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Chuck

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Everything posted by Chuck

  1. Twinkly lights are pretty cool, especially when controlling them from your smartphone. Twinkly's are addressable yet still look like typical LED Christmas lights. The only downside might be they use a proprietary communications protocol meaning you can't mix and match them with typical RGB smart pixels.
  2. A really good point on inflatables. They're big, easy to deploy and relatively inexpensive. If we could just apply that concept to lights...
  3. We did our annual Christmas Eve light tour and I couldn't help but notice more people had outdoor Christmas decorations... typically some minilights in the bushes. A step in the right direction but still a long way from the magic of a Hallmark Christmas movie. I'm going to blame the over-the-top decorators. They've intimidated the typical decorator into not even trying. 😲 Christmas 2020 is so.... last year but I'm already looking at 2021 and how to get more people decorating. I'm thinking some sort of smart props. Dancing wreaths, snowflakes, candy canes but plug and play.
  4. Christmas indoors and out. Way cool!
  5. I constantly get the question about switching to smart pixels. They're great eye candy BUT expensive, complicated and can be power hogs. I got to watching a lot of the customer-submitted videos on the Light-O-Rama website. What struck me with the RGB pixel displays was how cars would speed past... totally ignoring what was built to stop them in their tracks. Hmmmmmmmm. Now when I talk to others about switching to smart pixels I ask them where they live. If there's not a place for people to park and watch I recommend sticking with traditional lighting where you're lucky to ge
  6. When I was a teenager our neighborhood sponsored a Christmas lighting contest. As I remember I spelled NOEL in giant block letters on the roof and animated them a bit... but there was plenty of competition. I walked away with a $10 check and was soooooo proud. Now that I think about it, that was 50 years ago... Maybe a way to stimulate more outdoor decorating is to get with your neighborhood homeowners association and convince them a lighting contest is needed for 2020. Heck, in my area I'd even donate $50 in prize money just to get participants 'motivated.' I'm thinking "Great Chri
  7. When I was a teenager our neighborhood sponsored a Christmas lighting contest. As I remember I spelled NOEL in giant block letters on the roof and animated them a bit... but there was plenty of competition. I walked away with a $10 check and was soooooo proud. Now that I think about it, that was 50 years ago... Maybe a way to stimulate more outdoor decorating is to get with your neighborhood homeowners association and convince them a lighting contest is needed for 2020. I think I'll start a new topic on this idea. Thanks!
  8. GFCI and outdoor Christmas lights were never designed to be a good match. Lights are outdoor and in dampness... exactly what GFCIs are designed to prevent. One hack the professionals use is to elevate all electrical connections off the ground with a wooden stake. Now electricity can't sneak to ground and pop the GFCI. Don't try to waterproof the connections... it just ends up retaining the water causing even more grief. If you're in a cold climate then repeated freeze/thaw cycles will end up pushing the connection apart. You might also consider repurposing that GFCI circuit t
  9. COVID-19. Social Distance. Wear a Mask. Think twice about extended family gatherings. ... all phrases I never even thought about until 2020. But I now see opportunity. The vehicle has become the only safe bubble where families can get away from home. Decorate the outside of your house. It doesn't take much to put a smile on a face! You'll be making lifelong memories.
  10. I built three different versions of my animated trees display I added an ammeter to monitor how much electricity each was consuming. Interesting. The setup: 4 trees, each with 150 lights 1 tree with 170 lights ... so 770 lights total. Using incandescent minilights from Walmart Total cost (including a new LOR 16 channel light controller): $291 All lights off: 5 watts of power (I assume that was for the light controller electronics) All lights on: 234 watts of power. Using LED minilights from Walmart Total cost (including a new LO
  11. More updates and refreshes today. Things should look a bit better... especially the video thumbnails... or not. Tapatalk is proving to be a challenge. The forums vendor (Invision Power) prefers us to now use their mobile app that can be downloaded from Apple or Android. I'm waiting on an update from Tapatlk.
  12. We have a new Classifieds section in the PlanetChristmas forums. The old one had become dated and was no longer supported by the vendor. The new Classifieds module is a bit different but the goal is simple: you can place a 'Christmas-centric' classified ad for no charge. If you find a buyer then the financial transaction must happen outside of PlanetChristmas. Now I just have to figure out how to configure this monster.
  13. The PlanetChristmas Forums were upgraded to the latest/greatest software today, Wednesday, September 9, 2020. If things look a bit different or something is now confusing when it was once easy... well, I'm working on it.
  14. I have this saying: "the easiest thing to do is nothing." Most people seem to default to this setting. Sooooooo... I'm going to leave things alone, at least for this season .) But... I'm wide open for suggestions on how to make PlanetChristmas a better place. Please let me know here or send an email to me at [email protected]
  15. This time of year I always start seeing used Christmas equipment changing hands. We currently have a Buy/Sell/Trade area in the PlanetChristmas forums but it's pretty crude. Can't help but think there's a way to make this easier. I need to keep pondering this. My goal is always to keep PlanetChristmas pertinent to today's decorator. Facebook has certainly made that challenging when it comes to posts. To me the hundreds of thousands of old PlanetChristmas posts are a real treasure trove of information but the newbies seem to care less about how we solved a problem a year ago... much le
  16. PlanetChristmas used to be the hip and happening place for Christmas decorators. In the early days it wasn't unusual for the site to trip off-line because of too much traffic. The stories I can tell... Then along came Facebook. Now anyone can create their own version of a Christmas group and Facebook handles all the behind-the-scenes heavy lifting. I'm considering changing the PlanetChristmas website to a Christmas-centric classified ad site. I'm seeing a growing need for Christmas decorators to have an easy way to move stuff between themselves. The classified ads, as usual woul
  17. The vendor listing page is back! Look at the top menu bar. Other -> Vendors
  18. Wellll... it had become quite out of date. Do you think it should be brought back to life?
  19. Still working on restoring the magazines link. Please stand by.
  20. I'll probably regret doing this... but I've added animated GIFs to PlanetChristmas. When typing a new message, look for the icon on the right of the text editing toolbar that looks like a square frame with a mountain in it. Hover over this icon and it will say GIFs. Click it and have fun. OMG. I'm already regretting it 😭
  21. Does TapaTalk now work with PlanetChristmas?
  22. Well... we're finally back on-line. Behind the scenes, PlanetChristmas needed to switch to a more robust host which is normally not a big deal but the PlanetChristmas forums include a huge database and about a zillion files that become challenging to move around. There were also some significant DNS issues. I'm now in the process of bringing some of the old website pages done in another format to our new site. Stay tuned. There's more stuff on the way!
  23. PlanetChristmas is migrating to a new host so there might be occasional outages as data is moved around. Please bear with us.
  24. So way coooooooool! How many pixels are on the roof matrix?
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