Mine the Harvest


plowshare – Command Line Downloader

by on Feb.23, 2014, under Linux

Don’t you find downloading files from rapidsare, mediafire, 2shared, ad nauseam etc. to be annoying?

Yes, I couldn’t be less interested in your Windows download manager and similar crapware.

Ploweshare is a collection of shell scripts that makes downloading from such site much easier – skip the nonsense.

Props to http://letconex.blogspot.com/2010/10/download-rapidshare-and-megaupload.html for the tip!

git clone https://code.google.com/p/plowshare/
cd plowshare
sudo make
plowdown -v2 http://www.2shared.com/file/0UPKDPzx/accurate_rule.html

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ASCII.io Ungit and Explainshell

by on Sep.03, 2013, under Linux

Here are a few handy utilities I’ve recently run across.


http://ascii.io/ now at http://asciinema.org/

Record Your Terminal -Share it with no fuss
Python tool, similar to using script command with timestamps, but easier to share.

Various python modules needed are listed on the git site:

By default, uploads to ascii.io, with option to associate uploads with your profile for editing / deleting.

Setup your own internal asciiio server for playback:


Links to a good youtube video intro.

Graphs git commit tree, branches, etc. both to help learn git and visualize changes.
Add commit notes and branch, rebase, etc. from the gui.

Very fast node.js based interface. Installs with npm via https (no outbound git:// required)

When running ungit, if you recieve the error:
“<ServerResponse> has no method ‘setTimeout”
Try updating NPM and running again. See:  https://github.com/FredrikNoren/ungit/issues/178

Explain Shell


Converts shell commands with arguments into man pages showing only arguments used.
(Just faster than grepping for them all.)

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Netstat connection timers

by on Apr.29, 2013, under Linux

Netstat is so dang useful.  I never knew it had the ability to report connection timers. Netstat, I love you.


How long have those connection been there anyway?

[root@gibson ~]# netstat -tonp
tcp 0 0 ::ffff: ::ffff: TIME_WAIT - timewait (0.00/0/0)
tcp 0 0 ::ffff: ::ffff: TIME_WAIT - timewait (43.72/0/0)

Or hows that keepalive going?

[root@gibson ~]# netstat -tonp | grep ESTABLISHED | grep keepalive
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 13694/postgres keepalive (5846.25/0/0)
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 4132/pgagent keepalive (5116.28/0/0)

Yeah, but what about how long they have been in CLOSE_WAIT?

[root@gibson ~]# netstat -tonp | grep CLOSE_WAIT
tcp 1 0 CLOSE_WAIT 29817/httpd off (0.00/0/0)
tcp 1 0 CLOSE_WAIT 25264/httpd off (0.00/0/0)

Ahhh . . . there is no time out value for CLOSE_WAIT. Darn.

Your current timeout and keepalive settings in seconds:
cat /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_fin_timeout
cat /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_keepalive_time

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Sublime Text and Floobits

by on Apr.18, 2013, under Linux

I’ve been playing around with some collaborative coding tools recently: Etherpad, c9.io, infinoted / Gobby which is pretty cool with the Gedit plugin, etc. These, especially c9.io with it’s GitHub and Heroku integration, are very cool tools.

However, with the exception of the Gedit Collaboration plugin, many collaborative coding sites expect you to use a web editor. While c9.io’s editor is okay, nothing beats editor like vim, kate, etc.

Floobits is a collaborative editing site, but they are creating plugins for editors. One is available for Sublime Text, and one for Vim is in progress. Floobits lets you create public or private “rooms”, import code from github, and edit the content with a native editor. Using this with Sublime Text is pretty cool. If you need to share code or work with someone who is not set up with an editor and Floobits plugin, no problem – they can fall back to using the Floobits web editor. In minutes you an be coding together.

All the above lead me to check out Sublime Text 2, and I have to say – wow. I’m a long time Vim user, and while I love Vim (especially as my sys admin workhorse editor) for long coding stints, Sublime is looking amazingly good. Just check out the slideshow. But when you match Sublime up with git and floobits plugins, it gets even better.

Sublime has some other brilliant features. The ctrl-p function to search all files, and bring them automatically into focus – and then zero in on the function your looking for instantly is pretty much gold. See the screenshots of this in action, as well as other general tips here. I also really like the preview panel for navigating. And it’s fast – really fast.

Though licensed, it’s extremely forgiving. Download for Linux, Windows and OSX and it is fully functional, no expiration. You don’t need a key, or an account, etc. Download and use. If you like it you can purchase a license for $70.

If you want to test drive Sublime Text and Floobits see my guide, which has some tips as the Package Control installer has a bug that requires manually installing Floobits – which is trivial. And or course see Floobits plugin page.

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f.lux Makes For Sweet Dreams

by on Jan.26, 2013, under Linux

Last year a Hackerspace colleague turned me on to this nifty tool. (Thanks Andy!) It’s just the kind of thing I like: A super-simple, lightweight, “just works” applet that does something exceedingly useful – it red shifts your monitor as you enter evening.

It makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

It’s even possible that you’re staying up too late because of your computer. You could use f.lux because it makes you sleep better, or you could just use it just because it makes your computer look better.

Now, that that might sound boring or “not very useful” – but I encourage you to test drive it. True, you can manually adjust your monitor, have different color profiles, etc. but the beauty of this is it will color shift automatically – which is exactly what I needed.

I can’t tell you how nice it is  as I’m coding away at night (when I probably shouldn’t be) to have the screen dim to a nice rose tint. I swear I breath a sigh of relief every time. (And it even works with X when I’m playing a game, Diablo 3 looks pretty cool when it happens.)

In the morning, it is equally nice. Rather than be blinded when I turn on the monitor, it is far more soothing and acceptable.

It might indeed even help you sleep better by reducing  stimulation received from blue wavelength light during evening. Check out the research links at the site for further reading.

You can simply download the binary and run it:

wget http://secure.herf.org/flux/xflux.tgz

By providing your zip code (United States only) or lat+long it will be better able to time the transitions. Gnome / Ubuntu users can have a little control panel too – though it does not seem to play well with Unity. No matter though, you don’t really need it. You can add a symlink to the binary from your Desktop Environments startup folder, or be fancy and make a script that starts it every time you boot. A bash script follows which checks for a previously started instance. Sweet dreams.


# Script to automatically start xflux 
# http://stereopsis.com/flux/
# wget http://secure.herf.org/flux/xflux.tgz

# To have it start automatically on user login:
# KDE: Place binary or this script in /home/$USER/.kde4/Autostart
# Gnome / Ubuntu: Run gnome-session-properties in terminal and add xflux (or this script) to the startup program list
# See: http://askubuntu.com/questions/48321/how-to-start-applications-at-startup-automatically
# Other: Create a symlink to the binary, or place it in your environments startup folder, etc. 

# Usage: /usr/local/bin/xflux [-z zipcode | -l latitude] [-g longitude] [-k colortemp (default 3400)] [-nofork]
# protip: Say where you are (use -z or -l).

instance=`pidof xflux`
if [ -z $instance ]
/usr/local/bin/xflux -z yourZipCode
echo "xflux is already running with pid $instance."
echo "You may kill it with: kill $instance or pkill xflux"
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