Posted by Canto Rodado on August 14, 2006
Celebrating its 20th anniversary the Chaos Computer Club has made a special present to itself and the city of Berlin. From September 12th, 2001 to February 23rd, 2002, the famous “Haus des Lehrers” (house of the teacher) office building at Berlin Alexanderplatz has been enhanced to become world’s biggest interactive computer display: Blinkenlights (a term defined by the Jargon File).
The upper eight floors of the building were transformed in to a huge display by arranging 144 lamps behind the building’s front windows. A computer controlled each of the lamps independently to produce a monochrome matrix of 18 times 8 pixels.
During the night, a constantly growing number of animations could be seen. But there was an interactive component as well: you were able to play the old arcade classic Pong on the building using your mobile phone and you could place your own loveletters on the screen as well.
Blinkenlights was up and running at until February 23rd, 2002, running 23 weeks and 5 days in total. During that period, we constantly improved its feature set. Even now, work on Blinkenlights is not completed. The software has been released as Free Software under GPL. Our documentation video shows all aspects of the project in 11 minutes.
You can create your own images and aminations for Blinkenlights. We provide you with a program for Windows and Mac OS to do easily build your own Blinkenlights Movies using the mouse.
The current version of Blinkenpaint is 3.12. You can download it here:
If you want to add your Blinkenlights Movie to our archive, send them firstname.lastname@example.org. We collect everything and plan to publish the whole collection on the net soon.
Blinkenpaint is pretty easy to use. When it starts it presents you a distant view of the Blinkenlights building. Click on the windows to switch the light on or off. That way you can create simple pictures.
By adding of new images you create a movie. Every image has a certain delay time so that some images display longer and others shorter depending on the desired effect.
Use commands in the “Image” menu to perform operations on the image like inverting and rotating the content. The menu “Frame” may be used to set the delay time.
When you save the movie to disk, you create a Blinkenlights Movie.