I'm going to be doing a talk at Code Camp in Philly soon on Continuous Integration. I have no experience with lava lamps, ambient orbs, or whatever - but I think that would be a great addition to the demo, driving enthusiasm.

Can anyone please recommend a very easy to setup/use device that I could purchase and show off quickly? I'm hoping for something that hooks up via USB if possible, since networking or wireless and such will be spotty at best.

I'm going to be using CruiseControl.NET and/or Hudson, with MSBuild.


Was it helpful?


The lavalamp from Pragmatic automation is my favorite.


Nabaztagtag rabbit rocks. It has a nice API and looks good.

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Or a Build Wallboard.

This article provides a discussion and the code to output Cruise Control build status via serial or USB. The parts are cheap and it doesn't look too difficult to put together.

There is an Nabaztag Plugin for Hudson and Nabaztag is IMO the easiest solution.

For Lava Lamps, you'll need a bit of stuff as detailed in Hudson Build Status Lava Lamps but it seems pretty easy.

Finally, you might want to check the DIYOrb entry on Kohsuke's blog.

If you've got Linux people (maybe less likely in an MS shop) they might like the tux droid

Tux Droid

What I have ended up with is a great, very easy to setup and use x10 solution. You can get the whole setup from These guys are great to work with and provide help if you need. But honestly it was very easy:

1) Buy their package. 2) Setup cctray. 3) Break a build and see the lights go off :)

Since it's x10, you don't need any wifi or network or subscription or anything. You will need a serial port. In my case I only had USB, so I used the USB-Serial converter from IOGear and it works just fine under Windows 2008 64bit (using their Vista 64 drivers you have to download).

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