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How to display weather maps or other graphic images to a dedicated monitor using Linux

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Page bread crumbs: Welcome to ke3vin.org! - My Public Technical Notes - Tricks And HOWT Os - How To Display Weather Maps Or Other Graphic Images To A Dedicated Monitor Using Linux

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2016-03-22: This site is being moved to my main site at https://kevininscoe.com/wiki as part of a consolidation to one domain.


What you need: A space computer with a monitor, a copy of a Linux distribution (I prefer CentOS or Fedora but most any distribution that has KDE, GNOME or Xfce (I prefer Xfce myself) should work) and a always-on internet connection (not dial-up).

I have a spare display in my office at work and at home that displays weather maps and some other outside weather related web camera pictures that I like to keep tabs on kind of like in a Network Operations Center. Here is how I do it.

I used to do this some time back in the XFree86 days by using XSetRoot program against my x display. However I no longer do it this way I now use install Linux, use the GNOME, KDE or Xfce desktop window manager. Each one has a program that will display graphic images as a screen saver on a timed basis meaning you can adjust how often the image rotates or how long the image appears on the screen. These images are pulled from a certain directory on the Linux computer. Then it's a simple matter of using curl or wget in a cron type script to routinely pull certain images available on the internet and dump them into the directory. The screen saver will pull the images either randomly or in a sequence and display them on the screen. You can still work on the desktop if you need to as the screen saver will disappear with activity on the keyboard or the mouse but of course the point in my case is to keep the displays going as much as possible. You can even use this in place of electronic picture frame if you like.

First take some desktop pc you have lying around with a monitor you do not need to use all the time. Make sure it is accessible to the Internet. Now load Linux on it. For purposes of this tutorial I will assume you are using CentOS 5 and Gnome as your window manager.

I recommend creating a non-root account to use when you login to your window manager.

Once installed you setup up your screen saver by visiting Preferences ->Screensaver.

Choose under Screensaver theme: "Pictures folder".

You won't be able to choose a folder in the screen saver GUI. In GNOME 2.0 to use this screensaver you have to have a folder named "Pictures" in your home directory so for a log-in called wxscreen it would be in /home/wxscreen/Pictures. This is where the screen saver will look for images and pictures.

Now the second part is to download the weather images on a regular basis. To do this I wrote the following script:

http://pub.ke3vin.org/scripts/get_images.sh.txt

I run this from cron as the wxscreen user every 20 minutes on my display machine like this:

 0,20,40 * * * * /home/wxscreen/bin/wx_images.sh > /home/wxscreen/log/wx_images.log 2>&1

As for the links I use there is a explanation over on my The radar screens I watch at home and work on my flat panel page of the wiki.


Kevin's Public Wiki maintained and created by Kevin P. Inscoe is licensed under a
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Page last modified on November 09, 2011, at 01:40 PM EST