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Show HN: Genact – A nonsense activity generator (github.com)
131 points by Svenstaro 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 25 comments

Hi HN! I built a completely useless tool that just pretends to do work. It's written in Rust and compiles to Linux, OSX, Windows and the web all from the same code base. The web version uses xterm.js which is a JavaScript ANSI terminal. Windows version only has proper colors on Windows 10 because that has finally gotten ANSI support.

I would be extremely surprised if anybody found a productive use for this. Enjoy!

Can you make a mode where it pretends to be compiling genact?

That already pretty much exists! If you run `./genact -m cargo` it will look pretty much like compiling genact itself.

Hah. You could turn it into a crypto-miner. Prototype "Digital Church", the more you stay, the higher numbers you pray: https://futuredistributions.github.io/digital-church/

Not so different from http://mamota.net/exponent/ or Cookie Clicker, is it?

Yours is closer to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progress_Quest .

Love it. Are you having a good experience with Rust?

Yes, Rust is awesome and very enjoyable to use. Especially compiling for the web is pretty cool as you can even interact with the browser.

> "anybody found a productive use for this"

If you have to do work on your computer which is actually productive but doesn't look like you are being productive because not a lot happens on your monitor, then run Genact in another computer monitor, so your co-workers and boss actually think you are actually being productive.

Really productive, don`t worry!. Thank you, I'm having fun with this.

The online version - https://svenstaro.github.io/genact/ is absolutely excellent!

Hopefully its the beginning of a trend with more apps being available in a browser-window without install because of compile-to-WASM.

It makes me wonder if there is any nice version of C stdio you can use that lets your C program access the 'local filesystem' which is actually a folder on the webserver etc so programs that have resource files etc can be cross-compiled.

Whenever I watch movies featuring "hackers" I always wonder who writes the code to do the random terminal noise to make it look like they are doing something.

This is really cool and I could see this making it into a movie (esp considering it is free).

This one is my favorite: https://hackertyper.net/ haha I've actually seen it used in a few videos before. Cracks me up.

Nmap seems reasonably popular for this purpose.


Maybe they use "hollywood" (https://packages.ubuntu.com/artful/hollywood)

Check out http://geektyper.com/ It's a collection of several 'hacking tools' that look dramatic on screen.

This could be something for the movies industry... It's at least better than your average Hollywood OS.

Another use-case:

If you boss doesn't want to grant you that cool new high performance rig, maybe you can convince him by showing just how much time you spend waiting with your current slow-as-hell machine. ;-)

Back in the old days, before computers could run multiple programs and switching between them was easy, some games had a built-in "boss mode". You'd hit a function key and the game you were playing would be replaced with something serious looking like a spreadsheet. As Jeff Goldblum once said - gamers ... uh, find a way


This may be a stupid question, but I can only see linux / win binaries on the releases page.

Do I need to compile for OS X?

Sadly travis has some problems right now and that is what's supposed to be compiling my OSX binaries. See here: https://www.traviscistatus.com/

They should be there soon.

Extremely similar with multi-window support https://github.com/dustinkirkland/hollywood

This seems like a great tool for https://reddit.com/r/unixporn users.

I literally didn't notice when it stopped building and when it started running. Good show.

Same here.

Need a generator of nonsense activity for humans. Structured procrastination!

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