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PlanetChristmas Magazine July 2012

Show Testing from an iPad Technology to the rescue! By Wayne Gateman Smost however, I started off my first year light show controller to do quick testing, nicePlanetChristmasThe story showed how to use a modified smallfollowed by an article in theMagazine.o, you want to test your lights, and themore you have the more you need to testas you get ready for launch night. Like of doing animated lights using the more primi- but limited to a small section of lights without tive 2FSS run method. the ability to test larger groups of lights as you Better known as the two feet, two sneakers progress along. and stairs method, aka: running upstairs to turn Now, by trade I am a computer systems on display, then back down to see if it works, engineer, which means I have been working then back up if it did not, or if it started some with computer systems for over 30 years now, of them, but not others. Wow, plain exhausting, networking, operating systems and for the past and the more lights, stairs, yard you have, the ten years: virtualization, which involves get- more you develop a love / hate relationship with ting a single large computer to run many vir- the 2FSS method. tual computers on it. So, if anyone should have To make the point, the first year I did this I SOME idea of how to do this, it should be me. only had 5,160 lights spread across a large yard, One would hope, expect, count on, and prey so the 2FSS method gave me a big workout and for! Yeesh! major frustration when something would not This led me to ponder a solution, or in com- work or light up when I expected it to. puter speak, ‘parse the data through many fil- In my second year (2011) I had 17,305 lights! ters to reduce total dataset down to a few ideas That’s a 235% increase from the first year and for testing’ and while pondering I was using the very thought of 2FSS was making me my new iPad my wife had given me for the exhausted. 2010 Christmas holiday. And then the little Did I mention that the entire staff for my idea icon in my head started flashing, (think show is one? There was some pity help from my C9 bulb) the iPad is small and portable and wife on the days she felt her sanity at risk if she most of all powerful enough to do so many did not prevent me having a heart attack trying things. to get all the lights up by myself. I already have wireless connections in my So, how to get the lights in place and test them house, the iPad receives and sends wireless to make sure they not only went on and off, but signals, so my mind is saying ‘Hello”, wake would perform correctly when a sequence was up, idea here, why not use the iPad to test the run? A starting point was PlanetChristmas, lights? 24 PlanetChristmas | July 2012


PlanetChristmas Magazine July 2012
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