Table to projector data gathering system?
August 6, 2008 5:26 PM   Subscribe

Large group conference, need to display transcribed thoughts on a wall for everyone to see.

Are there any solutions (inside or outside the box) that would essentially allow me to make a scrolling list of "ideas" collected from people walking around groups in a meeting room of 100 people?

Ideally it would be a laptop/projector reading from a central database of some sort, and people would enter things into the database and the application would display the updated items.

We would really like ~3 laptops roaming out... but a brief search turns me up without much except perhaps instant messaging, or VNC and MIcrosoft word.

No internet access will be available.
posted by SirStan to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Will you have networking available at all?
posted by rhizome at 5:42 PM on August 6, 2008

Would you mind providing a bit more information? For example, what operating system will these laptops have? Will you only expect your guests to enter text, or will they try to include graphics? Even if you don't have internet (i.e., the World Wide Web) can you set up a little network right in the room, enough to copy files back and forth wirelessly?

There's a way to do this by looping a one-line shell script on the roaming laptops and another on the projector computer. I can describe that in more detail if you are indeed working only with text on *NIX (Linux or Mac OS X) systems, and can move files wirelessly. But if you need graphics or Windows I'm afraid I wouldn't be of much use.
posted by d. z. wang at 6:14 PM on August 6, 2008

It seems like a simple HTML file might be the most expedient solution. Copy this text and save it as a file called "scroller.html":

<font size="7"><marquee>........idea #1................idea #2................idea #3........</marquee></font>

Open the file by clicking on it on your desktop and it should open in your web browser and display the list of ideas scrolling left-to-right. Most web browsers have a "full screen" mode that would be best for displaying it via projector. Each time the file is edited to add another idea to the list you have to press "Reload" in the web browser. Internet access is not needed.

Fancier HTML code could enhance it in a variety of ways - top-to-bottom scrolling instead of left-to-right, for example, or a script that would automatically reload the browser so that you don't have to bother to press the button. An experienced web developer would be able fairly quickly to create a form that stores the ideas as text in a database; if you're technically inclined you might give that a try.
posted by XMLicious at 6:17 PM on August 6, 2008

Tablets would work great for this. You could have each of the 3 tablets projecting on a different section of wall or they could be networked around a common file
posted by Xurando at 6:22 PM on August 6, 2008

Another simple solution, though without scrolling, would be rotating slides in something like PowerPoint or to create each idea as text in an image with an image editor, then display them with an image slideshow. Displaying a group of images as a slideshow is built-in functionality in Windows and I'm sure there must be some easy way to do it on a Mac as well.
posted by XMLicious at 6:36 PM on August 6, 2008

Windows XP, or Linux (or anything else is possible), they will be networked wirelessly. No images, just a varchar(255) of text.
posted by SirStan at 5:28 PM on August 7, 2008

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