Thermal Tweeter facts and figures FAQ @dangerousproto

in web platforms by Ian | 3 comments

A lot of questions are coming through the Thermal Tweeter. Here’s some answers:

  • How many rolls? About 1/day on Thursday, Friday, Saturday. 2.5 on Sunday, and it ran out twice for a few hours. Also, about 2/day of this variety.
  • The printer uses thermal paper in rolls. It doesn’t use ink.
  • Rolls were 5 for a buck, cheaper in bulk. We have to stock up today.
  • The paper has red stripes for a few meters from the end.
  • Average delay from tweet to viewing it print is around 30 seconds.  The printer checks for new @mentions every 30 seconds. There’s about 15 seconds of USTREAM delay too.
  • Only standard ASCII characters will print. Unicode is filtered out by the web platform when it processes the tweets. The printer does support a few extended characters, but not unicode. There’s no direct translation from unicode numbers to the extended characters supported by the printer, it would be a real pain to deal with that.
  • The printer knows when the paper is gone and stops printing.
  • All the tweets are in a pile on the floor, we’ll give some away at end
  • Almost 4 days of non-stop USTREAM using Adobe Flash Media Live app and a Firewire DV camera. As long as we keep the preview window minimized it doesn’t crash…
  • We don’t mind if you want to use a lot of paper or tweet via script, it makes it more interesting for people watching the USTREAM.
  • It cost about $100. The printer was $50 at SparkFun. The Web Platform is $40 at Seeed Studio, but we built our own.

See the design overview, and read the first system update.

This entry was posted in web platforms and tagged , , .


  1. arturo says:

    cool stuff.. sorry for the OT but did you use adobe’s live encoder, or ustream’s?

    • Ian says:

      We’re using the adobe encoder. It works great as long as it is minimized. If the preview is on screen it crashes a lot.

  2. arturo says:

    thanks for the tip =)

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