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Category: Thoughts

Kir: find commands by describing them from the shell

When doing system administration to fix a crash on some Unix-based server, I have run several times into the issue of trying to remember how to perform a certain task, but not remembering the exact sequence of commands. After that, I am always doing the same thing, and I have to resort to do a search on Google to find the commands I need. Those tasks are generally not frequent enough to be worth it to memorize the commands or create a script, but frequent enough for the process of searching to become really annoying. It’s also a productivity issue since it requires me to stop the current workflow, open a web browser and perform a search. For me, those things include tasks such as “how to find the number of processors on a machine” or “how to dump a Postgresql table in CSV format.”

I thought that it would be great to have some piece of code to just be able to query Google from the command-line. But that would be a mess, as for each query I would need a simple sequence of commands that I need to type, and not a blog article with fluffy text all around which is what Google is likely to return. Also, I thought about using the API ofย commandlinefu.com to get results directly from there. So I did a small Python script that performs text search that way, but the results were never exactly what I was looking for, since the commands presented there have been formatted by people who do not have the exact same needs I have. This is what brought me to implement Kir, a tiny utility to allow for text-search directly from the command-line and give the exact list of commands needed.

I am tired of logging into websites

With the number of Internet services and web apps growing, the amount of statuses and indicators is itself growing. At the end of the day, you end up logging into 20 different websites in order to get a single value from each of them. And there are so many of them, just to name a few: StatCounter, Google Analytics, Apple iTunes Connect, Flurry, etc.

I am really getting tired of logging into all these websites, and here is my plan to fix it.

Gamification: the next revolution?

The rate at which gaming is penetrating the different layers of our societies has been rapidly increasing during the last decade. Sure, part of this is due to the fact that kids playing in the 80’s are now 30 to 40-year old, but another good part of it is a direct consequence of the vulgarization of video games in general. With the Wii and now Kinect, no need for fancy game pads and killer finger skills to play video games. A vector of this acceleration is also the recent urge in the social media world. With Facebook, social games have emerged, taking advantage of social and psychological constraints. Games are no longer confined to the virtual world, and are crushing into the real world.