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Interesting Uses For a USB LED Screen?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the your-messge-here dept.

Displays 403

Hogwash McFly writes "My boss gave me one of those USB-powered red LED scrolling displays as a Christmas gift, and while cycling the usual 'I read your emails' and 'ID10T Error' messages will be entertaining for a day or two, I was wondering if it could be put to more constructive uses. The configuration file is plaintext and supports different scroll speeds, flashing, bitmaps, and WAV sounds. The font is defined as 5x5 pixels per character, also stored in plaintext as 5 hex values, one for each vertical line of pixels. A dynamically generated message could prove useful in my day-to-day work on the helpdesk, but are there any interesting uses beyond network notifications and news feeds?"

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Matrix (4, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224501)

Matrix screensaver.

ping times to websites where uptimes matter (4, Interesting)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224513)

or look at anything done with the pertelian
http://www.pertelian.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=43&Itemid=48 [pertelian.com]

Re:ping times to websites where uptimes matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224811)

... which unfortunately only supports Hitachi HD44780 based LCD character display.

Re:ping times to websites where uptimes matter (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224889)

I believe that falls under the author's excepting "are there any interesting uses beyond network notifications and news feeds?"

Wow (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224523)

what a shitty gift. did you also get a cocoa of the month subscription?

Re:Wow (2, Informative)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224617)

I like cocoa.

Re:Wow (3, Funny)

NekoXP (67564) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224887)

Better yet, coca of the month subscription?

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224995)

No, that's delivered by a UPS guy that keeps talking into his sleeve and hangs around waiting for you to open your package...

Notification for everything (4, Interesting)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224527)

Unless you plan to put it in your car to give the finger to people honking at you in queue, the only use for LCD screens i can think of is notification. Considering the recent interest in Gnome and KDE for a centralized notification system, you could probably hook _that_ up for your LCD screen so you'd get _all_ notifications.

Re:Notification for everything (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224575)

Unless you plan to put it in your car to give the finger to people honking at you in queue

I've always wanted to do that. Seems like it would be fun to have something I can use to give people nasty or confusing messages with.

>:)

Re:Notification for everything (5, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224709)

>:)

I see... an Asteroids-esque space ship during reentry.

Re:Notification for everything (1, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26225151)

Unless you plan to put it in your car to give the finger to people honking at you in queue

I've always wanted to do that. Seems like it would be fun to have something I can use to give people nasty or confusing messages with.

>:)

Jesus christ it's a .... Oh never mind.

Re:Notification for everything (5, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224579)

Unless you plan to put it in your car to give the finger to people honking at you in queue

Why give 'em the finger? You could generate messages instead:

"If you are close enough to read this, watch out for brake checks."
"This car protected by Smith & Wesson"
"If I passed you on the right you are in the wrong fucking lane"
"My kid beat up your honor student"
"Bad cop. No donut."

The possibilities are endless ;)

Re:Notification for everything (5, Interesting)

mpathetiq (726625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224689)

"If I passed you on the right you are in the wrong fucking lane"

This is the one I would use the most. Apparently Ohioans don't understand the term "passing lane".

Re:Notification for everything (1)

fishyfool (854019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224905)

Have your fellow Idahoians been moving to California? There seems to have been an increase of slow-drivers-that-won't-move-over here. Recently.

Re:Notification for everything (2, Funny)

mpathetiq (726625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224947)

I don't know any Idahoians here in Ohio, so I cannot answer your question. Well, I suppose I could answer "mu". :)

Re:Notification for everything (1)

pha3r0 (1210530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26225171)

Well I'm sure you meant Ohioans but as a former Californian recently moved to Idaho I can say two things: Firstly there is far more mover-overers here then in CA. Secondly I have seen a huge increase in run-up-your-arse-like-we-did-in-california'ers here.

So remember, We don't care how it was done in California

Re:Notification for everything (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224959)

Part of it is the annoying tendency of ODOT to put "THROUGH TRAFFIC KEEP LEFT" signs in cities. Good job, ODOT, now you've made everyone into a left lane hog.

(I keep as far right as possible, myself.)

Re:Notification for everything (1)

mpathetiq (726625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26225063)

In cities, I can handle it - things are messed up enough as is - but when you're on the highway, GET OVER, DOUCHEBAGS. I imagine it comes from crappy drivers' ed teachers; mine told me to always drive in the left lane so you "have more opportunities to avoid an accident." I'm not sure how that would work...

Re:Notification for everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26225167)

mine told me to always drive in the left lane so you "have more opportunities to avoid an accident." I'm not sure how that would work...

Easy- you can pull right, AND pull left to avoid things!

Re:Notification for everything (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26225213)

That isn't half as annoying as those people who zip up and ride on my bumper when I'm already in the left lane trying to pass someone -- so fast I didn't see them coming -- and then they try to swerve over and get around me on the right side the moment I'm a car length ahead and about to pull to the right myself (and probably signaling my intentions to do so).

Yes, I know I'm supposed to be on the right when not passing -- SO GIVE ME THE @#%#%^@! time and space to get over there safely when I'm done, preferably without forcing me to cut off the person I just passed.

For every slow and clueless driver in the left lane I'll bet somewhere there is an impatient and dangerous left-lane tailgater. I need a sign saying "I was already passing when you zoomed up. Give me a moment and I'll be pulling to the right out of your way, asshole".

Re:Notification for everything (4, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224793)

I hope our far-left overlords are more benevolent than the far-right ones were.
If you think that the incoming President is far-left and the old President was far-right, then you need a refresher course in both politics and civics.

Re:Notification for everything (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224907)

If you think that the incoming President is far-left and the old President was far-right, then you need a refresher course in both politics and civics.

What planet have you been on for the last 8 years?

Re:Notification for everything (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224985)

George Bush is NOT on the far right, at least not what the far right used to be. He's invented a whole new category, and moved a bunch of people from the right into that.

I can't speak to the claim about Obama, I don't know the subtle nuances of the factions on the left. I can say he's against gay marriage, and his health care plan is only about 10% of what a real universal health care plan would be.

Re:Notification for everything (1)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26225009)

Do they offer classes in sarcasm and comedic signatures?

Re:Notification for everything (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224797)

"Hey baby, you're hot"

Re:Notification for everything (2, Funny)

Kleen13 (1006327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26225117)

"God was my copilot but I crashed in the mountains and had to eat him."

Re:Notification for everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26225223)

WOOHOO .. i am not the only person who is sick and tired of passing idiots on the right.

Does anyone really understand that the left lane (USA) is the passing lane and not the "Drive-slow-WooHoo-I'm-all-by-myself-and-I-have-nowhere-to-go-and-all-day-to-get-there!" lane????

Re:Notification for everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224877)

LED, not LCD.

RTFT (last 'T' stands for "Title")

Re:Notification for everything (2, Funny)

Mikya (901578) | more than 5 years ago | (#26225143)

What does the second "T" stand for?

Car notifications (4, Interesting)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224901)

A message board in your car wouldn't necessarily have to give the finger or otherwise be witty/rude.

There are times when a rear-pointing message board could be extremely useful. Such as:
Your high-beams are on.
Your headlights are off.
Careful, the driver next to me is drunk.

And so on.

However, such signs very well may be illegal in some jurisdictions.

Re:Notification for everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26225189)

It's an LED screen, you illiterate clod.

pong (5, Funny)

imp7 (714746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224543)

A never ending game of pong

Re:pong or tetris (2, Interesting)

nullchar (446050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224577)

Tetris has been played on just about everything [geekologie.com] , I don't see why you can't port a crappy version to this screen.

Re:pong or tetris (2, Insightful)

Decameron81 (628548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224601)

Tetris can't be crappy.

Re:pong or tetris (2, Insightful)

Aklyon (1398879) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224677)

neither can pong.

Re:pong or tetris (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224755)

You obviously never tried the "Daikatana" edition of Tetris. You can't finish a level without your buddy Superfly. I got 45 "L" pieces in a row and John Romero made me his bitch.

Obvious use (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224545)

Put it in your window at home and use it to hollah for girls that pass by.

Here you go (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224555)

porn video => avi to ascii converter => red hot LED action

Chatty Co-Worker Evasion (2, Insightful)

JerBear0 (456762) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224557)

Combine it with a motion sensor near your door, and have it warn you to duck under your desk.

ascii penis! (2, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224559)

8=====D

Re:ascii penis! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224813)

Rule 34 sir.

Re:ascii penis! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26225209)

8=====D O:

Do you really need to ask? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224567)

Never underestimate a technology's capacity to be used for porn.

Re:Do you really need to ask? (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224591)

Never underestimate a technology's capacity to be used for porn.

Rumor has it that man learned to walk upright to free his hands for "other" uses ;)

Re:Do you really need to ask? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224637)

dont know about you, but i dont usually walk and jerk off at the same time.

Re:Do you really need to ask? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224853)

I call it spreading the love!

Re:Do you really need to ask? (1)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224943)

( ))===|D >+o ?

Re:Do you really need to ask? (2, Funny)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26225011)

Dude, what kind of disease do /you/ have? That's nasty...

how about a log file parser (1)

youngdev (1238812) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224589)

When it "sees" a fatal or critical error, pipe it into the file and let it display on the led screen. should be pretty easy to do with a tiny shell program.

does it have buttons on it? (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224593)

Hack the firmware and make it play pong. Or a very simple version of doom.

Two words for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224595)

Hello World

Three words for you (5, Funny)

BobNET (119675) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224737)

PC LOAD LETTER

Re:Three words for you (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26225195)

What, no LP0 ON FIRE?

Music (5, Interesting)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224607)

Getting it to display audio level meters for your music would be kinda fun.

For maximum freakout potential (5, Interesting)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224611)

For maximum freakout potential you'll need two things:

1) A microphone
2) Speech recognition software

Set the microphone up in a hidden place where it will pick up speech from folks hanging around your desk, and connect it to your computer. Set up the speech recognition software so it will spit out text to the LED display's interface.

Viola! Instant "Have we entered the twilight zone?" machine!

Re:For maximum freakout potential (4, Interesting)

codegen (103601) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224691)

Feed the speech recognition into Eliza and Eliza's output to the display.

Re:For maximum freakout potential (4, Interesting)

Al Al Cool J (234559) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224845)

Ding ding. I think we have a winner! There's a Chatbot::Eliza perl module so this could be do-able. Now I want to get me one of those LED screens, so I can try this!

Re: Speech! (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224969)

How big are those Wav files it supports? To TTS generated speech and play them back. That's way better info density than the led screen.

Analog LED computer.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224625)

...to supplement your (apparently Windows) desktop machine?

But seriously, folks:

- Rain gauge
- Hope meter
- Cray-style front panel indicators? Mem registers, etc. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5RwZz9UPUs - jump to about 0:50 and watch the rest)
- Strings from network traffic? Count and display the number of occurances of the Top 5 most commonly reused strings snarfed from office-wide network traffic?

I'd use it to (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224633)

publicly display line by line the EULA for Linux SUSE 11.1.

how about (1)

visdog (1132101) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224651)

Karaoke,typing out phone conversations as you are speaking so you don't have to listen. build website to take advantage of serial conversation interfaces,have a small device that fits on a keychain with 5 or so buttons. A small,web connected green computer.

One word. (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224657)

Pong

Five Hours? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224663)

It's almost 5 hours since the last story and this is the best /. could come up with?

Oh well, it is x-mas eve I guess.

Happy hollandaise everyone!

Oh I know! First thing to do is... (3, Funny)

madmaxmedia (775327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224675)

...have it display all new comments to this thread.

For kids (3, Interesting)

umoto (19193) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224683)

I've been thinking it would be cool to get a sign like that and post it in a visible place at home, then use it to post announcements about my kids' accomplishments. I'd set it up so my wife could change it as well. We'd post things like "John did the dishes every day this week", "Mary aced her math test", etc.

The intent would be to show them we care and to give them positive reinforcement.

Re:For kids (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224725)

I've been thinking it would be cool to get a sign like that and post it in a visible place at home, then use it to post announcements about my kids' accomplishments. I'd set it up so my wife could change it as well. We'd post things like "John did the dishes every day this week", "Mary aced her math test", etc.

The intent would be to show them we care and to give them positive reinforcement.

The result would be that not only will your kids know you're dorks, everyone else will too.

Re:For kids (5, Funny)

ranok (1236468) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224761)

Yeah, I can imagine the kids' horror when they bring over their friends, and have to explain why their parents are so lame. "Uhhh, what's that on the wall" "Nothing, my dad's just a dork" "Oh" "Come on, let's get out of here"

Re:For kids (4, Insightful)

NekoXP (67564) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224937)

Why don't you just TELL them?

I dread to think what you got them for Christmahannukwanzaa this year.

Re:For kids (1)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224973)

I celebrate Festivus, you inconsiderate clod!

Only useful for the pointy-haired (3, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224687)

The other helpdesk people are going to be focused on their tasks, not glancing around the room for the possibility of some LED screen update. If there's an actual issue they need to know about, you should already have something in place for that.

What managers love to see are things like average call time, # calls in the queue, and # dropped calls. If you can extract that out of your call tree application and put that up there, you're one step closer to pointy hair yourself.

Re:Only useful for the pointy-haired (4, Insightful)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26225045)

of course, if he doesn't work in a call center, but is instead one of a few IT people, putting that outisde of his office with a message saying something along the lines of "SQL Server down for update, will be up at 4pm" will stop perhaps one or two people from knocking on his door to ask why the server is down and when it will be back up.

Re:Only useful for the pointy-haired (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26225201)

What managers love to see are things like average call time, # calls in the queue, and # dropped calls. If you can extract that out of your call tree application and put that up there, you're one step closer to pointy hair yourself.

Only if you consider Dwight Schrute as a PHB.

What about (3, Funny)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224717)

Game of Life?

Scroll the current National Debt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224787)

Scroll the current National Debt, that is of course assuming that anyone can meaningfully read 11 trillion on a scrolling display.....

You could set up a countdown... (2, Funny)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224801)

Just pick a random day far in the future, And have it countdown to that day with the words, Only (insert time) until it happens! Then refuse to tell anyone what it means. It should provide interesting conversations at the water cooler.

How about, "days left in life to lose viginity"? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224851)

Clearly anyone with such a clock would need to keep track of that.

LED Belt Buckle (1)

lejflo (1384329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224807)

Buy a belt buckle version and take that sexy geek desk accessory look with you wherever you go! http://igadgets.com/22-jb002.html [igadgets.com]

Keep safe (4, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224837)

Use it as a ticker to scroll the real-time DoHS advisory status:

...ted >> Terrorist Threat Level: Elevated >> Terro...

Re:Keep safe (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224875)

I don't know what the 'threat level' is today and I feel pretty safe.

Re:Keep safe (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26225127)

Gentle citizen, you are not being VIGILANT! Only VIGILANCE will stop TERRORISTS!

Stock ticker (2, Funny)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224849)

That shows stocks rising and falling at the will of its owner! Make people sell their Google stock so you can buy it slightly cheaper.

BOFH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224855)

Have it read out the BOFH stories. Those should bring back fond memories of the first few thousand times you read them AND it will give the new kids in the office something to laugh about.

Don't just say it, do it! (5, Interesting)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224861)

Don't just say you read his emails. Actually put them up there! Continuous scroll of everything in your boss's inbox.

If you're slightly less daring, feed your log of all URLs (site name only, perhaps) as they're being viewed by anyone in the office. Your boss did make you keep a log, didn't he?

Ebay! (3, Funny)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224863)

Stick it on ebay and with the money you receive go and enjoy the fast food meal of your choice!

Caller ID (3, Interesting)

pjwhite (18503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224873)

Use it to display caller ID for incoming phone calls.

Statitical Reporting. (3, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224883)

Say create a program that manages your logs and you get a statistically significant increase of errors report the server giving the errors. You may want to fudge the statistics a bit to give more priority to Errors and less for warnings.

Or warn when you servers drive is near filled or something that would require manual action is near.

Back car window.. (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224923)

Hey Einstein, riding my ass won't make me go any faster!

Tailgaters SUCK!

Re:Back car window.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26224967)

Why should tailgaters have to suck instead of riding your ass?

Re:Back car window.. (3, Funny)

GhaleonStrife (916215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224983)

"If you're going to ride my ass, at least buy me dinner first!"

Re:Back car window.. (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26225183)

It won't make you go any faster but it does cut down [wikipedia.org] on their carbon footprint a tad.

So you say it plays wav files? (5, Funny)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224957)

OK! Useful. Here's what you do...

The day before you leave on your next vacation, set it up so that it loops the message "I love you!" and then set up the .wav file of Barney the dinosaur singing his "I love you, you love me" theme song. Remove the socket covers from your cube wall and attach the electrical leads that power the device directly to the power lines, covering them with two-inch thick conduit. Then epoxy encapsulate that power connection really well (if the connection happens to be through a wall wart, be sure to conduit and encapsulate those connections as well). Disable any power switch the device might have and leave. When you get back from your vacation, your co-workers will have all either quit or committed suicide and your path to the next level up the corporate chain will be cleared. Repeat as necessary until you are CEO. Take golden parachute and leave. You win!

Hello IT (3, Funny)

bytesex (112972) | more than 5 years ago | (#26224979)

Have you tried turning it off and on ?

Display Tweets (2, Interesting)

codepunk (167897) | more than 5 years ago | (#26225039)

Display tweets from twitter as the come in.

Automotive uses (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26225079)

Mount the thing in the back window of your car, and set it up so that it's preloaded with around a dozen messages that can be displayed as the need arises while you drive.

My suggestions would be things like:

"Turn your highbeams off retard"
"Kindly move out of the fast lane"
"Next time try signalling"
"I'm boning your wife"

Details on the particular LED scroller gadget ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26225107)

Can the poster add the details of this particular gadget...manufacturer name/part # ?

Use it to monitor a Linux box (2, Interesting)

__roo (86767) | more than 5 years ago | (#26225121)

Take a cue from this post [slashdot.org] and write a script that uses vmstat and top to alter the scrolling speed and scroll something useful that shows the health of your box. You can cut one of the numbers pumped out by vmstat to set the scroll speed, and maybe grep, head, etc. something useful out of top to show on the screen. I'd write a little suggested script for you right here, but I have no idea what format your device wants its config file.

Put it back into work (2, Interesting)

j-turkey (187775) | more than 5 years ago | (#26225139)

Here are some ideas for dynamically generated messages for use at work. (Assuming that you use a ticketing system at work.) Most of them use database backends that you can connect to using your favorite protocol. Find a useful way to display pertinent information on the display.

For example, do you have an overdue or high-priority ticket? Program it scroll a reminder. Do you queue tickets and handle them serially? Set it up to display the number of tickets in your queue and the header for the next ticket. Smaller helpdesk where you're responsible for managing systems? Display network metrics from your monitoring system. Managing helpdesk employees? Have it display metrics about your technicians.

Other fun stuff...if you have a swanky gaming rig at home - you could use it to monitor temperatures (ambient/case/CPU/GPU/Disk, etc). You could also pull CPU, disk, and network stats and display it as a histogram or bar.

IT depends on what your company does, doesn't it? (1)

itsybitsy (149808) | more than 5 years ago | (#26225173)

Ok, so you can have all the fun things... but something useful?

Doesn't that depend upon what your company does? Are there stats that you could track? With sound effects when sales are made for example?

You could hook it into the badge system (if your company has one) so it shows who is arriving and leaving....

You could hook it into the company stock price if it's a public company.

You could have it play the news. Boring, unless it's the onion news. Could get you fired though but at least you'd be able to take your display with you.

Tell us more about your work environment please.

If it's a workshop you could track accidents; how many fingers lost today...

Tell us more!

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