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Building the WallTop 110

mramsundar writes "Here is an interesting link that shows how to convert your laptop into something called as walltop. A number of these walltops, when connected, can host a slideshow that can show digitized images."
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Building the WallTop

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  • Very cool & mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <> on Monday June 20, 2005 @05:03PM (#12866757) Homepage Journal
    This is cool. The author is unclear as to whether or not the CPU fan is left in
    place (from the pictures, it appears to be left in place). If it is, then how is the walltop "dead quiet"? If not, how does he keep it cool?

    Mirror is located here [].
    • In the comments lower down the author states:

      # Chris Says:
      June 18th, 2005 at 17:21

      Some Idiot: No the fan is still there. (see the pictures) It's just that running a slideshow doesn't demand that much cpu power and therefore the fan never starts. The other fact that helps to keep the system cool is that the mb is mounted in the lower end of the frame, so the air can circulate well.
    • by johndierks ( 784521 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @05:11PM (#12866827)
      I prefer my solution more. It's not quite as elegant, but it was a lot cheaper, easier, and has it's own elegant geek flair.

      I used to have a site where anyone could upload any image to it from the internet. It ran for 2 years before I moved. []

      Check out the last few pictures I had. []

      • Also very cool. How did it work? Did people just upload pics and it displayed them?
        • Yes, there was an upload page which would allow users to anonymously upload images to the webserver. A cron ran every few minutes on the computer at home (an old beige PowerMac G3) to download all the images from that directory.

          The LCD was VESA mounted to the wall, and a hole was drilled behind the monitor to run power and video signal cables to the machine which sat in my closet on the other side of the wall.

          It made for a fun Saturday project and gave that extra flair to my dorm room.

          I submitted the s

      • ...then there was the colleague who came home to find his PowerBook hot-glued to his bedroom wall by his angry ex, running well, but now somewhat less portable...
      • That's a really cool idea. It's inspired me to knock something together to let other people control my desktop backgrounds..
    • If I were to do something like this, I would want a way to monitor whether someone is in the room, or else sleep, or at least sleep during the hours that most housemembers are sleeping.

      It doesn't need to be on all the time, which might be considered a waste of power, and it reduces the life of the backlight.
    • I have an old Toshiba 320CDT (Pentium-233) that is dead quiet if you go into the BIOS and put it into "quiet mode." In that mode, rather than turning on the CPU fan it drops the CPU to 33mhz when the core starts to heat up.
  • Google Cache (Score:5, Informative)

    by Radres ( 776901 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @05:04PM (#12866760)
    here []
  • when all you get is a CGI error. But the idea of converting any system into a "walltop" would have a few decent uses in my book.
  • um (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Umbral Blot ( 737704 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @05:04PM (#12866768) Homepage
    I think i'd rather keep my several thousand dollar peice of hardware fully functional and portable, thank you. PLus this requires more than one laptop? I'd rahter either sell my old laptop or hook it up into some kind of cluster.
    • "I've had an old Dell Latitude CSx (500Mhz 128Mb)"

      Not that a slashdot reader would actually consider reading the article, but I think the point is to use older hardware.
    • If you read TFA, you'd notice this bit:

      If you don't want to slaughter you favorite laptop then I'm sure you can find a nice second hand laptop at ebay for a small amount.

      Also, the rest of the article pretty much has an old laptop in mind, not a good laptop.
    • you'll find old laptops there for under $20.
    • Equal a cluster.
      And a slideshow.

      Honestly, you could have whatever you wanted your cluster to be doing running in the backgrgound and have it once in a while change the image showing on the screen. Is it a web server or is it art?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 20, 2005 @05:04PM (#12866770)
    no-it-doesn't dept.
  • by nizo ( 81281 ) * on Monday June 20, 2005 @05:05PM (#12866778) Homepage Journal
    I always wanted to take my old laptop and set it on a desk and have it display family photos and stuff like that. I figured I could just tell people that it is a really cool picture frame I bought that looks like a laptop.
    • Doesn't everybody with a laptop already do this? It's quite easy to build a little drop on cover that makes it look like a dedicated picture display device as well, or a frame sitting on a wall bracket/whatnot shelf.

      And it's much cooler to tell people you made it than it is to tell them you bought it.

    • Think about the family visits. Set the laptop to run Xcollage to grab random pictures off the Internet and post them. Your pictures would always be a interesting. (With the occasional pr0n pic thrown in) ;)

      Imagine Grandma's Suprise!

    • ...translucent screens, and PNG wallpaper that makes full usage of their alpha capabilities.

      Only when we can make walltops from those (or make translucent monitor mobiles [] by hanging a bunch of them) can we say "I have seen the top of the mountain...and it is good."

  • by RayDude ( 798709 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @05:05PM (#12866780)
    "Wall Side?"

    After all its not on the top...


  • I think.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by wpiman ( 739077 ) *
    This would be a whole heck of a lot easier with a tablet PC. Fuitsu made some really thin ones that are just becoming obsolete right about now.....
  • by Valiss ( 463641 )
    Shouldn't have ran the webserver off of the walltop! =]
  • In my lifetime, floor-to-ceiling, transparent displays will be economical. These displays will consume zero power when static.

    For those who don't like floor-to-ceiling artwork, imagine picture frames made of this material instead of an LCD screen, attached to a microcontroller and short-range wireless receiver, all for under $20. Having your favorite client over for dinner? Change all the pictures to suit his tastes. Having your mother-in-law over? Put something up to scare her away *JUST KIDDING*.
  • by m50d ( 797211 )
    I assumed from the summary that they'd work together to display something on multiple screens. But they don't, the multiple ones seem no better than single ones. Surely it wouldn't be too hard to use xdmx to get a bunch displaying a single big picture?
    • Re:Bah (Score:3, Interesting)

      There used to be a test program in SunOS Windows (before Solaris..) called ico, which would bounce a wireframe icosahedron around a window. Someone came up with a better version and called it psycho (I think), which would bounce the icosahedron between multiple independant SunOs displays. It would be interesting to watch someone's reaction to seeing something like that slowly glide out of one picture frame and into another...
  • What I'm doing. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by madaxe42 ( 690151 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @05:22PM (#12866930) Homepage
    I'm actually doing something not dissimilar to this at the moment - in my hallway I have two 1960s Libertucci pieces of art - they're about 1" thick, and made of different layers of cardboard cut out in interesting shapes with space between them - I have three knackered old Toshibas, which I'm making into a three layered display to go on the wall - the back one will keep the backlight - they're running off a single PSU, and run gentoo off CF cards, booting off a network image on my server, so I'm just using 32M CF cards... At the moment, I've got all the hardware working, but have yet to mount them in a frame. Will put pictures somewhere once I'm done!
  • and then calculate the energy usage and heat generation to serve them.

    plus cooling costs/fans and wallmount undercarriage air/coolant ducting.


    Instead, you could just go out and buy a nice painting for what you'd pay for electricity for a month, and sell it for what you paid for it after use.

    Or you could buy one of those floor-to-cieling projectors or floor-to-ceiling roll-up maps and mount the images on it - for a lot less.

    A more interesting thing would be to live in a mall and get the same basic
    • The frame could have other uses too - the thing's networked, so presumably it could be fed images from elsewhere, such as from a security camera whenever a motion detector saw something moving in its field of view.
      • The frame could have other uses too - the thing's networked, so presumably it could be fed images from elsewhere, such as from a security camera whenever a motion detector saw something moving in its field of view.

        Because it's so pleasant to live surrounded by security images reinforcing your own paranoia?

        • No, because some people are absolute bastards and vandalize other people's vehicles in apartment parking lots that are inadequately lit and have absolutely no security. My daughter's husband's Jeep had a window smashed and a tire slashed, and while we think it might have been related to another incident in the parking lot, we have no proof. A camera on her balcony hooked up to a motion sensor and VCR could probably have nailed the bastard.

          Plus, some people just like to be able to check who's at their fron

  • by acousticiris ( 656375 ) * on Monday June 20, 2005 @05:27PM (#12866967)
    One can only assume you're going to be as secure as any Windows XP computer.

    As much as it's nice to have it networked for ease of changing out the photos, I'd much rather see the PC card slot used to operate a PC Card->CF adapter for sneaker-netting the pics to.
    It's difficult enough keeping my other Windows boxes up to date without having to worry whether or not my picture frame is running the latest service pack. Surely the benefit gained from the convenience of being able to update the pictures from a remote server is offset by having to monitor for patch compliance.
    All in all though, nice idea. I can imagine setting up two of these in my living room to do "something cool" when I plop a DVD and press "Play" on the remote for my HTPC. This would necessitate that pesky network connection, but perhaps all of that hassle could be overcome by using Linux and carefully configuring the picture-frame to drop all unsolicited incoming packets and only allow traffic via port 21 to/from a specific host. Or maybe (and I'm counting on it) someone has a better idea?
    • If the network were hard wired instead of wireless it could be considered quite secure, since the BartPE file system can be only on a CDR. If a malicious threat makes it to my LAN to attack a BartPE cd you already have a security problem to deal with, and a simple reboot of the BartPE system will most likely eliminate any trojans/viri etc from the system.
      • That's a good point. At my home I have a bit of a unique situation in that my internet connection is shared wirelessly beyond my wife and I.
        I would hope that picture frames could suffice without me having to run more than power to them, though I guess running a simple ethernet port while mucking about in my attic and wall to deliver power to the devices would probably not be all that much more complex. My wired network is segregated from my wireless (shared) network, and I have control over the devices o
  • I've been thinking about doing something like this myself, except the laptop in question is an old Panasonic Toughbook CF-33 with a touch screen. So I'm thinking of leaving the glass off and simply mounting the screen (only 8.4" - the CF-33 was what was referred to at the time as a "subnotebook," a market that now seems to have disappeared) with a picture matte surrounding it.

    I've talked with enough people about this and everyone thinks its a cool idea, so much so, that I have to wonder why a mass-produced
  • Harry Potter (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    With this you could totally make the kind of picture they have in the Harry Potter movies. You don't need much computer power. An old 486 should work fine for displaying images.

    My approach would be to phantom power the device using a network cable and boot from the network. There are linux distros that would do that and provide an X server.

    Some kind of sensor could detect the presence of a viewer. The idea is to provide some kind of interaction. Maybe the picture wouldn't talk back to you, or maybe i
  • mini-itx (Score:2, Informative)

    There has been a story about a similar project on slashdot more than two years ago.

    Here is the original article:

    The mini-itx based pictureframe pc: []
  • From TFA...

    20 Pound Riba Frame...

    dam'n thats one expensive frame..

    thats $44 Canadian..

    I'd rather build a frame myself..
  • Here's what getting a good digital camera has done for me: I've been making the 11x14 and 20x30 prints that I never could get from my 35mm images, framing them, and displaying them as the works of art that they are.
  • MoviX (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    MoviX [] can do this, 3 different distro's 10mb,25mb,50mb
    based on Isolinux bootloader and Mplayer

    its as simple as
    add images/movies > create iso > burn > reboot

    even compile it from windows
    networking, netbios good hardware support
    written in perl, i love it, no hard drive required

    could do with polishing at the edges, but it is open source and working
  • A number of these walltops, when connected, can host a slideshow that can show digitized images.

    You submitters need to start learning how to summarize the articles you submit. Reading the above description, I'm completely unimpressed. I don't need a wall of laptops to show digitized images. My current desktop can handle that task just peachy, thank you.
  • Uh, does this scream "Fahrenheit 451" to anyone else?
  • it's more of a tutorial on how to convert your lap into a wall. /great wall of china here
  • Must... resist... urge... to rip.. apart... laptop.... geek... impulses... RISING.... AAAAHHHH!!!!!!!
  • The Powerwall (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CondeZer0 ( 158969 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @06:52PM (#12867574) Homepage
    Some years ago the great guys at the Advanced Computing Lab of Los Alamos National Laboratory built this very cool setup with a bunch of Thinkpads running Plan 9 []:

    The Powerwall []

  • You know, like caltrops that go on your wall. I thought this was gonna be some amazing new technology to keep those pesky ninjas and/or Spiderman at bay.
  • In my humble opinion (and having used BartPE before) I think it might have been a better idea to use one of the abundantly available Linux LiveCD's (Knoppix or variant, Morphix or variant etc) purely for security reasons. A custom built live cd using one of the freely available script sets [] would probably be the best route to go.
  • It would be cool to couple these with webcams with an efx processor. Then as you walked by, you could see a modified image of yourself.

    I'm picturing like a black and white reflection, or some other snazzy video effect.

  • My IBM x20 just had some power issues that actualy required me to take the mainboard out and solder some. I'm not too handy with an iron, but it works now. I also don't trust it enought for critical work.

    When I had it conpletely disassembled, I started thinking I could use a friend's CNC machine to build a wall frame for the screen, which is actually a lot thinner once removed from the case. The keyboard is also very thin, and I could fab a base for it as well.

    All I need is to wire extension cables for th
  • I don't understand why no one makes an affordable walltop off the shelf. I looked, and the only things I could find were $4000 kiosks.

    Remember the media center room from the Buck Rogers TV show? That stuff is possible now. With today's hard drives, one can store not only hundreds of CD rips, but a few movie rips as well.

    I realize I may be in the Slashdot minority when I suggest that TVs should not be in the main-level living room, but I've been looking for something that takes zero floor space for equip

  • over and over... Laptop = updating photoframe... I've got one... for about two years now... sure, he has way more MATT board that I do in mine, but otherwise... ??????

    I boot mine, (win95, yeah... it's an OLD LAPTOP! If it ran WINXP, I wouldn't crunch it!) and it use the net command to map drive, and follow the batch file on the server/desktop in the den...

    I don't write a page about it... Maybe I should, is this the step 3: before step 4: Profit?

    I thought every geek did this years ago...

    The nice thing
  • Wow. Another case mod. How clever. Next.

    Gosh, it's amazing how the phrase "News for Nerds" has degraded.

  • as if having the bsod on your pc wasn't bad enough, now you can hang it on your wall!
  • Selfmade digital picture frames have become quite common, for example you may try this survey about: How to Make a Digital Picture Frame from an Old Laptop or Notebook [].
  • To fix the problem of attaching the touchpad, he could have just gone to the bios and selected "Halt on No Errors". This way he could do with attacing the touchpad.

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