Archive for the ‘broadcasters’ Category

how to make a public text box

November 7, 2011

publictextbox, put yourself in front of it and type something

a public text box is a basic information sharing utility for a shared space. in this case, it’s a twitter account associated with a specific machine in a shared space rather than a person(who could be anywhere).

we tried this on macosx and linux. windows not tested but should work fine afaik.

1) download software and libraries

Processing:, Control P5 Library:, Fullscreen library:, Twitter Java library, twitter4j-core-v#.jar,

2) the code

3) where to put things, this will vary slightly with your OS, but should look about the same. if you open processing and save the same sketch and then search for that it will probably be something like /Documents/Processing/sketch_023d

So you want to create a folder processing/publictextbox and publictextbox.pde will go in there. Then create /processing/publictextbox/code and controlP5.jar, fullscreen.jar, and twitter4j-core-version#.jar files will go in there.

file locations for processing scketch and libraries, will be a .txt file with keys in it too

4) register and get twitter keys, put keys into .pde code

5) test it out yo! do yer best debugginn.

6) make some keyboard modifications. maybe if you’re going to put this in a public place you should make a keyboard that has no ESC or CTL key so people can’t get out of the app once it’s running?

7) build a box. make it look nice. think ATM, public telephone, arcade game. get crafty and creative. i believe in you!

8) maybe you will have an auto shutdown and restart that will allow the installation to run long term without crashing as much?? see video for mac version of this. on linux it will be crontab. on windows the answer is ??

subscribe to the feed and watch the strange messages role in….!/publictextbox

could you make the same for something like a reddit/facebook/?? account?

some random notes about using old mac 10.4 machine…

Boston Public Twvee visits Occupy Boston

October 30, 2011

The boston public twvee broadcaster cart has been to visit Occupy Boston on a few days.
Here are some compilation vids from those days.

boston public twvee hits north cambridge

Public Media Systems Workshop, Wednesdays 7-9pm in November, Cambrij

October 30, 2011

An informal workshop and working group around media systems.
What will happen?
We will discuss media systems. Things like television, internet, magazines, blogs, etc. We will view them with several lens including consumption/production, parallel/serial, horizontal/vertical, local/global, centralized/distributed, community/personal. We will then discuss small actions and cover how any new or old computer can become a local information server, a shared public appliance. Using free software, we will go over several ways you can accomplish this. You can do some physical building of a structures to house your device and we can talk about local venues that might house your unit as well. From cafes, music venues, to occupy boston.

Things you can learn to make if you want:
A videobooth, a public timelapse server, command line video remixing, computer timelapse self surveillance, youtube upload scripts, a public text box, and lots of good low level stuff about shell scripting and installing linux, systems thinking, etc.

What you should bring:
Your current computer or an old computer. Any old pc(win2k+) or mac (osx+) can probably be turned into a public information appliance. So bring one of those if you have it.
If you have an old webcam, bring that. If you have an old point and shoot camera from this list, please bring that:

Where: Industry Lab coworking space. 288 Norfolk St, 4th Floor. Near Inman Sq, Cambrij.
When: 4 Wednesdays in November, 7-9pm. Nov 9,16,23,30

RSVP to dan:

If you are interested but can’t make the time, you can still email and maybe some additional one-off sessions will be held at other times.

All Asia Timelapse Twvee

February 18, 2011

Just installed a new timelapse twvee set at All Asia Cafe in Cambridge MA.
Each day it makes a audio and video timelapse movie.

youtube channel=

The scripts are similar to those used in the Timelapse memory server. It also has an audio component which is similar to the methods described in this post.

The machine is an old hp pc(~$140 from craigslist) with ubuntu 10.10 (free if you don’t count internet to download and cd to burn it on) on it. Webcam is a playstation 2 eyecam(~$40). I spent some money on lumber to build a box around it but mostly used scraps.


The machine also uses the youtube uploader stuff described in this post.

A twvee(twee-vee) set is sort of like a tv set except that it’s 2 directional. Maybe it should be a 2V set?

using motion now to capture frames. other incomplete notes here

a related experiment from a machine shop. some more theory too.

How to make a timelapse shared memory server

July 14, 2010

The basic idea is this. You’ve got an old computer lying around. You’ve got a webcam or something else that can take pictures. So you can make yourself an information appliance. A simple one function shared device.

Can a timelapse server for a shared space serve a purpose like a logfile for a shared software development project?

1. Old pc/mac that is sitting a closet somewhere.
2. Capture card + external security cam OR usb webcam
3. optional web connection

Our current system is an old Dell Dimension running Fedora 11 Linux. Should work fine with most any linux distro.
Set up the machine:
1. install streamer(xawtv), ffmpeg, imagemagick, scrot(optional)
2. install scripts

The script for making timelapse movies is here:
File includes many old comments but it’s a rather simple script.
Basic functionality:

initialize to a daily directory.
while [ 1 ]
if (new day)
then {make movie with ffmpeg, reinitialize to new daily directory}
write timestamped jpg to daily directory
wait 20 seconds

The script for playing back the movies(

#! /bin/bash
while [ 1 ]
#mplayer -loop 0 -fs -shuffle /home/timelapse/Videos/copies/cam*.mp4
# vlc works too
mplayer -fs -shuffle /home/timelapse/Videos/copies/cam*.mp4
sleep 2 # this line is to make it easier to break out of.
# esc to leave playing. ctl-c to break out of script which will restart after 2 seconds.

don’t forget to make the scripts executable.

chmod 755 *.sh

If you’d like the movies to upload to a youtube channel automatically every night, you can do that as well. Instructions here.

A sample movie from the system:

Another earlier overview that shows some more detail about the actual connections:

another slight modified version that is at mit csail machine shop.

Brooklyn Public Library Broadcaster

June 7, 2010

dell d630 running ubuntu 10.04 and cheese 2.30.1 [more info on specs]

Actual booth is not installed yet. Should be installed later this week.

Come down to the library and leave a video message of support as they are facing a $20 million budget cut. This broadcaster is focused around the idea of allowing visitors of the library a chance to voice their support and easily send messages to elected officials about the importance of the library. Lowering the barrier to entry for letter writing.

Howto: Youtube auto-upload script

March 3, 2010

So you’re making lots of movies and you want things to upload to youtube automatically without you having to do any heavy lifting? If you are comfortable with a little bit of terminal and command line stuff, no problem.

A few things you will need:
Gmail account and Youtube account. These will be linked. You can use one gmail account as the developer for multiple youtube accounts but each youtube account needs it’s own independent email address, and for multiple gmail accounts you might need to get some dummy address at or as an alternative email. Then get yourself a developer key while logged into your developer gmail account.

Python 2.6 is probably already installed. But if not, install that too.

We’ve gotten this working for MacOSX and Linux (ubuntu 9.10 and fedora 11 anyway).
It’s probably not too hard to get it working with Windows but we’ve never tried.

Files you need: at
edit login information for youtube and gmail accounts.
edit developer key. edit the keywords and description to fit your project. at
check the path.
Thanks to Sean Levin for writing these.

Gdata and Atom directories. They are zipped and downloadable here: Unzip and place into same directory as

Copy these files into whatever directory you will be uploading videos from.
You will now need to edit both of these files as noted above. Do you have a favorite text editor for simple code? We like smultron on mac and gedit or emacs on linux but any will do. Whatever music you like.

make sure both files are executable.

chmod 755
chmod 755

then try it out manually. from the video directory prompt try running the videochecker.
yourvideodirectory$ ./
Got Upload directory
You have a save directory
Not running
just before loop start
inside for loop
Uploading OMPD-20100301-20100302.mp4
uploader-log: running doit with the_time=2010-03-02T00:00:53 and the_filename=OMPD-20100301-20100302.mp4
uploader-log: created media_group
uploader-log: created youtube entry
uploader-log: created YouTubeService
uploader-log: attempting to find previous login token in token file
uploader-log: token file found
uploader-log: set login token to DQAAAHUAAA ...
uploader-log: trying login with captcha_token=None and captcha_response=None
uploader-log: login succeeded continuing on to upload
uploader-log: saving token (DQAAAHYAAABXiMigRrgi5 ... ) to token file (youtube_login_token.txt)
uploader-log: starting to upload video entry
uploader-log: completed upload of video entry
uploader-log: OMPD-20100301-20100302.mp4 uploaded to service successfully. Returning success to calling script (0)

if you’re getting an error with videochecker, try changing the first line to
#! /bin/bash -ex and it will output lots of extra info as it runs.

Ok. So you made it that far and now you want to set it up so it runs automatically each day or week or hour. Time for crontab. What is a crontab you ask? It’s sort of like asking your alarm clock to run a program instead of make a loud sound. It’s just a simple text file that you add some instructions to. The only problem is that you usually edit it in vi (a text editor). vi is nice and all but it’s rather confusing if you haven’t used it before. With vi, there are 2 modes, insert-text mode and command mode. 3 most useful key sequences are:
i – enter insert mode,
esc – exit insert mode
ZZ – save file and exit program.
Want to learn more:

In the terminal window (here your current path matters not), enter
crontab -e
type i to put the editor in INSERT mode. (see text in bottom left of editor)

- then make your crontab look like:
# m h dom mon dow command
*/10 * * * * /home/yourlinuxboxname/Videos/Webcam/

(which runs that script every 10 minutes.)

# m h dom mon dow command
* 3 * * * /home/yourmac/Movies/AUTOUPLOAD/

(which runs that script at 3am each evening. But only when the computer is awake.)

- hit the ‘esc’ key to get out of insert mode.

- then type ZZ to save and exit.

Let us know how this works for you and we will try to keep an updated version of these instructions.


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