Tech, Gadgets, Photography, Social Media and Poor Spelling

The Command Line can be fun..

The Command line is often given a hard time for new users of a certain operating system however it’s not all grep, awk and sed there is a fun aspect to the command line as well.

1: Watch Star Wars in ASCII

Yes, really, you can watch the original Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope right from the terminal. All you need to do is type the following:


Sit back, relax, and enjoy your ASCII adventure.

Star Wars in Terminal

2: Play Tetris, Pong, and Other Retro Games

The text editor emacs has a collection of games hidden inside, including Snake, Tetris, Pong, Solitaire, Towers of Hanoi, and more. To access these little easteregg jems, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Type ‘emacs’ at the command line, then hit Function+F10, then ‘t’, then ‘g’
  • Select the game from the list by using arrow keys or by hitting a key corresponding to the game, S for Solitaire, T for Tetris, t for Hanoi, s for Snake, etc

The controls take some getting used to, but the games are playable enough to pass the time.

Tetris in the Terminal

3: Talk to a Virtual Psychotherapist

Remember Eliza? If not, you’re probably not old or nerdy enough. Anyway, you can access the virtual psychotherapist Eliza right from Terminal, again buried inside of emacs:

  • Type “emacs” to launch emacs, then hit the Escape key followed by capital X, then type “doctor” and hit return
  • Unload your problems and concerns onto a virtual therapist

Eliza is pretty funny, and I’ve always secretly hoped that Siri would include the same logic as an easter egg somewhere, but it hasn’t happened yet. I guess you’ll have to stick to doing useful things with Siri for now.

Eliza the virtual psychotherapist

4: Read Horse Ebooks Gibberish Aloud

If you’ve ever wanted your Mac to speak complete utter gibberish to you (or an unsuspecting co-worker/friend/family member), look no further than OS X Terminal app, text-to-speech, and the nonsensical world of HorseEbooks.

Fire up Terminal and paste in the following command:

curl -s | say

Now enjoy a neverending stream of gibberish until you hit Control+C to stop the speech.

Horse ebooks

If you’re unfamiliar with Horse Ebooks, it’s basically an unintentionally hilarious Twitter spam account that has gotten famous for it’s meaningless tweets. Here’s the type of stuff it will say:

Air. FACT: Every year thousands of people. Oh yeah and don’t forget. What if you are wrong and I. Finance. My. How to grind through the greasiest Texas shuffle like you were born just outside of Dallas. Late that night, an old friend calls in. Mesmerizing Ways. She is forced to flee from Rome. SECRET CASH. Brag. Sum of money put aside. 40 inch vertical. Beyond mortality, Feel the prow s grating, golden, on the stars. Forgive. Or Loss. How do you feel. Engaging conversationalist and you d love to touch his hand or. Kiss the crazy. Bolt From The Water Like A Prisoner On Jail Break… If I could show you a precise leg. Monopoly on your radio. Cement. Why banks need to sell and can be your best friends. Your abs. There are plenty of skinny guys nailing the golf ball further than you. Intensive singing. Simple little. 40 inch vertical. KEEP. YOU.

This makes a great joke to play on someone if you can SSH into their Mac, crank up their speakers, and let Horse Ebooks blabber on.

5: Repeat A Word or Phrase Into CPU Inferno

Remember our post on stress testing a Mac with the yes command? You can actually have the yes command repeat anything just by placing it in quotes. The repetition is so fast that your processor will go into overdrive, fans will start blaring, and everything else will become slower as the word or phrase is repeated forever, well at least until its stopped with Control+C

Here’s all you need to do:

yes "I like fan noise"

There is literally no end to yes unless you stop it yourself. Hit Control+C or kill it with “killall yes”



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This entry was posted on October 5, 2012 by in BSD, Linux, OsX, Ubuntu and tagged , , , , , , , .
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