Overtown Inside Out: The Screensaver

This is just a quick post to share the screensaver that will grace the four multimedia kiosks that we should begin to set up in Overtown this week.

The brains within the kiosks are four PowerPC Mac Minis I got for about $175 each off eBay. These machines each have a gig of RAM, a hard drive of between 40 and 80 gigs, and not much else. In fact, I’ve uninstalled every piece of code I could remove from them and still allow them to play and record videos.

There are a few pieces of software that have come in really handy as I configured the Minis:

  • AppZapper is not only incredibly useful, its ZAP! sound effect makes it well worth the minimal price. Just don’t get too carried away and zap something your computer needs.
  • Movie Screen Saver is a really cool $12 piece of shareware that lets you create a screensaver from a movie file. Fortunately for my Overtown project, it runs on Mac OS 10.5. Unfortunately for future projects, it does not run on 10.6 or above.
  • Carbon Copy Cloner is tried and true and indispensable. I used it to clone one Mini’s hard drive onto another so I have four nearly identical machines.
  • The touchscreen functionality is part of a software package by EloTouchSystems. I don’t have all the bugs worked out of getting their drivers onto the Mac OS, but that should be ready to roll soon.
  • The searchlight image is a piece of royalty-free CGI footage I bought from Getty Images.
  • I used Final Cut Pro 7 to generate the text. Here’s a video of the timeline. You can see how the text blocks are layered atop one another on the video tracks:

Finally, there were a couple of tweaks I had to make that necessitated going inside the Mac Minis, which are surprisingly easy to take apart. Working with the various components crammed into that tight space… not so much. Here’s a shot of a couple of them stark nekkid:

Once again, the videos can be seen on my Vimeo channel, here.

I hope to get them up on the dedicated domain Overtowner.com soon.

Stay tuned -

Wow. It's Quiet. Too Quiet...

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