Party Scroller

Those jumbo screens at concerts that display your text messages can be a lot of fun. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have the same thing for your own parties or social gatherings? Well I tested that question. As it turns out, guests love it





concertWallI’ve always loved the idea of sending messages to the big screens you usually find at concerts and other large events. I figured it could be scaled down, while still being just as entertaining. It may not have one of those spiffy 5-digit phone numbers, but the Google Voice number that it uses works just as well – especially since it also works as a vanity number for my handle 🙂

After testing the sign at a party held at home, I noticed that people really seemed to enjoy it. One part of it that led to people enjoying it was the fact that the messages were anonymous. While it would have been really easy to make the sign show who the message was from, if theres one thing I’ve learned from the internet, it’s that people love being anonymous. Leaving a message that your peers can see, without knowing who wrote it, will always invoke the most curious behavior.

With any anonymity, comes that behavior. I already knew that, so I took the liberty to set up some bad-word filters to start replacing parts of messages. You can see that list in one of the scripts below – which is most likely causing Google to flag my page as inappropriate, but I digress… Not only did this keep the board clean, but it was even more entertaining to people to see such ‘odd’ words come up in their messages. It only kept people texting more and more to see what other replacements they could figure out.

All in all, it really seems this experiment was a success. People loved it, and I loved setting it up. I highly recommend you do the same for your next party or other event. As long as your guests have their cell phones, they’re definitely going to be tempted to send something.


Technical Details

The Party Scroller makes use of several servers (more…)

Spray Away

Everyone knows that driver. They are the one who will get 2 feet away from your bumper and just not care. What can you do about it? Tap on your brakes? Well, aside from being dangerous, its also illegal. So I came up with a better solution to the problem and an easier way to get your message across. Soak them.





Lets get one thing out of the way: yes, I am very well aware that my car is disgustingly filthy. There. Now… about the setup. This really is one of the simpler setups. All it consists of is a windshield wiper water pump, some tubing, a 2-liter soda bottle, and a garden sprinkler sprayer.

The wiper pump is wired into an extension cord that goes up to the front of the car where I can plug it into the 12-volt cigarette lighter port in my dash, giving instant use whenever I need to use it. The pump has one inlet and one outlet. A hose comes from the 2-liter bottle in the rear of the car, to the pump, then out to the sprayer on the outside of it car.

The nozel on the outside is pointed straight up, since I knew that it would be getting its use while driving. When going fast enough, the wind will blow any and all water directly behind me and onto whoever is deciding to follow me. I thought it would be great to put some kind of paint thinner in the system, so the other driver would get a more permanent message, but my better judgement told me not to. Oh well, water works too.



Blender Defender

Have a cat that won’t stay off your counters? I do. I finally got fed up with it enough to do something about it: scare the crap out of him with a motion-detecting blender (while recording the results for my own amusement, of course).

Confused at what you’re looking at? This is a repeating shot of security camera footage of my cat jumping on the counter – in search of a plant to munch on – and initiating my Blender Defender. Take a look at the following comic to get a better understanding 🙂



Sorry, but you’re going to have to pretend you can hear an extremely loud blender while you watch these clips



Emergency Party Button

The Emergency Party Button began as a novelty idea that has become the focus of every event that goes on in our home. A big red button is, by human nature, an object of compulsion. If you see it, you are overcome with the desire to push it. But what happens when you do?




The Emergency Party Button consists of 3major components: The actual button itself, the controlling computer, and all the controlled devices. The button itself is the only real piece of equipment that any user is interacting with, which is why it has to be the best piece of the entire set up. Aesthetics is key. I did not want to buy a premade button box. I had a perfect idea of what I wanted, so there was only one thing to do; build it myself.


buttonThe main visual aspect is of course the giant red mushroom button. I had to buy this online since I couldn’t find the right looking button in any electronics store around. It cost a lot more than I had first planned, but it was well worth it. I bought the button from Check out the parts list page for a cost breakdown.




At the heart of the button is a Basic Stamp II (well, technically, a Basic Stamp Homework Board, since it wasn’t going to any good use anyways). The basic stamp is used for a few small things. Once power is applied by turning on the key on the top of the button box, the basic stamp waits until the button is pressed. Once it is, it first plays a short tune on a piezo speaker to signify that the button has been pressed, it turns on a red LED showing that party mode is currently on, and then it uses the Firecracker X10 module on its serial line to send an X10 signal to the transceiver plugged in across the room. Click the images to enlarge. Also, please forgive the crappy pink duct tape holding the wires together, as I didn’t have access to a soldering iron when I wired it up.