Some videos posted

Have 6 of the 9 songs for this year posted for viewing on the videos page now.

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Thank You

I had a visit from someone who left me a hand written thank you:

Thank you received for the light show
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Uhg, so close

Was previewing most of the show this evening to see how well the “simulator” matched up with reality. Found I incorrectly hung one of the snowflakes (derp). I’ll correct that in software. Found a few other little tweaks to make here and there. Getting closer!

There are a few “not going to be fixed” issues (couple bad pixels, and a few that popped out). Minor, but with all that it has taken to get to this point, I’ll live with them (and I know, most people would never notice).

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Just about Ready – 2020

Almost everything is complete. Missing some hooks to put out two items (should arrive tomorrow). I have re-secured all the items the wind took down. Added more attachment points for all of them (why I ran out of hooks), and hoping this will make it the entire season.

Everting is in place (two items temporarily until more hooks arrive)

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Wind is not my friend

Tonight, we are getting some very high winds. All the props above the garage have come down. So far, the ones around the front room are holding, but I question for how much longer. Not too much damage to the snowflakes, but will need to spend some time popping the pixels back in to many of the spots.

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Ladder work done

Took advantage of the unusually warm weather to take care of all the work needing a ladder (Note: I really hate ladders).

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2020 Season – Work has started

What better thing to do on a hot summers day, than to think Christmas! Yes, the work for the next season is well under way. New props are ordered (early July delivery), and “in theory”, the layout of what I will be including in the display has been decided on. I only say, “in theory” because last year, I kept changing things up to the last minute before putting things out in the yard. I’m sure that will happen again this year, but will have to wait and see. After all, there is still 5 months before it goes up in to the yard.

Already have 4 songs ready to go. Three are from last year, one new so far.

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Small Change

Have one issue with the show yet that I have been trying to work out. The short version – the computer that plays back has a video card in it that is too old. What does the video card have to do with running lights you ask? Good question. For one of the songs, there is a lighting effect that uses an OpenGL shader. This is just a fancy way of saying, there is a lot of graphics processing going on to decide what each bulb should be doing. The play computer doesn’t support OpenGL v3. When it gets to that part of the song, all the lights change to a cyan color (which the docs say, your OpenGL isn’t supported).

There are a couple of options to fix this.

One, get a new play computer (too expensive).

Two, use the gaming computer I do the programming on. Don’t want to do this either as it means I have to leave a power hungry computer on.

Three, get a Raspberry PI and use the Falcon FPP player softwaret

Tonight, I picked option 3, and got a raspberry pi 4 on the way home from work. A few hours later, it is up and running. xLights (the software I use to do the lights) has support for the player built in, and can upload the config and song files easily. The one song that had issues plays just fine now. Down side, two other songs don’t really play. The music plays, but the lights don’t. The other songs work fine. Guess I have one more thing to figure out yet…

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Another bad Pixel

I hate thunderstorms. Last year a near by strike fried a bunch of the pixels in the display. The rain this past weekend must have had a nearby strike, as now I have one pixel that is just “stuck on” in blue. The other colors still work on it, but it never goes out – even when told to go off. That makes for 2 bad pixels in the display… Grrr

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2019 Display Up and Running

I launched the full show tonight. There are 2 songs I still want to update a bit. Final count, 3914 individually controllable “bulbs” in the display. Each one can be any color I want.

Final props that made it to this years show:

  • Five candy canes with 99 lights each (new)
  • 34 “sticks” of 10 lights each (new)
  • one megatree with 16 strands of 50 lights each
  • one matrix for displaying text (tune to radio station, song titles, etc)
  • 5 mini Christmas trees
  • Lights in 8 bushes and the arborvitae
  • 200 bulbs along the gutters
  • 8 arches in two groups of 4 (new)
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