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! 🙂