I send you this newsletter this August with a mix of emotions. August is a very personal and difficult month for me and my partner (cw: stillbirth), in particular the 31st (today). Although I find computers and coding the best escape for myself when I'm getting out of sorts and even ill, I also know that human connection is much better for my own mental health. That's to say: do the same for yourself - find someone you love, and tell them ❤️

On the blog

Projects have been quieter this month (although I've been tinkering), but a blog post which I'd been slowly building went live last week and it's been rather popular on the usual post-sharing sites.

I'd been collecting command line tools that I've been slowly favouring over "native" (or builtin) commands. One such example is cat - I now use a command called bat in its place, and actually alias cat to bat (which…said out loud is fairly confusing!). Of course this is because I don't use cat for its "true" function, and that's to concatenate files together, but rather I use it to spit the file out to screen. That doesn't lessen my usage though.

bat in action

The abridged version of my CLI Improved blog post is:

  • bat > cat
  • prettyping > ping
  • fzf > ctrl+r
  • htop > top
  • diff-so-fancy > diff
  • fd > find
  • ncdu > du
  • tldr > man
  • ack || ag > grep
  • jq > grep et al

With honourable mentions for

  • ponysay > cowsay
  • csvkit > awk et al
  • noti > display notification
  • entr > watch

The blog post itself includes screenshots (and some videos) of each tool, and directions on how to install.

What has been really interesting is the amount of discussion and further sharing of people's tooling. A few items that looked really interesting were:

  • Exa - a cool ls alternative
  • rg / ripgrep - possible alternative to ack and ag
  • httpie - alternative to curl (I've used it, but always forget to use it and end up using curl instead)

After seeing exa (and another tool called color-ls …and one called colorls ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) - I had a crack at my own, non-invasive ls upgrade (yet to be released):

left side: ls piped through my colourisation tool. right: "regular" ls

Lots more readings on the reddit comments and the hacker news comments.

Finally there's also the excellent Data Science at the Command Line book - available online to read for free.

Monthly recommend

Sorry folks, another book. If you're not a big reader, I sympathise - I was never into reading until a couple of years ago…and here I am recommending books nearly every month, but I really liked this book!

Dogs of War - my written review

The title and book cover come across (to me) as rather corny, and the first few pages read as "I am Rex. I am dog. I run after baddie. I listen to Master—" etc - but it quickly gets really good. A real surprise of a sci-fi book, based very much in our near reality, and questions things like: what is it to be a person?

I'll leave you with that, and if you have any book recommendations, I'd love to add them to my "want-to-read" list - just hit reply.


Until next month,

– Remy 👋