More for the console: vlock, catdoc and more

My posts these days have gotten way too long. That essay about the Debian server, for example, put me to sleep when I looked at it again this morning. This time I shall try to be concise with a few more console gizmos.

I usually don’t need a screen-locking application, and if I did I believe screen itself would probably suffice, but if you want something dedicated to lock out terminals, vlock is a good option.

Locks one tty, locks all ttys, and has a few more options as well. If you’re a faithful follower of the aforementioned Unix Philosophy, you might prefer this in conjunction with dtach and dvtm.

I mentioned some document converters the other day, then found two or three more: catdoc, wordview and word2x. catdoc is still in the Arch repos and worked fine for me, but the other two were less successful.

I see that word2x is already five years out-of-date, so it may be that it’s just past its prime. wordview is a wrapper for catdoc, but only spat out errors on my end. I probably needed something to make it work though.

I also spent a short time a day ago trying to build tmsnc — not that I could use it at all, because I don’t have an MSN account. And it was a very short time too, because the source code (circa 2006) has trouble under Arch, or again I am missing a dependency I don’t know about. In any case, I added a note to the AUR page for it. A screenshot would have been fun, but that’s as far as I would have gotten.

Finally, I know about the googlecl tools; I am sure I was as interested as you when I heard about their release. And thanks to everyone (there were quite a few) who wrote to draw my attention to them.

Unfortunately, the tools themselves don’t seem to support the small slice of Google’s services that I use. I really only use GMail, and at present it doesn’t seem to be part of what googlecl does. If you use Picasa, Calendar, Contacts, etc., then take a look.

That’s it for now. See? Nice and short. :)

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3 Responses to “More for the console: vlock, catdoc and more”


  1. 1 gullars 2010/07/27 at 5:00 PM

    I always love these posts when you talk about some command line tools :)
    I found one use for the googlecl tools, and that is that it’s nice for writing something down that I want to be able to access on another computer, through the google docs command if that is important though, that being said, I can’t really say that I have been having any use for it, usually I find it more easy to write it down in hnb, or jot it down on a piece of paper.

    • 2 bryan 2010/07/28 at 3:15 AM

      Personally, I find I have the same reaction to most ‘cloud’ tools. Instead of having to share things between computers (aside from local data like music collections etc). I just write it down…or shoot an email to myself, which is an amazingly underused method of moving data or reminders around the interwebs.

      Also – vlock looks pretty awesome. Thanks for the heads up, KMandla!

      • 3 gullars 2010/07/28 at 4:04 AM

        Well, with not so tech savvy students, of whom I know a lot, are using this a lot, it seems like it is the most used way, it’s easy, and I do it too, because it takes less time than putting it up on docs, and it’s easier to find and use. I also like using my usb stick for those things ;)


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