Calibre E-Book Viewer


Calibre is a great tool to create ebooks such as EPUB format. I sometimes convert ODT format to EPUB format so that I can read some documents on my Android phone, using FBReader.

Recently I downloaded some PDF ebooks. And when trying to read from laptop, it causes eyestrain. Unlike journal articles, a journal article usually uses the layout of two columns. More columns mean that the text has narrower “width”, and it helps reader to track the line easily.

Another problem is the background colour. PDF viewer like Evince (from Linux) by default is using white background. The contrast of the font colour (black) and background colour causes eyestrain as well. Though Evince provides dark mode, it doesn’t help, as the contrast is still high. I tried to use Foxit Reader, which allows customization on the background colour. Yet, wide text is hard for reader to track the line.

Finally, I found that Calibre E-Book Viewer is the best one. The only drawback is the styling of the PDF is not retained. Nevertheless, the advantages are: custom font size, custom background colour, and custom text width according to the window. Besides that, it provides sepia light (yellowish colour) as one of the options for the reader. It is so far the best ebook reader that I found.

mpv


mpv is super powerful multimedia player. Though I use SMPlayer sometimes, SMPlayer can either use mplayer or mpv as its multimedia engine.

I found a useful usage of mpv, that’s to play YouTube playlist through command-line, without opening the video or through web browser.

To invoke a YouTube playlist, we must make sure the playlist URL has only the list parameter, if there is v parameter, then it will not work. Eg,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1_AINOBk-U&list=PLdGBzlQIzMHdw2fc7N9TZCO-01T6HqBFG

will not work, but

https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLdGBzlQIzMHdw2fc7N9TZCO-01T6HqBFG

will work.

After we have this URL, then we can play the playlist with mpv,

mpv --no-video 'https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLdGBzlQIzMHdw2fc7N9TZCO-01T6HqBFG'

We can also play the playlist with shuffling feature,

mpv --no-video --shuffle 'https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLdGBzlQIzMHdw2fc7N9TZCO-01T6HqBFG'

To navigate the playlist, we can use the keyboard keys “<” and “>”.

Brave browser in iPhone


In my previous post, I mentioned about running Firefox in Android, that allows adblock.

However, Firefox in iPhone (iOS) doesn’t allow install adblock extension. So, I tried an alternative solution, and found Brave browser. Brave has built-in adblock. It helps browsing experience more focus.

However, if using Brave, there is a weird behaviour when the default setting of the cookie is “Only block cross-site cookies”. This causes HTTP request header for the Referer changed. And this will break some websites if the website is doing HTTP Referrer check. To solve this issue, the only solution is to change the cookie setting to “Allow all cookies”.

P/S: Alternatively and also recommended, we can click on the Shield icon on the Address Bar, then “Allow all cookies” for the specific site, so that the setting is site specific instead of allowing all cookies globally.

Wunderlist


I have been using Wunderlist for several years. It is my favourite apps as it is free, supports synchronization across devices, supports Android and Chrome extension.

Unluckily, it is going to shut down in May 2020, as it is superseded by Microsoft To Do.

Though Microsoft To Do supports Android and web, it doesn’t support Chrome extension.

There is a great difference of using webpage and a browser extension. The former is when visiting the page, the browser will download the HTML, CSS, and JS then run the web app; the latter is to download the HTML, CSS, and JS as an extension, and run the extension to use the RESTful (or JSON) API directly, without re-downloading the page as the former. This also means, the latter is faster than the former.

Microsoft To Do allows import all the data from Wunderlist. But if import twice, the data will be duplicated. Whatever it is, Wunderlist is definitely going to be replaced.

Metroidvania games


In my previous post, I mentioned some games being played. Then I found that, Metroidvania is my favourite game genre, such as Hollow Knight.

Other than Hollow Knight, I played following recently.

Dead Cells

Dead Cells is super interesting, Metroidvania + roguelike.  The best thing I love is the game control. The actions are super smooth, and there is no evil stage design like Hollow Knight’s White Palace.

Chasm

Not bad.

Death’s Gambit

Metroidvania plus souls-like, similar genre like Hollow Knight. But the actions are slower than Hollow Knight, and there is no stage like White Palace.

Among these games, I like Dead Cells most.

Launchers


I have used GNOME Do for a long time. But recently, it sometimes slow and causes the whole OS (specifically Arch Linux) freeze for a while. Therefore, I tried several alternatives.

Launchy – Not sure why, the skins do not load.

Synapse – Not sure why, the preferences/configurations do not save properly.

Then lastly, I am trying Ulauncher. It uses more memory than GNOME Do. But so far it looks good to me.

Some interesting games


The followings are the some interesting games (Linux wine compatible) that I have played this year:

Terraria

Sandbox game like Minecraft, but it is 2D. (Compatible to Wine 2.22.)

Torchlight 2

Similar to Diablo. Less lonely because of a pet.

Hollow Knight

Metroidvania and soulslike game. (Compatible to Wine 4.7 for joystick input.)

Stardew Valley

Farming simulation game.

Firefox in Android


Recently, I tried to install Firefox in Android. I found that it is worth to be used. Chrome was my primary Android web browser. But some websites are full of advertisements, which affect my browsing experience. Especially the advertisement that overlays the whole page.

In order to resolve this, I tried to install uBlock Origin to Chrome. But it is not compatible to Android. That’s why, I tried Firefox.

The drawback of Firefox is, it is slower comparing to Chrome. Especially the case that when I try to open a URL from the other apps, Firefox will damn slow to open the URL. And there is a website with a lot of JS errors, it freezes the Firefox, but Chrome has no issue.