Ratpoison, E.T. Phone home

This is the third post about the Ratpoison window manager.

This one is not about productivity improvement, nor a do-more-with-less feature, but a playful way to achieve a pretty common task: SSH to my home lab.

Remember that scene from E.T., “ET phone home”? Well… When I hit C-t E this pops up in my screen:

Then a new tmux window appears with an SSH connection to my home lab.

This is achieved using the xcowsay program and its ability to use a custom image, in this case:

Using the following Ratpoison configuration snippet:

bind E exec et_phone_home.sh

This snippet appears in my .ratpoisonrc file.

The et_phone_home.sh script does the following:

  • Show the E.T image with the “ET phone home…” message
  • Switch to terminal emulator window
  • Create a new tmux window with the SSH connection

The E.T. image is displayed using xcowsay:

xcowsay --image et.png "ET phone home..." --think

Then switch to the terminal emulator window (urxvt in my case):

ratpoison -c "select urxvt"

Or using the script I use for this purpose:

[app_select.sh](https://github.com/alx741/dotfiles/blob/master/scripts/.scripts/ratpoison/app_select.sh) terminal

And finally create a new tmux window with the SSH connection:

tmux new-window -c ~ -n "ssh_connection" ssh $IP