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Did you know?
  • 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.

jbitzer

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About jbitzer

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  • Birthday 10/22/1962

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    Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA

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  1. Thanks so much for the encouragement. Its odd when you see 2 lives taken in an instant like this. What was haunting me was it being so close to the holidays and a lock from my own yard. Could have been me if the driver had taken a different route. I know we shouldn't dwell on this sort of stuff but things like this make you stop long enough to look around appreciate what you've got.
  2. I know this is an older post but I wanted to give you my take on Windows 7 and issues with running LOR, etc. I have been running and working on PCs long before the days of Windows. In fact, my first PC ran DOS. Black screen and white lettering. Not a whole bunch ever went wrong in DOS. Anyway, here's my opinion about the laptop. In your original post you mentioned that you specific purpose on buying this laptop was to create sequences in a comfy chair. You didn't mention if this is the same computer you will be running the shows on, but I will assume the answer is yes. If all you are planning to do on this machine is create sequences, import some CD's to MP3s, and run your lights, then Windows 7 is way more than you need. In addition, as other have already pointed out, there are additional software that Best Buy, Dell, HP, and other install referred to as bloatware which uses more computing power to run this software leaving less available for you the end user. My suggestion is to backup everything on that PC, and do a clean install. I would suggest Windows XP Professional because its a basic operating system that doesn't require a lot of system resources to run your basic programs such as Internet application, LOR, iTunes, Windows Media Player. Obviously you don't want to go doing that now at this stage of the game this late in the season, but it is something you may want to consider as an off season project. I would be more than happy to help you with the process.
  3. There was an accident a block from my house on Monday where 2 people were killed. While it's tragic for any type of death this one has been haunting me for several reasons. The first and most obvious on why it is haunting me is when I heard the accident in the form of a crash from my house I went down to the next block to see what had happened. The first thing I saw upon arriving at the scene was the police standing over the covered body of one of the individuals. Then there was completely demolished vehicle 100 or so feet from the body. Those of us standing there looking at everything were trying to put together the sequence of events of the body, the position of the car, the driver still in the car. It wasn't until after the police interviewed eye witnesses that the pieces of this puzzle started to come together. The body that was 100 feet from the vehicle, was simply a homeowner that was out in his front yard trimming some trees when he was struck by an out of control vehicle, then the vehicle slammed into a utility pole. The driver was killed as well. What makes no sense at all about this tragic incident is the homeowner was a Lt. Col in the Air Force. He was a fighter pilot who had flown in Iraq. He survived all these missions in hostile territory only to be killed while trimming his trees. The lesson that has demonstrated for me this week that life is fragile. You never know what it's you time to go. I can't get the thought out of my head that this could have been me when I was mowing the lawn, raking leaves, stringing Christmas lights. Although Where this happened on the next block is a highway where the speed limit is 50 mpg, I live on a street that runs parallel where the speed limit is 25 mph and cars come screaming down at close to twice that speed. I feel lucky because these freak accidents happen somewhere everyday. I also feel sorrow for both families of the victims. For more details on this incident here is the link to the story on our local news website: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local-beat/Crash-Kills-Air-Force-Lt-Col-Driver-79250012.html
  4. Sorry for the delay...been a busy day all over. To be honest I am not a current LOR user however I have done a lot of research. I think there was some info on the version in another post and that should help you in that regard. I'm a PC Tech support type of person and something you can try as a troubleshooting measure after you have confirmed the version you are using is Basic+ or higher: With controllers numbered 01, 02, 03 swap controllers 02 and 03 and making the settings change so controller 02 is now 03 and controller 03 is now 02. If the problem stays with the box and now controller 02 will not work then we know the answer is not with the software. However is you have the same issue with controller 03 then this may be a something other than the phycial hardware and we need to look at the configuration in the software or as perviously mentioned that the software can support 3 controllers. It's always a good idea when dealing with a hardware/software issues to swap 2 identical parts to see if the problem stays in the same place or moves when the hardware piece is moved. I hope this helped!
  5. Here's something that is worth mentioning (which I didn't see in your original post). Which Showtime software suite do you have installed? Keep in mind that the basic package supports 2 controllers, Basic+ package supports 4 controllers, Standard supports 8 controllers, and advanced supports an unlimited number of controllers. Just check your software version to be sure your version is the Basic+ or higher.
  6. This looks great! I too have zero electrical engineering experience. I am a computer support guru but take me out of my comfort zone and I'm completely lost. I have the GE Lights and Sounds of Christmas that I picked up for $49.99 at BJ's this year when everyone else (HD, Lowes) was selling them for $89.99. I am getting things setup and I am quickly outgrowing it capacity already. It is becoming a magical feat to figure out how to stay under 2 amps on each outlet and make and entire yard display work on 6 channels. Learning about SSR's is a good starting point. I would like to try and find a 'Dummies guide to building SSR controllers' for us electrical inept individuals! If anyone knows of one out there please share!
  7. A few years back I made 8 trees from the cemetery easel. There are a few tricks I will share with you (while I realize you are working with a tomato cage and mine were 3-legged easels but the concept is still similar) 1. Don't ever try to do if you are low on patience, tolerance, or it has been a long and exhausting day. 2. Start at the bottom and stretch the male cord and take hold of the first light in the string and zip tie it to the cage at the lowest point you want your lights. 3. Start wrapping the string around the cage and at every point your string makes contact with the cage zip tie it. 4. When you have made a complete circle around the cage move up by about 1/2" and repeat the process. Practice makes perfect. Your last tree will look nothing like your first tree. As you continue to make trees they will get better. It took me until about my 3rd tree before I really got the hang of it. Grab a zip tie gun this will speed up the process. I know you are probably thinking this is zip tie overkill. Let me tell you from personal experience that after the holidays and you put them away for the season I stack the trees on top of each other. I got them out this past week and every light is still in the same place I zip tied it maybe 5 years ago. Here is the link to the How to build mini trees that I used that I found extremely helpful. You can modify it to suit your needs. http://www.planetchristmas.com/Build3DTrees.htm
  8. You raise an excellent point of amp rating. With the standard target flavor of non LED we have 0.34 per string of 100. This comes out to roughly 6 strings per outlet however in theory they would be on intermittently and not constant on. LED is definitely the way to go however in my area I am having a serious challenge finding LEDs in anything other than multi and white. Looks like it
  9. I have a narrow 40' area on the side of my house that seems well suited for arches. I don't a big property so wanted to use a small design and here's what I came up with. To give you some background I am not using LOR (however would gladly accept donations) because of the cost and time involved. I would rather use the time it would take me to program and build stuff...like arches! What I am using instead is one of these GE units with 6 outlets and 20 preloaded songs. For my needs right now it fits. I am going to use 1/2" 10' PVC and wrap with white/blue. The colors will alternate in a spiral pattern and my thought is to have all the whites on all arches on one outlet and all the blue on another. Most of the designs I have seen were for leaping arches using 3/4 inch PVC with will accommodate 8 strings of 100. Since I am using a smaller diameter my guess is I could probably cover the PVC with 6 strings. Again my goal is not to leap but to have 2 color arches. I'd like to try and get 3 done...4 would be great but realistically we are probably closer to 2. Has anyone done this type of arch and can tell how many lights it takes to cover a 1/2" diameter PVC and any pointers/suggestions/thoughts on this design? Thanks in advance!
  10. Thisisn't exactly a pic but it may just give you some ideas for your project for next year.
  11. I have a nice small display with something like 2500 lights. Nice and manageable. I remember in the 'other' forums there was a thread talking about theme ideas for display. I honestly don't have much creativity (being a techie). I would like to get some ideas for a theme. Something that I can start small and grow with and add things to or maybe something that can be made into a different theme from year to year. I can do all the technical stuff but need some tricks of the trade (where is that forum topic anyway?!) Since the sales have already started I wanted to get a jump on it so I can stock up and do some better planning and maybe come up with a theme that will not be too unmanageable and won't look like I threw it all together. Any ideas? Suggestions? Thoughts?
  12. tfischer wrote: Yes of course I was kidding! Apparently writing doesn't do Justice to my humor. When I first read thisthread I wasn't sure if this was a joke or everyone was serious. It would be a shame if all the folks on PC stoop to that level just trying to prevent some lights, blowmolds, inflatables, controllers or whatever else you have. No Christmas display is worth harming anyone over it. To be perfectly honest if you want to sneak onto my yard and steal my Christmas decorations then you need them more than I do and you can have them. The true meaning of Christmas is lost in trying to prevent theft. If I woke up tomorrow and everything was gone I would be taken back but never would I think about getting even. Let's not forget why we do what we do.
  13. Have you all forgotten that you have 110v AC running through your display? It seems to me that this would be enough to deter any would be vandal. If you feel that the display is just too easy a target then I'm sure you can 'rig'it so that anyone that touches it when the power is on will get a nice surprise! And for those of you that already do this, please do the rest of us a favor and hang a camera outside so we can all get a laugh watching the unsuspecting vandal light up with the rest of the lights!
  14. boarder3 wrote: Boarder3, you have spent a lot of time asking questions and wanting a quick fix to control your lights. The question you need to ask yourself is would you rather control lights or learn about electronics? When I need to go to the grocery story I don't ask how to build a car so I can use it to drive to the store. That would be ridiculous and take too long! What I have seen you ask for are quick fixes. You can go learn all about electronics but the solution that would best fit you is a prebuilt board ready to go out of the box. This can be accomplished by buying an LOR or AL unit or by looking in the 'For Sale' messages. Once you know what using a computer to control your lights is all about, then you can delve deeper into the subject and explore other options of control. Spend your time learning and in the future you can build once you learn the skills necessary to put together your own board. For now spend time learning about what's already out there. Spending time asking for a instructor is pointlessbecause everyone is busy tweaking their own displays. I would go with LOR if you ask me. It simple to use, program and understand.
  15. John I completely agree! I have had many replies with great suggestions and how to pace yourselves. My main problem was poor planning and lack of inspiration. November was a bad month for me as I had too many projects on my plate and with the holidays I really didn't have time for all the work involved. I am taking everyone's advice for next year. Pace myself - buy things slowly over the course of the year or many years.. By maybe next year or the year after I will have built myself the knowledge and equipment necessary to have the tools I need for a beautiful display. I didn't follow Chuck's advice 'Crawl, walk, run'. I was trying to fly without learning how to crawl. Maybe after the holidays we can get some NJ folks together and a small mini.
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