adventures in blogging

Just a short trip through my strange computer based quests.

File System expermentation.

August 10, 2019 — Sifr Nihilum

So. In the process of experimenting with virtualbox, (Oddly, trying to write an arch install script and then testing it) I discovered that something on my current install had exploded.

I'm still not sure what. Much experimentation and I realized that my internet on that install was not coming back easily. It would require some fairly major insanity. I'm not that patient, and this computer is basically just a play ground for me to poke stuff. So I figured, Screw it! We're doing this live!

The install script in question, found here, was an attempt to install an entire arch system, in btrfs subvolumes automagically. Feel free to try it in a virtualbox. You require two virtual drives, or it won't work. I stole the majority of the script from here. It's important to attribute such things after all.

The only problem I had, upon install, was that anything requiring intensive graphics just stuttered to a halt. I was trying to play rust, and it was just a joke. I don't know if it was truly an issue with the file system or not, but either way, it was a problem.

So off we go! A new script! This time I figure, the problem is that the filesystem I used was too big of an experiment. So the solution is simple. Try a new experiment! The latest filesystem experiment is to use f2fs on my SSD (The file system designed specifically for SSD's after all) and XFS for the second drive (Which is a hybrid drive, but does most of my storage stuff, and XFS is pretty strong on large amounts of data I hear.)

The install script for this is still stuck in the git repo with the other one, but I wouldn't use that one. It works. But I haven't fixed the final install bits yet, so it breaks and you have to hand chroot in and just finish the tidy up. However, holy carp! This is a beautiful install. Rust runs perfectly out of the box, everything feels snappy as crap, and I am loving it. If you want an experiment and some fun, you can do worse than this!

Tags: arch, linux, f2fs, btrfs, xfs, scripts

Life slowing down.

August 06, 2019 — Sifr Nihilum

I think, as a part of usual, everyday life, things come in peaks, and troughs. For a short while I was discovering new things for the terminal daily, now... Not so much. If you have suggestions for things I should check out, do let me know.

That's not to say everything has stopped. I'm still mostly full on terminal fun. I keep trying new things, some related to the terminal, others related to just general linux fun. I tried awesome recently. It looks nice, but I don't enjoy using it as much as dwm. I'm debating trying a few WM's and seeing what comes up. There are some fun things that people are working on as hobbies, things that probably will never get beyond version 0.4, but that look like they might at least be interesting to play with. We can talk about that later.

For now, I'm trying out alpine linux. I've honestly been enjoying it. I own multiple computers, some of them more powerful than others. I'm writing this blog on my desktop, which is a fairly strong machine. I've yet to see it crushed by a game, it can take whatever I throw at it. It's happily running arch with dwm. Steam is installed. It's my mess with this machine, I can play and break it, and just run my arch install script and boom, it's back good as new. I have an OLD laptop. A sony vaio my father in law gave me, that is at least 7 years old? I don't actually know. It runs intel graphics and if I try and play nethack it'll probably explode. Since that's the case, I tend to use it just to play videos on. I had a whole bunch of stuff setup on it, and realized I could get away with installing alpine and dwm, and just ignoring it for the most part. I REALLY like alpine. I wish I could run games easily. It's easy to use, it's fun, and it's FAST.

Something will come up to keep things exciting I'm sure, but for now I'm just kind of enjoying the slow, patient fun of it all.

Tags: alpine, linux, awesomewm, dwm

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

Using what I've done.

July 17, 2019 — Sifr Nihilum

In my ongoing adventures I realized yesterday that I didn't really like systemd. Not through any kind of disagreement with it as a system, it works just fine, and honestly it's an amazing bit of work. More just because of it's ubiquity. It is EVERYWHERE. That's just fine I guess, if it works it works, but there are alternative options and I prefer to do my bit in keeping those alive. With that in mind, I decided to switch from arch, to another distro featuring a different init system.

The choice of distro one uses both changes a lot of things, and if done well keeps things the same. I'm a linux user, so I can't speak for the various BSD's but given the information I can get pretty much any distro looking like my standard system pretty quickly. Assuming I can remember what the heck I'm doing. Traditionally my technique for that is install the system, realize I forgot everything I've ever done and how to do anything at all, and then slowly relearn it all from scratch. Sometimes that's a good thing, since it allows for improvements as I figure new things out. Most of the time it's just frustrating.

I've used gentoo previously, and openrc is a fantastic system. I looked at alpine, and it is NICE, but I play a lot of games, and steam requires some things it doesn't offer (Although chrooting is obviously an option, I prefer to just... Not. It's not really meant for what I need I guess anyway.) There are more options, but the one I went back to was just plain old void. I realize it's neither plain or old, but you know.

This went MUCH smoother than previous installs. For a start by now I am pretty comfortable on the command line. w3m gets me to where I need to go and gives me all I need, tmux works just fine for moving around multiple places at once... I mean, if nothing else this quest has given me some freedom in tools. Secondly though, this blog means I can pull it up, look at what i've done, and then boom. Do it again.

I encourage everyone to start a blog! It's been pretty dang helpful already, and I've barely started!

Tags: linux, blog, voidlinux, distrohopperoony

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: