Minimal Tech


It is a small project of mine about possibility to live in modern life while using the most of things software gives to us. The general idea is about using simpler or/and older software and try getting most of it, including all the requirements of modern tech.

This project is more like a web log, rather than a blog page of some kind. I will sometimes post random small things about what I've discovered and/or tried, and what is my experience about it.

14 June, 2019 - @bitwarden/cli (link)

Yesterday I've found a new fun way interesting way to install use passwords I store in Bitwarden1. There is a package on npm called @bitwarden/cli, which gives you a command line interface to access and use passwords. And it can be pretty useful in fact (I used to think that you won't ever need a cli interface for password manager, it's just so inconvenient - until yesterday).

Currently, I am using it with mutt email client. I've configured it such way, so I can list inbox without having a password in a plaintext. Sure, there is a pass2, but I want to sync it the modern way, have too different ecosystem devices to sync files (if you actually know a good way of it, feel free to share it with me, look at social media3 section of front page).

However, it is not that trivial, how can you use the bitwarden for mutt. You see, after you run bw unlock and type your password, it just prints further instructions on how can you use the session key to access the vault. You can store the key in environment variable BW_SESSION or pass as a cli argument. Both ways are pretty inconvenient in mutt scenario, because you have to run command, then copy session key, then paste it, then run another one command. But, when you run bw unlock --raw, you typed password, it just prints the session key. So you can pass it directly into env variable or command line argument.

And it works nice, I've tested it both on my Android tablet and a laptop I use on daily basis. It works great (however, it is a bit slow due to it works on node.js, but what apps have no downsides today?).


10 June, 2019 - Tile this window! (link)

Have you ever noticed that most of users use window manager in a single mode: a full screen window mode? People spend all the time running this mode. The maximum advanced mode I've seen is a two windows split. And these people tell me that tiling managers are to hard for them. So... I'd like to speak about tiling window managers.

If you will try any tiling window manager, you will get several simple things out of box, without any need for you to do anything. First, most of them are pretty lightweight, compared to others. Second, your windows will tile by default. So, you won't need to move window anywhere, or click anything to get window maximized, or tiled (if there are more then one window). Third, most of them have window decorations disabled, so more space will be saved for content. Fourth, you will be just like a magic wizard, that somehow makes all the awesome things fast and easy.

Personally I run AwesomeWM1. It's light fast, simple and is scriptable in Lua. So I can make it reflect any workflow I have: a timer integrated in top bar, a floating "picture-in-picture" kimulated window, change image every minute, run specific applications on specific tags and display several tags in the same time. I love this power for myself.

However, awesomewm itself is pretty simple out of box and requires from you some effortand coding to start using it. So you would definitely try i3wm2 or sway3, if you want to have wayland. They both have lots of batteries included, are fast, simple and do not require from you any programming skills at all.

So, if you haven't tried a tiling window manager yet, give it a try. Just give it some more time, and after some time running it you probably will feel awkward when running DEs like Gnome, KDE and other.


5 June, 2019 - Mail in the terminal (part 1)(link)

I have been wanting to try out mutt for several times now. It's just too much of people speaking about it's awesomeness, so I couldn't resist. I've tried running it several times, but without any success... Now I am sure I won't leave it. Somewhat sure *laughing*

I should be clear here. mutt is noway a minimal application, but when things come to handling e-mails, you simply can't keep things minimal. If it has at least some use-base, it already should already support different protocols, have possibility to group messages somehow, store draft, etc. So, mutt is not minimal. But compared to other email-clients, it is simple.

About the entry into mutt. It's a bit harder to enter this application than other email clients, because it has default configuration that reads all the emails from local pool. And, the thing that bothers a lot: the first step is the hardest, because it takes time and lots of documentation to read to understand that code "set folder = "imaps://login@server:123"" does specify the target, where do you want to read emails from. It's a bit counterintuitive for newcomers. But I've figured this out, and, I think, this should be mentioned more explicit.

But, after figuring this out, things are pretty simple and easy to use. However, I have some things in my todo list to figure out, like mailing lists support and some other.

22 May, 2019 - Music in the Terminal (link)

Mostly I listen to my music using the terminal music player called cmus. It is really a great music player, which allows me easily and very fast index my music collection and play pretty any song. I just put it inside my tmux session and just use it. Very fast, very lightweight and very reliable.

Moreover, it is possible to integrate with it easily using the cmus-remote. I think, KDE uses this api and is able to integrate with cmus, so you will be able to use the "Media" widget to control your music. And all this in minimal design, fast and very light. However, sometimes it badly accepts unicode, but generally everything is ok.

18 May, 2019 - Getting Brütal (link)

This is a first entry inside this log. First, I've decided to start tracking all the interesting and fun things I find about simple and sometimes obscure technologies. Why public? Because I can! Also, because there is not much people around me use those simpler tech, while in fact they can do not less things, but more optimal/fast from many perspectives.

Well, for last year I am an active user of mastodon social network. It's fediverse, and blah-blah-blah. I would like to mention one project, I've got myself lately: it is brutaldon project. It is a brutalistic (brütal) interface for masto. Although I know about it for some time, I didn't use it, because didn't get the reason why should I do it (the default interface is column-based, fast enough and pretty optimized). However, on phone it is easier to use brutaldon. Also, brutaldon looks better in small window than the original frontend version. That makes it less distractive for me to use.

Although there are things I don't like much about brutaldon. First is that it is written in python. Then over high load it will be pretty slow, so it is better to host it yourself instead of using the original version. Second thing is that to mention someone correctly, you have to know the nickname exactly (so when I want to mention someone I don't remember the instance of, I start the original web version, write a post and close it afterwards).

Despite issues, I totally recommend at least to try using it for several days. It can fit your way!