If you’re anything like me, you’re sick of all these slick apps with their “high-resolution images” and “buttons that actually do things.” The terminal has what we crave: ASCII, unadorned URLs, and the complexities of managing a Python environment.
Well, Reddit user ghostreport, who goes by billcccheng on GitHub, finally has the answer: an Instagram news feed for the terminal. It has all that chaos and randomness of the regular Instagram news feed algorithm, except now it’s difficult to tell what the images are of because they’re in ASCII. Win, win!
Instagram Terminal Feed is written in Python, and fairly easy to set up — the steps are listed in the GitHub readme. You login with your Instagram credentials, it flashes a set of “images” at you, along with descriptions and the number of likes, and then it quits. It’s a brief experience, but it lasts about long enough for the joke to wear off.
If ASCII is too hardcore for you, there’s also now a --color flag you can pass (open source evolves fast!) that will attempt to render the images in color using huge blocky ASCII “pixels” (as demonstrated in the lead image of this post, which I believe is a rendition of the P20 Pro).
Instagram’s API is in a transition phase right now. Instagram seems to be mostly phasing out cool use cases like this in favor of a new Graph API for commercial users of Instagram — advertisers and media companies. Instagram says basic support for “non-business profiles” will arrive in 2019. Whatever happens, hopefully billcccheng will be there, making something useless out it.