Project Blinkenlights Blog

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/blinkenlights/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/blinkenlights/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display.inc on line 0.
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  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/blinkenlights/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/blinkenlights/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/blinkenlights/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
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  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/blinkenlights/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/blinkenlights/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display_block::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin_display::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/blinkenlights/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display_block.inc on line 0.
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  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/blinkenlights/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
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  • warning: strtotime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/blinkenlights/sites/all/modules/views/modules/node/views_handler_argument_dates_various.inc on line 66.
  • warning: strtotime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/blinkenlights/sites/all/modules/views/modules/node/views_handler_argument_dates_various.inc on line 66.
  • warning: strtotime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/blinkenlights/sites/all/modules/views/modules/node/views_handler_argument_dates_various.inc on line 66.
  • warning: strtotime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/blinkenlights/sites/all/modules/views/modules/node/views_handler_argument_dates_various.inc on line 66.
  • warning: strtotime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/blinkenlights/sites/all/modules/views/modules/node/views_handler_argument_dates_various.inc on line 66.
  • warning: strtotime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/blinkenlights/sites/all/modules/views/modules/node/views_handler_argument_dates_various.inc on line 66.

Mac Simulator updated

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We have updated the Stereoscope Simulator for Mac OS X to version 1.0. It now features the same awesome 3D model as the iPhone version. Now everybody on a Mac can enjoy this realistic view.

If you have installed the simulator before it should auto-update. Just launch the program and wait for the update dialog. You can also force the update check using the application menu if it doesn't come up automatically for any reason.

Play games on Stereoscope

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We have now released the list of games that can be played on the building alongside with the telephone numbers you have to call. Have fun.

Countdown

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So today is the big day. We are going to switch our proxies to the live signal so that you can use the Stereoscope Simulator to watch it going it real time. There will also be an update to the Macintosh simulator soon showing the same 3D model as the iPhone version does.

Next we will release the telephone numbers you can use to play the list of games we offer. It is going to be a long list as we have developed quite a few in the recent days.

While you are waiting for Stereoscope to start, you can watch a timelapse movie that we made during our testing phase yesterday:

Stereoscope Live Video Stream

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Please note: since the project is over now, the stream is also gone.

We had set up a video stream for Blinkenlights Stereoscope.

We tried to provide higher quality but streaming technology these days still seems to be in its infancy. It's all too complicated and not powerful enough to be setup easily.

We are using the ustream.tv service right now which apparently does not have too much bandwidth for Europe but it should be fine for North America at least. Leave a comment on how it works for you.

Participating in our Blinkenstream Distribution Network

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From tomorrow on, the Stereoscope Simulator receives a real time data stream that is an exact copy of what we are actually showing on the building. This stream will start on October 4th, 2008 at 1900h EST.

In order to be able to deal with the demand, we have set up a network of cascading blinkenproxies that relay the data to each other in a hierarchical manner. But we do not have enough server capacity to handle larger loads and we don't know how many people will actually tune in. It could be some, it could be many. So we are asking people running a server somewhere to help us out and participate in our Blinkenstream Distribution Network.

We have readied a simple blinkenproxy program (written in Ruby) that should be easy to deploy. All you need to do is to download the script, make sure it runs (and keeps running) on your server and tell us where it runs so that we can add your server's address to our list of public servers the simulator can connect to.

Download: blinkenproxy.rb

Thanks in advance for your help.

Tagging Stereoscope

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We know that quite a few people put up photos and videos on sites likes flickr and YouTube and the like which is fine. We would like you to tag all the material with both the tag "blinkenlights" and "stereoscope" if you do so that we (and everybody else) can easily track new material automatically. Thanks!

Writing Games for Stereoscope

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We have now finalized the new Gaming API for Stereoscope, which means that if you have a good idea for a game that could be played on the facade of Toronto City Hall using a mobile phone, there is a real chance to get this done. We know this is short notice, but it's worth a try.

So Jonathan has published the preliminary documentation and the code for the Blinkengame API you need on his website. We will roll this in our website later on, but let's be quick:

Read: Blinkengame API for Java

Stereoscope as a VJ screen

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There is one day left to go and we are making good progress in setting everything up. Although the system itself basically started to work last monday there are so many details you need to take care until you can call it perfect (or at least good enough).

Last night VJ Falk Gärtner - who is going to present the Blinkenlights Symphony at Nathan Philips Square live at 10pm - was doing his first test run linked to live to the system via WLAN. And the results were stunning. It's quite an advantage to be able to control contrast and brightness while sitting in front of the building watching it in real time.

Have a look for yourself:

Got it? It's going to be amazing.

Movie Submission interface up and running

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We have finally opened up our submission interface for movies for Stereoscope. Please follow the guidelines to be able to upload your content. Thanks in advance for your contribution. It is highly appreciated.

Updated Creation Tools

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We updated the Stereoscope Creation Tools a bit to include a variety of smaller bug fixes that might come in handy.

Bre Pettis on Stereoscope

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Bre Pettis has published the second part of his story about Project Blinkenlights, this focusing on Stereoscope.

Tips for creating content for Stereoscope

Designing content for Stereoscope has its challenges. As our matrix consists of two towers facing each other, has a pretty low resolution and small range of brightness there are some things to consider when creating content for it.

Here are some tips from us:

  • High contrast is always a good idea - as high as possible that is. If you think the contrast looks too high on your computer screen its probably not even enough. Greyscale photos are barely visible as is. 1bit animations are the best visible obviously. Videos work less good then shape animations. Big shape animations work better then small shapes. Do not put in too much detail.
  • Work with the two towers individually - if you have bright animations consider putting them only on one tower - or alternate between the towers. Its actually nice to play with the reflection that way. If you have a white screen on the west tower the east tower will be extremely washed out.
  • If the animations are too fast swish-swoshing across the screens then you are only seeing the afterglow of the lamps - it can be a nice effect but remember that this will hinder the visibility of what is actually shown. Keep it slow. Think about the sheer size of the building: people need time to track movements.
  • The outer parts of the towers are also not visible from many positions - that's especially important if you want readable text. Take a look at our 3D simulator to test the looks of your stuff from various viewing positions and angles.

Calibrating Stereoscope

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One of the better features of our latest installation Stereoscope is that we are able to fine tune the calibration of the system. Dominik wrote a small application for the iPhone that serves as a remote control for selecting exact dimmer timings for every single greyscale value (Stereoscope uses 16 different brightnesses to produce its magic).

The results so far are pretty nice:

Image to BML converter

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Dan Fraser posted an image converter that creates BML files that can be used for Stereoscope. This means you can convert any animation to our format by using one image per frame as an intermediary format essentially interfacing to every possible animation generator.

Ready to run

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Tonight we finished the basic setup for Stereoscope: all the floors are working, we finished the calibration and squeezed a couple of remaining bugs in the way we coordinate the dimmers. We are very happy with the results. We are now going after a couple of remaining minor issues to make sure everything looks great.

This means we can focus on the content now. There is still a lot going behind the scenes and we hope we can still push out a couple of extra tools. We are also readying the submission system so that you can send your content to us.

We are also making progress with the streaming setup. We are confident to be able to provide live streaming of the event. Thanks to everybody who offered us streaming server capacity. We will get back to you soon.