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Bay Ha Plug

So-High-Tech looking toys for decorating drive bays
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Originally, I just wanted an easy way to put a grid of blinkin' LED's on my computer. Make the grid fit over an empty drive bay and plug it into the computer's power source. Voila! Extra high-tech looking.

Then, I wanted to be able to program the LED's, so now imagine a microcontroller on a IDE card, with some kind of interface app in your control panel.

Then, hell, why not just take the whole bay and put in whatever won't fry your computer: vacuum tubes, spark generators, buzzers, a smoke machine, a phone, an AM radio, a buttload of knobs and switches (connected to nothing), huge gobs of wire, DIP switches, LED displays, electric motors, dimly glowing filaments, christmas tree lights,

basically anything you can fit in that will make your computer look like it's more complicated/customized than it is.

Why, these could be manufactured, and sold! to make money!

mcdonald107, Jan 04 2001

CPU Activity Light http://www.halfbake..._20Activity_20Light
Tangentially related idea. See also the 'Blinkenlights' links. [hippo, Jan 04 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

You mentioned "gizmo wallpaper"? http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/reno/
I used to inhabit this lab... [egnor, Jan 04 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Review of "PCMod's neon light kit" http://www.dansdata.com/neon.htm
He also wired a small 'lightning globe' to his system. [StarChaser, Jan 04 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Active lego bricks. http://www.merl.com...R2000-13/index.html
Absterge's comment just reminded me of this paper, which is about lego-like bricks with power and communication lines routed through their studs that can do many clever things, like figure out how they're connected together and make pictures of themselves on computer displays! [td, Jan 04 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

[link]






       You could cover the entire case with such a display. Hey, you could plaster walls with the stuff! Gizmo wallpaper! Provides its own illumination to a room (even if the illumination is of an odd sort).
badoingdoing, Jan 04 2001
  

       standardize the power supplies and some sort of hidden inter-connector, and you could market individual gizmos as something akin to puzzle pieces, or blinkenlegos. Custom build your own useless gizmo, cheaper than you could assemble it yourself, then reconfigure it to fit against a wall, on the backs of your dining room chairs, or around the bowl of your toilet! hours of fun for the entire family!
absterge, Jan 05 2001
  

       I put googly eyes on the top rim of my monitor, because the rest of the monitor looked so much like a face (It's an HP). Now *glowing* eyes, that would be even cooler... then glowing eyes that track people around the room!
badoingdoing, Jan 09 2001
  

       Ooh. I've been thinking about doing this for a couple of years. I have extreme nostalgia fits for the many-lighted front panels of my youth, like the IBM 360 model 75 and PDP-11/70. My plan is a line of 16 red LEDs above a line of 16 little bat-handle switches, all set into a blank drive-bay cover. No need for a microcontroller and IDE card, just wire them into the PC's parallel port.   

       Also, absterge's idea is tremendous.
td, Mar 27 2001
  

       *bows* why, thank you, td! I was especially fond of the term "blinkenlegos" ... anyway, I think the parallel port thing would be fabulous. A little proggie that generated random strings of bits to send to the parallel port would do the trick, methinks. No error handling, nothing fancy, just randomness. If you hooked up a printer, you'd nothing but noise (but who uses a parallel printer anymore?) And the voltage from the port should be enough to power the lights, no? Low level stuff, voltages and the like, is where my knowledge grows painfully thin. (and what is a "bat-handle switch"?)
absterge, Mar 27 2001
  

       bat-handle = metallic toggle switch, methinks, no?
thumbwax, Mar 27 2001
  

       They're sort of low-high-tech. I love them. And I have a bunch, and want to build a clock. It does seem to be something inherent to the Nixies themselves, as I came up with the idea independently of ever having seen one on the net. Now, of course, I've seen a number of them.
StarChaser, Mar 28 2001
  

       Can anyone explain the name of this idea? Especially the "Ha" part?
centauri, Mar 28 2001
  
      
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