I mentioned a couple of interesting command line suggestions for a good Wordprocessor a while ago in a previous post. But thanks for the research I did for the “Return of the netbook” podcast, I came across Wordgrinder. Unlike most word processing applications from Redmont, Wordgrinder is not infested by a talking paper clip, and its menu bar has not been designed like a hidden Chinese puzzle that only Savants can solve.
Wordgrinder is also a different league from the text editors like VIM or Emacs, and is not geared towards code manipulation like Nano. Wordgrinder reminds me of .. Wordperfect. Remember the little paper strip secretaries had taped to their keyboards in order to remind them what function key did what ? Wordgrinder is more like that. Hitting the escape key brings you into the menu bar where you can select all the functions you expect from a real Wordprocessor… from the early Nineties.
But in a world swamped with widgets, buttons and distractions, in a universe where every application at least has one dingdong to tweet whenever you even THOUGHT about farting in the elevator .. Wordgrinder is safe haven of simplicity and focus. Run it natively on any Linux system or access it via an SSH connection to your Linux system from your Mac or your Pc. Sure it isn’t high tech, but it does the job pretty well. For all those times you need to knuckle down .. Wordgrinder is your friend.
Install it from the command line (On Ubuntu)
sudo apt-get install wordgrinder
For the life of me I cannot remember the link (nor find back the episode) to a Hacker Public Radio podcast episode that inspired me to do this post. The speaker in this little podcast talked about the way we use word processors. He mentioned a study where they compared several groups of students that were working on a paper. One of the groups used the latest version of MS Word, the other one used Libreoffice and another group used Wordperfect (The black and white command line version). When they judged the actual papers afterwards, the QUALITY of the CONTENT was the highest with the students who used … Wordperfect. It turns out, the FEWER distractions we have regarding to layout like ribbons and talking paperclips, the more our brains focus on CONTENT. The talk is highly recommended and whoever finds the link and posts it in the comments section gets extra geek points !
So, why not make our OWN version of Wordperfect using the command line interface on Linux.
Fire up a terminal and start using your favorite text editor like NANO or VIM.
When using Nano just start out by typing
Start typing and hit CTRL-X to save. Pretty easy. There are of course a lot more keyboard shortcuts you can use. I have linked to some posts here and here that give you all the fancy features in Nano.
If you are somebody that likes to use VIM (I’m sorry, I don’t use VIM a lot) but I have been told that VIM users are considered the Jedi among command line interface text editor users. (Now THERE is a title) You can learn the ways of the VIM-force here and here
Spell checking !
Ok, you’ve made your document but, like me, you do tend to make the occasional typo. My excuse is I’m not a native English speaker .. whats yours ? You can solve the problem by installing ‘ispell’
sudo apt-get install ispell
Next up just point ispell to your textfile
Lets say your spelling is ok, but when you write stuff, you sound like master Yoda. You need diction control
sudo apt-get install diction
and point it at your file with diction yourfilename.txt
These are just a couple of very basic tools to get things done, but when you really want a distraction free interface, this might just help. I’ve tried this on an old Pentium1 laptop with just a command line linux install … and its a horribly effective experience. There is NO internet to distract you, no tweets, no other apps. Just you and your textfile. Great for focus or for punishing your child and making it DO its homework WITH a computer but without any distractions.
What is YOUR take on this ? What wordprocessor do YOU use and how to YOU make it work for you ? Tell us, in the Comments section.
Setting up and running your own little SSH server is not really hard. Just punch in sudo apt-get install openssh-server on your Ubuntu command line and you’ll have a server that allows you to run remote commands, send over files via SFTP or even forward graphical applications over X-Forwarding.
But when you open up a window to the internet, it might be a good idea to keep an eye on any nosy people who might come knocking. A good tip is NOT to run your server on the default port (22) and poke it up to a random port over 1024 so it won’t be obvious to any scriptkiddie you are running an SSH server. But just to be safe its nice to keep an eye out too. Every system access is logged in /var/log/auth.log but there is a ton of info in here. But with this one simple command you can not only sort out the messages that talk about your SSH server, you can also “follow along live”
sudo tail -F /var/log/auth.log | grep sshd
The output will generate a cool scrolling textfile with all the failed and approved login attempts, the usernames of who is loggin in and when they connect and disconnect. The command is simple .. but the output might be just what you need.
In this episode we give you some ideas and possibilities when it comes to building your own home Linux server. While putting an old clunker back to good use or using a VM, we give you tips and tricks on using the command line, CLI applications, web based interfaces remote desktop sessions or even terminal servers. Let technology work for you and build your own home linux server with this podcast as your loyal companion.
- What hardware to choose.
- What to consider.
- Dhcp. Dns etc.
- Command line applications
- Web based interfaces
- Graphical user interface
- Automate scripts with cron