FreeTube 0.2.0

YouTube videos have become ubiquitous. Whether it's for surreptitiously linking to the latest meme, or even for video embedded within serious news stories, you can't escape Google's video behemoth. And increasingly, you can't escape the advertising and snooping that goes on while you watch either. Which is why it's surprising there aren't more standalone YouTube viewers. Your favorite ad-blocking plugin will usually do the job for your browser, but often the quickest way to view outside of a browser is by dragging and dropping into something like VLC, and that often breaks Google's caching and playback.

FreeTube is a standalone app that gets around many of VLC's compatibility issues by being built around Electron and Chromium, although you wouldn't know this by launching the application. You see a simple interface that allows you to quickly see what's popular, add your own subscriptions, or search in the time-honored YouTube way. Results appear as a list of thumbnails, and these can be selected and viewed just as they can be in your browser. It does all this thanks to the YouTube HTTP API (and hard-coded API keys), with results via the all-powerful youtube-dl script. However, there's no advertising, and the author promises much greater privacy. More importantly, playback is perfect and offers all the same features as watching in a browser. A separate application like this makes a lot of sense, especially if you use a browser that isn't particularly compatible with YouTube (such as qutebrowser, below). This separation of tasks also has an advantage – web browsers have become a monopoly. With a separate app compatible with native shortcuts and subtitles, as well as an easy "save video" feature, there's almost no reason to browse to YouTube again.

Project Website

Unshackle your ASMR addiction from both the browser and those all-snooping Google cookies.

Vim-binding browser

qutebrowser 1.2

With this release, qutebrowser has finally delivered on one of the original promises for the 1.0 milestone: the ability to create settings per-domain. This may seem like an esoteric feature, allowing you to change how qutebrowser behaves depending on which site it's browsing, but it's not when you start to think about how it could be used. You could change the keybindings for a specific site, for example, allowing you to reply to Reddit posts with your own specific command, or bind your favorite editor keys to an online editor. You could even use this option to disable JavaScript for specific sites and save that setting. What's even more powerful is that the commands used to configure a domain take a pattern rather than a specific domain name, which means you can set general rules for a set of similar sites or domains, such as the whole of Facebook or Google. Scripts for the current host can also be toggled, and a simple press of the S key saves settings with subdomains included.

This is still an early implementation of what's hoped to be a more ambitious per-domain setting and plugin system, but it's still a powerful addition for this release. There's also more to this release than per-domain settings. You finally get Vim's visual/caret mode, for instance. You can use this to extend copy regions from the keyboard, such as when searching for a word. Now just press v and use the cursor keys to extend the selection, potentially pressing y to yank that selection to the buffer. Another great addition is the special qute://bindings page, which simply shows all the keybindings configured for your browser, obviating the need to refer continually to the excellent qutebrowser cheat sheet many of us use.

Project Website

One of qutebrowser's best new features is its implementation of Vim's caret/visual mode.

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