Welcome to the LED Sign

Welcome to the LED Sign*

The good stuff:

  • See what's on the sign right now

  • Put your own message on the sign!

  • Use the sign to check out local weather in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada!

  • OOH! OOH! Random thought!

    What's this all about, anyway?

      Ian owns a computer store. He sells new and recycled computers. Sometimes, people give Ian old computers and electronic equipment that they don't want any more.

      One day, Ian was given a LED sign. What is a LED sign, you ask? A LED sign is a display that uses a grid of over 6000 lights (LEDs) to show text, images, graphics, etc. This one came from a drug store.

      Around Christmas 1999, Ian contacted Dave and told him about the sign. Much to Dave's eternal regret, Dave writes database software for a living, but he couldn't resist the lure of The Sign. From January 2000 to May 2000, Dave and Ian reverse-engineered the sign and put it on the Web. Now it hangs in Ian's living room.

      In November 2003, Ian was invited to the Goatsilk art gallery in Montana. Ian invited Chris Scott, a long time friend and a top notch web developer. Chris & Ian re-invented the sign in a art gallery setting. (Thx Ben & Carolyn)

      Dave currently resides on a SECRET MARTIAN COLONY on Mars. Dave is The Chief Administrator of Terraforming and Dairy Products.

    Who did it, and why?

      We told you already: Dave and Ian did it. Why? Because it's there. Because it needed doing. Because we had nothing better to do. Because it was fun, and because we now know how to reverse-engineer controller cards, write Linux device drivers, mess about with sockets, make UNIX daemons, and fix all of the above when they break. And then break them again...

      But it's good. It's all good.

    Technical Information

      The sign consists of a 128 x 48 red 3-shade LED matrix and PC controller card manufactured by JVF Incorporated.

      We developed a Linux device driver -- based on the floppy drive device driver source code from the Linux kernel -- and a Linux daemon to listen on a TCP/IP socket for images sent to the sign. The daemon accesses our custom device driver. We developed PHP-based Web interfaces to the sign that allow anyone on the Internet to display stock quotes, view the time and temperature in Brandon, Manitoba; and send messages to the sign in Ian's apartment.

      We also developed some Windows apps in Delphi that allow the sign to display sound card output as a spectrum analyzer, display scrolling text & video, ported various java games to work with the LEDSign, etc.


Comments? Send email to ledsign@crcw.mb.ca

What People Have to Say About the LED Sign:

    "Of all the sites on the Internet, this is one of them."

    "Time well-wasted..."

    "What the hell is this crap? It's like renting a movie where the main character is reading a book all the way through, and the camera just reads over his shoulder. How stupid! I watched for hours and hours!"


    "Thanks for 10 seconds of feeling good."


    "...You're idea of the sign and webcam is nice: I found it stupid and useless and I love it :))))))"


    "Hey great idea!....cool site"


    "Who needs internet porn when there is the LED Sign!I haven't slept in days and I can't feel my ass anymore."


    "totally useless but totally essential !"


    "The idea for your site is priceless ... keep up the cool site."


    "This is by far the coolest use of the web i have seen in quite some time. Even better than porn"

    "It made me feel special, placing my message on the sign. I am special because Dave and Ian let me display my text on the sign, their sign. They shared their sign with me. I love the sign."

      Chris from Marlborough, MA

    "...This sign is absolutely a representation and a metaphor for possibility, thought, expression, technology, desire, and ultimately--humanity... "

    "This site has lost all credability, you guys could have been kings, but you got greedy..."

    "It *still works* Four years later, and it *still works*. I may weep openly."


    "W()W! Is all I can say! I stayed up from 11 to 12 having chat with completely random people! Thanks for this great entertainment!"

      |::--weirdguy--::| Dec 21, 2004

    "Thank you, Dave and Ian, for making us laugh at love. Again!"

      Matt Jan 19, 2005

    "wow, cool stuff but I find myself asking why after a while a long while but a while non the less"

      Andrew Aug 30, 2005

    "LED sign is pure genious! Last night my friends from all over New Zealand communicated in drunken insults like never before!"

      Chewie Oct 28, 2005

    "Im freakin addicted !!! thanks guys !"

      Kee Nov 17, 2005


      Anonymous Nov 28, 2005

    "I once saw a sign in my dreams. It's name was Charolette and we danced for days. One day later I found out it was cheating on me with a damn do not disturb sign. I hate the French. Thus is love. Your site brings back only memories, painful ones. It's good to feel again, thank you"

      SanityJan 2,2006

    "Pure awesome-ness within 6000 LED's"

      Deadfred Jan 30, 2006

    "Thank-you for your creative contribution to the Internet it is very entertaining!"

      Gordon Feb 8, 2006



    "This site is the dogs bollox, spread the word guys"

      Wibbled Mar 1, 2006

    "Great site, excellent way to waste time in a lecture"

      King Dave, (One of Dave's students) Nov 8, 2007

    "found your site about 2 hours ago...i really did need sleep, but now i just don't care. F5 is my friend. "

      Jesse Jan 19, 2008

Copyright 2000 © Dave and Ian, All Rights Reserved, Not That There's Anything You'd Want Here Anyway. * Now with 10% more GL

Last Updated August 3, 1986