Five Tools for Beginners that Power Up the Command Line

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Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a command line noob, there’s no way you remember every command, manual page, or tooltip. Lucky for you, we have some tools to make the command line less intimidating to newcomers that also help old timers remember what to do in a number of common circumstances.

Homebrew Makes Installing Apps on Mac Way Easier

Homebrew is a package installer for Mac that makes it easy to download and install apps right from the command line. You’ll also need it to install some of the tools we discuss below.

We’ve talked about using Homebrew as a bulk app installer before, so we won’t go into it a ton here, but the basic idea is to streamline installing any apps you need. Type in a command, like brew install appname and Homebrew downloads and installs it.

With Homebrew, you can also create an installer script using a tool called Homebrew Cask that installs all your favorite apps on a new computer in a matter of minutes with a single command.

Mac-Cli and Climate Simplify Your Most Used Commands

While there is a certain amount of prestige that comes when you gleefully remember some complicated command that takes 30 seconds to type, most of us don’t have the time or willpower for that. Previously mentioned, Mac-CLI and Climate are both tools that simplify some of the most common commands by turning them into normal human language. Climate is made for Linux, while Mac-CLI is made for the Mac. Both do essentially the same thing, with different commands. Climate requires the Climate command. Mac-CLI requires the Mac command.

Here are a few of our favorite from Mac-CLI to give you an idea of what you can do with them:

  • mac update: Installs software updates, Ruby gems, Homebrew updates, npm updates, and more.
  • mac find: biggest-files: Searches and displays the biggest files inside the current directory.
  • mac system: Show system information to review performance.
  • mac xcode:cleanup: Cleans up Xcode files.
  • mac git:branch: Show all Git branches
  • mac dev:optimize-images: Optimize all images in the current directory for the web.

Climate works similarly, but with Linux-specific tools:

  • climate update: Updates your climate install.
  • climate find biggest-files: Searches and displays the biggest files inside the current directory.
  • climate overview: Displays a performance overview of our system.
  • climate list-branches: Displays a list of all your Git branches.

That should give you an idea of what to expect here. Check out the full list of all commands over on the Mac-CLI and Climate GitHub pages. The basic idea of both is to make the command line a little less intimidating for beginners by standardizing commands, but it’s really just as useful for experienced users who can’t remember the commands they don’t use very often. Mac-CLI isn’t your only option here for Mac, m-cli is basically the same, but doesn’t require the same third-party dependencies. It’s not quite as robust a toolkit, but still worth a look if you’re curious.

Cheat Shortens Manual Pages with Plain English Instructions

The manual pages that you access by typing in man at the command line are often intensely long, going on and on for pages. This is useful when you really need to dig in and figure something out, but more often than not, you’re looking through a manual page just to find what commands you can run. Cheat takes those manual pages and shrinks them down.

For example, if you head to the command line and type man tar right now, you’ll see several pages of documentation. Cheat gives you a much more practical manual. Type in cheat tar and this is what you get:

# To extract an uncompressed archive:

tar -xvf /path/to/foo.tar

# To create an uncompressed archive:

tar -cvf /path/to/foo.tar /path/to/foo/

# To extract a .gz archive:

tar -xzvf /path/to/foo.tgz

# To create a .gz archive:

tar -czvf /path/to/foo.tgz /path/to/foo/

# To list the content of an .gz archive:

tar -ztvf /path/to/foo.tgz

# To extract a .bz2 archive:

tar -xjvf /path/to/foo.tgz

# To create a .bz2 archive:

tar -cjvf /path/to/foo.tgz /path/to/foo/

# To list the content of an .bz2 archive:

tar -jtvf /path/to/foo.tgz

# To create a .gz archive and exclude all jpg,gif,… from the tgz

tar czvf /path/to/foo.tgz —exclude=\*.{jpg,gif,png,wmv,flv,tar.gz,zip} /path/to/foo/

# To use parallel (multi-threaded) implementation of compression algorithms:

tar -z … -> tar -Ipigz …

tar -j … -> tar -Ipbzip2 …

tar -J … -> tar -Ipixz …

That’s much more useful information, right?

Cheat is not the only tool of its kind. If for whatever reason you’re not a fan of Cheat, take a look at TLDR and Bro Pages. Both are very similar to Cheat, but take a slightly different approach in how they present the information to you.

Howdoi Hunts Down Answers to Common Questions

While the shorter, easier to read manual pages of Cheat should help you get to the root of most questions you’ll have, it can’t help with everything. Howdoi is a utility that can help with the rest.

Howdoi is structured like a question and answer system. You ask a question about how to run a command, and Howdoi attempts to answer it. Let’s go to good old TAR again for an example. If you type this into the command line:

Howdoi create tar archive

You’ll get a tiny how-to guide as a response:

Tar czf file.tar.gz file.txt

Howdoi isn’t perfect and sometimes you’ll have to finagle your wording a bit to get the answer you’re looking for, but it’s still much easier than opening up a browser and searching Google for the answer. You can also add Howdoi to Alfred or Slack.

The Fuck Corrects Your Last Console Command

The Fuck does one thing: corrects your last command when you mess it up. So, if you mistype a command, miss a required sudo, or forget to use a hyphen, type fuck to correct that command. While this doesn’t work all the time for every typo you make, The Fuck is surprisingly intelligent about finding your mistakes. Here are a few example of how you’d use it:

  • apt-get install vim
    fuck
    sudo apt-get install vim
  • git brndh
    fuck
    git branch

You get the idea. You don’t have to blindly agree with whatever The Fuck says. You’re required to confirm the corrected command before it runs, so you’ll never accidentally mess anything up. If you’re like me, you’re dropping typos into the command line all the time, so The Fuck is a lifesaver.

There are lots of other tools out there for very niche purposes. Awesome Shell is a curated list over on GitHub that has a ton more that suit all kinds of different needs.

Illustration by Sam Woolley.

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What the new Dave Smith instruments sound like, no talking

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There is absolutely nothing like the feeling you feel when you hear the sound of a synthesizer. Listen.

“Hi, we’re at the 2017 NAMM show in Anaheim California, and I’m here with –”

Wait. No. That is definitely not why I love synthesizers. Nor am I particularly enamored with the hum of a convention show floor with the apparent adjacent guitar booth blaring over the top of someone reading a product sheet. (As I write that, I realize I’ve just dared some CDM reader to make an eerie, ambient 5-hour version of an Akai demo using paulstretch.)

Here’s what you really want. You want German site Bonedo.de‘s beautiful “no talking series” – which also hones in on two of the instruments we most care about. That includes Dave Smith Instruments’ REV2:

and the Pioneer TORAIZ AS-1, made in collaboration with Dave Smith.

Okay, now back to some talking. I talked with Dave Smith of …erm … Dave Smith Instruments. I was particularly curious because Pioneer said that the AS-1 was “based on” the Prophet-6. How “based on” was it? Well, here’s Dave:

The AS-1 came out really well; quite happy with it. The voice is exactly the same as the Prophet-6, same VCOs and filters. Much easier that way. And it sounds great as a monosynth! Effects are basically the same as the P6/OB6.

So wait a minute: forget for a second that this says Pioneer on the tin. Getting everything that’s brilliant about a Prophet-6 as a little monosynth is actually fantastic. And frankly, the fact that it borrows liberally from the form factor and touch screen of the AIRA TB-3 is also a plus. (A few intrepid synth lovers had put together side-by-side comparisons. Let me also emphasize, with apologies to Roland – it features 100% less neon green.)

In other words, to anyone griping that the Pioneer AS-1 is for EDM DJs who don’t know any better, well … maybe I should start producing EDM. I hear they’re fairly well paid.

I actually really want this thing. It’s time for a new Dave Smith monosynth, after all … even if it’s just a Prophet-6. (Prophet-1? Uno?)

This is way up on my review list for 2017, as I think it may be on yours.

The post What the new Dave Smith instruments sound like, no talking appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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China just made VPNs illegal

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Chinese authorities block access to big-name websites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and numerous others, and to thwart these restrictions, many residents on the mainland use virtual private networks. Starting this week, that could be a crime. Use of VPNs and special cable connections in China must now be approved by the government, essentially making these services illegal in the country.

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced the new rules on Sunday, as reported by the South China Morning Post. Calling it a "clean-up" of the country’s internet connections, the Ministry said the new rules would go live immediately and be in place until March 31st, 2018.

VPNs are already subject to government scrutiny and interference in China. The most recent, large-scale crackdown on VPNs happened in March 2016, during the National People’s Congress meeting in Beijing, SCMP says.

As The Washington Post points out, China’s new VPN and cable regulations are purposefully vague. It’s unclear how the government will implement or enforce these rules, but the language in the announcement suggests Chinese officials are taking aim at companies who provide VPN services to individual citizens, rather than professionals working for multinational corporations in the country.

Last week, in stark contrast to the Ministry’s new VPN rules, Chinese leader Xi Jinping defended the tenets of globalization at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"We must redouble efforts to develop global connectivity to enable all countries to achieve inter-connected growth and share prosperity. … Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room. While wind and rain may be kept outside, that dark room will also block light and air," he said.

China isn’t the only country that censors internet access: Authorities in Egypt, Russia, Cuba, Bahrain, Turkey, Vietnam and other nations also routinely interrupt connections, particularly during times of political strife. In July, the United Nations Human Rights Council condemned the state-sponsored disruption of internet access and upheld online privacy as an essential facet of freedom of expression.

Via: The Washington Post

Source: South China Morning Post

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2 startups are combining to fix a problem with Wall Street stock research

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Bud Fox Wall Street Trader

  • Visible Alpha, a startup backed by five banks, is acquiring ONEaccess.
  • The two firms help investors answer two key questions in the equity research world.
  • What is your investment recommendation based on? And how valuable is your research?

Wall Street research analysts have lots of ways to communicate their opinions to investor clients. 

They can say that a stock is a buy, or a sell. They can be overweight, or underweight. They can be above consensus, or below. They can be neutral, or have a hold rating. But what are those opinions based on?

Visible Alpha, a Wall Street startup backed by banks including UBS and Morgan Stanley, is set up to help investors understand exactly that. Now, the firm is acquiring ONEaccess, another startup that helps firms find corporate access events and track their consumption of research. 

Visible Alpha aims to standardize the analyst models and forecast data that underpin those analyst recommendations like buy, sell, or hold. In effect, it allows analysts to show their working, and for investors to see it and compare it.  

"Research analysts spend a lot of time analyzing data, and they put that into their research, but for clients, they want to see that quantified," Scott Rosen, CEO at Visible Alpha, told Business Insider. "They’re saying: ‘Show me your underlying assumptions.’"

 

Screen Shot 2017 01 20 at 4.29.03 PM

ONEaccess meanwhile helps investors track their research consumption, a key requirement with European regulations coming in to force that will require investors to put a monetary value on the research they consume.  

"Both companies have focused on optimizing the investment management workflow, but we’ve tackled different aspects of it," Mike Stepanovich, CEO of ONEaccess said. "By coming together, we are able to solve both sides of the equation for our clients, and we are already receiving positive feedback from them."

 

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