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Watch Star Wars in CLI

How you can watch a classic movie written in ASCII from your own command line.

Programming

CLI

I first stumbled across this when I was in Secondary School, back then I knew relatively little about coding/tech (I know slightly more now, but not much!).

Back then I used Telnet on one of the schools fairly unrestricted windows boxes by running:

telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl

Both me & my friends at the time were amazed to see a film in ASCII on my machine (the Teachers were less than impressed).

Fast forward a few more years than I would like to admit and it turns out it is still very much possible to see exactly what I watched back then the telnet method still works but I wanted a way to run it on Linux or Mac . . .

In the browser:

  • Go to: Telehack
  • Type: starwars
  • Hit enter

Windows

There is already a really good guide on doing this for Windows available here


Linux/Mac

Try this at your own risk, this is purely for educational purposes.

  1. Open your CLI of choice
  2. Type: nc towel.blinkenlights.nl 23

For the curious among us I bet you are thinking “What is this command doing?” Well to be honest I didn't know either so I did a lazy dig and this is what I found out:

NC is Netcat — "What the hell is that?"

netcat (often abbreviated to nc) is a computer networking utility for reading from and writing to network connections using TCP or UDP.

There is a brief but good guide on using nc available here. And a rather interesting paper on how it can be useful and also misused available here

Thanks for reading :) If you found this post interesting please follow me on twitter for future thoughts/rambles about coding & tech.

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