Tag Archives: change

x_x: The Dead Guy CLI

With barely a week left for this site, I’m beginning to trim away programs that I just probably won’t get to, by virtue of time or technical dilemmas. I’m also making a conscious effort to pick out titles that amuse me in one form or another, so I finish with happy memories. 😛

x_x, which I mentally refer to as “the Dead Guy CLI,” because the home page uses that as a subtitle, is a rather nifty tool that I’m surprised I haven’t seen covered elsewhere. Using a bland, dull, boring Excel spreadsheet borrowed from a corner of the Interweb, Dead Guy CLI transmogrifies it into this:


Well isn’t that clever.

Dead Guy CLI gives you a small measure of control over your output, by allowing you to specify a header row or allow for special encoding. It also works with CSV files, so you’re not strapped trying to convert back and forth to Excel, just to fiddle with x_x.

Aside from that though, Dead Guy CLI seems very simple. Of course, your spreadsheet may need some management if you expect it to fit into a certain dimension, but I am confident that as a skilled and capable member of the information age, you won’t throw a wobbly over a pear-shaped spreadsheet.

Keep x_x in mind when you’re thinking about things like csv2xls or xlhtml, since it may save you a step or prevent you from relying on graphical tools just to extract data from a spreadsheet. And of course, if you’re working with csv files, x_x could supplement what tabview or other tools can do.

For my own recordkeeping, Dead Guy CLI gets points for doing something obvious that I don’t recall seeing elsewhere. And also for the snarky name. I’m a fan of snarky names. 😈

Tagged: ascii, change, chart, convert, csv, data, excel, file, spreadsheet, xls

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peat: Pete and Repeat are sitting on a fence. …

Here’s a simple python tool that jumps into action when a file changes: peat.


peat is built to execute a command of your choosing, and requires only a list of files to watch as input. As you can see above, probably its most basic use is just to send a message to the screen to announce a change.

But it seems capable of executing almost anything as its target, so you could set it to clean up files, compile a code snippet and run it, or … something completely different.

The syntax to get peat running can be a small challenge; by default peat wants a list separated by whitespace. Check the flags if you want to feed it a list separated by newlines or blank spaces.

I should also mention that in Arch, peat wouldn’t run without calling specifically for python2. On the other hand, it seemed to run without any oddball dependencies or bizarre python libraries, so it may be that it will run well on a vanilla system with no added weight.

I feel like I should mention the long list of file event watchers that are available, so it may be that using python as the basis for a file watcher is still too cumbersome.

And given that their list of features is as wide and long as the list itself, the choice becomes a little more academic. peat is worth investigating if you are comfortable with python and if its advanced handling doesn’t intimidate you. But remember there are many others in the running.

Tagged: change, directory, event, file, folder, notify, update, watch

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commacd: Just so long as you know where you’re going

The home page for commacd insists that it is not a fast directory switcher, and so I’ll refrain from calling it that. It does make switching directories a lot faster though.

But I can see where the difference lies. Things like z or j or j2 or autojump or fasd all tried to apply their own algorithms to switching patterns. commacd, on the other hand, trusts you to know where you are and where you want to go, and then takes you there.

commacd, as you have inferred, ties the cd command to the comma sign. In that sense it works exactly the same.

kmandla@6m47421: ~$ , downloads/

kmandla@6m47421: ~/downloads$

But if I have a nested directory and I know where I want to go, commacd suddenly makes it much easier.

kmandla@6m47421: ~$ , /u/s/j

kmandla@6m47421: /usr/share/jack-audio-connection-kit$

On my system, the only path that has the initials u then s then j is /usr/share/jack-audio-connection-kit, and commacd wisely expands my request to match it, and moves me there.

If there’s any doubt, commacd asks for permission.

kmandla@6m47421: ~$ , /u/s/e
0	/usr/share/emacs/
1	/usr/share/enchant/
2	/usr/share/et/
: 2

kmandla@6m47421: /usr/share/et$

A double comma works in reverse, but in the same way as well.

kmandla@6m47421: /usr/share/et$ ,, s

kmandla@6m47421: /usr/share$

Since “share” is in my path and it starts with an s, commacd moved me there. If there is more than one part of my path that starts with that letter, I get moved to the uppermost folder.

kmandla@6m47421: /lib/kernel$ cd /usr/lib/modules/3.16.4-1-ARCH/kernel/net/llc/

kmandla@6m47421: .../3.16.4-1-ARCH/kernel/net/llc$ ,, l

kmandla@6m47421: /usr/lib$ 

Triple commas are wilder, allowing you to jump anywhere within your tree, not just your path. For example. …

kmandla@6m47421: .../3.16.4-1-ARCH/kernel/net/llc$ ,,, sound

kmandla@6m47421: .../modules/3.16.4-1-ARCH/kernel/sound$ 

And that might be the best feature of commacd: jumping well beyond your $PWD to a folder that’s only tangential to where you are at a particular moment.

No more backtracking to a common branch and then tab-completing down to the folder you want. With a little guidance and the reassurance that you know where you are and where you want to go, commacd will just take you there.

There’s no real downside to commacd, except perhaps that you need to have an idea of where you’re going. If you’re just exploring the bowels of /usr/src or looking for an errant file, it won’t help you much to have that kind of flexibility in changing directories. You might be better with the traditional cd command.

commacd “installs” by sourcing with your .bashrc or .bash_profile, so there’s no compiling and no need for a second program. It keeps no logs, has no daemons and doesn’t care if you like sysvinit or systemd. 😉 It’s wonderfully transparent and so light you won’t even know it’s there.

I like this one a lot, and it’s definitely worth trying out … just don’t call it a fast directory switcher. 😉

Tagged: change, directory

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