Setting up Volume and Brightness Keys with Percentage Indicators with a Tiling WM

- Posted in Tutorial by

Hello readers, and welcome to our first actual tutorial! So setting up volume and brightness keys with a tiling WM is pretty much trivial, and may even already be done for you. For reference, the keys you want to use are called XF86AudioRaiseVolume, XF86AudioLowerVolume, XF86AudioMute, XF86MonBrightnessUp, XF86MonBrightnessDown, etc, with the full list of supported keys being at I use sxhkd, so you may need to consult your keybind or window manager's documentation for the correct syntax, but the actual commands will be the same. So basically, I just use pamixer and xbacklight like so:

pamixer --increase 5
pamixer --decrease 5
pamixer --toggle-mute
xbacklight -inc 10
xbacklight -dec 10

This gets the job done, but we can go further. Wouldn't it be nice if a little box popped up telling us what the new volume or brightness is whenever we change it? Preferably without spawning a million of them for every time you use the shortcut of course. Thankfully, dunstify has a feature for this, namely notification ID's, which let you overwrite an existing notification by giving them a set ID with the -r [num] flag. To get the current volume, we use pamixer --get-volume-human, which gives us the final command:

dunstify -r 13 $(pamixer --get-volume-human)

For brightness the process is a little more involved, since the max setting in the sysfs file for brightness is often an odd number that doesn't divide nicely, and xbacklight will give the result to the millionths place which is annoying. Fortunately, that's nothing a little awk scripting can't solve, with the command awk '{printf "%.0fn", $1}'. (If you're wondering how it works, well sorry but I don't know awk and I forgot what it said on StackOverflow.) But anyway our final command will be:

dunstify -r 37 $(xbacklight -get | awk '{printf "%.0fn", $1}')%

Now we can just append these commands with an AND operator (the "&&" thing), and depending on your window/shortcut manager you may even be able to use shorthand to condense the commands in your config file. For me the final result is:

{XF86AudioRaiseVolume, XF86AudioLowerVolume, XF86AudioMute}
    pamixer {--increase 5, --decrease 5, --toggle-mute} && dunstify -r 13 $(pamixer --get-volume-human)
{XF86MonBrightnessUp, XF86MonBrightnessDown}
    xbacklight {-inc, -dec} 10 && dunstify -r 37 $(xbacklight -get | awk '{printf "%.0fn", $1}')%

Hope you found this tutorial helpful, if you liked it then please be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed, and until I get email protection setup if you have any questions then please feel free to message me over on Gab.

Some Underrated Minecraft Mods

- Posted in Gaming by

"Minecraft"'s always a hot search term, right? So I've been playing around with some mods again, and am thinking of actually releasing a new modpack with a major cave overhaul. Nothing major, no giant transgender laser chickens or total progression overhauls, just a relatively small collection of mods to expand upon vanilla's systems and add a ton of new variety underground. So while that's in the works, here's a small list of some underappreciated mods that I think more people should check out.

Minestrappolation 5

An assortment of blocks and items from the mod.

This is probably the most unheard of mod on this list, but has quickly become one of my personal favorites. It originated as a simple new ores mod for I think 1.6.2, but they quickly ran into the same problem as anyone else trying to add a bunch of new ores to the game - what to do with them all? To answer this, they've expanded and reworked systems all across the vanilla game, from crafting to farming to even worldgen with new stone types and better mountains and cliffs.


A goat pen, chicken coop, and hamster wheel all from the mod.

This is probably my favorite mod because it's just so much fun to directly play around with. Essentially what it does is it replaces the vanilla animals (which, let's be honest, basically do nothing but make noise and wait for you to breed or kill them) and they will require food, water, shelter, space, etc; and it's up to you to provide it. There are also several different breeds of each animal; for example some cows will be better suited for milking, while others' meats will give different potion effects. It's one of my favorite mods of all time, and I'd strongly recommend it to anyone looking to spice up Minecraft's animal farming.

Dungeon Tactics

A large tower, skeleton warrior, and interior of a dungeon.

Minecraft's dungeons are honestly just placeholders, being little boxes in the ground with a mob spawner. Dungeon Tactics is here to change that, adding significantly larger dungeons both above and below ground, a new sort of magic system, tons of loot, cool traps, and more. It adds new weapons, pirate ships, magic flowers with potion effects when you stand on them, and so much more that's really best experienced for yourself.


A Nether Village, Ghast Queen platform, and some strange new mobs.

While last year's excellent Nether update has largely solved this problem in Vanilla, for players of older versions NetherEX is an indispensable upgrade, and arguably better compatible with the pre-1.13 direction of Minecraft which may be a plus for some. Prior to 1.16, the only major changes to the Nether since the game's full release were the addition of the Wither and Wither Skeletons in 1.4.2 and Nether Quartz in 1.5. NetherEX solves this lack of content with new biomes, mobs, ores - essentially adding a whole parallel version of the game in the Nether that's actually worth building bases and surviving in.

YUNG's Better Caves

Incredibly intricate cave systems, and massive underground lakes of lava and water.

And last but not least, we have YUNG's Better Caves, a mod that completely revamps Minecraft's cave generation to include intricately twisting, winding, and intersecting caves, large caverns, vast underground lakes of both water and lava, and config options for everything in-between. There's not really a whole lot else to say, as it doesn't even add any new blocks or anything, but what it does it does extremely well, and that is adding by far the best and most intricate cave generation modded Minecraft has to offer.

So there we have it, five neat little mods with hours worth of new things to do and explore. I hope you have a much fun with them as I have, and I'll see you next time.

Quick Site Update

- Posted in Uncategorized by

Ok so just making a quick announcement that this Tuesday I'll be uploading my 1337 dotfiles for all you n00bs to download and hack to your liking, uploading some tutorials on how to setup some simple utilities and things on Arch Linux, and finally re-structuring this site's HTML so it doesn't use that ugly negative distance hack that makes it a pain to work with. (It should still look about the same as it does now.) That's all for today, see you guys later!