DIY : The picturetweeting bathroom scale (aka the worst christmas present ever)

grete1

A bathroom scale is probably the last thing you would want as a christmas present. Imagine unwrapping it and trying to NOT seem insulted and hurt? Can you imagine a worse christmas present? Well, how about bathroom scales that take a picture of you, from the worst and least flattering angle, and uploads it straight to the web through Twitter and twitpic? Yes, I know, it’s a horrible idea! Which means it simply HAS to be made. So I did, or at least a working prototype!

Research – trying to find the worst angle to take the picture from!

Check out the example photos taken with the Tweeting batroom scale.

The code

The code is written in actionscript3 and compiles as an AIR app, and is largely based on the wonderful work of Rudy van der Blom which he was so kind as to share with me. He made an APP called Twicam that lets you log in to your Twitter account, snap a 320×240 picture and upload it to the web with the push of a button.

I first change the code a little and added a keylistener, that automated the image posting when you pressed a certain button (r) on the keyboard. My plan was to modify the bathroom scale and add a switch to it, and run wires from the switch to a usb keyboard emulator. I sent that version to Rudy, and then he made a version that was motion triggered, which ment that no wires where necessary. Gold! He also added a cycler that made a grid consisting of four 160×120 images. I then increased the size of the final image to 640×480, and made a small change so that the app only posted a new image after the fourth grid had filled up (instead of every time a new grid was filled), and that is what the code is like now. A work in progress for sure, and I was so much fun to work with Rudy on this. Cool guy!

Code sharing

Rudy has agreed that we can share the code with anyone who want’s it, and I will try to find time to clean it up a little and upload it here. Rudy want’s to make and AIR installer for the motion triggered version and share it from his AIR app site. So stay tuned. Leave your info in the comments below if you want to be notified when the code is online!

Improvements

I have a bug in the code that makes the image uploaded to Twitpic “off” compared to what you see on the screen when the app is running, so that needs to be fixed. I also want to add the manual switch I think, so that the software only sends pictures when someone is actually standing on the scales. The motion trigger seems a little unpredictable and slow, at least it eats almost all my macbook memory for some reason. A manual switch and a key listener would make the result smoother and more predictable, but the drawback is that you need alot more hardware to set it up.

Other uses

The motiontriggered webcam is of course a very affordable security solution with free storage on the web, and can be used for just about anything. But I also made a Twittering christmas calendar, that takes a picture of the “thief” if she opens the day in her calendar too early. It’s still just a prototype, but here are some pictures that might give you an idea on how it works.

lars


Coveritlive: Hva sier folk om NRK på en fredagskveld?

Hysj, ikke si det til noen, men en av “hobbyene” mine er å søke etter NRK-relaterte temaer og programmer på Twitter. Jeg svarer/kommenterer på de jeg finner interessante, og forsøke å fikse ting dersom noen ikke funker for folk. Noe av det hyggeligste ved å jobbe i en så stor og kjent bedrift som NRK, er at det ikke skorter på kommentarene.

En fredagskveld i september 2009 satte jeg opp en CoverItLive-session hvor jeg forsøkte å fange opp så mange NRK-relaterte kommentarer som mulig. Dette er det jeg fant:

(Beklager at klokkeslettene er totalt på bærtur, skylder på coveritlive :)

Stortingsvalget 2009 – slik dekkes valg-kvelden på nett

stortingsvalg-thumbs

Oppdatering: Du finner nå en litt strammere versjon av denne artikkelen på NRKbeta.

For webdesignere og utviklere er Stortingsvalget bestandig en spesiell kveld. Det er da de store mediehusene pleier å vise seg fra sin beste side. Forsidene er nystrigla, serverne nyboota, og man har brukt sine beste folk til å planlegge og lage nye fine tjenester for å vise info-porn (aka valgresultater som Geir Heljesen liker å kalle det) til sitt publikum. Valgkvelden er på mange måter selve ild-dåpen for en nett-redaksjon og det er bestandig spennende å se hva folk leverer.

Jeg var også spent på å se hvordan sosiale medier ble brukt rundt omkring. Var det noen som fikk til noe like stilig som det CNN leverte i forbindelse med USA-valget?

Målet mitt med kvelden var å fange så mange skjermbilder som mulig, og skrive litt om hver tjeneste, til bruk som referanse ved neste valg, og til allmenn glede for alle web- og valg-interesserte.

Bruk av sosiale medier i valgkampen

Dette var definitivt ild-dåpen til de sosiale mediene i valgsammenheng. De fleste partier hadde gode strategier på bruk av Facebook, Twitter og YouTube, men spesielt Arbeiderpartiet tok Twitter seriøst, og bortimot tvangsinnmeldte “alle” sine medlemmer. Noe som ble litt småslitsomt for alle oss Twitter-veteraner etterhvert, men som tydeligvis ga uttelling. Jens Stoltenberg skrøt av sine partifeller på valgvaken og sa at de hadde gjort en fabelaktig innsats på “gamlemåten”, dvs dele ut roser og gå dør til dør, men så sa han følgende.

“Vi vant valgkampen på nett” – Jens Stoltenberg

Og det tror jeg han har litt rett i. SV gjorde også mye riktig på nett, men de konsentrerte seg om sine egne nettsider og på bruken av Youtube, men de var bortimot usynlige på Twitter, og sendte dermed et signal om at de ikke tar velgerne sine seriøst. Jeg så heller ikke mye til de andre partiene på Twitter, kanskje med unntak av Høyre. Miljøpartiet de Grønne hadde også tilstedeværelse på Twitter.

“It’s friday and I’m in love”, a Spotify collaborative playlist

I am a huge big fan of Spotify, it is basically running 24/7 at work and at home, but yesterday I wanted to test the collaborative playlist feature. I made a Spotify playlist called “It’s friday and I’m in love” and inviting people on Twitter to join in. The result was really interesting. We created a very strange soundtrack indeed, but I feel like people respected the theme set by the playlist name and first song, and without being explicitly asked to do so. The list even got Rick-rolled by someone adding “Never gonna give you up” on every other line (and then regretted and removed them again), which in my opinion is the ultimate honor.

Cute and social experiment, it almost feels like magic when you see the list growing by the minute.

Spotify is still very barren when it comes to social features, the collab lists is basically the only way you can interact with people at this point, but I am sure this will be expanded upon with new releases of the software, or with plugins. It sucks to not be able to see who adds a particular song, or to be able to comment and talk to people, so hopefully it won’t take too long before such features are added.

The list, as of March 21 2009:

Ps: All links open directly in the Spotify application. I you don’t have it installed you are out of luck. Read more about how I put it online at the bottom of this post.

Open the whole playlist: It’s friday and I’m in love

Or click on each track to listen to it:

Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up

The Cure – Friday I’m in Love

The Levellers – What A Beautiful Day

The Cure – Just Like Heaven

Nena – 99 Luftballons

The Cure – Friday I’m in Love

Kiss – Love Gun

Katrina and the Waves – Walking On Sunshine

Billy Idol – Rebel Yell

Michael Jackson & The Jackson 5 – The Love You Save

Bo Kaspers Orkester – Dansa på min grav

Duffy – Mercy

Perry Como – Magic Moments

Beastie Boys – Girls

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Date With the Night

The Lionheart Brothers – 50 Souls And A Discobowl

La Bionda – I Wanna Be Your Lover

Walter Wanderley – O Samba Brasileiro

Sufjan Stevens – Chicago

Ulf Lundell – Stackars jack

Norway – Jesus Girl

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Gold Lion

Modest Mouse – Little Motel

The Thrills – Whatever Happened to Corey Haim?

Neil Young – Out on the Weekend

The Go! Team – Doing It Right

Stan Getz – Samba De Uma Nota So

Death Cab for Cutie – Marching Bands of Manhattan

Eels – Somebody Loves You

Copy – Thanks to the Pen

A Tribe Called Quest – Can I Kick It?

Belle and Sebastian – The Boy Done Wrong Again

A Tribe Called Quest – What?

Daryl Hall & John Oates – Rich Girl

Cab Calloway – Minnie The Moocher (The Ho-De-Ho Song)

Gerard Joling – Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Reggae Version)

Jason Mraz – I’m Yours

Rob Swift – Queens Lounge 2

Åge Aleksandersen – Fotbaill

The Doobie Brothers – What a Fool Believes

Steely Dan – Kid Charlemagne

Waylon Jennings – I’m A Ramblin’ Man

Grinderman – No Pussy Blues

Yelle – Jogging

Yelle – Ce jeu

Pixies – Where Is My Mind?

Mott The Hoople – All the Young Dudes

Bears – Girl With Clouds

Hasse Alfredson – Öl

Todd Rundgren – Can We Still Be Friends

Åge Aleksandersen – Rosalita

Wilco – Jesus, Etc.

The Highwaymen (Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson) – Highwayman

Catherine Feeny – Hurricane Glass

The Band – The Weight

David Bowie – The Jean Genie

Gösta Jonsson – Samling vid pumpen

Åge Aleksandersen – Dains me dæ

Åge Aleksandersen – Ljus och värme

Åge Aleksandersen – Langt igjæn til Royal Albert Hall

Tom Waits – Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis

Yo La Tengo – Gentle Hour

TV on the Radio – Heroes

Pet Shop Boys – I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind Of Thing

Jokke – Paranoid

Eagles Of Death Metal – I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News)

The Smiths – William It Was Really Nothing

Jackie Davis – Manana (Is Soon Enough For Me)

Poor Rich Ones – I Was Made For Loving You

Wall Of Voodoo – Mexican Radio

Paul Hardcastle – 19

Bryan Ferry – The Way You Look Tonight

The Magnetic Fields – Too Drunk to Dream

Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a Prayer

Foo Fighters – Monkey Wrench

Marit Larsen – Ten Steps

Vømmøl Spellmannslag – Auksjonsvisa

Flight Of The Conchords – Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros (feat. Rhymenoceros and the Hiphopopotamus)

Flight Of The Conchords – Business Time

The Be Good Tanyas – When Doves Cry

Curt Haagers – Fågeldansen

Pulp – Babies

Flight Of The Conchords – The Prince of Parties

Grace Jones – La Vie En Rose

The Wiseguys – The Bounce

Infected Mushroom – Artillery

Terence Trent D’Arby – Sign Your Name

Paul Simon – How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns

The Cardigans – And Then You Kissed Me

Wyclef Jean featuring Mary J. Blige – 911

Chris Isaak – Wicked Game

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart

Queens Of The Stone Age – Feel Good Hit of the Summer

MC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This

Vanilla Ice – Ice Ice Baby

Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)

Jojje Wadenius – Kalles Klätterträd

Queens Of The Stone Age – In My Head

Mojinos Escozios – Mi Barrí de Servesa

Sonic Youth – Teen Age Riot

Prince & The Revolution – Raspberry Beret

Rainbow – Snowman

Prince – Slow Love

Ilene Woods – So This Is Love

Vanilla Ice – Stop That Train

Tenacious D – Tribute

Elvis Costello & The Attractions – The Other Side of Summer

The Magnetic Fields – The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side

Tenacious D – Fuck Her Gently

Pixies – Where Is My Mind? (Remastered)

Young MC – Bust a Move

Bros – When Will I Be Famous

New Kids On The Block – Hangin’ Tough

Jahn Teigen – Det Vakreste Som Fins

Jahn Teigen – Min Første Kjærlighet

Jahn Teigen – Optimist

Crowded House – Chocolate Cake

INXS – Need You Tonight

The Clash – Rock the Casbah

Tori Amos – My Favorite Things

I Was a Teenage Satan Worshipper – OMG, Techno Chicks!!!

Jerry Reed – East Bound & Down (Jerry Reed)

Billie Holiday – That Ole Devil Called Love

The White Stripes – I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself

Dusty Springfield – I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself

The Stooges – I Wanna Be Your Dog

The Stooges – No Fun

The Beach Boys – Kokomo

The Stooges – Down On The Street

Ramones – Judy Is a Punk

The Killers – When You Were Young

The Stone Roses – I Wanna Be Adored

Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart

Jace Everett – Bad Things

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Just Like Honey

Stealers Wheel – Stuck In The Middle With You

George Baker Selection – Little Green Bag

Foals – Cassius

Liam Lynch – Electrician’s Day

The Vines – Autumn Shade II

T. Rex – Cosmic Dancer

T. Rex – Jeepster

The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony

The Clash – Clampdown

Jeff Buckley – Eternal Life

Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along the Watchtower

They Might Be Giants – Infinity

XTC – Senses Working Overtime

The Specials – Our Lips Are Sealed

Depeche Mode – Never Let Me Down Again

Love and Rockets – Motorcycle

The Doors – Back Door Man

Lou Reed – I’m So Free

Boy George – Everything I Own

Morrissey – The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get

MC Júnior E MC Leonardo – Rap Das Armas

ABBA – Dancing Queen

Kylie Minogue – The Loco-Motion

The The – Dogs Of Lust

Tricky – Hell Is Round the Corner

Tommy Tokyo & Starving For My Gravy – Derail And Demise

Living Colour – Glamour Boys

Mitch Hedberg – Mitch in the S’th

Mikael Wiehe och Ebba Forsberg – Allra minst en morgon

MC Lyte – Cold Rock A Party

Datarock – Fa-Fa-Fa

Nina Simone – Sinnerman

Bon Iver – Flume

Fred Åkerström – Jag ger dig min morgon

Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen

Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc.

Euroboys – One-Way Street

Simian – We Are Your Friends (Radio Edit)

Jay-Z – Brooklyn Go Hard [feat. Santogold]

Lupe Fiasco – Daydreamin’ Featuring Jill Scott

Arctic Monkeys – Dancing Shoes

Known collaborators (based on conversations on Twitter):

Eterg, lastninja1980, _Rolf_, mariusgenser, johanhal, Barstein, degarden, paljoakim, Markussss, nech

How to publish a Spotify playlist on the web the easy way
You might be wondering how I was able to put all the songs from the playlist in the post? Spotify still hasn’t got an API, so my plan was to actually build it by hand. I first tried to mark all the songs in the playlist and CTRL-C/APPLE-C them, but instead of a lovely list of artist and song names I got the http links to all the tracks, so there went that idea. But to my amasement something magic happened when I posted all the urls into Textedit on my macbook! All the urls got transformed into clickable links automatically! All I had to do was save the Textedit document as html and open it in my browser to test it, and it worked like a charm! Just a view source and a copy paste away from this blog post! (I believe the Spotify software needs to be running when you do this).

If you want to copy the nice Spotify URI direct links instead of the HTTP links you have to select all the songs in your list, the right click and choose “Copy Spotify URI”.

There are alread plenty of sites where you can share your Spotify playlists, and when those can access a proper API I believe great things will happen. Spotify is already a fantastic product. When people can start adding cool stuff it will explode!

Is facebook dying?

Are you tired of Facebook?

Mouthing off
photo credit: borrowed time | demi-brooke

The Facebook apps, like the infamous “Funwall” are a real pain, and I have started to remove, block or turn off email alerts on all of them.

I do believe that Facebook needs to do something drastic about the third party apps though, like turning off email alerts for all of them (and letting whomever wants it to turn it back on manually) to avoid users tuning out because of Facebook fatique, but I also pray that my contacts will find it in their harts to turn down the spam volume just a tiny bit, and perhaps not forward quite that many personality tests and quizzes to me, it is starting to get a little old (and frankly, most of these apps has been designed by retards.

But even though my feelings towards Facebook is fairly cold right now, I still love Facebook for the fact that it puts me in touch of all the people I know/knew in my home town. I actually feel some … comfort … in knowing that if I wanted to, I could easily reach people I went to school with, or simply log on to see what they are doing. We are even using Facebook to organise a highschool reunion right now!

Now compare Facebook to the supposedly next “new thing”, Twitter. The people I connect to on Facebook are people who are not necessarily supernerds and “early adopters”, and is far from even creating an account on Twitter.  The last time I checked Facebook had over 1 million Norwegian users, and Twitter had just over 500, so I guess Twitter has some SERIOUS catching up to do, if it can (or want to).

Twitter lacks the tools for connecting people in groups or events, so I doubt that Twitter will be anything close to have the user mass of Facebook (in Norway) any time soon, if ever.

I love microblogging myself, but it seems like 90% of what people write about are 140 character ads for their own stuff (or undisclosed endorsement for products, I have even seen several examples of weird product placements, and I’ll take cute kitten video spam on my Funwall any day over that.

(This post is a reply to recent post to “Are you fed up with Facebook?” from Mashable.)

Four ideas I believe in

PhotonQ-Woman 's Thoughts aKa Complex Memetics
photo credit: PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE

Readwriteweb wrote a post a few days ago about the lack of some New New Ideas for web startups, which I commented on. I wrote down a few old ideas I wish someone would like (and then steal):

photo credit: Whatsername?

1. Anything that uses the web to connect people to each other in a physical location

Everybody Deserves A Quickie

Any service that makes it as easy to approach people on the street etc as it is on Twitter or Facebook. There are heaps of services that touches on this field, but not many that works or have enough members to make it work. So maybe there is room for a service that connects it all, and shows you on a mobile map where people who are open to “hellos” are. It could be a facebook app (facebook has 1 million members in Norway, of 4.7 million inhabitants). Your mobile phone would simply broadcast itself with a “hello, talk to me” to a google map or a perhaps bluetooth. A cross between facebook, twitter and friendfeed, but with the purpose of connecting physical beings in a physical location.

three thumbs down
photo credit: rick

2. A web based service that lets you record video from any television channel.

It makes no sense for everyone to own their own PVR/TIVO/Mediacenter and record to disk at home, when you could do it sentralized and distribute it with bittorrent. The business model is like this: 10 gb storage for free, if you are too lazy to delete, or simply want to keep things online longer, you pay extra. Everything you program to record is automatically downloaded to your harddrive if you want to. The gold: You get access to EVERY channel on the planet. I wanted to create this in 1998, but never got around to it, so you can have that idea :)

3. 24/7 live streaming video from your mobile device, with a twist

Livestreaming from a cellphone is not new, it exists today, but here is the twist: 1) a small sensor analyses your brain-response to what you see or hear, and anything that creates an “unusual” reponse is indexed and flagged for later. 2) it also has a built in visual “thesaurus” (think wikipedia meets The Terminator), that can look up information on your surroundings in semi-realtime. So if you wanted to know wether or not to eat that delicious-looking red mushroom with the white dots, the system could advice you not to.

Did you know that american kids can identify 1000 products before they start school, but only know the name of 10 local plants (according to the movie The 11th hour)?

4. A google earth for the body

Read more about “A google earth for the body” here

I have … followers?

I still haven’t quite figured out what the hell I am supposed to do with Twitter. I signed up with Twitter a year ago, but because so few people (I knew) used it, I had actually removed the Twitter sidebar extention I had installed on Firefox. But then all of a sudden, just a few weeks ago, people started adding me. Or, as Twitter (and Tumblr) say: “Follow me”. What a strange term to use?

Followers? As in dicilples?

So with the three people who added me just today, I have 16 people following me. Think about it! That is four more than Jesus! But after the first millisecond of exitement, I started to feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders to actually twitter something insightful! To weigh my words better, to say something profound to my new “diciples”! And at the same time I feel ashamed of my previous Twitterings, like:

I bet you didn't know these birds where called tits, did you!

Mr Krick, you are staring at my tits!

See what I mean?

Weeding the scriptures!

It is a huge responsibility to have Followers. So now I am going through my Twitterings for the last year, the words I muttered to myself in the dark screenlit hours of the night, trying to entertain, well, the notion of someone listening. Trying hard to find something worth keeping, perhaps repeating now for the enlightenment for my 16 FOLLOWERS! But I am hard pressed to find anything worth keeping.

Maybe this one?

Stuffed and semidrunk. Happy and fat. Listening to babys breath. 09:30 PM April 06, 2007

I feel that this is something even Jesus could have said. If he had a newborn daughter, and had just eaten himself silly on roasted lamb at his mother-in-laws house.

Fnord. You have to read the book to understand.

Or perhaps this little gem:

All I say is true and false and meaningless. 12:54 AM April 07, 2007

That is pretty clever, and perhaps SHOULD have been said by JC, it sure would have made the bible a little more sensible. But he probably didn’t say it and neighter did I, since it is a quote from the fantastic book Illuminatus.

Besides those two posts, my twitterstream is pretty shallow and, yes, meaningless, and more or less consist of twitterings about movies I was watching at the time, or silly quotes, or different social websites I was testing at the time. Shameful stuff. I have to get my act together.

I wonder if all people who for some reason gets Followers have this problem, trying to take back the funny silly things and fart jokes he probably made in the company of his 12 (haha!) diciples. Perhaps Jesus went into their bags in the middle of the night and stole their notes, perhaps buried the ones he didn’t like in a heap of rubble, like I am considering deleting the most embarrassing moments in my twitterstream now that my colleagues are FOLLOWING me on Twitter

Just a thought

Update 30.03.2008 (23 followers)

This is something you don’t see in your inbox every day, apparantly Senator Barack Obama is now following me (and 19000 + other people) on Twitter. Now I really must remember to behave. Perhaps I shouldn’t have posted that fake Eleanor Roosevelt quote

Gmail - Barack Obama is now following you on Twitter! - morten.skogly@gmail.com
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Update 02.04.2008 (30 followers):

Twitter is getting press in Norway, lately by jounalist Jan Omdahl at dagbladet.no , who asks if Twitter is the new Facebook. There are over 1 million Norwegian Facebook users, but currently, by the etimates made by NRKbeta using twitdir, the number of users who has registered as Norwegian is a measly 500. But there are probably more, and judging by the number of new people following me, it is about to explode. Cool!

Both Dagbladet and NRKbeta has superb writeup about Twitter, but feel free to read my first test/review of Twitter and why it works so well, apptly titled Why Twitter words / Screw productivity.