Putting Twitter in a VFD clock

Not content with only knowing the time, [trandi] decided his Vacuum Fluorescent Display clock would be much better if it displayed the weather and a Twitter feed.

[trandi] received a Lady Ada Ice Tube clock last month. The kit went together almost too easily. Now he had to, “make it connect to other ‘stuff’ and display some custom messages.” After playing with the firmware to display a Hello World, [trandi] mucked around with the GPS mod and figured out how to add scrolling text over a serial connection.

A serial connection to an Internet-connected computer is all well and good, but [trandi] really wanted a stand-alone solution. A tiny WiFi to RS-232 board was sourced and the work of getting a clock on the internet began in earnest. After a weekend was wasted trying to debug the HTTP mode of the WiFi board, [trandi] gave up and used TCP mode with manually constructed HTTP headers.

The clock gets the current weather and a Twitter feed. To one-up to the Ice Cube GPS mod, the clock now sets its own time from the Internet. Check out the video of [trandi] showing off his Internet clock and fine collection of single malts after the break.

[Read more...]

Boobie Board powered Twitter notifier

boobie_board_twitter_notifier

The team over at Archonix frequently challenge themselves to create a full working project in under 20 minutes. [Andrew Armstrong] put together a blog post detailing their most recent “Quickproject” – a simple Twitter notifier built using their Boobie Board.

They started by putting together a small notifier breakout module that could later be attached to their Boobie Board. The module is pretty simple and includes a trio of LEDs to alert you to activity across several online services, though only the Twitter notification module is currently complete. The notifier’s code was written in LUA, and primarily designed to interact with Linux desktops. They do not currently have a Windows compatible version of the code available, but they are more than happy to host it if someone desires to port their code over.

The notifier was put into an old candy tin with a plastic window, which is perfect fit for their project. All in all, the entire thing took them about 40 minutes, with half spent on hardware, half on code. The notifier does just what it was intended to do, but they have a healthy list of improvements that they would like to add, including the use of the other two notifier LEDs.

Twitter notifier lets us know how awesome we are

twitter_notifier

Let’s admit it, you’re just a little bit vain. Heck, we’re all just a little bit vain when you really think about it. Instructables user [pdxnat] was self-absorbed enough that he constructed an LED “mood light” that alerts him each time someone mentions his user name on Twitter.

The build is pretty simple, with most of the work being done on his PC. His Arduino is wired to a simple RGB LED that calmly cycles through various colors until someone mentions his name on Twitter. At that point, the client software running on his PC passes a message to the Arduino over a serial interface, causing it to wildly pulse the LED. Once it catches his eye, he stops the alert cycle with the press of the reset button, returning the LED to its previous state. As a bonus, he decided to write the Twitter-polling application in both Processing and Python, enabling fans of either language to easily replicate his work.

It’s a pretty cool idea, and it would be great to see someone expand it to include other online services to provide a greater overall feel for how awesome they really are.

Keep reading to see a quick video of the notifier in action.

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Mechanical Twitter feed for offline reading

mechanical_twitter_feed

Twitter can be a great tool for keeping up to date with your favorite person/company/band/etc. You can find a Twitter client for just about anything that plugs in these days, but sometimes we find that we simply need a break from our computers and smart phones – even if just for a few minutes. What happens when you want to unplug, but still need to know what everyone is up to?

[Patrick Dinnen] asked himself the same thing, and decided that the solution was a mechanical Twitter feed display. The display consists of a static user list strung up against the wall, with a mobile speech bubble mounted next to it. The bubble moves to the user who has most recently updated their status (presumably using a pair of servos), and uses a projector to display their messages. The effect is pretty neat, and it still allows you to get your Twitter fix without staring blankly at your computer screen or smart phone.

We think it would be even cooler if it used a projector on both sides, enabling it to dynamically shuffle through users and status messages at the same time. [Patrick] says that for right now it is merely a proof of concept, so there is no telling how he’ll tweak it going forward.

Continue reading to see his mechanical Twitter feed in action.

[via Adafruit]

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SMS gateway lets you Twitter by text message

[GuySoft] threw together a cellphone-based SMS gateway that allows him to push text messages to Twitter. Once up and running, it can be used by multiple people, either with shared or individual Twitter accounts. At its core, this setup uses the cellphone as a tethered modem on a Linux box. The open source software package, Gammu SMSD, provides hardware hooks for phones running in modem mode. The package is already in the Ubuntu repositories but it runs cross-platform and can be downloaded from the project site. This gave [GuySoft] the ability to script a framework that checks for received SMS messages, compares the incoming phone number for a match on a saved list, then pushes the message from a confirmed number to Twitter via their API.

A web interface is used to register new numbers and associate them with Twitter accounts. On the back-end, [GuySoft's] own Python script handles the translation of the message. You can download all of the code, and get more insight on setup from the readme file, over at the GitHub repository.

Twittering wall switch lets Dutch hackers know when it’s time to play

hackerspace_open_switch

Hack42, a hackerspace in Arnhem, Netherlands recently moved into some new digs, and they wanted an easy way to let their members know whether they were open or not. Fixed hours of operation typically do not fit this sort of organization, so that was out of the question. Instead, they built a switch into the wall** that will let their members know when they are open for business.

The switch separates the TX and RX pins of two Ethernet ports that reside in an old access point embedded in the wall. When the hackerspace is open, the switch is thrown and the circuit is closed. A cron job checks the state of the eth1 port once a minute, sending the “Open” status message to Twitter and IRC once it notices the status change. When the switch is thrown again and the eth1 port goes down, a “Closed” message is broadcast.

It is a simple but cool hack, and quite befitting of a hackerspace.

**No direct Google Translate link is available, though Chrome will translate it for you without issue.

[Thanks, _Danny_]

Location tracking with Twitter and Google maps


[Ryan O'Hara] built a location tracker he could use on motorcycle trips. Ostensibly this is to give his wife piece of mind be we think that was an excuse to play with GPS and SMS. To stand up to the trials of the road [Ryan] took his breadboarded prototype to the next level, using a manufactured board and a SparkFun enclosure. Tucked safely away is a PIC 18F25K20 gathering longitude and latitude from a GM862, formatting the info into a Google Maps link, and sending it to the Twitter feed via an SMS message. If you’re not familiar with the GM862, in addition to being a GPS module it can send and receive cellular data on a GSM network.

This is a nice solid hardware platform from which we can envision a couple of other hacks. The feed could be parsed to make a nice map graphic like the webpage for that Twittering Road Bike. It also might be nice to have a d-pad and character LCD to post your own tweets to the feed at the end of the day.

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