Digg Labs Arc Screensaver on the TVs at Intel JF1

Digg Arc Screensaver on Intel JF1 TV

Someone (it wasn’t me, even though I run this very thing as my own screensaver!) installed the Digg Labs “Arc” visualization screensaver on one of the wall-mounted TVs in Intel’s Jones Farm 1 (JF1) building (a.k.a where I work, a.k.a. The Workplace of the Future, a.k.a. Ikea Hillsboro 😉 ). I like it!

If you haven’t ever seen it, it cycles through new stories as they are submitted to Digg (it’s more complex than that, but I don’t understand exactly how it determines what to display), and shows “diggs” (votes) for the stories as they come in (the arcs around the outside). There are a few other really cool visualizations available from Digg Labs – check them out if you’ve haven’t before.

I run this as my screensaver, because I think it’s a really cool way to keep a finger on the “pulse” of what’s happening on the web. If any kind of major news breaks, it’s always all over Digg, so you’re sure not to miss anything. Wisdom of Crowds and all that. I sometimes substitute an RSS visualizer (like the one built into Mac OS X) or Flickrvision or Twittervision or something, for variety. I figure my screensaver should do something useful, rather than just showing pretty colors. On the Mac, I use an awesome little free screensaver app called IdleWeb that lets you display any web page as your screensaver. I’m sure something similar exists for Windows.

If you know the kinds of stories that show up on Digg, you know that once in a while a, um, Not Safe For Work headline will slip in there. But it’s no worse than the little news headline ticker that’s usually running on these TVs. I’ve seen headlines about murder, pedophiles, abortion, and celebrity scandals run by on the “official” display. Digg is no worse than watching CNN, if you ask me, and far more timely and interesting (and informative!).

I’m sure someone official is going to notice this and remove it sooner or later. Though I think it’s MUCH better than the canned Intel propaganda PowerPoint slides and canned TV “news” streams that the TVs are usually displaying.

Actually, that’s not exactly right. It’s better than the blank video windows, random error messages, and “Content Expired” warnings that these TVs are usually displaying:

Java Updater Crashed on all the Intel JF1 TV PCs
Your Content Has Expired!

Anyway, like I said, it wasn’t me, and it’s going to be interesting to see how long it stays there before someone gets all worried about it and removes it. Maybe it will pop up again later, turning into a battle for control of the TVs that we stare at all day! :-)


5 thoughts on “Digg Labs Arc Screensaver on the TVs at Intel JF1

  1. Matt G says:

    you need to get an account on the machines that the screens run on, and then have a field day.

  2. I’ve thought about what it would take to take over one of the little PCs. I think Remote Desktop is out, because it blanks the physical display when you connect remotely, which would be a) a dead giveaway, and b) not let you do live shennanigans like typing messages to the people standing in front of the TV. :-)

    Here’s how I would do it, IF I were going to try (which I’m not, and haven’t!):

    1. Copy a VNC server to a USB drive
    2. Plug it in, use a USB keyboard to install/configure/hide the VNC server, and note the IP address of the machine.
    3. ???
    4. Profit!

    Think of it – you could remote fix all of those errors, run cool, useful, and interesting visualizations like this, or even get really fancy and put up some kind of jukebox/web interface to let people choose/vote for what they want to see. The possibilities are endless, although I hate to think of the freakout that would happen if they found a surreptitious VNC server running on one of these machines… :-)

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  4. Clayton C says:

    Excellent! I work over in JF5, but happened to wander through JF1 today in time to see it up on the TV. Had to do a double-take :)

  5. scott says:

    every time i go back to digg, i wind up having to avoid it again. i haven’t looked at it in months. the comments on digg always sound so juvenile, it’s hard to believe the average age is in the adult range supposedly.

    also not so sure about the wisdom of crowds. seems like masses of people tend to fall into mass stupidity more often than not (witness the typical digg comments).

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