Planned changes to the 2015 display

Time for a pre-season update! With the weather warming up, days becoming longer…and more importantly Santa Claus back in town…the Christmas lighting season is not far away!

Ryan’s Christmas Lights is in the process of being set up with a target completion date of December 1 as usual. With so much left to put out it will be a challenge to get everything installed in time.

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Setup underway, why the lack of website updates?

There has been uncertainty over whether there would be a Christmas display this year, which is why there have been no updates to the website news until now. An incident occurred earlier this year, which led to questions of whether it was worth continuing doing a Christmas lights display. There will be a display, but read on for details on the incident.

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Blog Updated: RSS, Atom feeds now available

Just a small update to let you all know the blog engine has been updated to now include RSS and Atom feeds that you can subscribe to.

The other new feature is blog entry ratings – I have left this on for the time being, though I’m not too sure whether it has a use here.

Back on the display subject, I am expecting delivery of the new Light-O-Rama CMB16D-QC boards sometime this month. Sequencing is 90% complete with just the launch night patterns left to finish.

On the note of the launch night, there is a chance that I may delay it until the first weekend of December this year. I am now studying at University level so may not be able to get everything set up by the 1st. By mid November I should know if I will be ready for the 1st of December or not.

First Details For 2010

There hasn’t been an update since New Years Day, so I figured it is time for an some news.

Regarding the 2010 display, there will be changes but most of it will be behind the scenes. The biggest change is the introduction of DC controllers which is safer and more reliable for syncronising LED lights to music than the 240v AC alternative. The controllers operate under the same proprietary Light-O-Rama protocol as the CTB16PC controllers used during 2008 and 2009, so I’m hoping there won’t be too many bugs to squash when I receive them.

A few new additions will be added though! Three new rope light shapes were bought during the after-Christmas sales, and soon I shall be ordering new LED lights for the verge tree, putting an end to the unreliable incandescent fairy lights in that section of the yard.

Less Than 3 Weeks To Go

Time is ticking! There are now under 3 weeks left until I need to begin setting up the lights, cables, computer, etc.

In terms of those ‘leaping features’, I do not think they will be in this year’s display. I haven’t settled enough on how many arches I need and how big they should be, so I’d rather put it off and get it right.

I am nearly done with sequencing the lights to this year’s soundtrack. The opening night track is all done, as well as three regular songs. The fourth song is about a 30% complete.

New Lights Are Here, DMX Tests Underway

The new green LED lights arrived sooner than expected just last week. I was not expecting to get the lights until mid September, however they have now been labelled and put away for a few months. I did take a few photographs of them though!

Initial tests of running the ‘Light-O-Rama’ branded controllers with DMX seem to work reasonably well, though I did experience some technical difficulties with ‘access’ errors a couple of times. What I concluded was that the software must be trying to control the lights more than once (think of it like two or more people trying to drive the same car).

Regarding the webcam, I’m expecting that it should be functioning again around early to mid October. By then the ‘show’ computer that drives the lights and music will be in place in a new spot that should hopefully make managing the webcam possible as well as running the show.

Mid-Year Update

2009 marks the tenth year of decorating, and this year’s display is well into the planning stages with two songs completely sequenced and a third one to follow shortly. All up, there will be four songs in total (not including intermission, opening or closing tracks).

I am pleased to say that the talented Carrie Lyn Infusion single titled Suite Christmas Rush will again be in the playlist this year. The song can be purchased for personal use on the CDBaby website for just US$1.

To keep the suspense I will not be naming the other songs just yet – you will have to check back closer to showtime.

At this stage I am thinking this year (2009) will be the last year that I try to do things ‘bigger and better’ for some time. I would like to continue doing a display each year, but just not on such a massive scale due to the amount of time it takes to get things right.

Also, the webcam is currently down and has been for quite a while. The situation is that the Windows XP driver for my capture card (WinFast TV2000 XP Expert) is incompatible with a new computer causing blue screen of death errors every couple of days. So until a fix can be found or a new capture card can be installed, I’ll have to keep the webcam offline – sorry.

New Lights Order Submitted

This is just an update to say that I have submitted my order for new lights this year. Most of them will be green LEDs, although I also will be adding a small amount of additional blue and white LEDs as well. Cost of new lights will be around $850 AU.

I expect expenditure for the year will be in the low to mid $1000’s with the possible addition of a DMX controller and necessary extension cords.