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  • The original Rudolph did not have a red nose. In that day and age, red noses were seen as an indicator of chronic alcoholism and Montgomery Ward didn’t want him to look like a drunkard. To complete the original picture, he was almost named Reginald or Rollo.
  • The Christmas wreath was originally hung as a symbol of Jesus. The holly represents his crown of thorns and the red berries the blood he shed.
  • The three traditional colors of most Christmas decorations are red, green and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Christ, green symbolized life and rebirth, and gold represents light, royalty and wealth.
  • Tinsel was invented in 1610 in Germany and was once made of real silver.
  • The oldest artificial Christmas trees date back to the late 1800s and were made of green raffia (think grass hula skirts) or dyed goose feathers. Next the Addis Brush Company used their machinery that wove toilet brushes to create pine-like branches for artificial Christmas trees that were less flammable and could hold heavier decorations.
  • ‘Jingle Bells’ – the popular Christmas song was composed by James Pierpont in Massachusetts, America. It was, however, written for thanksgiving and not Christmas.
  • Coca-Cola was the first company that used Santa Claus during the winter season for promotion.
  • Hallmark introduced their first Christmas cards in 1915.
  • The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on that day.
  • Santa Claus's sleigh is led by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder (variously spelled Donder and Donner), and Blixem (variously spelled Blixen and Blitzen), with Rudolph being a 20th-century inclusion.
  • Outdoor Christmas lights on homes evolved from decorating the traditional Christmas tree and house with candles during the Christmas season. Lighting the tree with small candles dates back to the 17th century and originated in Germany before spreading to Eastern Europe.
  • That big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard didn’t always look that way. Prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. When Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elflike figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to the red he’s known for today.
  • Christmas 2018 countdown has already begun. Will you be ready???
  • Why do we love Christmas? It's all about the traditions. In this chaotic world we can miss the "good old days." Christmas reminds us of that time.


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Everything posted by in2everything

  1. Some of the best help I found while learning S2 was the Help index, where you could search for a topic or just browse and read about what all of the buttons and menus do. As for your question, relxerd already beat me to it, but the space bar also acts as as a play/pause (it works on just about anything on your computer that has play/pause buttons, including youtube). To start playing from an exact spot, you can simply click on that spot in your sequence (so that a cell is selected) and then hit the space bar. ----Be careful that you don't accidentally insert an on/off/twinkle/etc. command though----to avoid this I usually click on a blank cell, hit delete in case I inserted any command into that cell, and then hit the space bar to begin playing from that spot. Hit space bar again to stop. Another method that I later found and started using quite a bit was to start it playing and for the "range" that I wanted to keep going through, hit the up arrow (I believe it's the up arrow) at the beginning of the range and the down arrow? (I think) at the end of the range. That will make that range turn grey, so that if you press play, it will play only that range. If you have selected "loop at end" then it will continuously play that small section - convenient when you're working on marking the timings on a piece. I do highly recommend the help section of the LOR software though - I really started enjoying sequencing more and more once I started figuring out all the time I could save by using the built in functions with all the buttons and menu options. As for loops - what I read told me that loops can only be used in an animation sequence - not a musical sequence. When a sequence if first created, there is a check box to allow loops, but again, I think this option is only available for non musical sequences. The way around this is to create a new animation sequence, create the loop, and then copy and paste the cells into your musical sequence.
  2. We put all 4 strands together before wrapping. It will make unwrapping easier as well. Also, I found out that it is much easier to combine the four strands, and then wrap them around a spool (the kind of spool many lights come on nowadays, i.e. small). Only about one or maybe two lengths of lights will fit on the spool at a time, but it solves the problem of having to mess with the bulky strands as we wrap. In order, we: Combine 4 strands with zip ties x however many strands we'll need Wrap one or two lengths of lights around a small spool Wrap the tree When we run out of lights on the spool, we grab another bunch, and wrap it around the spool. Connect the ends, and continue wrapping the tree. This works best when there are many branches and tight wraps involved. If it is just a straight trunk (palm tree), then using a spool wouldn't be as beneficial.
  3. This was my first year, and I made my own Cat6 cables. I even ohmed them end to end to verify continuity and correctness. I assume it was due to carelessness in routing (not placing perp. to power cords, etc.), but I had channels coming on at random. Really disappointed in what was going on, I bought all new shielded cat5 cables from Monoprice.com. While waiting on them to arrive, I tried several other things that I read may fix my problem. When I installed them, my problem was gone, but I am not certain what exactly it was that fixed my problem, whether it was new cables or something else I had done. Monoprice is the best for all things related to cables - awesome quality and great price. I, too, plan to add more controllers for 2011, and I think I will at first try to use my own homemade cables, but I will be more careful in keeping them away from power cords, but if I run into problems again, I won't hesitate to order more shielded cables from Monoprice. Also - I decided to use shielded just so I wouldn't have to wonder later if I should have used shielded. They were just a few dollars more than unshielded. The only bad thing is that they were only available in grey, no other colors.
  4. My ground wasn't terribly uneven, but I just did the same that I would have done if it was even - I made the pole perfectly vertical (used a level), and guy wired it in place. I just laid the base ring on the ground, secured it to the ground with stakes, and then ran the strands of lights to the base ring, and then back towards the center for the remainder of the strand. The different strands on the uneven sides will have more/less left over, so you could run the excess strand back up and zip tie it to itself if you're worried about the messy look in the middle of the mega tree.
  5. Be careful what you wish for... This is my very first year, but word of mouth spread like fire. Saturday I heard it got really busy while I was out of town, so on Sunday I started watching the cars as soon as the show started, and sure enough, cars accumulated quickly. I ended up directing traffic all night on Sunday, and things did go quite well with the exception of a couple of people who live up the road who zoom through as if they think their house is going to leave them. On that first Saturday that it got busy I was contacted late at night by a local radio station and I was asked to do an interview on Monday. I went in for the interview and it ended up lasting 25 minutes, but it was a lot of fun. I decided to buy a boatload of candy canes to hand out Monday, and after that interview in the morning, Monday was definitely our busiest night yet. Yesterday (Tuesday) was about the same as Monday. I'm thinking about throwing on the Santa suit tonight, but I'm not certain yet. The comments and reactions have been amazing, and everything is wonderful 99% of the time, but the 1% bad part is due to rude and inconsiderate people who zoom through there - and the worst silliest, rudest thing so far has been a lady that lives somewhere further up the road - cars were lined up on my side of the road (pulled into the ditch about half way), but there was 1 single car pulled off on the opposite side of the road (the same side this lady was driving on). This lady drove up behind this one car and instead of VERY EASILY going around it, she blared her horn at it. I quickly ran over to her and was extremely polite in asking her if I could help her and if there was anything I could do for her, and she replied, "I just want to get home." There was so much room to go between the cars on the sides of the road that it was silly! I politely pointed out that she could easily drive right around that one car. A few more words were exchanged (hers being rude, mine being very polite) and she finally started to go around and drive off. I said Merry Christmas as she was driving off, and she actually said Merry Christmas back. It's amazing how for 99% of people this kind of thing brings out the best, but 1% of people just seem to be anti-good and anti-happiness. It sure is a shame. I try extremely hard to make it all good for everyone, but it really is so hard to please everyone.
  6. I'm pretty certain it is the same for all Walmarts across the US... 50% off on the 26th 75% off on the 1st starting at midnight (as soon as the new year hits) It is all computerized, so if you see 50% off tags still on the 1st, just take a couple of items to a scanner and you will likely find that in the computers they are indeed 75% off. Good luck, and bring a truck!
  7. Being my first year, I wanted to make things more permanent and easier for the following years. In terms of labeling, here is what I did: Extension cords - I used small zip ties that have a 1" x 1" tag on them (zip ties made for labeling) - I placed a zip tie on both ends of the cord (only 1 zip tie on shorter 2 conductor cords) and I labeled each end of each cord with its length and the gauge wire. When I go to use them, I quickly know which extension cords I want to use from outlet to LOR controller (14g or thicker), and which extension cords I want to use from controller output to lights (16g). This also helps when others are helping me set up - I can just say "Use whatever length extension cord you need from THAT pile." This way my helpers aren't using my good thick cords for individual channels. For the LOR controllers - I bought most of my controllers in "need to be put together" state. For those I did use a Brother label maker to label the channels on the output cords, just like LOR does from the factory. For my lights - There was usually a tag on them, so I just used a sharpie to put what color and what controller output # they should go to as I set them up. I see this changing from year to year, so that is a less permanent solution. As for storage, I find that simply coiling extension cords around my arm and then zip tying them in two places keeps them nice and compact, but for my gobs of lights, huge spools that I get from work are really awesome - they keep the strands straight and untangled for the most part, and they store easily, much better than tupperware containers.
  8. I was really happy to receive a nice email from a great lady I used to work with. Here it is below, although I changed the names just for the heck of it. It really made my day! Here's a link to a post with links to all 5 of my videos: http://forums.planetchristmas.com/showthread.php/45924-1st-year-with-LOR-Finally-made-5-videos
  9. Newbie here, but I hit the ground running this year. We set up our first ever animated Christmas light display, and it's a joy seeing all the vehicles outside watching and hearing all of the great comments. I posted a thread with links to my videos here: http://forums.planetchristmas.com/showthread.php/45924-1st-year-with-LOR-Finally-made-5-videos Feel free to add our address to your list. We live about an hour southeast of Nashville just off of I-24. I tell people we live in Manchester, but my address is technically Hillsboro. 1361 Old Airport Rd. Hillsboro, TN 37342 Thanks, Kenny
  10. You can sometimes find old antenna towers relatively cheap on craigslist. (<$150) They come in 10 ft sections, so you could do 20 ft next year, and then higher than that later if you want. What's nice about an antenna tower is that it is basically a ladder as well. As long as you trust how well you've secured it, you can climb to the top, and use a pulley for helpers on the ground to attach the end of light strands to, and then they can simply pull them up to you. All you have to do is stand up there (4 1/2 hours!) and wait for them to pull up lights, and you just take them off the pulley system and hook them to your topper. It's relatively simple, but legs and feet do get tired after a while. As far as securing - Do this right, or you're dead. To make absolutely certain I would stay alive (mostly certain anyway), I augered a 3ft hole in the ground for it to be placed in, and then we guy wired it as well. It is very secure now. It was relatively windy when I was standing on top of it, and since its completion, we've had 30-40 mph winds on a couple of occasions. Worrysome, but it seems to be like a rock. The hardest part was figuring out how to get it upright. $180 rental for a man lift would have been most ideal, but I'm too frugal (cheap). We ended up digging a sloping ditch going down to the bottom of the hole, and using a front end loader of a tractor to very slowly push it upright while 3 people held the guy wires for extra measure. A 20ft tower might be able to be pushed up by man (I'm picturing 4 people - 1 person at the base to hold it down so it doesn't buck up, 1 person pushing it up, and 2 people pulling the opposite guy wires to help get it vertical. Other folks presented good options as well, so this is just another one to add to the list of options. Good luck!
  11. I have a ton of experience with LEDs already....not because I've used them for years (this is my first year), but because I've plucked thousands and thousands of them. I wanted my show to be only solid colors and no multi, but multi color LEDs are all I ever find on decent sales. As a result, I clear out shelves of LEDs when I find them cheap enough, and so far this has only been true with multi colored. I pluck every single LED out of every strand and rebuild solid color strands. I quickly learned better techniques for rebuilding after many sections wouldn't work after they were rebuilt. It's slow and more tedious, but plucking one and putting in a replacement, hoping that was the problematic LED, is the most systematic way to find a problem. Start at one end, and just DO IT. I find that this is actually fairly quick, as compared to other means of troubleshooting that I have resorted to. Pliers work well to pull the cheaper solid plastic LEDs, but for LEDs with colored caps on them something else to get under the lip of the LED is required. ***Important: When I pull out an LED, I quickly look in the socket at the terminations of the wire, making sure they are seated properly in the sides of the socket, before I put another LED back in there. This systematic process worked every time -pluck, check wire ends in the socket, and replace with a different LED. The 2 most frequent problems that I found are 1) One of the legs of the LED was not bent properly from the factory, usually resulting in the leg just completely straight still, not making contact with the wires in the socket.(To fix, bend leg into proper position and voila!) 2) One of the wires coming up into the socket is not seated properly - usually it is pulled out of the bottom a little to much. (To fix, unplug strand, push wire back up in there and slide it back into the little indention in the plastic. Needle nose pliers may be required. Then plug back in the strand.) Other less frequent problems include: 3) Bad LED from the factory. I have found a few causes to be that the metal element is actually sticking out the bottom of the diode, instead of being completely encased in the plastic of the diode. 4) That's all I can think of right now. Just FYI, most of the LEDs that I've purchased have been GE brand single strands or Walmart brand icicle. Like I mentioned, I finally just found a system that is quick and efficient to troubleshoot. I've wasted more time inefficiently troubleshooting than I really care to mention, especially with incandescent strands.
  12. I agree. I was starting to get nervous because I hadn't figured out what circuits I was going to get power from, or if I would have to build a subpanel, etc., but when I accumulated all of the LEDs recently here and there, it eased my worries when the power reduction meant I only needed 10 dedicated circuits for my lights, which I just scraped by using rec room, basement, and exterior circuits, with extension cords running out several windows. Of course 10 circuits for my LOR controllers does still mean that I can only power about 1/4 of my lights at any given time, but I've managed.
  13. After accumulating quite a few LEDs after Christmas last year and over the past several months, I've been able to use LEDs on the whole roof and the window frames. All the rest of my display is incandescent. I have varied results as far as matching colors. GE Energy Smart icicle WARM white LEDs from lowe's aren't warm (yellowed) enough compared to incan., but Walmart warm white LED single strands look excellent. All of the red LEDs are almost spot on with incan., with the exception of some Hobby Lobby net lights that were a weak red right out of the box. Some Greens are a good match, but some are a little worse, again, the Hobby Lobby net lights (brand new are a weak green) and some of the other incan. greens seem faded compared to Green LEDs. Blues are flat out terrible. All of my blue incan. are nowhere close to as bright or brilliant as the LEDs. As a matter of fact, half of the blue incan. don't match the other blue incan. It's just something I'm going to have to deal with this year, and keep on slowly replacing the incan. with LED My source for lights have been all of the local sales after Christmas, mainly walmart and hobby lobby. I haven't yet decided to get more LEDs from any PC vendors, but it is a thought that I consider from time to time. It would just be crazy expensive. Fading of lights is starting to become a problem with my sequencing though......
  14. So far I've made a 4.5 ft Christmas star for the top of my mega tree and a 24 ft Christmas star for the side of my house. For both of these I used 1/4" round rod. I am about to make a 3 ft 3D Christmas star (3 stars 60 degrees rotated), for which I will also use 1/4", and I will use a section of 1/2" round rod right down the center to weld them all to for extra support. A friend across town makes animals and stuff like that, and he also uses 1/4" I've only done a little bending for a couple of hooks, and I just used a piece of steel pipe and bent 1/4" around it by hand. Almost all are straight sections, which I just cut and weld. My friend has various diameter metal objects welded to a table that he bends around, but I don't recall how he said he really does the bending, (with heat or not?). We get it from a local welding fabrication shop. Mild carbon steel round rod is what I call it. I buy 20' length pieces and the prices for 20 ft are $3.27 for 1/4" and $11.39 for 1/2" pieces. A nice little Lincoln 125 mig welder does everything I ask of it, if only I could learn to make better welds.
  15. Congrats! It's amazing how there can be so many solutions to what seems to be the same problem! Our audiences shall wait no more. I'm finally ready for my show to start Sunday night after I put up my last piece of this year - a 24' Christmas star on the side of our house. This sequencing stuff is killing me though. Good luck!
  16. Each board does have an RJ11 input with its own socket, which does hold the telephone cable snugly, but when I used telephone cable to output from one box to the next, the larger output socket didn't seem to hold the connector well. I kept having to readjust the connector in the socket in order for the hardware utility to find all of my controllers. Granted, my controllers are all laying around the yard, and I was moving and messing with them a lot. I'm sure if I had gotten them all working I could have left the phone cable as interconnects, but as my blanket approach to fix my larger issues, I just went ahead and used all cat 5 cables to avoid any possibility of having issues there as well. As a follow-up on my "itis" problems, I tested my sequence again early this morning, and I do believe my problems have been solved. It does turn out that my programming (sequencing) is awful though. I walked back inside with a page full of notes of changes that I already wanted to make, and I do now realize the importance of creating an animation in the LOR sequence editor. Off to work I go...
  17. I am a complete noob to the LOR game, but I had random "itis" problems and no telling what else I don't know a term for yet. This was while preparing for my very first show for my very first LOR sequence. Boy was I disappointed when testing with the hardware utility on one controller provoked other random channels to come on. After reading and figuring, I started replacing my network cable (some made by me and some factory made) with phone cable. I would then hook up the first box and test it in the hardware utiltity. So on with the second through the tenth boxes. After I hooked up each new box, I would test all of the boxes presently hooked up, looking for random channels turning on or sticking. I finally made it with all ten controllers, so I moved on to the small portion of a sequence I had finished, and AAAARRRRGGGGGHHHH! More randomness and stuck channels appeared while running my music sequence. I know my programming isn't that lousy, so indeed, "itis" problems still existed. This gave me a pretty bad feeling in my gut, being my first year and all, so I researched more. I assumed it had something to do with the cables providing the signal (proximity to power wires, looseness in socket, etc), so one of my decisions was to replace all of the phone cable that I was using (I had switched from all network cable to all phone cable in searching for my problems) with new, factory made shielded cat 5 cable. Monoprice.com, baby! Spectacular prices on any type of cables, and, being desperate, I paid for overnight shipping. I had ordered it last Saturday, expecting it to ship Monday and receive it Tuesday, but it arrived on my doorstep on Monday am. Awesome!!! While I had been doing more research over the weekend while waiting for my cables to arrive, there were several possible solutions I had gathered from reading about other people's problems. 1. keep network cable away from power cables 2. reset controllers 3. change the unit id of the controllers 4. install a "terminator" on the last controller on the network 5. use shielded cables To make a long story short, I just finished running through my sequence several times, and doing ALL OF THE ABOVE seems to have taken my problems away, as I saw no extra channels coming on or staying on. (It was very obvious before.) I can't put my finger on exactly which of the things I did that solved the problem, since I used the blanket approach and tried to do everything I could while waiting on my new cables, but I really think it had something to do with the careful attention paid to the routing of all of my cables away from my extension cords. It could definitely be something else though, I really don't know. One big gripe I have has to do with phone cables....I read that it is perfectly fine to use phone cables instead of cat 5 cables, but my experience was that the phone cables created a pathetic fit in the sockets on the board. The sockets are made for ethernet, and it doesn't have anything to keep the phone cables from twisting and moving in the socket. I will never try to use phone cables again. Half of the time I couldn't even get the hardware utility to find all of my controllers. I believe this was caused my the loose-fitting phone cable. Anyway, I believe my problem is solved, and I hope to continue to make good progress programming my sequences and have my first show up and running this weekend. I really wish you the best in solving your problem, as I know how disappointing it is to work so hard only to be plagued with terrible problems. Good luck!
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