What’s all the Yubnub, bub?


Yubnub, the “(social) command line for the web”, is an underappreciated website, ten years old but constantly updated, that is many things to many people, if not everything to everyone. It’s a front end to a vast variety of search engines and other web services, and is so useful that I’ve added Yubnub capability to Firefox, Emacs, and the Linux command line on my laptop. (For more information, see the Yubnub installation page.)

In case you’re curious why Yubnub has such a weird name, it’s the victory song sung by the Ewoks at the end of The Return of the Jedi. Apparently the word means “freedom” in Ewok. I don’t know what the deal is with the snail, though. An Ewok delicacy?

Here are some of the Yubnub commands I’ve found useful or interesting, including Esperanto dictionaries and Finnegans Wake search engines, as well as staples such as Google and Wikipedia. Sadly, some of the really interesting ones no longer work or have been deleted recently, such as search commands for the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and the Chess Variant Pages.

To discover your own commands, visit Yubnub and type ls.

  • am: Amazon. Example: am duct tape
  • amzns: AmazonSmile. When you shop here, Amazon donates 0.5% of the price to the charitable organization of your choice. Example: amzns duct tape
  • bgg: BoardGameGeek, database of board games. Example: bgg cosmic encounter
  • brickipedia: Brickipedia, an encyclopedia wiki about LEGO. Example: brickipedia darth vader
  • fweet: Fweet, database of Finnegans Wake annotations. Example: fweet chaosmos
  • g: Google. The default search engine for Yubnub. Example: g random celebrity Note: omitting the initial g will retrieve results from Google by default.
  • gdef: Performs a Google define: command that gets definitions of words. Example: gdef supernaculum
  • gim: Google Image Search. Example: gim random celebrity
  • ifdb: for games at the Interactive Fiction Database. Example: ifdb zork iii
  • libt: Add books to LibraryThing by ISBN. Example: libt 978-0394718330
  • luzme: Luzme monitors ebook prices at multiple online stores and notifies you of price drops. Example: luzme grapes of wrath
  • obl: Draws a random card from the Oblique Strategies deck.
  • pinb: Pinboard.in bookmarks. Examples: pinb chicago searches your pinboard.in bookmarks for “chicago”. pinb -a chicago searches everyone’s pinboard.in bookmarks for “chicago”.
  • wa: Wolfram Alpha, “computational knowledge engine”. Unique and cool. Example: wa half a gallon in cc
  • wkeo: Esperanto Wiktionary. Includes definition of word in Esperanto and translation of word into other languages such as English. Example: wkeo hundo
  • wp: English Wikipedia. Example: wp micronation
  • wq: English Wikiquote. Example: wq simple as possible but no simpler