Commands by ProMole (1)

What's this? is the place to record those command-line gems that you return to again and again. That way others can gain from your CLI wisdom and you from theirs too. All commands can be commented on, discussed and voted up or down.

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list block devices
Shows all block devices in a tree with descruptions of what they are.

View advanced Sort options, Quick Reference Help Alias
Once you get into advanced/optimized scripts, functions, or cli usage, you will use the sort command alot. The options are difficult to master/memorize however, and when you use sort commands as much as I do (some examples below), it's useful to have the help available with a simple alias. I love this alias as I never seem to remember all the options for sort, and I use sort like crazy (much better than uniq for example). # Sorts by file permissions $ find . -maxdepth 1 -printf '%.5m %10M %p\n' | sort -k1 -r -g -bS 20% 00761 drwxrw---x ./tmp 00755 drwxr-xr-x . 00701 drwx-----x ./askapache-m 00644 -rw-r--r-- ./.htaccess # Shows uniq history fast $ history 1000 | sed 's/^[0-9 ]*//' | sort -fubdS 50% exec bash -lxv export TERM=putty-256color Taken from my

oneliner to transfer a directory using ssh and tar
this will tar/send/untrar a whole directory.

erase next word

Get your external IP address ( 10 characters long )
Shortest url to a external IP-service, 10 characters.

How to run X without any graphics hardware
This starts an X server using Xvfb(1) (no graphics hardware required), then starts a VNC server on the display. Change :1 if there's a conflict with an existing display, and change 800x600x24 to suit your tastes (24 is the bit depth, 800x600 is the size). This command obviously requires X be installed, and also x11vnc(1); both are available via your favourite package manager. You can also use another VNC server of your choosing, as long as DISPLAY is set to the display of Xvfb(1). To change your desktop environment (the default is twm(1), which is rather fail), you can add it to your ~/.xinitrc file (see the startx(1) manpage for details).

Get length of current playlist in xmms2

Resets your MAC to a random MAC address to make you harder to find.
Next time you are leaching off of someone else's wifi use this command before you start your bittorrent ...for legitimate files only of course. It creates a hexidecimal string using md5sum from the first few lines of /dev/urandom and splices it into the proper MAC address format. Then it changes your MAC and resets your wireless (wlan0:0).

Check SSL expiry from commandline

Change the homepage of Firefox
This command modifies the preferences file of Firefox that is located in .mozilla/firefox/*.default/prefs.js. It edits the file with sed and the -i option. Then it searches the string "browser.startup.homepage", and the string next to it (second string). Finally, it replaces the second string with the new homepage, that is in the example. It doesn't work if you haven't set any homepage.

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Follow the Tweets.

Every new command is wrapped in a tweet and posted to Twitter. Following the stream is a great way of staying abreast of the latest commands. For the more discerning, there are Twitter accounts for commands that get a minimum of 3 and 10 votes - that way only the great commands get tweeted.


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Use your favourite RSS aggregator to stay in touch with the latest commands. There are feeds mirroring the 3 Twitter streams as well as for virtually every other subset (users, tags, functions,…):

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