figlet ASCII art

When sysadmining a number Debian machines, you start to get sick of the default login message very quickly (and they all start to look the same too!):

Linux alpha 2.6.32-5-amd64 #1 SMP Wed May 18 23:13:22 UTC 2011 x86_64

The programs included with the Debian GNU/Linux system are free software;
the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the
individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright.

Debian GNU/Linux comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent
permitted by applicable law.      
No mail.
Last login: Sat Jun 25 12:23:15 2011 from localhost
root@alpha:~#

I discovered figlet the other day which allows you to create your own ASCII art words.

figlet -f smslant alpha > /etc/motd.tail

You can experiment with various figlet fonts using the -f argument. Once happy, save the output in /etc/motd.tail where it will be used to regenerate the message of the day each day.

Linux alpha 2.6.32-5-amd64 #1 SMP Wed May 18 23:13:22 UTC 2011 x86_64
       __     __       
 ___ _/ /__  / /  ___ _
/ _ `/ / _ \/ _ \/ _ `/
\_,_/_/ .__/_//_/\_,_/ 
     /_/               
No mail.
Last login: Sat Jun 25 12:23:15 2011 from localhost
root@alpha:~# 

VLC CACA ASCII Output

If you are logged into a remote terminal and wish to quickly view the contents of video files, you can use the CACA output module of VLC to view an ASCII version of the video through the terminal. This is handy if you haven't set up X forwarding, or if X isn't available.

vlc -V caca fileToOpen

I'd even recommend doing it just for fun on your local machine. The results are surprisingly good!