Inexpensive Digital Signs Inexpensive Tech, Re-Purposed Stuff

One of the underlying foundations of Cyberpunk Librarian is working high tech and low budget. And when you’re working for a government organization, you can’t just throw stuff out. It has to be properly surplussed, handled, catalogued, and so on. Or you can just hold on to the old stuff, which is what a lot of organizations do.

That’s fine, but wouldn’t it be nice to give life to that old stuff? For instance, we’ve had a bunch of monitors just sitting around doing nothing. They’re not broken, they’ve just been replaced because the new systems came with monitors as part of the package. So we’ll take them in for spares, or dual monitor setups, or whatever. However so many of them just sit on a shelf and do nothing.

Old monitors, new life.

Old monitors, new life.

So with Raspberry Pis, HDMI to DVI adaptors, and a server just about ready to go to surplus; we’ve set up this. These are six monitors converted into digital signs for use in the branches to promote various services, events, or whatever else. The Pis are set to load Chromium in kiosk mode after booting up. Chromium then calls up a URL from the old server which is now running Linux and Apache. With a little HTML, JavaScript, and jQuery; the webpage simply rotates through the slides and reloads itself every ten minutes to check for new content. That way new content can be added to the server and any Pis calling upon that content will get it in ten minutes or less, with no extra handling or pushing. Update on the server and you update everywhere.

And now these six monitors have some new life, new use, and we’ll get more out of them. After all, they weren’t free. So why not use them?

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