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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.

webgeek

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About webgeek

  • Rank
    New Member
  • Birthday 12/27/1978

Profile Information

  • Location
    Kansas
  • Biography
    hi
  • Interests
    Computers
  • Occupation
    Video Game Programmer
  • About my display
    Non-existant, that's why I'm here :)
  1. The windows open but not quite far enough to really sit on the edge - there is no ledge to speak of on either the inside or the outside. The trim is also about a foot wide, so it's actually quite far from the window edge when viewed from the inside. As for moving the lights to the ground, 90+% of the display was synchronized with the lights on the house and the 3-color frames. Really, only two bushes and five mini-trees were on the ground. Everything else was the window frames with the roof/gutter lines for accent.
  2. I've never done a real christmas display or even lights on a house. I just bought my house this year and was very excited to put up a small-ish computerized display. I bought the Aurora software and a D-Light AC-16 Platinum controller. It all worked great. i started sequencing a song and realized 16 isn't really enough channels so I purchased a D-Light AC-16 silver kit which provides for two 16 channel boards. I put those together though I only needed about 30 channels for my display. I then finished some more sequencing and had everything ready. My windows have wooden trim and due to the humidity in our area they are very susceptible to rot. In fact several of my neighbors have already had to replace their trim because of this. Since that's a problem, i don't want to staple lights to my window trim and instead built "frames" out of PVC and was intending to attach them with just a pair of treated screws. Each of the frames has two strands of red, green, and blue LEDs for a total of 6 strands per frame. They took quite a long time to make. I also created 5 mini-trees for my yard. So here I am with everything ready to go - the sequence looks good, the frames are done (including two huge ones for my garage doors), I have all the vampire plugs and cords, the controllers are built, the FM radio transmitter is here, I even pre-attached all the gutter clips to the lights I wanted to hang on the roof line. But, uh... how do I hang them? I tried using my own ladder but to be honest, getting up on the roof scared me half to death. I can get up there for some stuff, but I had to basically lay down and face down-slope to attach the lights in places as my ladder wasn't tall enough. So I hired a handy man to help me, he did a mediocre job on a couple sets of roof-line lights but that was it. After 5 hours, he had three strands up and one frame. He basically came back down and said there was no way for him to get the other 4 frames up and then charged me 120 bucks. So now I'm hosed and frustrated to the point that I'm just giving up.Three separate attempts to hang the lights have all failed. I didn't think my house was that hard to do but apparently it's going to require either an expert (they wouldn't even call me back, I tried 3 different companies) or one of those motorized baskets which isn't a real option. So 700+ dollars (at least) down the hole I have nothing up or working to speak of and I am simply too frustrated and disheartened to continue or try this again. Does anyone want any of the stuff I have purchased? It's all basically unused and brand-new. I'll sell the controllers for cost + shipping (which is a real deal in the case of the silver kits as I already soldered em together) and I'd love to sell anything else I can as it's all a waste of money at this point. This includes a ton of Walmart LED strands, lots of vampire plugs and the lamp cord, etc. Please PM me if this is of any interest to you.
  3. The Walmart near me has quite a few. I'd be willing to buy em and ship em if you really need them?
  4. I posted this in another thread but I used an LED Wiz to control some RGB (multicolor) LEDs in my arcade machine. The nice thing is that it fully supports getting something like 100k different colors for a single LED. I did a lot of tricks with subtle color shifts and lighting up which buttons were available in a given game using this. Worked great. http://groovygamegear.com/webstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=239
  5. There are lots of other microcontrollers-type-devices that can do the same thing and are chaper. Here is one I really like and used to make some robots years ago: http://www.oopic.com/ This is a true microcontroller and does not need to be attached to a computer to run. You would download your light program onto it and let it go. It has a whopping 31 I/O lines on it (I believe all can be configured as digital out) so you could control literally 31 strands of lights with it as long as you had the transitors and relays. There are schematics online for how to take digital outputs to drive line-level AC relays. It's pretty simple and would only cost a little bit per I/O line. Here is one shown using a Basic Stamp but the relay bit is identical: http://www.rentron.com/Files/Stamp/pc-relay4.gif The starter kit for an OOPic looks like 70 bucks but that includes programming cables and a wall wart too I believe. You can then buy just the chip/board itself to get more lines and they can be networked together very easily for a lot less money. If it wasnt for the fact that I wanted to get my Christmas display running as quickly as possible, I would have gone this route rather then the D-Light stuff I used instead. Have fun!
  6. I know lots of people experiment with LEDs and controlling them. Depending on what you are doing, this might be a much cheaper alternative than your typical DLight or LOR board: http://groovygamegear.com/webstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=239&zenid=717768299f5f55cb789816f84d6f4fdc I used an LEDWiz to control and animate RGB LEDs on my arcade machine and had great success. I'm not sure how you would integrate it into a Christmas display off the top of my head but I'm sure someone clever could figure something out. Considering it costs a lot less then $2/channel even with shipping, it might be worth getting one just to see what you can come up with. Have fun! Mike P.S. I don't work for or know people at Groovy Game Gear. I just bought some joysticks and the LEDWiz from em so no endorsement beyond the fact that their stuff worked for me in a different application.
  7. Hi all; I'm just starting out with a computerized display now that I own a house (woohoo!) and just wanted to say hi to everyone and thank you all for the great advice and discussion on this forum! Rather than clutter this forum with a simple "Hello" post, I wanted to add something that might be of interest to some of you. I've read a few posts where people have had computer trouble and lost files or are backing up files all over the place to keep them safe. I have a great solution that is commonly used by computer programmers who have this same issue with digital "assets" (code, configuration files, graphics, etc): source control! The idea is that a file can be stored on a remote server and versioned for you. So every time you make changes, you store it again and it gets backed up with revision history and comments on what changed, etc. You can download any version of the file on any computer you want very easily. Even if your computer explodes, you still don't lose any of your hard work. Source control is a staple of all software development these days because it works so well. Normally you have to install this on a server and it's a hassle to manage and maintain. Fortunately, there are companies that offer "distributed project management" systems that include version control. Many of these services offer a single project account for free to get people interested. This account is perfect for storing all your LOR files, music, photos, etc. One company that has worked great for me personally and my company as a whole is: http://unfuddle.com You just need to create an account out there and then install a Subversion client on your machine. This is the one I like for Windows: http://tortoisesvn.tigris.org/ (download link here http://tortoisesvn.net/downloads) Finally you designate a folder on your machine as the root of the repository, put your files to be protected there and then "commit" them to the repository. Both Unfuddle and Tortoise both have detailed help files that get into this. I'll be glad to walk anyone though the process in detail if there is interest. OK, this is pretty long for a first post, sorry about that. I hope this might be helpful for some of you. Thanks much for the great sites/forum/ideas! Mike
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