Misc. Halloween 2004 Updates

2004_09_01 - Try the halloween webcam in a few weeks - you won't be disappointed!
While you are waiting, consider using your PC's idle CPU cycles to help Stanford's medical research

2004_09_23 - I have activated the environmental sensors - check out the local Colorado weather. I'm starting to put the halloween decorations up and working some issues with the webcam, but check back in a week or so and I might have it all working by then - should be more fun than watching grass grow or watching paint dry! ;-)

2004_10_01 - The Halloween decorations webcam is now operational - I've warned my neighbors! ;-)

2004_10_07 - Per request from MikeR in Australia, a "spanky-look-alike" will be placed on the driveway around 2030 tonight - so I'll "lock out" the webcam so he can use it exclusively for a few minutes - here are some cool pictures from it and I'll be updating these periodically

2004_10_09 - I finally got around to updating the various various FAQ's and hope to get a firmware update to the webcam that should improve its reliability - seems to fail for unknown/random reasons about 5% of the time. We're off to a neighborhood wine tasting tonight, so I'll have to be sure to warn the babysitter about possible light action - be nice to her! ;-)

2004_10_10 - I've loaded the new webcam firmware - curious if it makes any diference. And since it's that time of the year, I added Bush/Kerry/Hulk lights and enabled "voting" for your favorite candidate ... www.komar.org endorses the Hulk with his running partner Dr. Bruce Banner ... brains and brawn on the same ticket! ;-)

2004_10_14 - It was pointed out to me that Garage Sensor wasn't showing it as being open when it clearly was in the webcam picture - turns out the upper magnetic pickup had come loose and was dangling - good as new now! I'll go through the image archives and find some of the obligatory shots of me driving into the garage and add 'em to the cool pictures archive.

2004_10_15 - Holy Halloween Lights Batman - the webcam got FARK'ed so thousands of surfers came by today and the neighbors called wondering what the HECK was going on. Replaced one X10 switch module that felt warm, but otherwise the various hardware, circuit breakers, and web server (go Apache/Perl!) are hanging in there and we're ready for another wave of web surfers tonight ... I think. BTW, looks like the funny guys over at UserFriendly.org have mentioned the site.

2004_10_18_00:20 - Holy Halloween Lights AGAIN Batman - the webcam got Slashdott'ed ... over 50,000 surfers came by today - when I called my neighbors to let 'em know they just said "let me guess, another light show night" ... although this one was short-lived as I only had the webcam operational for 79 minutes due to everything getting overloaded - here was the play-by-play and lets try again Monday night when things should hopefully not be so insane!

2004_10_18_18:20 - Good news: I plan to turn the webcam on early tonight - check back in an hour or so. Bad News: It will go off at 2200 this evening (have an early work appt Tuesday). Good News: I'm talking to my neighbors about leaving it on all night long Friday and Saturday, since some folks overseas have requested this. BTW, it's pretty breezy tonight, which causes the webcam to "jitter" a bit, especially if you are zoomed in quite a bit ... but when a buncha surfers are BATTLING for control, it kinda does that anyway - take it easy on the higher zoom settings folks, because it's easy to end up zooming in on black sky.

2004_10_19 - My neighbors are OK (I think) with the idea of having the webcam/lights flashing throughout the night - see 10/18 update above. So maybe I'll let 'em run until 0600 the next morning for the folks overseas ... so what evening should it be - remember I'm on MDT which is GMT-6. Cast your vote by clicking on either:
    Thursday (153)     Friday (62)     Saturday (59)     ALL DAYS - probably won't happen (161)     NO DAYS - have mercy on your neighors Alek! (11)
and I'll tally the votes/clicks and let you know ... and BTW, there is evidence of fraudulent voting in the Hulk/Bush/Kerry race - looks like IP address (doesn't appear to be a proxy) has used the webcam 657 times, so I'm taking a look at this ...

2004_10_21 - OK - the votes are in (ALL DAYS is just not going to work out) and I'll leave the webcam operational until 0600MDT (GMT-6) on October 22nd ... so overseas web surfers have fun at your work day with the lights - it should be a WHOOPING time! ;-)
Help find "Bud Light Salutes Real American Heroes ... Mr. Halloween Decorations Man" and get solo dedicated access to the webcam

2004_10_23 - The official Hulk for President statement has been issued. And needless to say, the halloween webcam will be kept operational until the polls close on Tuesday, November 2nd - midnight MDT (GMT-6).

2004_10_24 - Looks like a "Kerry-Bot" returned to the webcam as ONE IP address voted last night 5 times for Hulk, 4 times for Bush, and 193 times for Kerry (their monthly totals were Hulk-75, Bush-58, Kerry-540), so needless to say, the numbers have been adjusted and that IP has been banned ... and fraud detection code has been added. I wrote up a page with more detailed webcam "bot" info and hey guys, it's a personal family web site, to give it a break along with the hacking attempts.

2004_10_25 - MajorGeeks.Com has found the webcam - appropriate and excellent recognition - thanx guys!

2004_10_27 - Hulk takes a bite outa the moon during the lunar eclipse.

2004_10_29 - Halloween Webcam fan MikeC suggests a presidential write-in candiate of ALF saying "Smarter than Bush / Shorter than Kerry / Prettier than Nader" - The Big Green Guy responds "Hulk SMASH ALF!"

2004_10_29 - The site continues to increase in popularity as USA Today picked it as their "Hot Site" yesterday and Kim Komando selected it as her "Kool Site" today and told her 8,000,000 radio listeners and 3,300,000 Email subscribers (numbers from her site that seem a "bit" high to me) about it - so it is going to be even crazier tonight, but I have some evening computer server work to do (yes, I have a "day job" seperate from Holiday Lights), so I'll miss the first few hours - be good!

2004_10_31 - An early heads-up that things will be a little different on Halloween night.
Bad News: I probably won't turn the webcam on until 2100 MST (GMT-7 ... note that daylight savings time kicks in) because (per the FAQ) I'm sensitive about privacy issues and would not be appropriate for some unknowning trick-or-treaters to be photographed for the web.
Good News: as I did last week, I've cleared it with the neighbors and will leave the webcam up and running until 0500 MST on Monday, November 1st.

2004_10_31_1938 - Played frisbee this afternoon in shorts, but about a 20 ° drop in temperature with freezing rain this evening, so trick-or-treaters were done early - webcam fired up earlier that I predicted and it looks like we'll get our first snow of the season shortly.

2004_10_31_2230 - POWER PROBLEMS - There have been several power fluctuations in the neighborhood tonight. I have the computer interface and webcam on UPS units (more for power protection), so they keep humming along, but (sorry to disappoint you), I don't have the halloween lights on UPS's, so the pictures are a bit dark when things flicker off. I'm hitting the sack shortly ... but things will only run until Midnight tonight (sorry) and if you get a dark picture, then there was another power outage. There is about 15 minutes of runtime on the computer UPS (about 45 minutes on the webcam), so if it is an extended outage, then you'll see the "Technical Difficulties" graphic as the web server is actualy hosted elsewhere.

2004_11_01 - Everything seems to be working as we got a "dusting" last night - Hulk don't like snow which can also be seen in this closeup ... but snow melts fast in Colorado and it's almost all gone already. Two more days on the webcam (keeping it open for the election - vote for HULK!) and then we call it a wrap - gotta get working on my christmas lights! ;-)

2004_11_02_Midnight - Halloween 2004 is OVER! As noted above, it was quite the hoot as there were over a million halloween hits from almost 150,000 people (unique IP's) who checked out the webcam and the final presidential vote tally was   HULK: 15,238   BUSH: 14,710   KERRY: 14,380

More details at the halloween 2004 page and this is all a warmup for my christmas decorations complete with the christmas lights webcam! ;-)

2004_12_27 - I disclose to the Wall Street Journal (and the world) that while the lights were real, the webcam was a simulation ... although for 2005 christmas I might just do it for real ... ;-)