adventures in blogging

Just a short trip through my strange computer based quests.

A little alternative mail.

July 25, 2019 — Sifr Nihilum

Since starting this little adventure, I've been using AERC as my mail client. It works great, it looks nice and the protonmail bridge is the easiest setup I've been through. Now this isn't my first rodeo. I've tried mail from the command line many a time, and it's ALWAYS been a pain the butt. I tried alpine, and got confused as can be real quick. I tried mutt.. Same deal. AERC is the first time I started a command line client and just enjoyed the experience.

Who in their right mind is crazy enough to stick to what is quick and simple and perfect already!? Not I.

Mutt is a classic in command line mail. It's been around for as long as I can remember, and it is championed by many a crazed fool not willing to install thunderbird. So. Here we go!

Neomutt is my weapon of choice. I honestly didn't even want to TRY and setup it up by hand, so I went with the mutt wizard from Luke Smith. It had some issues, nothing akin to the old school traditional issues I remember, but still issues. Mostly with the TLS handshake. A quick peak through the issues and I found out how to get my TLS fingerprint myself, which lead to me being able to quickly change my config files. It was probably more complicated than I found it, but I stood on the shoulders of giants. I have to say, with all due respect to Drew Devault, neomutt is my current mail choice. I couldn't say why. I just found it nicer to use once I got through the pain in the butt setup. Who knew? Sometimes the tried and true is a good choice!

Tags: mutt, neomutt, aerc, email, commandline, terminal

Trying out alternatives.

July 22, 2019 — Sifr Nihilum

During this process, I have had to spend a WHOLE lot of time on various websites and wiki's trying to figure out how things work, and what I need to do to get them running. I sort of picked things at random for the most part. There was no real rhyme or reason. In some cases I investigated a little (see discord) In others, I just grabbed whichever one struck my fancy.

At this point, my system works just fine 90% command line. I love it. In many ways I have found that things are just easier running this way. Half the GUI style things feel... bloated. I don't need all that crap. I'm happy with just some nice graphics on my screen.

Now though... What do I do? I want to keep discovering things. This is fun. I'm sure there are tons of things I've missed. I've only been doing this for a week or so, but until I find them I thought... I'll go back and look at some of the things I skipped over.

I've always used mpd and ncmpcpp as my basic music player setup. It's easy to use, fully supported, and I like it. Today I installed vitunes instead, just to give it a go. It's fantastic! basic vi controls, you can control it from OTHER terminal windows by just typing vitunes -c "command". It doesn't seem to output the name of the currently playing songs or anything anywhere else though. That's not really a requirement or even all that important... but it is fun to throw a script into conky and have the song show up on your bar. I might use it for a bit. I have been listening to music more and more the less I am interested in graphics, so a new player makes me happy.

Tags: vitunes, alternatives, commandline, linux, music

Mastering tasks.

July 15, 2019 — Sifr Nihilum

So. I'm not really massive on tasks. I generally stick anything I need to remember in my calendar and just remember everything else. Recently I started noticing a lot of things online regarding todo lists, and task systems. It made me wonder what the deal was. Can we not just remember things? Or just you know, scribble stuff on paper or something?

I don't know if I'm just confused by the idea, or if it's being over engineered, or if it's literally just 'cos I don't have a whole heap of stuff that needs to be remembered compared to other people, but since it's a thing, I wondered if I could do it on the command line. After all, the best way to figure out the use of something, is to use it for a bit and see if it picks up.

So. The thing that first brought the idea of tasks to my mind, was the app davx on my phone. I installed it to sync up my calendar and contacts for my phone, and it did the job well. During first run it popped up a note to let me know if I wanted to sync tasks, I'd need an app for tasks. So I installed it. I never used it. Just had it on my phone for months.

Because I had an app that worked with caldav and synced with nextcloud, I wanted a CLI app that did the same. Taskwarrior looked great, and seemed incredibly easy to use, but I couldn't figure out how to make it integrate with nextcloud, so I don't think that's my answer. So a quick search had me stumble on todoman Which works on the command line, is easy to use, and integrates with caldav so long as you're okay with setting up vdirsyncer. Which I am. So I did.

I'm still not sure if I'm going to use it all that much. I've added some things, and I quite like the idea of tracking the "Oh yeah! I need to do that thing!" moments, but I think I'm just too lazy to write things down... Unless they're SUPER important. However! I have it, and it works, and who knows? Maybe I'll change my mind!

Tags: commandline, terminal, cli, tasks, nextcloud


July 13, 2019 — Sifr Nihilum

I run my own nextcloud instance, and my desire to escape google has lead me to using the nextcloud calendar happily. I'm a very sick individual (not really I guess, but I have a LOT of doctors that want to see me.) and as such I require an easy way to track the many appointments for myself, my wife and my daughter.

I generally just use the nextcloud app on my phone, a little davx and some simple calendar, and boom. Life is good. However, I kinda want an easy way to access such stuff from my pc. There are a few options for that, but I have found that the easiest way to do so from the cli, is calcurse. It's not hard to setup, and it looks really pretty. I generally just keep it in a tab in tmux, (ctrl+b and then c, new tab. For those curious) Along with canto-curses, finch, irssi etc. It displays a perfectly clear calender, including multiple options for adding new events, changing things, etc. I won't lie. This is a better calendar than a lot of the graphical ones I might otherwise of used...

Honestly, as time goes on, I think the command line is easier, faster and better by far than all the crazy GUI stuff I'm used too. The caldav interface was relatively easy to configure (copy the config, and then edit the information inside said config, DO NOT forget to uncomment the line starting [auth], that was the big mistake I made, and apparently I'm not alone in that.) then just run the required command (calcurse-caldav --init=two-way) and then watch the magic happen. Now I have a nice, clear and easy to use calendar, right here with everything else.

Tags: commandline, terminal, caldav, calcurse, appointment, events

Discordance of discord in the cli.

July 12, 2019 — Sifr Nihilum

I don't like discord. I find it kinda clunky, very much overhyped, and I don't trust the people who made it as far as I can throw them (I'm not very strong... So not far.) However, it's so insanely popular that I have had occasion to indulge in it's misery. For the most part I jump in, jump out and hurt no one but the locals. It's a good plan I think, and works for me.

Today, I had such a need. Well. I would call it an annoyance. My daughter required her slimes in slime rancher to be cubed. I don't know why that was a requirement, nor why it had to be done NOW, but I'm not one to start unneeded fights, so off I went looking for the mod. After much research I found the mod, but the link was apparently only available via discord.

Queue the quest music!

First up, discord-cli which is apparently discontinued. I dunno if it would have worked, but I read the line saying work was not being done, and figured, screw it. We can do better.

Second, 6cord Now this works really well. I have a few issues with chats only half loading and then getting stuck with a note saying loading. It looks great though, and I very much enjoyed the ease of use, the simple interface, and the fact that vim bindings seem to be the default. I suspect it was my fault somehow that things were bust slightly. I won't hold that against them.

Finally, just to skip the loading issues, bitlbee-discord I already have bitlbee running for mastodon, works real good for that. Might as well try it. It's pretty dang amazing, but man. discord adds SO many rooms, and trying to add each one I want to the interface would be hell. Today I only needed one, so it works for that, but if I actually used discord for chatting? I'm not sure. Mind you. It's the only one still installed and running, so...

There is one caveat, one little issue that means I still can't REALLY use discord without a regular GUI. Every single log in technique requires that I have a log in token. And to get that you have to log in to discord on the website, then grab the token from the network info from the browsers inspect element feature. Oh, and apparently discord changes how that's stored like once a week or so... I found a LONG list of ways to get the token, and only one of them worked of all of them.

In short. I still hate discord. Oh, and the cube mod hasn't been updated for the new version yet, I have pictures of my daughter crying about it...

Tags: discord, commandline, terminal, bitlbee, slime-rancher

Big ol' tty's full of curses.

July 11, 2019 — Sifr Nihilum

I talked about youtube-dl and mpv earlier, and mentioned using rss feeds to feed my playlists for mpv. Canto-curses is how I did that.

Canto-curses is a feed reader for the terminal. It's a simple program to use. You can add feeds from within the program, using :add rss-feed-here. Although I find it easier to use the canto-remote addfeed command from the base terminal, since that way I can just push up and change the feed to add more than one quickly. I mostly use it for youtube, but I do have a couple of webcomics included. I wrote a quick bash script to use as the program to open a feed, it's pretty simple. If it finds a youtube link when you click the button to open the feed, it'll add a line to the bottom of my text file. Anything else just gets opened in my browser.

You can also import OPML files, which is surprisingly easy to do for youtube since they let you export your subscriptions as an opml.

Adding a single youtube channel gets more complicated. The feed link doesn't seem to be available for any channel on the actual site, the one you'll need to use is with the channel id being the random letters and numbers youtube assigned to the channel on creation. Most of the time that's just in the URL of the homepage for the channel, but sometimes people have clever names instead, and that means you'll have to hunt through the page source. You'll be looking for the random alphabet soup labelled channel_id=. Once you have that, just add it, and enjoy!

Tags: canto-curses, youtube, rss, feeds, commandline, terminal, linux


July 10, 2019 — Sifr Nihilum

Tags: nethack, gaming, commandline, terminal, linux, death

MPV, or how I learned to love youtubedl.

July 08, 2019 — Sifr Nihilum

I am a reasonably privacy obsessed individual. I'm on the privacytools mastodon, using the privacytools matrix server. I run a vpn, (mullvad In case you were interested. I like wireguard, you know?) I'm on linux despite being mostly in it for the games because windows is not reasonable if I don't want the world to know what I do daily. Yet... I love youtube. I grew up on the yogscast, I watch pewdiepie, markiplier, jacksepticeye... I don't want to give that up. Google being the anathema of privacy means I find it hard to just let them know every detail of what I am watching. I paid my dues for youtube red (now premium) for a while, but I needed something new.

Enter mpv. An easy to use video player. Minimal, just what you need as you need it. Which is mostly, the video. you open a console, which I always have open anyway, and you just type mpv the-video-you-want.

Now, what does that have to do with youtube you ask? By adding youtube-dl. I am aware it's called youtube-dl, but it does so much more. Just installing it gives you the ability to play youtube videos directly in mpv. You get the link to the video and you type mpv the link here and boom. It's playing. Ad free. No issues.

That's not all though. Watch twitch? mpv your twitch streamer link here and it loads into mpv, running like a dream. You can check out the website to find out what other sites it supports, but it's a good number.

Now. I watch a LOT of videos, and because I watch a lot of videos, I don't really want to sit and paste links in one at a time. Luckily, mpv can read from text files. Grab the link to each show you're wanting to watch and paste them on a line each, then mpv the text file and it'll play them. One after another. You can automate that process of adding links, Which I will go into details on later. For now, just enjoy the wonder of easily watching youtube, ad free, and put through the VPN with at least a modicum of privacy.

Tags: commandline, adventure, cli, linux, mpv, youtube-dl, youtube

The first adventure.

July 07, 2019 — Sifr Nihilum

I am very interested in keeping things simple. I've been on the internet for a long time, and I've seen the rise of many ever more complicated things. I used them all happily, because they seemed like a lot of fun. Now I'm getting older, I find a lot of bells and whistles to be distracting rather than helpful. Doing one thing, and doing it well is a much prefered result.

So, I've been on a strange quest to cut everything too complicated out of my life. Don't misunderstand the intent. Complicated means interface, not program. Some of the things I've been using feel like they took a LOT more work to get to their current state than a lot of the more traditional products. I want to keep track of what I'm doing, and also maybe inspire others to give it a go. So I'll be talking a bit about some of the things I've swapped too, or at least tried, on this blog.

I already have a few things in use, and I'm open to hearing about more! For now I'm trying to switch to as many CLI or command line apps as I can, a few examples of which are: