11 Sep 2022
Your browser sucks. It’s just the cold hard truth. Almost every modern browser is extremely slow, confusing, and privacy invasive. While there have been many attempts to create a usable and fast browser, almost all of them are based on Ungoogled Chromium or Firefox, which, while good for privacy, are incredibly bloated. I’ve searched far and wide for a browser that fits my needs without adding on too much unnecessary crap, and I think I may have found it. Badwolf is a WebKitGTK based, Suckless browser that’s quick, standardized, and no-nonsense. So if you’re interested in Badwolf, I’ll give you some general pointers and facts about this one-of-a-kind browser.
Overall, Badwolf is extremely simple. Almost everything is done with a mouse, and most of the shortcuts should carry over from your previous experience with other browsers. However, there are a few keyboard shortcuts that aren’t very natural or common. I’ve compiled a table with some of the ones that I’ve personally had trouble with, but all of the shortcuts are also available on the manpage if you’re still confused.
|Go back/forward in tab history
||Ctrl-[ & Ctrl-]
|Go to the next/previous tab
||Alt-Right & Alt-Left
|Focus on URL entry bar
|Kill the current tab
Badwolf is very lightweight. More than any other browser that I’ve ever used. RAM usually stays around 80-100MB, with a few tabs open. But the most surprising thing you’ll see if you more closely inspect the picture above, is that the CPU usage is 0%. That’s right. With some more tabs open, I’ve seen it get up to around 5%, but it never uses any more than that. It’s truly remarkable how lightweight this browser is.
It can’t be all good. In order to make the browser as fast and compact as possible, it seems like there have been quite a few features of most browsers that’ve been thrown out entirely. For example,
Badwolf has absolutely no web history. Which, admittedly, isn’t that bad for most people, but may be of concern if for some reason you can’t remember the URL’s of the sites that you commonly visit.
Cookies are one of the main methods used by companies to track users. However, they also have a very viable use for logins and other info you like to save. As soon as you close a tab, all the cookies are destroyed. So get used to typing your username and password every time you want to login to any website.
Badwolf comes with absolutely no form of adblock. And due to the lack of extensions, any sort of adblocking is very difficult. You have to create a json config file full of manually added ad systems. It’s not ideal.
Badwolf is an amazing, fast, and unique browser. It may not be the thing for you, but it still fills its niche incredibly well. It’s a browser, nothing more. And that no-nonsense approach is something that is needed now more than ever, in the current space full of dime-a-dozen bloated, slow, and feature packed browsers. If you are in the need of something fast, and can handle the drawbacks, I would highly recommend that you give Badwolf a try, and see what it’s like to have a browser that doesn’t suck.
28 Aug 2022
Personally, I torrent a lot. I use torrents to download Linux ISO’s, but also use them to download movies and TV shows. So, like every vital piece of software on my system, I’m very opinionated in terms of what I use. And after searching, finding, and using many different torrent clients, I have settled on Transmission. Transmission is a torrent client that can be used in many different platforms, under many different frameworks, including on the command line. So, if having a fully functional torrent client on the command line is something that appeals to you, I’ll show you how you can install and use Transmission CLI on any Linux distro.
Depending on what Linux distro you use, feel free to copy-paste these command into your terminal to install the Transmission daemon and CLI program.
sudo apt install transmission-daemon transmission-cli
sudo dnf install transmission-daemon transmission-cli
sudo pacman -S libtransmission transmission-cli
Enabling the Transmission Daemon
Before you can actually use Transmission, you are going to have to start the daemon. As long as you are using a distro with Systemd (You probably are) you can enable Transmission with this simple command.
sudo systemctl enable transmission-daemon
From there, you can either reboot into your machine, or start the daemon with this command.
sudo systemctl start transmission-daemon
Using The CLI
Whether you have a torrent file or a magnet link, all you need to do is run transmission-remote with the -a flag followed by link or file in quotes, like so.
transmission-remote -a "TORRENT.torrent"
Monitoring Your Download
If you want to monitor your download, all you’ve got to do is run this command.
It should spit out an output that looks like this.
ID Done Have ETA Up Down Ratio Status Name
1 0% None Unknown 0.0 0.0 None Idle TORRENT
Sum: None 0.0 0.0
Removing a Torrent
Now, ideally, you’d seed the torrent for as long as you possibly can, but eventually you’ve got to remove it. To do that, you’re going to need to use the torrent’s ID. This is the same ID that you can see when you run “transmission-remote -l”. Then, once you know the ID, you can use this command.
transmission-remote -t ID -r
Whether you have a system with crappy specs, want to use MPV with framebuffer for a dedicated movie watching system, or just like using the terminal, transmission-cli is a easy, fast and effective way to torrent without ever having to touch a GUI.
20 Aug 2022
For around half a year, I’ve been using an Alcatel Go Flip 4 as my main and only phone. For the most part, I’ve been pretty happy with it. But there’s still some times where a smartphone comes in handy. Browsing the internet, writing, and navigation are severely gimped on a flip phone.
So, when I decided to get a smartphone to use as a second phone, I decided on a Google Nexus 5 on which I would install Ubuntu touch. And so, now that I’ve got to play around with it, I think I can give a detailed enough review, and share my experience with you.
The install process was less than ideal, but still pretty good. Once I had opened my Nexus 5 and enabled USB debugging, I immediatly connected the phone to my computer and started the process of installing Ubuntu touch. The installer itself was super easy, only requiring me to press a few buttons on my phone and click a couple check boxes. But after a around 10 minutes, tragedy struck. The install failed, and I had no idea what to do. My phone was now completely locked in Recovery boot.
It took me around 15 minutes of searching to find out that the newer version of the installer was buggy. So, I went to the UBPorts Github, downloaded the installer, and eventually flashed my phone without a hitch.
Resource Usage & Speed
Ubuntu touch, all of the apps, and Lomiri are impressively snappy. I wouldn’t say it’s much better than stock Android, but it’s definitely not worse. I have noticed that the phone does get a little hot when watching internet video, but apart from that, I have yet to have any problems related to performance. RAM stayed consistently under 500MB on a cold boot, and CPU use seems very low too.
This is the way you’re supposed to get most of your apps on Ubuntu touch. It’s a repository of free, open sourced apps made by community members and developers, packaged nicely into a well designed app. I had no issues downloading, installing, or deleting any native or web applications, and everything loaded extremely fast. Openstore is amazing, and F-Droid better be taking notes.
If you want to install a traditional, desktop Debian package, you’re going to need a Libertine container. I haven’t used it very much, but from what I can tell, it seems pretty good. It took a long time to set up, but once I got the container installed, everything else went smoothly. I installed screenfetch, htop, and even Vim without any errors or slowdowns. Libertine is pretty decent, and much better than what you can get in Android.
Look & Feel
Lomiri is not only beautiful, but extremely productive. It makes excellent use of Unity’s traditional Ambiance theme to create an iconic look, but adds many features that unity never had. Everything from launching apps, switching windows, to answering a call can be done with gestures that work surprisingly well with a mouse and touchscreen. And don’t even get me started on the system tray. This is the most thoughtful, well designed system tray that I have ever seen. It has 10 seperate items that are all no more than one swipe away. The UBPorts team deserve some credit, because they’ve taken the unstable, ugly Unity 8 and turned it into something actually worth using.
Convergence is the main feature of Lomiri, and it is executed flawlessly. I can’t hook my phone up to my monitor, but after turning my phone on it’s side and turning on windowed mode through the Ubuntu Touch Tweak Tool, I found the basic desktop experiance amazing. All of the keybindings you could use on a regular Ubuntu desktop were available. And in general, Lomiri just acts like good Ol’ Unity, bar the menu bar at the top left.
Ubuntu Touch is an amazing project that I would reccomend to almost anyone. It allows you to take an older, unsupported Android device that you might already have sitting in your closet, and turn it into a fully functional Linux machine that can make phone calls and use SMS. It is a great way to escape Google survalience without having to go and buy a flip phone like me. If you have the money, the technical know-how, and a phone carrier that doesn’t hate you, I’d reccomend you buy a phone and give it a whirl.
09 Aug 2022
Chances are, if you use desktop Linux, you’re using Plymouth every time that you boot into your computer. Whether you use Fedora, Manjaro, Debian, or Ubuntu, Plymouth is going to come pre-installed. Plymouth, is a boot screen application that gives you something a little more appealing than a simple Systemd output. However, on most distros, it’s a little stale. Thankfully though, there are a plethora of themes available, and I am going to show you how you can install and apply them to any Linux distro.
Installing Plymouth Themes
There are a ton of Plymouth themes out there for you to choose from. Depending on what Linux distro you use, there are going to be a ton in the repositories. But, there are also hundreds of themes made by contributor and theme designers available to download online. My personal favorite place to grab Plymouth themes is Pling, but there are many more on Github, Deviantart, and scattered around random parts of the web.
If you want to install some simple, generic themes from your distro repositories, feel free to copy-paste one of the commands here, while making some considerations depending on what distro you use, and what themes you would actually like installed.
Using Distro Packages
sudo apt install plymouth-themes
sudo dnf install plymouth-theme-charge plymouth-theme-hot-dog plymouth-theme-solar plymouth- theme-spinfinity plymouth-theme-fade-in plymouth-theme-script plymouth-theme-spinner
Comes with themes pre-installed Plymouth packages
Using A Theme From The Internet
Once you have your theme downloaded and extracted, all you need to do is put it in the right place. You can either use a graphical file manager with root privlages, or a terminal. Just move the directory to usr/share/plymouth/themes in the file manager, or use this command to do the same thing from the terminal.
sudo mv PATH/TO/THEME /usr/share/plymouth/themes/
Switching Default Theme
Once you have the directory containing the theme in the correct place, all you need to do is enable it. And while there are many guides that will show you distro specific ways of changing the default theme, I personally think this method is better, because not only is it dead simple, it works on every Linux distro.
First, in your terminal emulator, you need to cd into the directory where you installed the theme.
Then, in that directory, you can type
ls, and you will see a file that ends in .plymouth. Once you’ve identified the file, all you need to do is copy it to the default.plymouth file, using this command.
sudo cp THEME.plymouth /usr/share/plymouth/themes/default.plymouth
All you need to do now is reboot, sit back, and admire your new plymouth boot screen. The possibilities are endless. You can use a theme that blends with your display manager, one that fits the theme of your desktop, or one that shows some more information than just a spinning circle. Whatever the theme you choose, the boot screen is your oyster, and you can do with it what you wish.
Table of Contents
- Installing Plymouth Themes
- Using Distro Packages
- Arch Linux
- Using A Theme From The Internet
- Switching Default Theme
- You’re Done!!
03 Aug 2022
Hello! You may notice that the website has gone through some changes. I have completely moved the entire website from the standard Jeckyl Now to the sleeker, faster, more feature packed Lanyon. This is a substantial change. However, I do believe that this new look will not only make the website easier to navigate, but more professional. If you have any questions or concerns about this change, please feel free to Email me.