Hacked Mac mini delivers news the old-fashioned way (sort of) - Macenstein

Hacked Mac mini delivers news the old-fashioned way (sort of)

Posted by Dr. Macenstein

We’ve seen a lot of Mac mini mods in our day, but this one ranks right up there with the best of them.

Scott Walker, assistant editor at the Birmingham News, has found a truly unique use for his Mac mini. Using an old newspaper vending rack found on eBay, a 17-inch LG LCD display, some rope lighting, a Mac mini and some AppleScript, Scott was able to create a digital newsstand that delivers a constant stream of current headlines to his living room, and look extremely cool while doing it.

An iCal alarm wakes the mini each morning and sets in motion an AppleScript which takes some screenshots of various online newspapers (including the Birmingham News, of course), crops them (using GraphicCoverter), then launches a PhotoPresenter slideshow of the pics complete with transitions. The result is geekery at its finest. Check out Scott’s YouTube video (below) to see the device in action.

Thanks to faithful Macenstein reader TheWarpedOne for the tip!

21 Responses to “Hacked Mac mini delivers news the old-fashioned way (sort of)”
  1. Rowlings says:

    It even has a remote! How f-ing cool is that!?!?

  2. gear whore says:


  3. Crazy Eddie says:

    What does an assistant editor make that they can just throw away a Mac mini like that?
    don’t get me wrong, it’s a cool mod and all, but the mini could be put to a more useful purpose.
    At MY house.

  4. I'd buy THAT for a dollar! says:

    that is freakin’ cool as all hell. He should sell those.

  5. george says:

    i wonder where he gets his feed for those up to date headlines. of course, his job. but is it a digital scan that youd find archived library style, or maybe he just brings home a cd and loads it in every day. or has it networked. all the same, pretty cool.

  6. MCM says:

    could be MORE useful at mine I love macs and need more power

  7. kcb2 says:

    So you have to sit in front of this thing to read your news? I agree he did a nice job and its cool…but not exactly practical…

  8. philldo says:

    Sweet mod. This would look great in a news room office.

  9. Eric says:

    I would say this seems like the future of newsstands… with the ability to show all the headlines to attract paper buyers!

  10. pierce says:

    Anybody have a “how-to?” It should be easy to do with alot less computer power though.

  11. Dude says:

    It would be even cooler if when he opened it up it printed the displayed paper.

  12. ub3rg33k says:

    That’s cool, but I don’t understand the point of the rope light. What’s that all about? Didn’t the LCD come with a backlight already?

  13. Da Coyote says:

    I normally regard MSM folk as somewhat below worms in intelligence, but this fellow is obviously the exception. Mega cool!

  14. fresh says:

    so what is the rope lighting for??

  15. Dell says:

    This is sooo cool. Thanks for sharing this.

  16. jamie says:

    i was just thinking to myself the other day that there hasn’t been any enhancements in newspaper vending technology in a while

  17. That is awesome doc!

  18. Sanford says:

    Cool, but already been done a couple of years ago. As seen at Quakecon 2004…


  19. I think I have seen something similar at the Paris Subway – Gare De Norde. It is a great idea. 🙂

  20. Phil says:

    The light rope is cosmetic… provides the backlight behind the vending rack.

Leave A Comment


Click here to inquire about making a fortune by advertising your game, gadget, or site on Macenstein.