If you spend a lot of time in a terminal window and are looking for a simpler solution, you'll want to check out one of the many password managers for the Linux command line. They're quick, easy to use, and secure.
Let's take a look at three of them.
While PDF files have their uses, they can be a bit of a pain to work with. That's especially true when you need to mash two or more PDF files together — say, when you're adding a cover to a book.
To do that deed, you can use a pair of tools that I introduced a while back. Or you can jump to the command line and use software that's probably already on your computer. For the command line junkie, the latter option might be the preferred option.
Let's take a look at a quick and dirty way to combine PDFs at the Linux command line.
In a previous post, I looked at using the lowriter command to convert word processor files to different formats supported by LibreOffice Writer. That post also included a brief mention of the commands for converting spreadsheets and slide decks.
After publishing that post, another way to convert files at the command line using LibreOffice popped into my memory.
Run this command to do a conversion:
soffice --headless --convert-to [file-format] [file-name].[file-extension]
(You might be wondering about the --headless option. That just stops an empty, and mildly annoying, LibreOffice window from opening on your desktop when you do a conversion.)
You can use that command to convert individual file or do a bulk conversion. If, say, you want to convert a Word file to PDF, use this command:
soffice --headless --convert-to PDF myFile.docx
For example, use the command below to convert all Microsoft Excel files in a folder to ODS (the format used by LibreOffice Calc):
soffice --headless --convert-to ods *.xlsx
Why use this method instead of the one I wrote about previously? It works with all formats supported by LibreOffice. And you only need to remember one command, rather than the commands for each component of the LibreOffice suite.
Recently, I came across some documents that I'd written at a former Day JobTM. A company that uses That Other Word Processor. You know the one I mean ...
I wanted to convert those files to both ODT and PDF. Opening them individually in LibreOffice Writer to do the deed would have been a chore. Plus, I'm lazy. So I needed to find a different solution.
Then I remembered that you can run LibreOffice Writer from the command line. Really! And, in doing so, you can convert files in bulk. To do that, crack open a terminal window. Then type:
lowriter --convert-to [file-format] *.[file-extension]
To convert the files I wrote using that other word processor to ODT, I typed:
lowriter --convert-to odt *.docx
In a few seconds, I had a bunch of ODT files. I did the same thing to create a bunch of PDF files, just substituting odt in the command with pdf.
You can convert between files in any format that LibreOffice Writer supports. You can also convert individual files. Just type the name of the file at the end of the command.
But what about spreadsheets and slide decks? You can also use the —convert-to option with the commands localc (LibreOffice Calc) and loimpress (LibreOffice Impress) to convert a file or to do a batch conversion.
Many people believe that getting organized involves a calendar, a todo list, or some arcane and complex mix of software. That's one way to do the deed. It's effective, but it's not the most efficient way of doing things.
Instead, why not put everything under one roof? Or, in this case, into a single terminal window. How? By using a dashboard.
System administrators, DevOps engineers, and developers use dashboards to keep on top of what they need to keep on top of. Dashboards do that by breaking information into discrete chunks and displaying those chunks in their own spaces on screen. All that information is available at a glance and it's easy to understand.
A dashboard isn't just for the techie. Even if you have 10 thumbs when it comes to things technical, you can benefit from using a dashboard. I'm one of those folks with 10 thumbs, and I find dashboards to be very useful.
While I'm not a fan of its name, I am definitely a fan of what WTF does and how it does it. And that's display a lot of different information in a way that's clear and easy to follow.
Once upon a time, my websites originated from a couple of well-known hosting providers. During those years, I regularly needed to log into the servers that hosted my web sites to change or upload a file. For the longest time, I did that using FTP, but stopped because the passwords are sent in plaintext. Wasn't that reason enough?
While I often used FileZilla for secure connections, it was overkill when I needed to change or transfer one file. Instead, I turned to the command line and used SSH and SCP. Both offered me a level of security that FTP didn't. Why? They create an encrypted connection with a server — no plaintext is allowed.
Let's take a quick look at SSH and SCP.
Note: This post isn't a comprehensive guide to SSH and SCP. It's a quick and dirty introduction for someone with few technical skills. What you read here will help get you going. You can get more information from a number of sources, including this one.
It's been seven years since Google pulled the plug on Google Reader. Seven. Years. And, believe it or not, there are people who are still whining about that. Some of them even say that by sending Reader to the digital glue factory, Google killed RSS.
Those people need to shut up.
RSS isn't dead. Far from it. RSS is still a great way for you to take control of the information you ingest from the online world. You choose what you want to read, not an algorithm.
All you need is a good RSS reader. If you want to go back to basics with your RSS reader, a solid option is Newsboat. It's a command line feed reader, forked from the venerable Newsbeuter, that's easy to use but packs a good number of features.
Let's take a look at how to use it.