News/Media stuff about Alek's 2005 Christmas Lights for Celiac Disease Research
It been entertaining over the years
to read the various media reports
about my Christmas lights webcam.
I certainly had my 15 minutes of fame for
Christmas 2004 where there was international
publicity about my lights. I'd be happy with 15 seconds in 2005 to benefit the
Celiac Disease fund-rasing effort -
Here is a chronological listing and
some misc. media resources are listed below.
2005 Thanksgiving Day
The online community tends to be ahead of the traditional mass media -
I've been on Slashdot 5 times since 2002.
I'm seeing a number of inbound links pop up daly (most appropriately at
to my web site as people circle back and basically say
"controllable Christmas lights - way cool ... and what a great idea
raising money for Celiac Disease." Web traffic is over triple what is was last year
at this time.
Final November 2005 web traffic was four times what it was in 2004 (yikes!) and
inbounds links to the christmas webcam are popping up daily with
increasing frequency and are way, way, way too numerous to list here.
But one in particular I liked was
Robert Werner's comment that "Alek Komarnitsky is a man on a mission" - yea, that just about sums it up! ;-)
So at Midnight,
my christmas lights webcam ended up on the
front page of Digg ... which some people call the next Slashdot.
Normally the lights go off at 10:00PM ... but since my neighbors were
hopefully all sleeping, I turned the 26,000 Christmas lights on until
8:00AM for the 10,000+ DIGG'ers that came by -
watch the time lapse videos that includes sunrise.
The Washington Post chimes in this morning about
the fund-raising effort. Local reporters who have actually stopped by
to check out the ChristmasCams have filed stories at YourHub and the front page of the
Longmont Times-Call. Other stories are in the works.
Looked at the web stats from the first seven days of December and it
is almost 7,000,000 hits on Christmas related stuff at komar.org
scattered among the 5 servers supporting this effort.
I.e. almost a million hits/day.
Last year at this time, there was a total of 895,270 hits.
2005_12_09: GREAT article about Celiac Disease
of the Wall Street Journal that
includes commentary from the folks at the University of Maryland that
I have been working with.
TrulyOutRageous.Blogspot.Com chimes in with the best/funniest summary I've
read so far:
"Looks like after 'fooling the world' Alek's gone legit! How cool is that? After pulling off one of the best pranks ever, he actually followed through and made it happen for real! Plus, he's teamed up with the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research to help raise awareness and research dollars for Celiac disease. [26,000 Christmas Lights]
On... Off... (hee hee) On... Off... (hee hee hee)"
2005_12_10: James Meadow from the Rocky Mountain News writes (on the front-page) the entertaining and informative
"Lights back on Web in flash" and be sure
to also read the accompanying hilarious piece by Tim Skillern titled
"Can we prove this is a hoax?" Let me tell you,
the Rocky guys were GOOD - very professional and thorough ... and even
(occasionally) cracking a smile as they grilled me, ruining the
stereotype of the dry, humourless media type. In
addition to numerous phone calls and Emails, various folks from their
organization swung by a total of 5 times
(all caught on video by the ChristmasCams)
with one of
those being a "secret, nighttime stakeout of his house."
Great skepticism and fact-checking on their part - the world needs more of that.
Top notch reporting (reminds me of my dealings with the Wall Street Journal
last year) and
I've highlighted this definitive report by the Rocky Mountain News.
I was glad to see them mention the
for Celiac Disease Research, and my Christmas wish is that this type
of increased awareness about Celiac Disease will result in other parents
not having to go through what we did with our first-born and eventually a
cure will be found. My wife was quoted on the front page saying
"I have three boys at home: 4, 7 and 42" - ummmm ... who's that last one?!? ;-)
Fark.Com has some great commentary from the readers of this very popular and funny news/headline web site.
Oh yea, here's a few radio stations that I have chatted with and/or
are talking about the Christmas lights webcam for Celiac Disease.
WTIC in Hartford, CT,
WTPA in central PA,
KABZ in Little Rock, AR, KWHL in Anchorage, AK, KPAM in Portland, OR (audio from the last one)... I'm sure there are more.
The local Denver, Colorado radio station (Entercomm affliiate) that offered me
$10,000 on-the-air to put an ad on my web site last year (I declined) woke my
wife and I up this morning at 6:30AM and said lets chat on-the-air at 8:30 ...
Alice 1059 then never called me back - oh well.
I analyzed the web stats from the first 15 days of December and there
have been 18,255,169 hits on Christmas related stuff at komar.org
scattered among the 5 servers supporting this effort.
Kate Larsen from the Boulder Daily Camera chimes in with
a front-page leader of "Web Light Show No Longer a Hoax" and a sub-title of "Christmas scene now raises money for charity."
She spent a bit of time on the phone and in person on this story (see video) and (unknown to me until I
read the article) also did a secret visit to the house - nice job!
Kate mentions the Denver radio station's $10,000 offer from last year -
their latest reason for not wanting to ante up for charity this year
is "(Alice 105.9) we couldn't track anyone down ... that has the authority to sign the checks!"
Merry Christmas to everyone. Needless to say, my kids were up early
this morning and had a great time. And with permission from my great
neighbors, I had left the webcams on all night long Christmas Eve per
requests from overseas surfers ... plus I was wondering if they might
catch a glimpe of the Big Red Guy coming by our house for two good boys.
It worked - check out the Santa Tracker which includes my 12/31 letter to
Boulder Daily Camera.
2006_01_02: Final Web stats were 814 GBytes transferred
via 27,481,476 hits from 552,314 unique visitors - yowser!
Another data point is that the 26,000 christmas lights were connected with
1,008 feet of extension cords.
Finally, lets not forget ONE New Years Eve Kiss from my wonderful wife! ;-)
Resources for Media Folks
BTW, for those media folks that actually happen to be reading this, pls
read the Christmas FAQ
which should answer most questions for 'ya. Some misc.
points of contact tha might be helpful to 'ya are:
Again, I'd strongly recommend reading my
which should answer most questions ... and (obligatory plug) since
media companies tend to have deep pockets, pls consider
for Celiac Disease.
- I'm trying to raise money for the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research which is doing
leading edge research into the causes and possible cures for Celiac.
See their webcam page and/or give Pam King (email@example.com) a holler at 410-706-8021 for more info.
- Brass Key Property Partners
from Broomfield, Colorado was the first $1,000 contributor and said:
""We've enjoyed Alek's Christmas Lights website for years and were happy to donate a $1,000 toward Celiac Research in appreciation for all the Christmas Cheer he has brought people around the world.
As thousands of web surfers check out the great lights display and techno
wizardry we hope they'll stop by www.YourWayHome.com to check some of
the great real estate available in Colorado. Money Magazine ranked
Louisville, Colorado the 5th best place to live in the United States and the generosity of people
like Alek in supporting Celiac research is just another reason Colorado
is a great place to live. Andrew Batson, President, 888-446-6637"
- Steamboat Springs Skier (aka Jon Wade) was the first $100 individual
contributor. Jon has been an invaluable consultant on the christmas webcam
project for years and was quoted in the Wall Street Journal article. Great resource who has had an inside view since the
beginning and reachable at 970-819-6930. Jon wrote some incredibly nice
things in that link that got me a bit emotional ...
although he failed to mention how Dirk barfed in his new house the first
three times we visited! Yea, it was a bit rough at times before Dirk was
diagnosed with Celiac.
Jon's words are too good to try to to excerpt,
so here's that link again - go read it!
- Amanda Naus from Milwaukee donated a
$100 toward Celiac Disease Research for a picture of my cluttered basement -
I didn't realize my Christmas Lights were working in the off-season to raise
money for Celiac Disease Research! ;-)
- I'm using D-Link DCS-6620G 802.11g wireless webcams. The folks
at D-Link were nice enough to loan me one for the holidays, but I had
to ante up the big bucks (about a grand apiece!) for the other two.
Give Dan Kelley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
at 800-326-1688x6235 a holler for more info.
- I'm using X10 technology for the powerline control - i.e. to actually
turn the lights on and off. I had bought and installed this in my house
years ago, but the folks at X10.Com were nice enough to send me a handful
of replacement modules and misc. Needless to say, my application is an
extreme test of their product.
Give Steve Groenier (email@example.com)
at 253-437-3800 a holler for more info.
- Related to that, I was worried that large video files (people enjoy
viewing these) would slow down my web servers. Out of the blue, Dominic Taylor
graciousely volunteered (for free) to help out. Dominic is a director of
Thermal Degree, a UK-based web
design and hosting company setup by two friends in early 2004.
Vidahost, launched just over one year
ago, is their hosting branch which offers shared and reseller hosting.
Dominic also handled some mirroring of
a collection of video footage from the tsunami of December 2004 which attracted thousands of visitors and nearly 1Gbit/sec of traffic.
Dominic is a member of the World Wind community at
and can be reached here.