Halloween 2005 - what's planned/new

Halloween 2004 was a lotta fun with some of the new stuff I put in place but there is always room for improvement - I have some ideas for Halloween 2005, and please comment on HULK's halloween blog with any of your ideas. In the meantime, check out the halloween decorations and you can view and control 'em via the halloween webcam.

1. The Incredible Hulk.   The Big Green Guy will definately be back!

2. Possible new bells & whistles with Webcam and Webcontrol.   The Webcam and WebControl Simulation (which allowed folks to not only view the lights in real-time, but also turn them ON and OFF) got quite a bit of publicity ... so I'm always curious to see what technologies come my way this year to see how they can be used and I'll have a real trick or treat for everybody this year! ;-)

3. The Concrete Blog was a big hit for my stamped concrete project ... so I'll be adding a Halloween Blog.

4. Dedicated halloween/xmas lights storage facility.   Needless to say, I have a LOT of decorations and lights ... and while my design for the basement doesn't include room for 'em, the crawl space (aka The Catacombs Project) was finally done in 2005.

5. Bugville is a recent addition to my halloween lights! ;-)

6. I picked up Lighting FX which allows sound to control your halloween lights. Not sure how I'm going to use this yet, but should be fun to play with.

7. Apache2 and mod_perl for the web server code.   I (finally) upgraded to Apache2 on the Linux box. The web "front-side" of the code is fairly lightweight and holds up pretty well except for when the Slashdot crowd shows up. It then gets really, really slow ... because it is running as a cgi-exec and Apache has to spawn Perl which has to slurp in my code (plus the Benchmark, Fcntl, Geo::IPfree, Socket, and Time::HiRes modules) and THEN run. Solution is fairly straighforward - use mod_perl which slurps it in all at once, and then runs it "directly" for each request. But for a variety of reasons, I wasn't able to get this done in 2004, but did get it done for Christmas/2004, so will be in place for Halloween 2005. Note that this won't make the webcam any faster, since a seperate daemon handles that back-end (which itself is now pretty snappy (after waiting for the analog inputs/data) and uses file locking and signals to sequence instructions from the CGI front-end), but it should make the surfing experience a little snappier when under extremely heavy load.

And starting thinking about halloween 2006