There are many reasons for pulling content from an online video, and many ways to do it. One of our favorites is streamlink, for example. streamlink allows you to stream content from a remote source, such as YouTube or Twitch, into an application like VLC, without first downloading or opening a compatible web browser. It also lets you incorporate those remote sources into a digital video recorder, or a different front end, giving you access to web content without the usual side-panel distractions and comments that typically flood sites that stream content. However, Annie is a new option that promises to be a "fast, simple, and clean video downloader built with Go." And thanks to its dependency on Go, it can usually be installed via a simple go get command.

Like streamlink, you simply need to provide the command-line utility with an accessible URL. But there are many additional arguments you can add to fine-tune your download. Adding -i, for example, will output detailed information about the video to which you're linking, including the quality and resolution options. You can then specify one of these with the -f argument to download a video at the exact quality you require. After you start a download, you see an informative progress bar that provides all these details on the stream you've selected, helping you to be sure you've got the correct URL. There are plenty of additional arguments, too, including options for downloading captions, downloading an entire playlist of videos (great for binge watching on a flight), and setting proxy access to help you get around geographically locked content. It works seamlessly and is probably quicker to use with the average download than waiting for the ads to load on the site you're wanting to access.

Project Website

Annie is considerably better, and more useful, than either of its namesake films.

Terminal email


The command line is still commanding lots of attention, with many technical users looking to use the terminal more to absolve themselves of Slack and web-based distractions. Of all the applications that could be difficult to replace on the command line, though, email isn't a difficult challenge. This is because email effectively predates the desktop, and the same solutions that used to work on your old SPARC Solaris still work on your hex core Ubuntu 19.04. Mutt is still particularly popular, for example, and a great way to access your email from the command line or via SSH. In many ways this new terminal email client, aerc, is after Mutt's crown by attempting to implement more efficient and reliable networking, a keyboard shortcut system that's more like Vim, and an embedded terminal that lets you both read and reply to different emails at the same time. Combine this with some unique features, such as a filter that lets you review patches, and you have a compelling argument for giving it a go (that's a pun – aerc is written in Go).

All this newness is evident from the first launch that includes a very atypical command-line configuration wizard for the email account you want to use, plus a walk-through manual page to help get you started. After that, it takes only a few moments for your remote IMAP server to push all the subjects and details to your inbox, which appear almost instantaneously. You navigate them using Vim's navigation keys, pressing Enter to open an email. Cleverly, the open email isn't in a new pane, but rather a terminal emulator running less with filters for adding color highlighting and rendering HTML with the W3F utility. This utilitarian approach is extended to writing emails, which uses Vim by default, and it's brilliant at being able to fire up your favorite editor to send emails in its native environment.

Project Website

No amount of command-line coolness can save you from the spambots.

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