It was a late August Saturday night in Seattle, we decided not only to hit the dance floor, but boogie on down in a whole new way. All the cats in town are wearing big belt buckles now, so we thought, hey, here's our chance to show the world our latest hack, the Search Engine Belt Buckle.
What is the Search Engine Belt Buckle?
The Search Engine Belt Buckle is a PDA which shows 24 hours of all the bizarre and banal things people are looking for on the web. Art project or pointless hack? That's for you to decide, but all we know is that people are searching for some pretty freaky stuff out there, so why not put in a belt buckle and get on the scene like a sex machine?
So, these are all search terms that people were looking for that are now appearing on our belt buckle.
"olympic nude athletes"
"leaving the scene of an accident"
"night diaper bondage"
"disorder cutting self injury"
The Search Engine Belt Buckle has enough battery power to last for about 2 to 3 hours, plenty of time for gettin' on down and it's sure to attract the ladies (or the gents as it were). If there's WiFi it can stream in live queries, but since that's always an unknown, we have a few hours of search queries on hand at all times.
This technically isn't one of our HOW-TO's, but we will show you how we made the Search Engine Belt Buckle.
Making the Search "video" for the belt buckle
First we captured 24 hours worth of video, which was search terms going by on a specific part of our screen.
Special note: Yah, we coulda grabbed the XML from the SWF and made a new app to do display all the stuff, but we
wanted to make this approachable for other folks out there do this. By making this a video file we can display it on a
wider variety of systems and mediums.
Using Windows Media Encoder 9 series (free) we specified a specific region of our screen to get captured. After you download and install the Windows Media Encoder, start it up and in the Wizard Menu choose "Capture Screen".
In the next menu choose "Region of the Screen".
Set your browser to "SearchSpy" here. Click the "Use selection button" and drag an outline around the search goodness.
A bit of warning, as if you had any doubts before, people are sick monkeys, you'll see some of the most amazingly gross and perverse queries. After recording these for 24 hours and watching them, the only thing we could think of was to put it on a belt buckle and dance, dance, dance.
After you choose the area, pick a name for the file, click next and then choose a type of encoding, we picked "Medium" since it doesn't really matter with text that will be on a belt buckle.
Fill in the title, author and all that good stuff. Then click finish.
Now you're recording all the searches in real time. When you think you've got enough (how much is ever enough, really) click the Encoder app on the task bar and stop the recording.
Here's a 10 minute sample (Windows Media).
Now, we'll want to recode it to play full screen on a Pocket PC in the Windows Media Player.
Close the Windows Media Encoder and start it back up again, in the Wizard click "Convert a file" click browse and choose the file you just made. Click next, choose Pocket PC.
In the next Window, use the pull down list and choose "Pocket PC widescreen video (CBR)". This will make the video 320 x 240.
Click Finish and you're off to encoding.
When it's done, move that file to the Pocket PC, we popped ours on a SD card.
In File Explorer click the file, it will start to play, but click stop.
In Windows Media on the Pocket PC tap Tools > Settings > Audio & Video. In the pull down list choose "Continue Playback" and Play video in full screen "always". Tap OK.
Tap Tools > Repeat. Don't press play yet.
Now, we need to turn off the Power Management stuff. Tap the Start Menu > Settings, System tab > Power. We unchecked "Turn off device is not used for...".
Then tap "Backlight" and uncheck "Turn off backlight if device is not used for". This will keep the device on until you press the power button or you run out of juice.
Click OK, then tap the Start Menu and the Windows Media icon. Tap play and your search video will play as long as you want it to and be rotated to the right for optimal belt buckle viewing.
If you want, you can also adjust the brightness (depending on the vibe).
And lastly, you can always edit the video and do other things, colors and effects. Maybe we'll do another version with pictures.
Making the Belt Buckle
Now, you don't need to make a belt buckle, you could just have this sit on your desk or play the video on any device, it's mesmerizing.
We couldn't resist the temptation to make a big-ass belt buckle...We grabbed some stuff and were off.
So we wrapped the Pocket PC in black tape...
...and then hot glued shiny beads to the outside.
On the back we used adhesive velcro, and placed the other side on a belt we had.
And there it is, the Search Engine Belt Buckle.
We might make a smaller one with another Pocket PC we get from Ebay, but for now this seems to be working out just dandy. Seeya on the flipside stella.
Phillip Torrone can be reached via his personal site: http://www.flashenabled.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org