×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Analog Approach to Displaying Data

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the now-thats-just-wierd dept.

Technology 274

Lurker McLurker writes " BBC News reports that Ambient Devices, the MIT Media Lab spin-off which brought us the Ambient Orb, have developed a new product, the Ambient Dashboard . The orb changed colour to display information at a glance, for example turning red if the stock market is going down. The dashboard has three displays, similar to speedometers or barometers, to show the information of your choice, from stock market volumes to the pollen count." As a proof of concept, this is neat stuff. However they seem awful pricey.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

274 comments

Don't forget... (-1)

SCO$699FeeTroll (695565) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194326)

...to pay your $699 licensing fee you cock-smoking teabaggers.

I GOT ONE AND SET IT TO DEAN'S CHANCES (0, Funny)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194557)

THE NEEDLE SHOT LEFT AND THE FUCKING THING EXPLODED

don't use so many caps, it's looks like a crazy dean speech.

Bad, Worse, Worst (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194660)

Bad: You just realized you were singing, out-loud, the song on your headphones so that the whole office could hear.

Worse: The song was The Misfits' "Last Caress".

Worst: You were doing gay little hip thrusts like Glenn Danzig while singing.

EVILBB (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194339)

evilbb

DIY Solution (3, Funny)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194342)

Save money and build one yourself!

You'll need:

  • A computer with an Internet connection
  • 3 analog voltimeters
  • 3 rheostats
  • A heavy-duty, 18' USB cable
  • One of those damn kids that always runs across your lawn

Here's how you do it:

First, connect each of the rheostats to a voltmeter. Apply current and test the system to ensure that all the hardware is working properly. Then, take the USB cable and fashion one end of it into a crude snare trap. Hide this snare trap under leaves and grass clippings in the middle of your yard; hold onto the other end of USB cable and lie in wait behind a bush. When the damn kid runs across your lawn and onto the snare trap, tug hard on your end of the USB cable. This will trap the child about the ankle. Tie the free end of the USB to a securely anchored object near your comuter. Have the kid constantly surf the web, checking for information that is interesting to you; when something changes, tell him to twiddle the rheostats or something. When the novelty wears off three hours later, tell the kid to stay off your goddamn lawn from now on and let him go. Throw voltmeters and rheostats in trash. Hang self with USB cable.

Nah (1)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194527)

Just leave him there until he starves, then replace him with the next one who runs across your lawn. They're easily replacable, don't you see?

Re:DIY Solution (0, Offtopic)

Anixamander (448308) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194694)

I don't normally reply with attaboy type posts, but this is definitely the funniest post I have seen on here in quite some time.

Bravo.

Perfect for monitoring.... (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194343)

...the daily build [cougaar.org]!

Which is in the green, thanks very much.

you don't need one of them for that (5, Interesting)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194454)

i have a device commected to my computer which has ~2million indicators of colour, such a device could be used to show the state of every item on every stock market the world over, several times over

Re:you don't need one of them for that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194569)

Why don't you post a pic on your yet-to-be-started website?

Re:you don't need one of them for that (2, Funny)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194672)

The website is active (but you'd have to go direct to content rather than navigate). As for a picture of these sorts of devices (which can show millions of indicaors by states of colour) you could try looking here [zabbo.net].

Hey, you can get this on thinkgeek! (1)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194362)

Maybe Thinkgeek [thinkgeek.com] should buy an ad or something.

Details of think geek orb (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194678)

The ones on think geek are tied to a pay as you go server. Stop paying, it stops working.

The Ambient Orb is simply plugged into any standard 110V power outlet and it is up and running on a nationwide wireless network - no internet connection required. The Orb does not attach to a PC. The channel for the Orb can be selected via a web interface and will update in a short period of time. Depending on which channel the Orb is monitoring, it will receive updates every few minutes, or perhaps once per hour for some channels.

It can be customized to a set of free channels, such as market indices (Dow, Nasdaq, S&P 500) or weather in select cities. Optionally, you can upgrade to access more premium channels, such as your customized portfolio, local weather, pollen count, or IM buddy watch. There's also a developer interface where any semi-savvy web programmer can control the color of their Orb with a simple http "get" call. Track how full your hard drive is, traffic on your website, Slashdot posts, or your credit-card debt.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194364)

That is so 1999. By which I mean a silly dot com type idea that is bound to fail.

anus (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194366)

first post....

HOW STUPID IS THIS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194370)

It could be done in one line of Perl???? LAME.

Re:HOW STUPID IS THIS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194585)

It could be done in one line of Perl????

You can do anything in one line of Perl.

Re:HOW STUPID IS THIS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194612)

I can't get a first port in one line of Perl, therefire your theory is disproven.

SCO$699FeeTroll probably uses VB or something for his.

Re:HOW STUPID IS THIS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194636)

Can I get rid of Anonymous Cowards and their lame off-topic remarks?

unfortunatly (5, Funny)

holzp (87423) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194374)

the one monitoring their web traffic just exploded.

Re:unfortunatly (2, Funny)

eric2hill (33085) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194607)

The little paper insert reads:

[Is this thing on?]
[I think I see a byte!]
[Your friends just looked at your site.]
[Your friends clicked refresh a few times.]
[Normal]
[I'm hosting Janet Jackson porn!]
[I'm hosting animal porn!
[I'm 'given 'er all she's got!]
[Oh Shit, Slashdot.]
[Oh SHIT, Google.]

Re:unfortunatly (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194622)

the one monitoring their web traffic just exploded.

Hey, explosions are analog, aren't they?

<Homer>Oooh, pretty colored explosion!</Homer>

"The Taiwan Chinese have replaced opium with motherboards, are you a technology addict? Do you crave the latest consumer electroics? Are there Tongs governing these things?"

Fun for now. (5, Insightful)

ActionPlant (721843) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194384)

But if you had one for everything, wouldn't you just be surrounded by a lot of (eventually) confusing colors? I still prefer a single device with a sensible display. Sure, this looks fun, but after the novelty wears off I think it'll be not only annoying but inexcusably inaccurate.

Damon,

Re:Fun for now. (1)

plover (150551) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194594)

Glad you didn't RTFA. These aren't orbs, they're meters. No colors. Just indicator needles pointing to text.

The Ambient Dashboard consists of three independent meters. You insert transparent faceplates in front each meter that indicates whatever you wish that meter to display, daily Dow Jones rise/fall percent, local temperature, football game point spread, whatever. And each faceplate has some encoding mechanism that automatically tells the base what type of data it is supposed to display; the base then listens for that info and monitors it.

The whole point was to be able to display a datum with both a quick glance and calibrated text if you cared to study it more. I happen to agree with you that a pile of multicolored glowing orbs would be mostly useless, but this is a real indicator with text, not a random blob.

Proof of concept... (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194387)

This isn't worth much more than that. Especially not the prices they charge. I'm all about integrating information delivery into everyday hardware - especially if it looks nice. But think less B-movie prop and more toaster-with-an-mp3/aac/ogg-player. Now THAT would be useful.

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194390)

Yipeee ayeeeee!

Re:First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194416)

The COLOR is RED, which signifies that J00 FAIL IT.

Analog all the way (4, Insightful)

matth (22742) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194391)

Of course.. we live in an analog world.. we'll never be able to take things in digitally because we don't work digitally. Even your computer needs to be able to display in analog (speakers/monitor) before you can figure anything out. We can't do anything in digital... :)

What's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194395)

Well we are using up all the VUs of yesteryear,

next we should expect a nixie clock trend, heh

noodle noodle (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194397)

oooh wheee lal la the far too.

I've got a watch that does this (2, Funny)

bandy (99800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194401)

I've got a watch that does this. Mickey's hands move with the passage of time - the big hand sweeps in a circle over the course of an hour. The little hand goes around the circle twice a day. It's great at letting me know about what time it is! Only $299, postpaid.

Analog to Digital to Analog (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194406)

So let me get this straight...

We use some type of fancy sensor to convert a real world analog signal to digital information, then we convert the digital information back to analog to humans can understand it intuitively?

Re:Analog to Digital to Analog (4, Insightful)

finkployd (12902) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194592)

So let me get this straight...

We use some type of fancy sensor to convert a real world analog signal to digital information, then we convert the digital information back to analog to humans can understand it intuitively?


You pretty much described every electronice device in the world that has a user interface.

Finkployd

Re:Analog to Digital to Analog (1)

P-Nuts (592605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194725)

We use some type of fancy sensor to convert a real world analog signal to digital information, then we convert the digital information back to analog to humans can understand it intuitively?
You pretty much described every electronice device in the world that has a user interface.

What about analog(ue) electronics? An older oscilloscope doesn't work with digital signals. It's mostly a whole load of op-amps.

neato. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194408)

more of a fashion-accessory than anything... but pretty neat. Although I don't see how it beats an auralyzer unless your deaf.

I'll stick to my savings account thank you :)

kth post!

Dorks! All of you! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194412)

Good thing they don't have a big plastic boner that you put on your desk and when you are a big dork it flashes red.

Because it would flash red for you dorks!

Hey! (5, Interesting)

Temporal Outcast (581038) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194414)

The research group I work with here - Information Interfaces Research Group [gatech.edu] - at Georgia Tech works on something quite similar.

Its called the InfoCanvas [gatech.edu] - kinda cool stuff :)

And yes, although its not analog per-se (as in, display-meters and the like), it does show you in gradual gradings. Like the sky-color changing from a hue of blue to red, and the rainbow slowly fading away and the like.

Just thought it might be relevant! :)

A PDA (1)

lake2112 (748837) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194415)

Aren't PDA's capable of displaying all this kind of information? Of course if you are looking for that vintage 1960's look this is just the product for you

umm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194419)

Yea...

BIG DEAL..

it's a few analog gauges..

you can get more and better information out of a multi-color LCD scrolling display..

the needle is down.. SELL SELL SELL.. pfft..

Digital version (3, Funny)

ENOENT (25325) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194425)

I have a digital version of this! Let's see... right now it says "Outlook not so good." Now it says, "Try again later."

Wow! High tech stuff!!!

Re:Digital version (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194606)

I have a digital version of this! Let's see... right now it says "Outlook not so good." Now it says, "Try again later."

No matter how many different versions, and how many times you try to use Outlook, the magic 8 ball is always right, Outlook is not so good.

I know what I'd display (4, Funny)

addie (470476) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194430)

1- Number of support calls answered today
2- How much money earned today
3- Depressing ratio between the two

Re:I know what I'd display (5, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194626)

Actually, I have the coolest CPU load display. It's made with one of these "charge left" check display that comes with some AA battery (you know, you press two poles and it turns yellow). Here's the recipe:

- Get a used battery with a level check gage

- Carefully unwind the wrapper, and cut it to size to recover the gage

- Duct-tape thin electrical wires at the two ends, behind the wrapper. It's tricky to get good contact. Unfortunately, it's not possible to solder then.

- Glue the wire-equipped gage against something : this is important, the display method in the case of these AA batt checkers is thermal ink. If you want it to display something more useful than just "full on" all the time after 5 minutes, you need to glue it on something that sinks the heat from behind.

- Make a small TTL-controlled 1.5V power supply and connect the control line to one of your // port's line.

- Make a small program to control the display by sending a continuous square signal with variable width modulation (variable duty cycle). Wiggling the line only several times per second is okay, the thermal inertia of the display is high enough that any timing will work. It takes a while to calibrate it, as it's not linear.

Mine's glued on the side of my monitor. At a glance, I can see the average CPU load. It's the display itself that does the averaging, due to thermal inertia. I left the wires exposed and the "Duracell" part of the wrapper to increase the geeky looks.

Analog display (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194435)

Could they use one of those executive ball-clicker thingies to display info?

This is a neat idea, but... (1)

nial-in-a-box (588883) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194446)

... it would be more customizable, useful, and worthwhile if you built one of these yourself. I imagine it would not be all that difficult to attach some gauges to a computer and make it display what you want. Granted, they have done everything for you, but this really isn't all that valuable in its current state, other than as an idea I can rip off for myself.

Ambient Devices, hmmm (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194448)

* fires up browser *
* goes to ebay *
* Patiently waits for the burst of cheap computers and broken dreams from Ambient Devices *

Darn. (1)

DarkHand (608301) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194457)

From just reading the slashdot post I thought they had come out with an Ambient Orb for your cars dashboard, with glow color dependant on your speed or rpms. ...crap, I'd better patent that before they steal it. :)

Pollen Count? (3, Funny)

Cyclopedian (163375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194471)

I don't need a colorful orb to tell me the pollen count in my area.

My hay fever nose does just fine. Like clockwork.

-Cyc

Looks cool, but... (1)

ZZT2 (681093) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194474)

...If anything, this will merely be a fad that'll wear off after a few months. A couple of years tops. Just doesn't seem very practical. Not gonna last.

Then again, Franklin essentially said the same thing about the radio, so who am I to judge?

Re:Looks cool, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194551)

Then again, Franklin essentially said the same thing about the radio, so who am I to judge?

Yeah, and Burr thought the same thing about the Internet. That's why he dueled Hamilton, who used his Secretary of the Treasury status to push the dot-com boom.

Re:Looks cool, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194590)

Seriously. I could swear it was someone way back when that said radio would just be a fad. Meh. ** looks it up on Google **

7 million colors (4, Funny)

ayahner (696000) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194478)

Wow. This is it. The latest and greatest information display of all time.

It's a single pixel monitor for crying out load!

What the hell are people thinking?

If you really want that functionality, just plug in a monitor using a second cheapo vidcard. Much more expandable...

Re:7 million colors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194577)

It's a single pixel monitor for crying out load!

A single-pixel monitor might not sound that impressive, but with anti-aliasing it's quite workable.

Apparently they don't read slashdot polls (1)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194481)

They seem to already have given me my own! [myambient.com]

I wonder when it'll come!

Re:Apparently they don't read slashdot polls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194593)

Hate to break it to you, but those are My Devices.

Have fun at the expense of your boss with this (0)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194483)

the Executive Dashboard provides the flexibility of digital information with the simplicity of analog displays.

1 - Choose a low trading day at the stock market

2 - Go to your boss' office when he's not there, glue a small magnet behind the device, about where the "stock market" needle's fulcrum (and magnetic coil) is.

3 - If the needle doesn't jump right full tilt, invert the N-S poles of the magnet until it does.

4 - Wait for your boss to come back, watch him get all excited and sell all his shares

5 - Make evil grin

Ye Olde Weather Ball (5, Interesting)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194484)

a weather beacon that again changes colour to reflect the forecast.

Sounds a lot like the weather ball [grbj.com] that glowed from a tower in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich. in the 60's-80's (and now back up, elsewhere in the city). Pretty intuitive, and just in case you didn't get it, there's a bit of verse to explain it: "Weather ball red, warmer weather ahead / Weather ball blue, colder weather in view / Weather ball green, no change foreseen / Color blinking bright, rain or snow in sight." Same old concept, just a different device.

Re:Ye Olde Weather Ball (2, Insightful)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194565)

Pretty intuitive, and just in case you didn't get it, there's a bit of verse to explain it: "Weather ball red, warmer weather ahead / Weather ball blue, colder weather in view / Weather ball green, no change foreseen / Color blinking bright, rain or snow in sight."
These kinds of verses are almost never intuitive. For example, what if I remembered it as:

Weather ball red, colder weather ahead
Weather ball blue, warmer weather in view
Weather ball green, rain or snow is foreseen
Color blinking bright, no change in sight.

Re:Ye Olde Weather Ball (1)

blcamp (211756) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194665)


Actually, the poem goes this way:

Weatherball red, warmer ahead.
Weatherball blue, cooler in view.
Weatherball green, no change foreseen.
Colors blinking bright, rain or snow in sight.

http://www.wzzm.com (Channel 13, Grand Rapids, MI)
http://groups.msn.com/TheWeatherPeople/faqs.m snw (MSN Groups - "The Weather People")

BTW, I drive by the Weather Ball on my way to work. It's very cool.

Canada Life Weather Beacon (1)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194587)

This sounds alot like the Canada Life Weather Beacon [boldts.net] at the corner of Queen and University in Toronto.

It's one of those incredibly unique things that are just a part of everyday life, and you never think of them.

Could they build a lava lamp... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194487)

...that reminds me its time to get stoned again?

about time! (1)

mblase (200735) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194489)

...Stock Market trends, weather forecasts, traffic on your commute...

I'm glad they invented this! I was so tired of visiting weather web sites, installing stuff in my menu bar, just to display the current temperature and barometric pressure. Now I can just plug this gizmo into my computer and have it display whether the temperature and pressure are going up or down!

I saw something like this at my grandparents' house once. I never could figure out where they got the internet subscription.

Re:about time! (1)

Lurker McLurker (730170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194699)

Ah, there's no need to plug it into a computer, or have an internet connection. It receives data via radio, with no subscription fee (though you couldn't do much if they changed that policy, I guess). It is more like a barometer, except it takes in information from weather forecasters, rather than relying on local air pressure.

A needle gage is boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194508)

Couldn't they use something like an LCD with a picture of Janet Jackson that, say, removes or adds clothing based on how well the stock market is doing? Hemlines go up and down? Sky changes from bright and sunny to dark and stormy? Dinosaur finishes eating lawyer to indicate your download/install is complete?

Re:A needle gage is boring (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194526)

I wonder when these AC trolls will get off the Janet Jackson deal. It's getting real old real fast.

still... Wardrobe malfunction... Yeah.

Put "Cheaters" TV show out of business. (2, Funny)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194533)

Can it be configured to flash bright red when GPS data shows that your wife is about to bust you with another woman?

LK

Oooohhh Oooohhh ... I've got one!! (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194534)

For all my analog data display needs I devised a method of using hand held sticks made of chalk on a slate tablet.
Tablet PC's watch out, analog data displays are on the way in again!!!

I've even got a hand held version on the way!!!
Ohh and of course I've already filed over 100 patents covering my unique inventions here.

For real? (1)

Lexic0n (107205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194536)

My sister-in-law got one of these for her husband for Christmas. I laughed when I first saw it, because I was convinced it was a gag: you plug it in and it randomly changes colors, "reporting" changes in the Market or whatever.

But when she told me what it cost, I figured there must be something to it. And after looking through the web site for it, I decided these must be legit. There's developer tools and everything! If they're bogus, it's one of the best scams I've seen in a long time.

But I never could figure out exactly how these work. Anyone know anything more about them?

That's been around for years. (4, Funny)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194545)

For instance, when I was almost side-swiped by a semi truck, my car seat turned yellow.

Moments after seeing flashing red and blue lights in my rear-view window with a pound of a sticky, green, and illicit herb in my trunk, my seat turned a deep shade of brown.

The analog olfactory indicators were an added bonus.

Let me see if I've got this straight (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194563)

They've invented. . . the meter?

Oh be still my heart. What will they think of next?

KFG

Expensive. Mostly useless. (1)

irokitt (663593) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194571)

Hence, this will become the latest "I gotta have it!" thing for executives/bureucrats who depend on guys like us to tell them what it actually means.

Never mind me, guess I'm just cynical today. Sure, great toy.

Analogue Display on Computer (1)

szyzyg (7313) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194576)

I've got something setup on my computer which gives me analogue dials to display memory use, cpu use and CPU temperature - it's build into a box on the front of the case and runs off a little bit of code I hacked together.

Of course.... what I really want is an analogue accelerator pedal to control clock speed ;-)

Days since you've had sex (2, Funny)

dspfreak (666482) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194578)

Have it count the number of days since you've had sex. "Look baby, it's turning blue!"

Simplicity is the key (1)

Lurker McLurker (730170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194580)

The device seems to be about getting information instantly, without using a computer. The devices don't need any mouse clicks or keys pressed, you look at them and find out what you need to know. It's the difference between looking at a barometer, and having to enter your postcode into a weather website.

Personally, I wouldn't buy them, as they are currently expensive and limited. However, in a few years, this could be a common interface. I especially like the idea of the weather beacon, which changes colour depending on forecasted temperatures, and pulses when precipitation is likely. I would like to have a mobile, wearable version of one of these, where I could tell what today's weather was going to be like as easily as looking at my watch.

Big Deal (1)

EMDischarge (589758) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194581)

My Griffin Technologies PowerMate has been telling me the computer load by increasing or decreasing the flash rate for over a year now.

And this is worthy of front-page /. news?

eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194586)

However they seem awful pricey. ...that's part of making any single purpose analog display.

as soon as you get away from just manipulating pixels on your turing box's screen, it's going to cost bucks.

meanwhile let's try this benchmark, taco: how much do you like to make per hour to afford your home & such basics? okay, now how long would it take you to build these things? do they really seem awful pricey now, or simply not unreasonably cheap? c'mon lad, you've got the intellectual agility to realize that we're surrounded by cheap goods due to massive unfairness and unsustainable trade methods. don't fall asleep on that one.

Hammacher Schlemmer, Sharper Image, (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194599)

...Brookstone, Herrington's, etc. will all carry it for about six months and then it will be go to join the Pet Rocks, in the great Johnson Smith & Co. catalog in the sky.

This is just a way of saying "I am so important and so concerned with matters of consequence that I actually need to know all this information on a minute-to-minute basis."

Remember the old Beagle Brothers software ads in Softalk? Their office had a row of clocks showing the time in, IIRC, Sausalito, Bakersfield, and San Jose... all showing the same time, of course.

Not a new concept... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8194603)

It's been around for a while in a number of guises; pervasive computing, transparent computing - in any case it has a name and isn't some gee-whizz brand new idea. In fact, I remember Slashdot running a story on a guy that built his own glowing flower thing (I can't find it). Even Apple have their laptop keyboards change color...

The idea of having more 'socially acceptable' ways of displaying data is pretty much the output equivalent of the invention of the mouse, joystick, whatever. Sure, it's nice that you can use analogue needle thingies, but pretty much anything that isn't a monitor or a 7-seg display will fall into this category. And in the future we'll be seeing more of them.

Why? Because it's just about finding the most relevant way to display data.

you call that an analog approach? (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194658)

The best Analog Approach to Displaying Data I've ever seen was taking a computers address bus and splitting it into two parts and feeding each part into a D to A converter. The output of the D to A converters was displayed on an O-Scope. You could watch where the program was running, where the OS and the application were, where data was accessed, and where the computer was spending most of it's time on a pretty simple device.

Privacy? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194659)

And of course, the Ambient folks would NEVER sell the huge pile of interesting demographic data that they're collecting by all these Orb users customizing their orbs.

Tom Ridge ordered 250Millions minus Eleven (1)

bstadil (7110) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194676)

Rumour has is that Home Turf security honco Tom Ridge has ordered 250Millions of those dodahs. Every US citizen will get one excluding the 10 potential BadGuys he has on his WatchList plus George that can't quite get the hang of how it works.

DuckTape can only get you so far, in this HiTech world Secretary Ridge was quoted.

Reason for high price (1)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194698)

1) Building national wireless network to transmit your data and not charging monthly fees.

2) Cost of bandwidth for slashdotting.

Why not a LCD panels? (1)

pantycrickets (694774) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194702)

Why not have the back-panels at least be LCD, so you don't have to switch out plastic panels? Seems like a pain, and limited in growth. You are going to have order new plastic panels when new information becomes available on the network?

Don't get me wrong, it's an awesome idea. Just seems a little old-fashioned changing out panels when you want to see a different set of data. They'll get lost, damaged, outdated.. etc.

I like, but its been done (1)

bentfork (92199) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194707)

The "Weather Beacon" that sits on top of the Canada Life Assurance Company building in Toronto, Canada has something similar.

It works as follows:

When the beacon shows green, skies are clear. When it's red, it's going to be be cloudy. When it's flashing red, we will have rain. When it's flashing white, there will be snow. The running lights -- when they're running up, weather is getting warmer. When down, it's getting cooler. When they're steady, there's no change in the weather. During the day, the forecast is for the balance of the day. At night, it's a forecast for the next day.

Some web references here blog reference [marmalade.ca] and here pressrelease [canadalife.com]

Really analog (1)

lonb (716586) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194713)

You'd think that something coming out of hte media lab wouldn't have plastic tabs to change the labels -- how about LCDs or some of those new fangled flexidisplays?!

only the most important things... (1)

Flippant Bastard (749529) | more than 10 years ago | (#8194716)

I would set mine to monitor the Olsen Twins countdown http://olsen.websterrf.cc/ or if you want to get really tricky, set it to monitor a solar sensor to know when it's safe to go outside (geeks burn easily)
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...