Help Me Make an Info Display
February 18, 2009 8:29 AM   Subscribe

I have a 22" external monitor that I want to mount on a wall near my computer desk and display information on it for me to read across the room. How can I do this? Using OSX on an iMac.

I've had a dual monitor setup for a few years, but lately I haven't been using the second one as much. I decided it might be interesting to mount it on the wall so I can see it from across the room. Here are a few examples of what I might want to be able to show on it (possibly slideshow-style, where each item is on the screen for 30 seconds or something? But it could be all on the screen at once, too. That would probably be easier.)
- current weather
- new email messages
- new Adium instant messages
- current date/time
- pictures (when it's not displaying other info, it can be an awesome picture frame).

Is there any way I can accomplish this? I know how to program in C, C++ and C#, although I've only done so in Windows. So I'd be confident with learning something like that, if it will help. Another main point is that this information needs to be large enough for me to see it from 8 feet away or so.

Thanks for the help!
posted by DMan to Technology (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Does your iMac have one of the remotes? If so, I think you could configure that to open up Dashboard, where you could maybe find appropriate widgets (hopefully large enough to be visible from a distance) to do all the things you'd like.

Rolling your own solution may be fun, but learning the Cocoa / Obj-C / OS X ropes may be pretty daunting.
posted by kingbenny at 8:47 AM on February 18, 2009


Is there a Windows Sidebar equivalent in OSX? Or maybe Google Gadgets? That way you could just use your dual monitor setup with a longer cable and slide the sidebar over to that monitor. (IANAMacUser)
posted by txvtchick at 8:52 AM on February 18, 2009


You have a few options. Processing. Clutter Toolkit. Yahoo Widgets. Mach Desktop. Most of the really cool info visualizations i've seen are done in Flash, e.g. Digg Spy, Digg Arc. So I recommend that as a first start.
posted by arimathea at 9:10 AM on February 18, 2009


Also, Quartz Compositions can be used as screen savers.
posted by arimathea at 9:10 AM on February 18, 2009


Just find the appropriate Dashboard Widgets, arrange them so you can see them all at once, and then use OS X's "zoom window" feature to increase the size of the pixels so they're viewable across the room. Press the Control key and scroll your mouse. Zoom in! Zoom out! So awesome.

This feature also works well for poorly-designed Powerpoint decks where the fonts are too small for people at the back of the room to read. Zoom in!
posted by camworld at 9:34 AM on February 18, 2009


Dashboard is your best bet:

- current weather
- new email messages
- new Adium instant messages
- current date/time
- pictures (when it's not displaying other info, it can be an awesome picture frame)

Once you have set up your widgets, just run a video cable from your Mac to the external monitor and hit F12.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:45 AM on February 18, 2009


Use Stattoo. I had a free trial once and it was pretty cool.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:46 PM on March 16, 2009


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