E Pluribus Unix, QR-Style

It’s been a long time since we’ve logged into a UNIX mainframe (other than our laptop) but one of our fond memories is the daily fortune: small, quirky, sometimes cryptic sayings that would pop up on the login screen if your system administrator had any sense of humor.

Apparently, we’re not alone. [Alastair] made his own fortune clock which gives you a new “fortune” every second instead of every login. There’s a catch, of course. It’s a QR clock — the fortune is encoded in a QR code instead of being displayed in human-readable form. You have to take a picture of the tiny OLED screen to know what it says. (Watch it sending him Shakespeare sonnets in the video below.)

You probably know QR codes are good for conveying URLs, but their use as general-purpose text containers is underappreciated in our book, so we’re glad to see this example. Now, we’ve seen QR clocks before (here, and here), and this version does have the disadvantage that you can actually tell what time it is. But we’re grateful for the trip down memory lane.

9 thoughts on “E Pluribus Unix, QR-Style

      1. 4×6 is pretty reasonable. You can make each english letter, uppercase and lowercase, and numbers and punctuation. Each character is 3 pixels wide and 5 pixels tall, with a 1 pixel space on the right and bottom. Texas Instruments’ graphing calculators allow you to plot text this size onto graphs. Here’s a Hackaday project showing a font like this, with some external links:


  1. How timely! Ahmed, the Clock Boy has just returned to the United States, apparently he found out just how short his 15 minutes of fame really was and when he ceased being a celebrity he choose to come back ‘home’ to Texas…

    Wonder how that $15 M lawsuit of his is coming along?

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