Digital artist Jer Thorp writes:

Holding a smoke alarm, battery installed, is somewhat like holding an unwound jack-in-the-box. While you know that it shouldn’t go off, there’s still a nagging suspicion that it might. I get a similar feeling when I check news websites in the morning – somewhere in the back of my mind, I suspect that the world might have caught on fire while I was asleep. So, it made at least some degree of sense to me to build a NewsAlarm – a device that sounds an alarm when specific new stories are detected ‘off the wire’.

He hooked a smoke alarm to a simple set of Classes in Processing which connect to the New York Times NewsWire API. He can set it up to be on the lookout for certain words/phrases that trigger the alarm when they appear over the wire. Cool. Annoying.

NewsAlarm – wiring in to the NYT NewsWire API

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy person’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.


    When I read the title I thought the alarm communicated with the web to signal that the alarm was triggered. That way, I would know while away that it went off. An alarm that used SMS or email (or twitter) would be sweet.

    • nanobri

      Yeah, that’s what I thought too. I think that idea would probably be more useful. :) Also, it could maybe send you an email reminder when you should replace your battery or something.

      -nanobri of