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.
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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.

Streaming server needed

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There is a real chance we can provide you with a working video feed of Stereoscope as we have a camera in place but unfortunately we lack server capacity to re-broadcast it to the world.

So if you can help out we'd like to hear from you. We are explicitly looking for a Darwin Streaming Server installation that has enough bandwidth to sustain quite a few viewers (no, we have no clue how many it would be but we think it would be a lot).

The story of Project Blinkenlights

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I met Bre Pettis the first time at the third Chaos Communication Camp where he asked me about Project Blinkenlights and how it all came together. Bre is a genuine all-purpose hacker who excels at explaining how stuff works and even more important: how you can do it yourself.

Bre just recently launched a fantastic new TV show called History Hacker (I can only recommend watching the show's pilot episode to get an idea). We recorded a podcast on his work at the 24C3 in Berlin. Bre describes his view of the hacker culture and his motivation to do what he does. Check it out.

Bre has now written a long article about Project Blinkenlights which comes in two parts of which the first has been now posted to his blog: Blinkenlights: The Beginning. I am really looking forward to part two and will tell you when it's available.

The Setup Crew

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First Light

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After squashing a gazillion of bugs in our software during this weekend, Blinkenlights Stereoscope did its first deep breath and put up the first images and animations on Toronto City Hall. There is still a lot of work ahead but we are confident to be ready to run in time for Nuit Blanche.

Blinkenlights Stereoscope is powered by a new wireless dimmer technology that has been been developed by the team in the recent months explicitly for this installation in Toronto, Canada. We will post more on about our technology soon which will also be made available under a free license.

Blinkenlights Library for Processing

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We have added another option to create animations for the upcoming Stereoscope installation: a library for the Processing programming language that is wildly popular in the media art scene for interactive art. This library enables Processing developers to both send live streams to the Stereoscope simulator and to create Blinkenlights movies for later submission to be included in our playlist.

The Blinkenlights Library for Processing includes all the code you need and detailed instructions how to set up your development environment to create Stereoscope-compatible graphics. Processing is available for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows alike and is our first true cross-platform development environment.

This is not the end. We have more to come and will provide you with even more exiting options to participate in Stereoscope. Next up is a development environment for telephone controlled games. Watch this space and spread the word.

Stereoscope Creation Tools released

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We have released an updated and comprehensive version of our Stereoscope Creation Tools for Mac OS X leveraging the Mac's built-in Quartz Composer technology and giving you the opportunity to easily create advanced imagery and animations, test it with a 3D simulator and convert it to our Blinkenlights Movie format for later submission.

We are also planning to release an enhanced framework for animations and games (!) for the cross-platform Processing and Java programming languages soon. Stay tuned!

Stereoscope Simulator for iPhone now available

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You can now finally download the Stereoscope Simulator for iPhone from the iTunes App Store. Hooray!. Please note that you will still receive a test stream for now. We let you know when the real stream goes live (while the application itself will notice automatically). Download the application here.

Ready to debug

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Stereoscope moves on. We finally distributed and installed all the lamps and dimmers to all the floors in both towers of Toronto City Hall and we are also installing the final pieces of our internal network. This means we are entering an extensive and pretty tough debugging phase.

Currently this means a lot of running around and testing and mostly work at night. It's a pretty exhausting job and the amount of work seems to be endless. If you live in Toronto you can already take a peek while run our tests on the facade. But keep in mind it doesn't look very nice until we have squashed all the remaining bugs.

The Virtual Matrix

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We have now updated the website to better explain on how to address the Stereoscope screen space. Thinking about the problem with a facade effectively torn into four separate areas we came up with the idea of a Virtual Matrix that includes all four screens and aligns them within a much larger matrix. Read more about this on our page on how to create content for Stereoscope.

Expect more updates on this topic soon. We are preparing releases of more tools that you can use to target Stereoscope and we hope you will join us in this endeavor.

It Blinks

We had the first two nights where an aware observer could spot some blinking pixels on the east tower.
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Stereoscope Paint

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We have added another tool to create simple animations for Stereoscope. Following in the footsteps of BlinkenPaint (for Blinkenlights) and ArcadePaint (for Arcade) we provide you with Stereoscope Paint.

Stereoscope Paint is limited to the two top screens of the building (because the lower parts are partly obscured by the building itself). And you can only target one of two screens at a time. Once you have finished an animation you can save it as a file and submit it. We will post the submission form later on as it is not yet finished.

Stereoscope Simulator for Mac OS X v0.95 released

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We have released a standalone version of our Stereoscope Simulator for Mac OS X Leopard (Version 0.95) that supports our Blinkenlights Streaming Protocol. In short the simulator keeps you in direct contact with whatever is going on on our building but also allows you to use it as a preview tool for you own movies and animations that you can create with our Quartz Composer based tools.

Right now the Main Toronto Feed is of course not yet running while we are still preparing the installation. But it will be available later on and it will become the default stream when you launch the application then.

We know this is currently a strong Mac-focus regarding our tools but this is not the end of the story. We will soon provide more cross-platform stuff to keep you all busy contributing to Stereoscope. Stay tuned.

Setup Pictures Nr. 1

Some pictures from the setup process with the 4th floor already blinking and some impressions of the house with most foil on the windows.

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Hacking our way

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This weekend we have started to roll out our material for Stereoscope into the floors of Toronto City Hall. Tons of little clips, cover sheets, metal poles and of course lamps. Right now we are not running into any major problems so we are confident we'll be able to start testing sometime next week leaving us some room for optimization before the final showdown at Nuit Blanche at October 4th, 2008.

Martin and DominikMartin and DominikMeanwhile our team is hacking along continuously adding new features and functionality to the software. We are happy to announce that version 1.0 of our iPhone Simulator has been readied and was submitted to the iTunes App Store for approval. So when things go well you might have access to this lovely tool on your devices soon. Kudos and lots of thanks to Dominik and Martin (aka the Coding Monkeys) who have joined Project Blinkenllghts for this endeavor.

Andrew and DanAndrew and DanAlso pretty busy is our Canadian team (Andrew, Dan and Jonathan) who only recently joined forces and hacked away tons of code since. They are fine tuning the new subsystem they created enabling the new mixing and overlaying functionality of Stereoscope you will soon be able to experience. They are also busy readying the new telephone subsystem moving our once ISDN-based telephony interface to Voice-over-IP giving us even more freedom how to interface to your mobile phone to Stereoscope to play games on screen.

We are looking forward to most of the rest of the team to arrive on Monday evening. We will then make some final decisions on how you all can contribute content for Stereoscope. We keep you posted on any further developments. Stay subscribed and tell your friends about this project. If you live in Toronto and want to join forces or offer any kind of co-operation, let us know. Stereoscope is an open platform and is all about participation and collaboration. And it's coming to a very big screen near you soon!

The Blinkenlights Symphony

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Testing the live video setupTesting the live video setupAt Nuit Blanche on October 4th 2008, Blinkenlights Stereoscope is going to host a very special event a bit further into the night.

Dubbed the Blinkenlights Symphony, we are going to present an audiovisual experience using the Stereoscope facade as a huge realtime video display in sync with music especially composed for the event. The presentation starts at 22:00h (10PM) Toronto local time and will last about half an hour.

The visuals will be produced live by VJ Falk Gärtner using the VDMX video mixing software suite which has been enhanced to speak the Blinkenlights protocol directly. You can read more about the technical background in Falk's blog.