For over a decade, Alek's Controllable Christmas Lights have been a festive online holiday tradition for millions of Internet users world-wide ... so it was sadly the end of an era last year, when this Griswold wanna-be hung up his Santa Hat in 2014.
Right after announcing my "retirement" and picking up again this holiday season, numerous people have asked if I could continue the Christmas entertainment "virtually". Recall this is how I did it from 2002-2004 ("Internet of Things" technology wasn't quite there yet) before doing it for real (really!) from 2005-2014 ... plus raising over $80,000 for charity.
So having a bit of a mischievous spirit in me, I dusted off the decade-old Perl computer code used in that simulation, combined it with a series of still pictures, and got it all working online at: Control-Christmas-Lights.com ... HO-HO-HO! ;-) Yep, you can (virtually) control the 25,000 lights and dozen+ inflatables with a click of a mouse.
For the technology geeks out there, the 2002-2004 simulation had three "working" zones, so there were 8 possible combinations that I took pictures of plus everything off. But the recent displays had eight zones which would have required 256 pictures. So I just took a picture of each individual zone lit-up, and then used Photoshop to (lighten) blend all the other combinations. Ended up being a bit if work - might have been easier to setup the entire display again ... but I sold it all on Craigslist ... to prevent me from being tempted to set it up again!
BTW, I did hold onto the giant HULK inflatables - looked might strong (and green) in the 2015 neighborhood parade. And while in year's past you could see the "man behind the curtain" in the Santa Workshop Cam (see below), I'll close with a few funky pics of "Alek Griswold" playing in a vintage baseball game - not quite as studly looking as my younger son Kyle playing baseball ... ;-)
Merry Christmas and HO-HO-HO!
P.S. If for any reason you'd rather not get my annual "mail-all's", please just let me know. Sorry no major photography and/or trip sagas in this one - although I did scan in my folk's Mount Saint Helens volcanic Eruption flyover pics from 1980.