Help! I catted /dev/random to /etc/magic and turned into a frog!

And now, some more terms from our search-bag...

Date/Time Permalink: 07/04/06 01:42:51 pm
Category: Searchbag

Hello, True Believers! It's time once again to pull up a few items from the search-bag, that list of search terms tracked by my b2evolution stats which show some of the phrases which landed people here. What I'm mostly interested in are the "near-misses" - those phrases which show that the searcher came here looking for something that was almost, but not
quite, entirely unhere.

"nethack pick up boulders"
There is no way, to my knowledge (even to the spoiler's knowledge) to pick up a boulder in Nethack. You can push 'em, crush 'em (with a spell of force-bolt, or a pick-axe), or generate 'em (with a scroll of Earth or a boulder trap), but you can't heft 'em. Perhaps if you polymorph into something that eats rocks, you can eat them, and that counts as picking up. Or you could be polymorphed into a fire giant, which can certainly hurl boulders.

Of course this *is* Nethack, so there's always a corner to think around: The "stone-to-flesh" spell can turn boulders into flesh now that the bug has been fixed. It turns into a "huge chunk of meat", I discovered after starting the game as a healer (guaranteed to have "stone-to-flesh") and speed-playing it in explore mode until I had enough energy to cast it. You can then pick it up like any corpse. I was able to even eat some of it, though it was rotten. (So that's another survival strategy: avoid starvation by carrying a stone-to-flesh spell and a unicorn horn to cure the food poisoning symptoms.) On later trials, I got a message something like "You smell something delicious." and it was safe to eat - although it satiated me for the next three levels. I also turned a small rock into a meatball which generated the same message and my dog ate it. No telling what polymorph or turn-undead does to it from there. Could you bring it to life and make it a pet with a "taming" spell?

"how to take a screenshot on tuxracer"
I puzzled over this too, since I didn't find a way to force it to run windowed. I did mine by starting Gimp on another
desktop, selecting "file->acquire->screenshot" and "single window" with delay of about 10 seconds. Then I started TuxRacer on the desktop next door, and when the cursor turned into crosshairs, I clicked. The result is that Tuxacer appears to freeze while a Gimp-window appears. Just keep mashing the [Esc] key until TuxRacer quits. Save the shot!

ASCII penguin
If I had a nickel for every time I've seen somebody find this blog while searching for "ASCII penguin", I'd have a trite metaphor. So here one regular, and one lined, I have to post them on another page because I don't feel like contorting myself to get it to work in the PHP blog today. And here's the Starship Enterprise in ASCII. And you want an ASCII Skull? Bloop! Copy and paste.

You can even save hard images of ASCII art, which isn't quite as impressive (or whatever's special about ASCII form that makes 100 people a month come here looking for it), but has truer scanning. Like for instance


ASCII Shining

is an ASCII version of my wallpaper image Shining Obsession. Go ahead and visit the link to see the original, you might as well. In fact, view the whole gallery. Don't worry about traffic; it's the least-visited set of web pages on the Internet! Yep, you'll have the bandwidth all to yourself!

Now, you'll ask me, "Penguin Pete! How on Earth did you ever type all those characters?" Well, you've heard of out-sourcing? No, seriously, I use asciiview, which is a front-end for aview, which is part of the aalib suite of programs. Just give it a picture, and it does the rest. The bad news is, asciiview is almost entirely unsupported on Linux - packages for it are rare, source tarballs stop and whine that they can't find libraries, urpmi says there's no such thing, blah. Your best bet to get it is to use a system where it's already installed, like grml. It is native to NetBSD; I found *that* package.

Once you have asciiview running (I *did* get it crammed onto Slackware, in the process only having to sacrifice one black goat for blood to draw the pentagrams in.) full-screen it's window. Press left-square-bracket and right-square-bracket to adjust it one way, press semicolon and apostrophe to adjust it another way, press comma and period to adjust it a third way, press arrow keys to move it relative to the window, and when you've got it tweaked to perfection, press 's' and answer the nice questions to save the file (it can handle text, ANSI, HTML, allottastuff) and 'q' to quit. The 'this way, that way' adjustments are gamma, brightness, and contrast, but how will you remember that? Just frob keys and watch the characters dance until they look the closest to the picture you told it to scan. Seriously, this paragraph I just typed is probably the most documentation that exists in the world on it!

Now all the people searching for ASCII penguins will have something to find when they get here. Hopefully, a Linux penguin is the kind of ASCII penguin they have in mind - penguins being the mascot of Linux and ASCII art being a typical application of the Linux command line. Yes, nothing says "I'm a real Linux geek!" like having a printed out calendar from the 'cal' program with an ASCII Linux penguin to top it off.

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