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My favourite CLI apps November 30, 2006

Posted by arungoodboy in linux, shell.
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My machine isn’t the fastest, so I’m always on the look out for simple and powerful CLI tools instead of the prettier, GUI driven ones. Having said that, I like these so much that I don’t intend to really switch, even if I get the hardware eventually. Here’s a short list of my favourite ones:

centericq: This neat little IM client is what I use for Google Talk. It also supports Yahoo, MSN, IRC, and some other protocols. This is an ideal example of how a good CLI app should be.

orpheus: From the creator of centericq comes this nice little mp3 player for the shell. Apart from mild problems in playlist loading/saving, this one is pretty comfortable to use too. Another nice player I’ve tried is mp3blaster.

snownews: I’ve mentioned this already, and its worth a look. Nice pleasant feedreader, allows opening the news with any browser and stuff like that.

lynx: This is a pretty popular shell browser and probably needs no introduction.. I use it with snownews, it even opens sites like gmail, and I like the purty colours.

mc: The GNU midnight commander filemanager doesn’t really need any introduction either. I used to use ROX Filer before, but I fell in love with mc once I got used to it. This one is a must have. I just love the sensible function key mappings, directory hotlists & emacs-style bindings.

Well these are the most common ones I use. Emacs might count in the list, but I usually run the GUI version. If you like tools like these, and know other similar ones that I might like, let me know!

P.S. Things like mutt and irssi didn’t make this list because I like gmail and don’t use IRC respectively, so my experience with them is limited.

Giving back to the community November 30, 2006

Posted by arungoodboy in linux.
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After more than a year of eagerly devouring Free & open source software, I’ve always felt a little uncomfortable about my lack of contribution back to the community. I’m not smart enough to contribute useful code, and the only thing I can claim to have done to date is a decent bit of Linux advocacy.

Anyway, it was high time I started, which I did today with my favourite distro: Slackware. Apart from a fairly humble donation, I also ordered some stuff from their store, including a copy of the Slackbook, a slackware penguin & a few other little things.

Now that I’ve started, I thought I might as well make a habit of this. Upcoming cool people I really want to donate to include the FSF and the Linux From Scratch projects (I probably shouldn’t be talking about it like this, but I guess I’m just happy for finally making a start (and for the Slackware Tux that’s gonna get delivered soon!)).

The greatest comic ever made.. November 26, 2006

Posted by arungoodboy in books.
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watchmen-gimped ..and its finally mine!! I’m talking about Alan Moore’s epic Watchmen. I finally found a copy at my favourite bookstore and picked it up in a snap.

For those who haven’t read it already, you don’t know what you’re missing! This 12-issue comic (graphic novel for some) redefined its whole genre and changed the face of comic book writing forever.

You know those moments when a book or song is made so brilliantly, it sends shivers down your back? Watchmen is like that. Its also one of those things that you can read over and over, and you find hidden little gems scattered inside that you missed the last time round. I’ll stop right here, and get right back to the book. I’ll just end with a quote from it…

“For my own part, regret nothing. Have lived life, free from compromise‚Ķ and step into the shadow now without complaint.” -Rorschach’s Journal

Review of newsreaders November 25, 2006

Posted by arungoodboy in Uncategorized.
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I’ve been searching for an on-line, customizable equivalent of popurls, which is one really nice site. As for my requirements, I needed something simple and fast. Something very customizable would’ve been an added advantage. The sites I ended up testing were Bloglines and Google Reader.
Bloglines
Bloglines snapshot
This one is pretty good. You can group your feeds in folders, save them in separate playlists, blog or save interesting articles, and other such stuff. A very interesting feature: it gives you randomly generated e-mail addresses, so you can sign in for newsletters as well, and read everything in one place. The whole article is viewable (not just the summary); that’s another very nice feature.

Among its drawbacks: well, probably nothing much really. Some minor nitpicks, such as feeds disappearing once you open them. An extra click is required to display unread items. Some might see this as a feature of course, but I usually prefer a feed to show the most recent articles even if I’ve read them.

Google Reader
Google Reader snap
I’d already been using Reader just for my comic strips, this time I decided to import everything from Bloglines and give the whole thing a try. Like most google apps, it uses those ajaxy thingies to give a much smoother and cleaner experience.

It has the usual bunch of shortcut keys (Bloglines does too). On the whole, it is simple, and works. The features aren’t as extensive as Bloglines. There is little to choose between the two eventually: both do their job fairly well.

Conclusion
What did I settle with eventually? Neither. As I said, I wanted something like Popurls. Both the ones I reviewed collect unread messages by the dozen. Personally, I abhor opening either and seeing ‘250 unread entries’ or something like that. Popurls shows the only the most recent news at any point of time, and that’s enough for me.

Snownews snap1Snownews snap2

What I use now is a cute little thing called Snownews. Its a console based news reader (not online, as I’d wanted), but is simple enough to do everything I want it to. Check out the screenshots above.

Testing the Performancing extension November 24, 2006

Posted by arungoodboy in Uncategorized.
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I was finding navigating through wordpress just a little bit slow, so I went looking for a convenient offline blogging tool. I found the Performancing extension for firefox, lets see how it works.

The interface is pleasant, and its got source editing as well, which is a Good Thing. I’ll just hit the publish button now and look through the rest later..