14 November, 2008

I had planned to have a really productive day today. There was going to be work, and chores, and the production and consumption of actual nutritional food instead of popcorn.

I didn’t count on the discovery that Linux will allow you to play any old data through the speakers.

My niall.xpi Firefox extension is rapidly becoming a graveyard of half-baked ideas. The latest addition is a ‘toggle sound’ button which sends the HTML for the current webpage, via a shell script, to /dev/audio *.

As for why I find this horrible cacophony so appealing: I could claim it’s because it sounds like 65daysofstatic (bitmaps and Java source especially), but really it’s because it reminds me of the cassette-tape programs for my Dad’s Nascom. We had Dungeon Adventure and Dungeon Quest and Space Invaders and Keys of Kraal and Jailbreak In Space… ah, happy days.

* currently with minimal input sanitation; this may turn out to be a Very Bad Idea, but never mind…



  1. Mmm, squeaky. Everyone does this at some point with Linux 😀

  2. Hehe, then I shall revel in my n00b status. What else should I be doing? 😉

  3. well, not *should* be doing, but you’re probably regularly typing sl instead of ls which nets you an exciting ASCII animation of a steam locomotive which you can’t cut short. I think it’s designed as a means of stopping people from making that mistake again…

  4. also, since you can cat to any device, another fun thing to do is attach an oscilloscope to a serial port or something… mmm, pretty. I spent a lot of my dissertation doing this.

  5. The program ‘sl’ is currently not installed. You can install it by typing:
    sudo apt-get install sl
    bash: sl: command not found

    (some apt-get magic later)

    sl… hehehe… sl… hehehe… sl… hehehe… 😀

  6. (plots to acquire ‘scope)

  7. ==== ________ ___________
    _D _| |_______/ \__I_I_____===__|_________|
    |(_)— | H\________/ | | =|___ ___| _________________
    / | | H | | | | ||_| |_|| _| \_____A
    | | | H |__——————–| [___] | =| |
    | ________|___H__/__|_____/[][]~\_______| | -| |
    |/ | |———–I_____I [][] [] D |=======|____|________________________|_
    __/ =| o |=-~~\ /~~\ /~~\ /~~\ ____Y___________|__|__________________________|_
    |/-=|___|| || || || |_____/~\___/ |_D__D__D_| |_D__D__D_|
    \_/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \_/ \_/ \_/ \_/ \_/

  8. Oh, that would have worked better if the page width wasn’t restricted. Ho hum.

  9. sl | tee /dev/audio … hehehe

  10. It could only be better if the result sounded like an actual steam locomotive

  11. […] is an amusing* implementation of a Markov chain. It’s a project that I keep coming back to. But I can barely read the mathematical description, even with a concrete example in mind. I have […]

  12. […] empty, and one contains three files: a picture of a kitten being chased by creepers, a sound that sounds like a picture, and a script for a […]

  13. […] blip of noise was probably a header. The rest of the data doesn’t sound like code, though, it sounds like a picture. I only know of one standard for transmitting pictures through audio: SSTV. The example on […]

  14. […] post is a short homage to my favourite Nascom game, Keys Of Kraal, by Program […]

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