WyoLum Text Format

You are probably already asking yourself what is WyoLum Text Format, or WTF? for short.  Let me answer that for you.  The WyoLum Text Format is a file format that defines the  LED sequencing for ClockTHREEjr.  This makes it easy for anyone to define a new language or dialect for ClockTHREEjr without programming.  Our LINGUIST backers from Kickstarter and others have already used WTF to define 10 languages and variants.  Here, we show how it works through an example: Dutch_v1.  (David Pincus’ and Roel Paes’ clear and simple rendition of the LED sequence that defined his Dutch variant was the spark that led to WTF).

In your favorite spreadsheet program (we use Google Docs), start by defining the characters in the 8×16 LED grid.

  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5
0 h e t r i s p v i j f b t i e n
1 k w a r t w i n t i g n v o o r
2 o v e r v h a l f w t w e e n b
3 d r i e v i e r v i j f z e s b
4 z e v e n e g e n a c h t i e n
5 e l f t w a a l f c u u r f ' s
6 o c h t e n d s m i d d a g s a
7 d p a v o n d s n a c h t s j s

The first character “h” (in the upper left hand corner of the grid) goes in cell “C2” so that the character grid covers the range(C2:R9).

Next we define the grid vocabulary (the individual words that the faceplate is capable of displaying) .  A “word” here means a group of horizontally adjacent cells which is identified by three numbers: starting row, starting column, and length.  Words are allowed to overlap if they share common letters.  For instance “twee” and “een” at the end of row number 2 share “ee”.  The word definitions start in cell V1.  The number of words in the vocabulary is arbitrary although there are more efficient ways of stroring the LED sequence if more than 128 words are used.  In practice, we have not required more than 45 words in any variant.  If we include the labels in column U and the translations in rows 3 and 4, the Dutch_v1 words start out like this:

StartRow	0	0	0	0	1	1	1	2	2	...
StartCol	0	4	7	12	0	4	12	0	5	...
length		3	2	4	4	5	7	4	4	4	...
Dutch		het	is	vijf	tien	kwart	twinig	voor	over	half	...
Translation	it	is	five	ten	quarter	twenty	before	after	half	...

Although it is not absolutely essential, the words should appear in the same order as on the faceplate.  This allows Simulate.py (discussed later) to print the words corresponding to each time as well as to display the time on the faceplate.

Next we define when each word should light up.  There are 288 5-minute time increments in 24 hours.  Therefore, the LED sequencing matrix has 288 rows and one column per word.  In Dutch_v1 there are 27 words, so the LED sequencing matrix is 288 rows by 27 columns starting in cell V6.  In Dutch “het is twaalf uur ‘s nachts” means “it is mignight”.  This is indicated in the first row of the LED sequencing matrix by copying each word in the pharse “het is twaalf uur ‘s nachts” to the first row, in the appropriate cell.  Please refer back to the Google doc for clarification.  Even though this is really a binary (on/off) matrix we use the whole word to indicate that it should be lit so that it is easty to read the time phase right off the spreadsheet.

The LED sequencing matrix displayed for English_v3.

Finally we define the “minutes hack” leds and sequencing.  Some people love the minutes hack, others hate it.  Basically it allows the clock to display more precise time than every five minutes, but not in words.  We call it the “minutes hack” because when Anool and I made our first word clock, the “Worduino” the minute leds were an after thought.  Traces needed to be cut and extra wires needed to be added.  It really was a hack.  Since then we have designed in the “minutes hack” but the name as stuck.

You can have as many “minute” leds as you want.  The Hebrew_v1 variant uses the whole bottom row as minute LEDs, but just four works well too to show how many minutes past the displayed time have elapsed.  A minute LED is a single cell specified by a row and a column of the matrtix.  Also a variant may have any number of minute hack “states”.  The transitions are timed so that the entire sequence is displayed every five minutes.

The number of minute LEDs is specified in cell V294.  Put a zero here if your variant does not use minutes hack LEDs.  The number of minutes hack states is specified in cell X294.  Again, put a zero here if your variant does not use minutes hack LEDs.

Since Dutch_v1 does not used the minutes hack feature, we use Shai Aharonov’s Hebrew_v1 as an example.

n_min_led	16	n_min_state	20

Including the labels the LED locations for this variant look like this (the first 7 is located in cell V295):

minute row	7	7	7	7	7	7	7	...
minute column	0	1	2	3	4	5	6	...

The next n_min_state rows (20 in this case) define when each minute led is lit.  Put an “X”s in the appropriate cells.

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ClockTHREEjr auf Deutsch

Announcing two German versions of ClockTHREEjr.  The are open to review on the forum.

German_v1 includes words like “mittags” “nachts” und “abends”. We were one letter too short to include them all as we would like so we had to make the compromise of sharing the “s” on “nachts” with mittags. so “nachts” reads


German_v2 only tells the time. The words are numerically ordered so the progression flows more naturally. None of the words share any letters.

Each version is available as an animated GIF file or a zipped directory of images.  Coming up:Esperonto and French.

Roger, who initiated the explosion in number of German veriants has contributed this table clarify the differences between the them.  Thanks Roger!

12:00 12:15 12:20 12:30 12:40 12:45
V1 zwölf uhr mittags viertel nach zwölf mittags zehn vor halb eins mittags halb eins mittags zehn nach halb eins mittags viertel vor eins mittags
V2 zwölf uhr viertel nach zwölf zehn vor halb eins halb eins zehn nach halb eins viertel vor eins
V3 zwölf uhr viertel nach zwölf zwanzig nach zwölf halb eins zwanzig vor eins viertel vor eins
V4 zwölf uhr viertel eins zwanzig nach zwölf halb eins zwanzig vor eins dreivertel eins













Our ClockTHREEjr Partners.

Given the recent success of ClockTHREEjr, we thought it was appropriate to point out our partnerships, without whom ClockTHREEjr would not be possible.

Volunteer Partnerships:  These partners have not asked for any compensation for supporting ClockTHREEjr.

  • Wise Time With Arduino, (FlorinC) http://timewitharduino.blogspot.com/ — The original impetus for bringing the costs down on ClockTHREEjr and project lead
  • Brian Krontz, http://www.briankrontz.com/ — Photographer.  Brian indicated in no uncertain terms how much room for improvement we had in the photographic arts!  We challenged him to “show us what we were missing” and that he did.

Please visit their websites and price them on your next project.  We have found them to be reliable and more affordable than all of their competitors.

  • Hines Design Labs http://angushines.com — Custom CNC work, and laser cutting.  Angus re-designed our faceplates to be much more manufacturable and flexible.  We have priced other services and have found Angus Hines to be literally half the cost.
  • Seeed Studio, http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/ — PCB, kits, assembly.  We were shocked by the discounts we could receive from Seeed Studio if we could buy in quantities of 100 or more.




Kickstarter successful! (and other news)

Forum LiveThanks to everyone who helped us get the “Word” out, wordclock that is.  Our Kickstarter project exceeded all of our expectations by an order of magnitude.

In order to prepare for builder questions, David Pincus set up a forum: http://forum.wyolum.com.  Please sign up and post a question or answer one.

The ClockTHREEjr has illustrated the viability of the WyoLum model.  The following is from our original homepage.

WyoLum is a partnership of Open Source enthusiasts collaborating on cool products.

We want to take DoItYourself to the next level of efficiency by creating a collaboration platform where guerrilla engineering-and-design teams can emerge for the duration of a project, solve a problem, disband and move on to the next project with the main goal of having fun in learning and developing as many cool and interesting projects as we can.

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