FontPreview: Search and Preview fonts using the terminal

  fontpreview is a commandline tool that lets you quickly search for fonts that are installed on your machine and preview them. The fuzzy search feature is provided by fzf and the preview is generated with imagemagick and then displayed using sxiv . This tool is highly customizable , almost all of the variables in this tool can be changed using the commandline flags or you can configure them using environment variables. Dependencies xdotool fzf imagemagick sxiv Installation Install using make # Clone the repo $ git clone https://github.com/sdushantha/fontpreview # Change your current directory to fontpreview $ cd fontpreview # Install it $ sudo make install Install it locally # Download the fontpreview source code, save as fontpreview # and make it executeable $ curl -L https://git.io/raw_fontpreview > fontpreview && chmod +x fontpreview # Then move fontpreview to somewhere in your $PATH # Here is an example $ mv fontprev

3 Ways to preview shortened links before you click on them

Shortened URLs are being used everywhere. From emails, to social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, product recommendations, and even blog posts. STOP clicking on every link you come across without first examining them. In fact, I recently joined the Fediverse  and the hate they have for shortened links cannot even be put into words. So I decided to do some digging of my own and now I understand why. I'll mention just but a few of the disadvantages of clicking on shortened links.

Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

They offer no clue to the destination URL

Every single URL generated by the URL shortening services like Bit.ly, Owl.ly, TinyURL and Su.pr will show no clue about the destination URL.

Can lead to malicious and unsafe webpages.

Since the destination landing page URL is not visible when it is shortened, people will have no idea where they’ll land on once they click the link or type the short URL address. Even if provided with a hint, that might just be a disguise to attract audience and lead them to phishing sites or those that pose security issues such as those that auto-download malicious programs that extract information from your machine or phone.

URL shortener service can go offline.
URL services can suffer intermittent disruption of service. Power supply issues, security intrusion or any forms of cyber attack such as could result in links that don’t work. 

Tracking

Most shortened links are embedded with trackers for purposes of providing internal tracking mechanism that reports clicks, views or locations of the engaged audience which can reveal your (approximate) address and get you hacked.

Lucky for you today I will show you some effective ways of unshortening the shortened links you come across everyday on the web. There are 3 ways to do this:

  1. Use curl command.
  2. URL checkers.
  3. Modify the link so that it shows you a preview of where the shortened link will take you.

CURL

It stands for client URL and is a command line tool for transferring data using various network protocols. Read more about it on Wikipedia.

Windows

We will use Chocolatey. 

To unshorten a shortened link, all you have to do is run this command in Windows Powershell

 curl -sLI https://short/url | grep -i Location  

For example:

 curl -sLI http://bitly.com/2WXujeV | grep -i Location   

For those who are not familiar with Chocolatey, it is a package manager for Windows users just like Homebrew is for macOS users. To install it 

  • Right click on start menu and select Windows PowerShell(Admin)
  • Select yes on the prompt that appears.
  • Copy and paste this command in the powershell window to install it
 Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process -Force; [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol -bor 3072; iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))  
  • Once installation is complete, close Powershell and re-open it to install packages.

To install an application just type

 choco install appname  

Type y when the prompt appears.

To install multiple applications at a go type

 choco install appname appname appname -y  

For example, if you want to install netflix, whatsapp and spotify run the above command this way

 choco install whatsapp netflix spotify -y  

The -y simply bypasses the prompt. It also works while installing a single application.

To update chocolatey and all installed apps, run this command

 choco update all -y  

To uninstall any application just run

 choco uninstall appname  

Visit their website for more information.

To install curl just open powershell and use chocolatey to run the following command:

 choco install curl  

Linux

Should already be pre-installed but if not, just open your terminal using Ctrl+Alt+T and type in the following command to install it

 sudo apt install curl  

To unshorten a shortened link, all you have to do is run this command in your terminal or command line

 curl -sLI https://short/url | grep -i Location  

For example

  curl -sLI http://bitly.com/2WXujeV | grep -i Location  


URL checkers

These are websites and/or browser extensions that allow you to paste in the shortened URL and get a preview of the link when expanded. I would recommend using the website instead of installing an add-on or extension. The websites don't require registration which make it even easier. And also use this method as a last resort. The 2 websites I'd recommend are unshorten.it and unshorten.me.

Both websites even provides a preview of the site as well as web trust scores and ratings and screenshots of the destination site.

unshorten.it

unshorten.me


Modify the shortened links

And now to the final method. This method involves modifying the shortened links so that they give you a preview of the destination site. My primary focus will be on two of te most popular URL shorteners on the web. That is, bitly and tinyurl. Custom or branded short links are mostly created by bitly so to unshorten bitly links, all you have to do is copy the shortened link paste it in a new tab and add a plus(+) sign at the end of the link. For example https://bit.ly/2WXujeV becomes https://bit.ly/2WXujeV+


For tinyurl links, copy the shortened link and paste it in a new tab then add preview. between https and tinyurl. For example if this is the short link https://tinyurl.com/y2s2kczm you can expand it by doing https://preview.tinyurl.com/y2s2kczm


The 'beauty' of tinyurl is that it allows you to enable the preview feature. So if for some reason you're just addicted to shortening links, use it with preview feature enabled. 

Bonus tip:

When browsing a webpage that contains hyperlinks, just hover your mouse cursor over the link and it will show you a preview of the destination site. Leave a comment below if you have any more tips or encounter any problems. Don't forget to visit my link below. TIA ^_^

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