When first introduced at the
MRE (Fort Polk) in 1999, ScribeVision was projected on an 800 by 600 pixel
Once in Bosnia, ScribeVision
had to adapt to a large video display system that was bundled with BDI
(Balkan Digitization Initiative). The giant system was immediately
ScribeVision was used to
control the daily Battle Update Briefings for the MND(N) Commanding
General. The view above is the Bubbatron as seen from the G6 Audio
Visual Control Booth.
With the BUB briefings
displayed on the Bubbatron behind the CG, a TV monitor was positioned in
front of MG Halverson so he could see the PowerPoint presentation.
It took G3 Ops two PCs to
send the BUB presentation to both the Bubbatron and CG TV monitor
Ever been envious of a co-worker that had one of
those 'large' computer monitors on his or her desk? You know, one of
those 19 or 21 inch monsters that handle the busiest web sites with room
You probably thought they could never build a
computer monitor big enough to suit you, right?. Then again, you've
never had to deal with the "Godzilla of computer monitors" that
SFOR 7 was faced with in Bosnia - a computer monitor measuring 12 feet by
The monitor was a system manufactured by Clarity
Systems and was intended to display tactical data from the BDI (Balkan
Digitization Initiative). It is actually nine separate monitors that
are linked together to function as one large system.
Housed in a black metal housing, the display system
reminded some of us of the mysterious monolith from 2001: A Space Oddysey
when it was initially installed in the main briefing area known as the BUB.
Within days, however, the system was referred to as "The Bubbatron".
The Challenges of
The Bubbatron presented some unique challenges for
ScribeVision and SFOR 7. The first challenge was dealing with the
sheer size of the display. The NT workstation that controlled the
giant monitor was housed in a cabinet at the base of the screen.
Imagine trying to do any work on the computer when the the screen towers a
dozen feet directly above you. Instead of moving a mouse cursor a
few inches to accomplish a task, the operator had to move the cursor
The pixel resolution of the screen was the biggest
challenge for ScribeVision initially. ScribeVision had been designed
for the 800 by 600 pixel screen at the Fort Polk MRE the previous
fall. However, Bubbatron had nine separate monitors - each one 800
by 600 pixels in size. This meant that any web page would have to be
able to fill up a 2400 by 1800 pixel browser window!
When I initially brought up the BubScribe
version of ScribeVision on the Bubbatron, it was "sucked" up
into the top right corner of the Bubbatron. I was forced to
construct a "Giant BubScribe"
that was hard-coded to fill the 2400 by 1800 pixel resolution.
Another shortcoming of Bubbatron was the lack of a
method of displaying the same image on both the Clarity display system and
the monitor in front of the Commanding General. We were forced to
run two different sessions of the PowerPoint presentation - one session
running on the PC hooked to the Bubbatron and another session of the
briefing running on a PC connected to the TV monitor. G3 had two
have an operator at both machines clicking the slides (and hoping to keep
them in synch).
We eventually simplified this process by installing
remote control software on a notebook PC and placing it next to the PC
controlling the CG's TV output. This made it possible for one G3 Ops
person to control both slideshows from one location.