t ask it for the weather in London. πŸ™„

If you tinker with howdoi for a few minutes, you’ll see what it’s doing: searching through StackOverflow, and replying with a best-case answer formatted for your screen. If you ask nicely (in other words, use the -a and/or the -c flags) it will prettify the result, and give a link to where it was found.

I can’t fault howdoi very much, since for the most part, it seems to give the right answers. On the other hand, as you can see above, it doesn’t really know what you’re asking — I don’t think that is the right command to add a user with bash. πŸ˜‰ So remember: It’s just handing down the wisdom of the unwashed masses, and hoping you will be pacified.

In that way, howdoi is really just a well-designed search utility for the console, like surfraw is and a few other tools do. I’d have to check to see how it’s designed, and whether it actually looks through more than just StackOverflow; I’ve only seen links to that site.

So in all, I can’t complain about howdoi the same way I do about betty. If you’re a coder and you sometimes find yourself fishing for snippets, howdoi is a short and quick tool that gives out just the right amount of info. On the other hand, be aware that while the Internet will always know more than you, what it knows isn’t necessarily something you want to learn.

P.S., Yes, there is an elvi for StackOverflow in surfraw. In case you were headed there next to check. …

retawq: Ultralight browsing

I have retawq on my list next, and it’s a good one to keep on hand as well.


Naysayers will likely throw a critical glance at retawq for being eight years out of development, having fewer features than some other text-only and framebuffer-based browsers, and only using about four or five colors.

Au contraire!, I say. retawq uses more than one color, which is more than enough. And it’s written purely in C so it’s wicked fast. And really, the Internet was much more interesting in 2006 anyway. πŸ˜‰

retawq has a lot of other great features, most of which are listed here. Watch for the split-screen option and a “download manager” mode. πŸ˜‰

Which just goes to show you that there’s a lot more you can do with text-based browsers than just read man pages. No matter what some dork on the Internet suggests.

privoxy: I feel obligated to mention it

privoxy is something I’m going to mention out of the same sense of obligation that led me to include things like the console version of inkscape, lilypond, and stuff like that.

What I know of privoxy is minimal. I understand that it can function as an ad blocker, but that seems like overkill to me. And while that’s not technically a console responsibility … well, I guess I can include it. 😐

Setup does not look intimidating; if I understand correctly, once the daemon is running, settings can be adjusted through a browser pointed at the privoxy tool page. Which is clever, in a way.

All the same, it’s a bit more work than I need, for something that can get done with a browser plugin. My needs are simple.

On the other hand, if you’re not using a browser with nifty gadgets like that, and editing /etc/hosts is not to your liking, perhaps the privoxy route might be an option.

privoxy does a lot more than just ad blocking, and I’m doing it a disservice by not mentioning them here. I was told a long time ago that privoxy is used alongside tor, but I don’t see it listed in the dependencies in Arch, so perhaps they are not interrelated.

As you can tell, my experience with privoxy (like so many programs I’ve listed here) is next-to-none, so if you have advice, please feel free to correct me.

nikto: Web server testing in brief

I have almost zero experience with web servers, and it follows that my experience testing them is likewise almost nil.

So I don’t know if nikto is a good way or a bad way to test yours.


It is kind of fun to watch it run though. Some of what it describes is familiar to me, but a large part of it is unknown.

If you have more experience with web servers and know enough to test them as well, I see that nikto has quite a few options in its arsenal.

And judging by the description on the home page, it likewise seems to have a healthy grasp of what it’s testing for.

But again, most of this is way over my head. I doubt I’ll get the chance to use it again, and if I don’t stop harassing Google’s home page with it, I might not get to use that again either. πŸ˜•

gopher: The way things might have been

I don’t know much about gopher, the TCP/IP protocol, except that it dates way back to the early 90s and to the University of Minnesota in America.

I couldn’t tell you if it was a good thing or a bad thing, a better way to do business or a throwback to a simpler time.

I did find the gopher client though, which is pretty cool.


Basic text-based movement, fairly quick on the uptake and with a fun thing to do here or there. Reminds me of telnet, for some reason.

That screenshot is from Debian, by the way. The Arch version, I am sad to report, crashed and burned when I tried to build it.

I hope that’s not a sign that the past has already left us. 😦