CLI programs and scripts I use daily 1: net{on,off}, bt{on,off}, {,un}pause-browsers

Hey, another mini-article series! Since I use the CLI a lot and also publish a bunch of CLI scripts on CPAN, this series will serve mainly as a list of mentions for my scripts, as well as for other CLI programs and scripts I use daily.

Let's start with browsing and power-saving.

Browsing is one of everybody's main activities nowadays. Unless you browse using text-based browsers like lynx and links, you'll invariably run into the web obesity crisis (a.k.a. web bloat problem) affecting your battery life. Even if you only open a news article, your laptop may still issue thousands of requests to hundreds of domains to the various analytic tracking beacons, repeatedly every second or so for as long as the tab exists. Multiply that with 5, 10, or 50 tabs. (I seem to have a problem, er, work best, when I keep lots of tabs for various purposes open. You might also correctly guess that my desk is messy.) The result, your browser processes are eating between 20% to 50% or more CPU even when you are not focused on any of browser windows. I often find myself just typing on a terminal emulator and seeing that my system load is 0.75 or even greater thatn 1.00, only because I have Firefox open. Linux desktop often not being the most power-efficient environment, this certainly does not help.

I try to actively conserve power whenever I am not close to an available power outlet. So whenever I am coding or writing and not needing the Internet, I issue this:

% netoff; pause-browsers

netoff (and its counterpart neton) will use NetworkMonitor to turn off (or on) networking. pause-browsers will kill -STOP browser processes, which I find, though relatively blunt, is convenient to save power. There doesn't seem an addon or menu setting to let you freeze one or more tabs or globally disable and re-enable JavaScript instantly. The various ways to disable Javascript (including javascript.enabled Firefox config, or uMatrix or uBlock addon) usually require you to refresh the page, and/or only work for a single site or tab. Other ways to freeze tabs will simply clear the tab content and require you to reload, which for me defeat the purpose of having many tabs open.

When you want to browse again, you can issue:

% neton; btoff; unpause-browsers

btoff is for turning Bluetooth back off, because NetworkMonitor always wants to turn my bluetooth on when I turn my networking on, regardless of the previous bluetotoh state. Aside from {pause,unpause}-browsers, I also made scripts for specific browsers: pause-firefox, pause-chrome, pause-vivaldi, pause-opera. You can also only pause/unpause (as well as kill) processes of certain Unix users, if you happen to run several in a single system (which I often do, before using Multi-Account Containers addon).

Multi-Account Containers Firefox addon

I made a separate blog post for this. Basically I use this addon and have lots of containers created. I write scripts to sort, list, or modify/delete them from the CLI.


As any Linux laptop user experience, automatic suspending by closing the lid is randomly screwy, some brands more so than the others. I find this invocation more reliable (oh it still randomly fails too from time to time, but much less often):

# sleep 3; pm-suspend

The sleep part is to give me time to lock the screen (e.g. press Ctrl-Alt-L), because otherwise your laptop will wake up unlocked.

Checking the battery

I find:

% acpi

often faster than moving my graphical pointer to the battery widget on the desktop tray. As a bonus, there's acpi -V which will give you lots more information.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s