Star Wars ASCII-mation via telnet

The Star Wars ASCII animation site has been around for a while, but I’ve just had it brought to my attention that there is a telnet version available.

For those who know about telnet, simply open a session to towel.blinkenlights.nl

For those who don’t know about telnet, do the following:

  • Click on Start
  • Click on Run…
  • Type (without the quotes) “telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl “

As an alternative, this link may also work for you: telnet://towel.blinkenlights.nl , but that depends on how your system is setup.

Philips SLA-5520

I’ve just been out and purchased a Philips SLA-5520 Wireless Music Adapter . What a wonderful piece of kit this is!

The idea is that it can stream music using a 802.11g wireless network and play it in your front room. Measuring just over 4″ wide and 6.5″ tall, this unit has a built-in wireless network card, and the ability to browse any UPnP servers which happen to be available.

Sourcing the Music

As part of my Mini-ITX project, I’ve been storing my music collection on a Linux machine, but really that’s just been for backup until now. With this music adapter device, I can now stream it around the house to the living room. Unfortunately, the software provided by Philips was for Windows machines, but that’s obviously no good on a Fedora Core 5 machine.

Luckily, there’s a project called Geexbox and this has a side-project called uShare. uShare is a UPnP server program, which is not only built for Linux machines, but is available via the Fedora Core “yum” repositories. So to install ushare, all I needed to do was type “yum install ushare” and yum took care of the rest. The config file was very simple – set the uShare name to be “katy” (the preferred name for my Linux machine), and the exported directory to be “/export/music/shared”. A quick “service ushare start” later and everything was set.

Setup

SLA-5520 in actionSetup of the unit was simplicity itself – I plugged the audio cable into the unit and my test hi-fi, then the power cable into the wall outlet and powered the system on. After a brief period, the wireless configuration wizard appeared. It immediately found my 802.11g WPA wireless network and offered me the chance to configure it. The network key was entered text-message style. I told it to use DHCP and then that was about it. Unit restarted and it immediately found the UPnP device created by uShare. It was that simple and music was playing within 5 minutes of opening the box. Genius!

Neat Touches

There’s also the capability to listen to Internet radio. I haven’t explored this fully, but the first time you use it, you’re asked to register by entering your e-mail address. The unit connected to the Internet (via my home network), then told me an e-mail had been sent to me. Sure enough, an e-mail was waiting providing a confirmation URL, which asked me to fill in a few details. Once that was complete, it took me to a page where I can configure my online services. Now that is some serious consumer electronics integration!

Date and time are automatically updated from the Internet – again no real need, but it’s so very clever.

Startup time is well under 2 seconds – how consumer electronics should be!

The system also seems to provide a minimal HTTP server, which provides a few screens of basic info; stuff like current wireless network config, IP address info, plus firmware revision info.

Finishing Off

I decided to force the unit to have a particular IP address (to make life a little easier), so a quick edit of /etc/dhcpd.conf later and a restart of the DHCP daemon fixed that.

I also decided to update the system firmware (if you can, why not?). Unfortunately, that lost all of my wireless network config, but that was easy to fix.

A tidy of the cables and that was it. Sound quality is great and I haven’t heard it stutter once. Highly recommended – buy one!!