When the east coast earthquake hit a little while ago, I found out about it first from a tweet, followed up by an IM from a friend in Brooklyn, followed up 10 minutes or so later by Google News. I thought it would be neat to have a way to call attention to important events. Inspired by old-fashioned ticker tapes, I put together some code to print specified Twitter updates in near-real-time to a thermal printer. More details in the video:
The tweets are fetched using the twitter Ruby gem, rendered into a PBM image with rmagick, and printed via the pbm2lwxl library. I’ll put the code up on github after a little cleanup. As an upgrade, I’m setting up the software to run on a NSLU2 single-board computer, so the printer doesn’t have to be tethered to my desktop. More on that in a bit!
EDIT: the code is now on Github here: https://github.com/riney/tickertweet-proto