FOSSPicks

Shortwave

Shortwave is a perfectly named Gnome application. As its FAQ explains, the name comes from shortwave radio signals that, because of their long reflection properties and transmission distances, many of us will know from radio receivers before the digital age. Pre-Internet, a shortwave radio was a gateway to a world of international radio stations, letting teenagers anywhere listen to music from different continents or even from the middle of the ocean when it came to pirate radio in the UK. This Gnome application lets you do the same, albeit with the convenience of digital reception, 25,500 preset stations, and a complete lack of static noise from solar flares. The trade-off of access to such a huge curated list of stations is that they're grabbed via API from radio-browser.info and stored as local metadata. As a result, they're uneditable, and you can no longer contribute to the upstream database after misuse of a previous feature. Hopefully this will change in the future, but ultimately it doesn't matter. Shortwave is still brilliant.

Shortwave is beautifully designed, with a user interface that looks a lot like a modern music playing or streaming service. A panel on the right shows the thumbnail for the station currently playing along with its playlist. On the left, there's an image carousel and a selection of the most popular stations, all of which can be played instantly by pressing their associated play buttons. Most impressive, though, is that this interface is built using the shiny new GTK4, as the application has been successfully ported from GTK3+. This helps it smoothly scale like an adaptive web page from portrait to landscape and between a smartphone form factor and a regular Linux desktop. There's also a bitmap panel that mimics the Formica laminate and buttons of a classic radio when you don't want the full window. All of this helps Shortwave fit into whatever amount of space you can afford while providing seamless access to music from around the entire globe, which is exactly what you want from a music player.

Project Website

https://gitlab.gnome.org/World/Shortwave

You can't edit the station list in Shortwave, but with more than 25,000 stations you have plenty of choice.

DNS Lookup

doggo

Dig is one of those perennial Linux commands that many of us have used at some point to help fix a network issue. It's a relatively simple command that can query a DNS server in the same way a web browser does, asking the server for the IP address associated with a specific domain name. It's usually the first thing to try when your browser can't load a few unassociated web pages but you can still ping IP addresses. Typing dig followed by the domain name, for example, will query your configured DNS and return whether one or more answers were received and what addresses they return, alongside their response times. More than one address could indicate a load balancing system or addresses that differ according to your geographical location and network performance. Or they could indicate a misconfigured local DNS.

Doggo attempts to modernize dig's functionality in both its breadth and its output. It can query across IPv4 and IPv6 networks and request specific record types such as MX for mail exchanges. It supports DNS over TLS and DNS over HTTPS and can format its output as JSON. The latter is great for automated testing, integrating with dashboards, and for more predictable processing with the jq command. But the best thing about doggo is the output. Dig's output can be confusing whereas doggo adds color and better organization while cramming in more details. Without further arguments, it will list the requested name alongside each address and name server location. You can easily use another name server with the @ symbol, add round trip timing information, and send encrypted queries. Thanks to being written in Go, it feels fast and modern, especially when used with jq to parse the JSON output in your own scripts, and the output is much clearer and easier to understand.

Project Website

https://github.com/mr-karan/doggo

Doggo is easier on the eyes and can replace dig for general DNS testing.

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