vche: Serious as it gets


I promised something a little more serious today, and I can think of nothing more serious than a hex editor. Here’s vche:


I did run into a short list of hex editors for the console a few weeks ago, which is why vche is up now and why aphex was listed 10 days ago. Which is all the more curious because, as I say every time I see a hex editor, I almost never have any use for a hex editor.

All the same, I like a few things about vche that might not (or might) be part of the hex editor you use:

  • Plenty of color, and well arranged. It’s easy to see what and where you’ve edited.
  • Has separate versions for consoles and X-ish environments, and one that’s flexible enough for either case. I don’t know exactly why that’s necessary, but it does mean there’s a version that won’t show my favorite block character where the font fails a terminal window.
  • Has one-key presses for XOR, OR, AND and other bit operations. Again, not that I would never need that, but it’s cool.
  • Has a quick jump between ASCII and hex editing with the TAB key. It seemed natural to me, so I had to mention it.

vche has a lot of other clever tools on board. I’ll let you take a closer look and see if something tickles your fancy.

I must be honest and say that I did have a little screen corruption, but only when the help window appeared. And if I must be honest again, that help window is not a help window. All it does is tell you to look at the man page. We can do better than that, people. …

I have a few more hex editors to show, but I’ll space them out over the weeks to come. I don’t mind lumping games (particularly minesweeper games) into a single post, but I think an oh-so-serious tool like a hex editor should probably be taken on its own. :|

P.S.: If you find you like vche, you might consider adopting the Windows version for your other machines.

Tagged: editor, file, hex, text

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Testing A WINS Server

On a CIFS/SMB domain the WINS service is critical for proper function [some things use WINS, some things use DNS, it is terribly confusing, but it is what it is].  DNS is relatively easy to test and you will likely know right away if it isn’t working.  But before adding those new DCs to your dhcpd.conf file -

option netbios-name-servers,,;

 – it would be nice to be equally confident WINS is operating as expected.
To that end the Samba package provides a useful tool nmblookup which support querying of a WINS server much like host/nslookup does for DNS.

$ nmblookup –unicast= –recursion arabis-red
querying arabis-red on arabis-red
$ nmblookup –unicast= –recursion arabis-red
querying arabis-red on arabis-red
$ nmblookup –unicast= –recursion arabis-red
querying arabis-red on arabis-red

The –unicast option specifies the IP address of the WINS server; but this option is only effective in the expected way if used with the [oddly named] –recursion options. Without –recursion the –unicast will not cancel use of the NetBIOS name resolution logic.
One other useful feature of nmblookup is the –translate option.  This option invokes a reverse DNS search on the IP address returned by the WINS query – allowing one step verification that WINS and DNS are on the same page.

$ nmblookup –unicast= –translate –recursion arabis-red
querying arabis-red on, arabis-red

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Pandora Client `Pithos` 1.0.1 Released With Bug Fixes

Pithos 1.0.1 was released recently and it includes some minor improvements and bug fixes – for instance, the bug that was causing the Ubuntu Sound Menu to stop working when using Pithos was fixed in this release.

Pithos Pandora client

For those not familiar with Pithos, this is a simple client which includes features such as:
  • cover art;
  • thumbs up / thumbs down / tired of this song options;
  • allows switching between Pandora stations;
  • allows editing QuickMix and creating stations;
  • desktop integration: Ubuntu AppIndicator, notifications, MPRIS v2 support – so Pithos integrates with the Ubuntu Sound Menu / GNOME Shell Mediaplayer extension;
  • media keys support;
  • proxy support;
  • scrobbling.

Pandora is a music streaming and recommendation service that’s only available in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. You can use it in any other country with an US proxy, VPN, a DNS service or with Tor and SelekTOR.

Changes in Pithos 1.0.1:

  • Automatically install missing codecs if supported;
  • Save window position between sessions;
  • Fix saving last station on quit;
  • Fix pacparser support;
  • Improve pandora module docs;
  • Add command to build docs;
  • Add appdata file;
  • notification_icon: Make toggling visibility more reliable;
  • mpris: Fix exception when querying position;
  • mpris: Implement setting volume;
  • screensaver_pause: Improve Unity support;
  • OSX: mediakeys and notify support.

Install Pithos in Ubuntu 14.04 or 14.10 / Linux Mint 17

Pithos is available in the official Ubuntu repositories, but that’s a pretty old version. To install the latest Pithos in Ubuntu 14.04 or 14.10 / Linux Mint 17, you can use the official Pithos PPA:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pithos/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pithos gir1.2-gst-plugins-base-1.0

Arch Linux users can install Pithos via AUR.

For other Linux distributions, see the install section from the Pithos homepage (the app should also work on Windows and Mac, but there are no binaries for now).
Report any bugs you may find @ GitHub.

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Borderlands 2 Now Available On Linux; Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Is Coming To Linux This Month

Borderlands 2, the popular action RPG video game developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games, is now available on Linux / Steam OS.

Borderlands 2

The game was ported to Linux by Aspyr Media, the company that ported Borderlands 2 to Mac back in 2012.

For those not familiar with Borderlands 2, this is an action role-playing first-person shooter video game which uses the Unreal Engine 3. According to Wikipedia, the game was a financial success and with 8.5 million copies sold by February 2014, it’s 2K Games’ best-selling game.

Below you can watch the official Borderlands 2 launch trailer:

(direct video link)
On Linux, Borderlands 2 has the following system requirements:

  • Ubuntu 14.04 / Steam OS (but of course, this doesn’t mean it doesn’t work on other Linux distributions)
  • Processor: 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad, AMD Phenom II X4
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • HDD space: 13 GB
  • Video card (Nvidia): Geforce 260
  • Video memory: 1GB

The game Steam page mentions that integrated Intel graphics and ATI graphics are currently unsupported for Borderlands 2 on Linux.
Borderlands 2 costs $19.99 but there’s a special promotion right now and you can buy the game for $4.99 (75% discount) for the next 32 hours: Borderlands 2 @ Steam.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Aspyr Media has confirmed that Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is coming to both Mac and Linux, on 14 October 2014 in North America and on 17 October 2014 outside of North America:

“Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel for Mac and Linux will offer full feature parity with the Windows PC version, including cross-platform multiplayer and SHiFT Support. Plus, Aspyr will be supporting all future DLC releases.”

You can pre-order Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel from GameAgent or the Steam store ($59.99).

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