It is a quick and easy project to do, provided you have the required stuff.
Step 1: How does it work?
The first part is a small program that turns on or off the LEDs that are on a parallel port using inpout32.dll. The program hosts a tiny server that its one and only purpose is to understand HTTP requests.
The second part is a Greasemonkey script that detects when you have a new notification/message.
If you have a new notification or a message, the script will request a URL from the server the program described above hosts, and the program will understand the URL, and will start blinking the requested LED.
After you read your new notification/message, the script will request the same URL as before, which tells the program to stop blinking the LED.
Step 2: Requirements
- Windows (also works with x64 versions)
It should be possible to make this work on Linux, but not on a Mac, because as far as I know, Macs do not have a parallel port
- A parallel port
Most new computers don't have an integrated parallel port, so you'll have to buy a PCI-to-parallel card yourself. From what I read on the internet, not all cards will work, and USB-to-parallel also won't work.
- Mozilla Firefox with the Greasemonkey extension installed or Google Chrome (Opera might work too)
- 2 LEDs
- Centronics Printer cable (optional; I use it as an extension cable)