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 - $3,731 was raised. 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 - for example, I've been on Slashdot 5 times since 2002. I'm seeing a number of inbound links pop up daly (most appropriately at MajorGeeks.Com) 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.

2005_12_01: 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! ;-)

2005_12_02_0000: 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.

2005_12_06: 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.

2005_12_08: 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 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 on the front page 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 fund-raising effort 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?!? ;-)

2005_12_12: Fark.Com has some great commentary from the readers of this very popular and funny news/headline web site.

2005_12_14: 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.

2005_12_16: 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 scattered among the 5 servers supporting this effort.

2005_12_17: 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!"

2005_12_25: 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 Christmas FAQ which should answer most questions ... and (obligatory plug) since media companies tend to have deep pockets, pls consider donating for Celiac Disease.