A good project to see UARTs at work in all their beauty is to connect two Raspberry Pis via UART, and then:
- type in one and see characters appear in the other: scribles.net/setting-up-uart-serial-communication-between-raspberry-pis/
- send data via a script: raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/29027/how-should-i-properly-communicate-2-raspberry-pi-via-uart
Part of the beauty of this is that you can just connect both boards directly manually with a few wire-to-wire connections with simple jump wire. Its simplicity is just quite refreshing. Sure, you could do something like that for any physical layer link presumably...
Remember that you can only have one GNU screen connected at a time or else they will mess each other up: unix.stackexchange.com/questions/93892/why-is-screen-is-terminating-without-root/367549#367549