Five unattached ideas

Once again I seem to have accumulated a few small items of note — not big enough to develop into a full-size post, but not small enough to ignore altogether. Enjoy, if they appeal to you. 😉

  1. For a few weeks now I’ve been living without sound in centerim, which probably sounds like a strange thing to say. By “sound” I mean the little beep that chimes when someone comes online or sends a message. A quick glance through the configuration told me that centerim spawns aplay to trigger the sounds, and the same command from a terminal kicked out errors. So whatever audio configuration I’ve been using has been interfering with audio files of certain specifications, to include the default ones that come with centerim. Rather than troubleshoot what could be a kernel-level problem, I downloaded a few public domain beep sounds with dimensions that aplay could handle. centerim is noisy again.
  2. It’s always possible that I misunderstand what people are looking for when they ask questions on the forum. I try to take that into consideration when I make grand sweeping generalizations about things like this. But it seems like it should be a little easier to set up random terminal colors and trigger them through a .bashrc/.bash_profile configuration. I know the original poster is probably working with the Gnome terminal, and I haven’t actually tried to do this yet so I am probably imagining things beyond my ability, but something tells me a simple randomization array — sort of like this one — should be able to set colors when a prompt opens. And within screen, it seems like it would be easier still. I think. Maybe. Sort of. 😯
  3. Thumos sent a link the other day to a blog post that gives a quick rundown on three different terminal management suites — the omnipresent house favorite screen, tmux as the young upstart, and a wild card in the seemingly bulletproof duo of dtach plus dvtm. The article is a bit scarce on details but is a good overview if you’re considering switching, or if you’re just starting out on the path of the Dark Side. It also puts me to shame by throwing in the category of “Unix Philosophy,” which I admit I sometimes overlook. Whatever solution you pick, feel confident in knowing that you are doing the right thing. And a quick note of thanks to Thumos. 😉
  4. I feel silly now because a few months ago someone emailed me with a “time tracker” application for the console, and now I can’t remember what it was called. I have searched through my e-mail account thrice but unfortunately, it’s been nearly impossible to find again. The words “time” and “tracker” are not unique enough to pin down the e-mail, and without the name of the application, I am a little stuck. I remember installing it and that it listed “projects” you were involved in, with a simple start-stop timer function so you could see how much of your effort was going into one or another. If you have an idea, or if you were the person who sent the email, please do me the favor of telling me again what it was called. 😳
  5. For as much of a love-fest as Ubuntu users have for their beloved Firefox, I’m always mystified that the slice that has to ride the newest, freshest versions doesn’t just download the precompiled Linux version and point all the shortcuts and aliases at that. Not only will it satisfy that urge to run Firefox, but it will update itself, it’s smart enough to seek out the presence of Flash, et al., and it’s confined to a single self-reliant folder that doesn’t require any outside libraries (well, except maybe for dbus-glib and alsa-lib 🙄 ). I use that over the firefox package in Arch on the big machine, and I’m running a step ahead of current anytime the application is publicly updated. And if you’re on an old machine, there are still outdated versions compiled to use GTK1 (yes, GTK1) at

No bonus this time, sorry. I’ll find something extra for the next time these little things crop up. 😀

6 thoughts on “Five unattached ideas

  1. Artopal


    I think it was me who asked you and told you about time trackers for the command line, and the one I mentioned was worklog:

    There is another time tracker that goes by the same name and is an iphone app, I think, so beware while googling.

    The description in the ubuntu repos actually tells more than the “homepage”.

    It is a tiny and simple ncurses program, which I didn’t kind of get. It would be nice to hear what you have to say about it.


    1. Artopal

      Well, I was thinking more in a time tracking program and less in a calendar or event/task manager.

      I was also searching for a cli or ncurses program.

      Other 2 similar programs I found are graphical (gtk): sgtt (at sourceforge) and gtimelog.

      But from the graphical ones, the gnome hamster-applet is still the best (for my needs).

    2. gullars

      graphical and osx screen shot = thumbs down for my part, call me stupid, I don’t know why but that really does annoy me more than it should, I don’t get why people do that all the time, I would say that functional and keyboard driven, customizable and simple is something that beats over designed and restrictive every day on my part.

  2. Pingback: More for the console: vlock, catdoc and more « Motho ke motho ka botho

  3. lucky

    Regarding time trackers, I’m aware of several and maybe one below is either what you’ve forgotten or will help jog your memory. My own preference is org-mode in emacs since it functions as a kitchen sink (calendar, time tracking, outlining, note taking, document processing, charting, etc., etc., etc.), but I realize not everyone will use emacs.See sections on clocking:
    and billing

    For more likely possibilities (ncurses, ruby, etc.) see:


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