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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.

dirknerkle

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About dirknerkle

  • Rank
    New Member
  • Birthday 03/09/1949

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    diychristmas.org
  • Facebook
    dirknerkle's lights

Profile Information

  • My favorite Christmas story
    Luke 2: 1-20. Can't get any better than that!
  • Location
    Plymouth, MN
  • Biography
    U. of M., grew up in Minnesota, plan to die here... spend most of my time at diychristmas.org, but like PC a lot. Former golf pro, now just an old guy who likes to mess with this great hobby.
  • Interests
    fishing, music (composing/arranging), electronics, keeping diychristmas.org running
  • Occupation
    software designer, grampa, not sure which is first...
  • About my display
    Mostly traditional lights, almost all LEDs. Very few pixels (not a big fan of the commercial look), animatronics, some rear-projection video, santa's workshop and a christmas village takes up most of the yard....
  1. Just wanted to thank everyone who came to the 2011 Minnesota Mini at my place -- I'm sorry I don't have any photos to post -- I was pretty busy trying to burn down the neighborhood with the grill... There were some really good things presented although some of it did get a bit more technical.... Seeing other displays and listening to the "why" and "how" was very helpful to me! AND Mike, thanks for the great chocolate chip bars.... mmmmmmmmm
  2. Hey, Mike! That's great - Thanks for spreading the word. Hope they can come but if not... more donuts for us!!!!
  3. I would have posted something there but I don't have access to it.... Current body count is about 10. If you are planning to come, please RSVP via email so that I can plan food, chairs, etc. Please send a note to: dave?clubdata.com (where ? is replaced with the @ sign) and tell me who you are and how many are coming. Thanks in advance!!! -dave
  4. IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND THE 2011 MINNESOTA MINI... Here's a link to the original posting that highlights how the day will look, where it is, etc. My link Now I need to know commitments so I can finalize plans, make sure you have a place to sit, food, etc. So please either send me an email to dave?clubdata.com (replacing the ? with the @ sign) or post your intention here... I need to know the following information: 1. Who you are -- your PC or DIYC user name. 2. How many are coming with you. (Including names is optional) 3. What your presentation topic (if any) will be about. 4. What your "problem issue" (if any) is about. 5. Any special presentation things you'll need (a PC, digital projector, whiteboard, etc is available) Wi-Fi and/or wired Internet access will also be available.
  5. Estimated number of attendees? Dunno... Might be 6 or 7, might be 12 or 13, I have no idea....
  6. That would be great! I have no idea how many will be attending, so I'll post an informal RSVP here in early August. It's too early to ask folks to lock themselves in. I think there are a number of DIYC folks coming, and I have no idea if any other LOR users will be there, and we doityourselfers would love to learn more about LOR! Look forward to meeting you! -dave
  7. OKAY -- IT'S ALL SET -- HERE'S THE INFORMATION ALL ATTENDEES NEED TO KNOW Minnesota Mini 2011 When : Saturday, August 20th 2011 Where: DIGWDF - 14910 47th Ave N, Plymouth, MN 55446 (see attached map - the balloon marked A is the place) (DIGWDF = Dirknerkle's Inventorium and Generally Worthless Device Factory) Arrival/Registration/Setup: 8:00-9:00 a.m. There are no fees and we ask that you arrive early enough so we can all start on time. Free, official Minnesota Mini t-shirts for the first dozen registrants (sizes L-X-XX available - Minnesotans don't come in medium sizes) Start: 9:00 a.m. We will start on time; don't be late! End: 9:00 p.m.(or earlier, we'll see how it goes...) What the day will look like/What to bring: * The success of the mini is completely dependent on attendee participation; therefore, there are some expectations of all attendees. A couple that attends is considered one attendee, although if both want to participate, that's great! * A smile and willingness to share. The smile may be difficult for some of you (especially if you're Lutheran) but the willingness to share shouldn't be so tough to muster. * Each attendee is expected to bring something "blinky-flashy" to show or explain to the group. It can be electronics, hardware, a display piece, or a design or software-related item -- just something that you're doing or using this year. If it's too big or difficult to transport, appropriate photos are a great substitute. You will be given a 15-minute period to present your stuff to the group. You can select your desired presentation time slot at registration. An easel/white board, PC (with Microsoft Office 2007, Vixen and LightShowPro) and video projector will be available if you wish to use them in your presentation. If you have things you need to assemble, please plan to arrive a bit early for setup (8-9 a.m.) All presentations will be in the morning. Printed materials/handouts are highly encouraged; consider providing documentation in computer PDF, Word, PowerPoint or Excel file formats which attendees may copy. A presentation worksheet is available (below) to help you organize your thoughts. * Each attendee is expected to bring a "blinky-flashy" issue or problem he/she has for group discussion. Again, we'll limit discussion to not more than 15 minutes per item. Problems can be big or small -- no unsolved issue is unimportant. The group problem solving session will be in the early afternoon immediately after lunch. * Mid-afternoon and later: open forum face-time, individual discussions, construction, whatever. Some hand and power tools, soldering station, etc. will be available if needed. Product sales/swaps: though the main purpose of the mini is fun idea sharing, if you have products that you want to sell or swap, you may certainly bring them along and do business during the afternoon open forum session. The mini is not sponsored so there will be no boring, arm-twisting sales presentations by overbearing sales personnel. Food: of course and in the truest Minnesota tradition, coffee, juice and donuts will be provided in the morning! Lunch -- burgers/dogs/brats, chips, lemonade, etc. on the grill... you can cook your own or take your chances... If the Mini is still going strong in the late afternoon, we'll order pizza for dinner. Food courtesy of DIGWDF. What to wear: The average August temperature in Minneapolis ranges from 65-85F and it can be quite humid. (And no, it's not exactly true that Minnesotans wear winter clothing year 'round -- we just like to say that we do!). Jeans/shorts/t-shirts are always appropriate. Ballroom gowns and tuxedos are optional, wear at your own risk. Bruce, my son's bulldog may be roaming around and remember that bulldogs tend to drool so expensive alligator, suede or expensive shoes are probably not a good idea. Cameras/video: The use of personal cameras is encouraged. The mini will not be officially recorded on video, so if you want video, you're on your own. Flash Drives/CDs/DVDs: bring your own portable media if you wish to make copies of any data or other computer files that may be provided by other attendees. You may use the provided PC to make copies. A paper copier is not available. Questions/concerns/comments/cricitisms/etc. are welcomed - send me a PM and we'll take it from there. Map to DIGWDF and the worksheet are below... AND OF COURSE -- WISCONSINITES ARE WELCOMED!!! Minnesota Mini Presentation Worksheet.pdf
  8. I hang out most of the time at DIYC, but I thought perhaps this might have some traction here, too... We'll see how it goes... This is a copy of a posting on DIYC's site about a Minnesota Mini.... Okay... seems like there's enough interest (2 people ) to throw this out there. I'll be glad to host a mini at my house and be the general organizer for it, but we need to know whether we should do it later this summer (August 2011) or next spring (April/May 2012). I live in Plymouth, MN; it's a suburb on the western edge of Minneapolis. A Days Inn and Red Roof Inn are quite close if you need accommodations; a Radisson and Hilton is also available if you have a need to spend a lot more money... Here are a few organizational things I have in mind for it... feel free to add your own suggestions but bear in mind, the overriding goals are: (1) to keep it simple, (2) to have fun, (3) to gather ideas that you can take with you when you leave. * The mini would be one day in duration unless you determine it should be a day-and-a-half. It is not the intent to stage a sleep-in at DIGWDF... A 1-day would be on a Saturday; a 1-1/2 day would start on Friday late afternoon and spill over to Saturday. No specific ending time Saturday night... * There is no fee to attend the mini. Food: BYOF or burgers/brats/dogs will be provided but you cook your own on the gas barbecue... Beverages will be provided by DIGWDF (Dirknerkle's Inventorium and Generally Worthless Device Factory...) * There would be no sponsorship and therefore, no advertising or arm-twisting by commercial enterprises. However, attendees would be allowed to sell or trade their wares if they are so inclined, although the intent of the mini is not to host a flea market... * Attendees would be asked to bring something blinky-flashy along -- each attendee would be allocated 15 minutes to present his/her stuff, problem or whatever. It could be a plan, layout, equipment, concepts, firmware, circuit boards, display items, or what-have-you. A presentation outline would be provided to all attendees to help you organize your thoughts. * Attendees would be asked to bring a blinky-flashy problem or issue they have (if any) and it's the hope that group discussion can help solve them. If it's with electronics, bring it along and we'll see what transpires. If it's firmware, bring your laptop. If you don't have a laptop, bring it on a flash drive and you can use one of mine. * A LCD projector and screen/wall/whatever is available, as will be a solder station, oscilliscope and other common blinky-flashy building tools in case they're needed. * Ample one-on-one general discussion/conversation time will be scheduled. * Appropriate attire is required, including the understanding that my son's bulldog likes to nose around and meet people... be forewarned that bulldogs drool a lot... With the above in mind, please indicate the following via either a posting or send me a PM: 1. Do it in August 2011 or April/May 2012? 2. One day (Sat only) or 1-1/2 days (Fri-Sat)? 3. What time of the day to start? 4. How many in your party if you choose to come? 5. If you choose not to come, please tell me why. 6. Any suggestions you may have. That's all I've got for now...
  9. I'm disappointed there isn't more interest here on PC in making contollers wireless. I have no LOR experience whatsoever, but in the Renard world, we've found our wireless stuff can go upwards of 2 miles. Ought to be plenty of distance to control most anyone's light display, and it really reduces on cabling. Oh well...
  10. Most of the Home Depots and Loews stores in the Twin Cities area are virtually out of lights -- maybe a few C7's and some rope lights are left, but not much!
  11. I've been in a shadows a long time... I'm Dave Haberle, Plymouth, MN. About 10K lites in 2009 mostly limited by space in the front yard and available current... Someday when I grow up (I'm 60 now) maybe I'll get to use all 380 channels I have available... I spend most of my time on www.doityourselfchristmas.com, but enjoy PC very much, too.
  12. You attend Mt. Olivet, too? Sorry about the volunteer project... I perfectly understand. The place has a lot of things going, doesn't it? I sing in the Senior Choir so we've probably crossed paths at one time or another. (And we appreciate the $$$ -- I'll bet the proceeds will probably go toward the Cathedral Choir's annual trip next spring. We in the Senior Choir foot the bill ourselves... word has it our spring trip this year will be to... uh... I think we can get to Hopkins... no, maybe not that far... -d
  13. If you're not feeling behind at this time of the year, then in this hobby, you're considered as not normal.
  14. Tim, Thanks for hosting the mini -- I'm so sorry to have missed it, being so close to you. (Family things -- an aging mother takes more time than I ever could possibly have anticipated...) I've enjoyed looking at the photos. Looks like you had a good day! AND, the Vikings hammered the Packers, so how can it be any better than that?!?!? :giggle: -dave
  15. I've used XBee Pro modules to create a wireless adapter for Renard light controllers. It can run a streaming protocol up to 80kbps over a distance of between 200-300 feet. Two units cost less than $60 to build. The adapter takes RS-485 input, transmits it to the remote and the remote provides RS-232 output. I don't know anything about LOR or any of the controllers here or whether the concept can work for you or not, but I can tell you that it works very well for Renards running at 57,600 baud. -dirknerkle
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