Tag Archives: ascii

x_x: The Dead Guy CLI

With barely a week left for this site, I’m beginning to trim away programs that I just probably won’t get to, by virtue of time or technical dilemmas. I’m also making a conscious effort to pick out titles that amuse me in one form or another, so I finish with happy memories. 😛

x_x, which I mentally refer to as “the Dead Guy CLI,” because the home page uses that as a subtitle, is a rather nifty tool that I’m surprised I haven’t seen covered elsewhere. Using a bland, dull, boring Excel spreadsheet borrowed from a corner of the Interweb, Dead Guy CLI transmogrifies it into this:


Well isn’t that clever.

Dead Guy CLI gives you a small measure of control over your output, by allowing you to specify a header row or allow for special encoding. It also works with CSV files, so you’re not strapped trying to convert back and forth to Excel, just to fiddle with x_x.

Aside from that though, Dead Guy CLI seems very simple. Of course, your spreadsheet may need some management if you expect it to fit into a certain dimension, but I am confident that as a skilled and capable member of the information age, you won’t throw a wobbly over a pear-shaped spreadsheet.

Keep x_x in mind when you’re thinking about things like csv2xls or xlhtml, since it may save you a step or prevent you from relying on graphical tools just to extract data from a spreadsheet. And of course, if you’re working with csv files, x_x could supplement what tabview or other tools can do.

For my own recordkeeping, Dead Guy CLI gets points for doing something obvious that I don’t recall seeing elsewhere. And also for the snarky name. I’m a fan of snarky names. 😈

Tagged: ascii, change, chart, convert, csv, data, excel, file, spreadsheet, xls

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ascii: Quick and dirty info

This next title is a quick and obvious tool, and I had been holding it back because it seemed a little too simple. This is ascii.


Which, as you can see, either displays a chart of ASCII conversion data, or takes a string of digits and returns their conversion, as would be useful in a script. Escaped characters and control characters are possible too, as well as octal or hex values.

ascii does a few other things that serve in the same kind of situation; check the help flag or the man page for ascii’s second-string tricks.

But … that’s all I can think to do with it. The value in ascii is its quick-fire accessibility to character codes. And beyond that … ? :

Tagged: ascii, code, codes, conversion, data

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jp2a: Jack be nimble, Jack be quick

Quick, nimble, short and fast programs are always to my liking. We’ve been through plenty of image-to-text converters for the console, but here’s one that just plain works, on the first try: jp2a.

2014-12-15-6m47421-jp2a-01 2014-12-15-6m47421-jp2a-02

I’m showing two screenshots there because I wanted to point out one small thing about jp2a that I really like: It’s smart enough by default to keep the original aspect ratio, and confine it to the available terminal space.

I know that seems like a small issue, but the original smiley face image that I used was 1024×1024, and some utilities try to convert that as pixel-to-character, on a one-to-one basis. Which complicates things.

jp2a can certainly do that, and if you dig through its flags you’ll see that it can do quite a bit more too. I used only the --colors flag to generate the images above, but you can set output dimensions, redirect to a file, flip an image on conversion, put borders on output and a mess of other options.

If you’re looking for a quick, fire-and-forget conversion tool this might be the one. And given that it has only libjpeg (and curl) as its dependencies, it definitely won’t burden your system with random and impractical features that draw in obtuse libraries.

And once you’ve got your conversion tucked away, you’re only a hop, skip and a jump away from completing your text-only masterpiece. Don’t forget to invite us to the unveiling. 😉

Tagged: art, ascii, convert, image, text

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