Halloween 2004 - what's planned/new

The 2003 Halloween Decorations & Halloween Lights are now over ... so what is planned/new for Halloween 2004?

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

2. Better optimization of X10, Webcam, and other "analog" devices.   The web interface enforces a 5-second throttle on web surfers, since in the "real-world" things take time - i.e. you can't move/zoom the webcam instantaneousely, and X10 isn't the fastest in controlling lights. You kinda lose the experience of controlling the webcam and turning the lights ON & OFF if you are continually battling other people for control of the webcam/lights. It will never be possible to changes the lights 238 times in a single minute (read more in my Slashdot Effect Analysis) but I'd like to see if I can reduce that 5 second throttle down a bit and still have everything "work" - having a webcam that can pan, zoom, and shoot the picture faster will be the biggest challenge - see item #5 below. UPDATE: 1 second update interval appears doable!

3. Some sort of text based light board where you can enter the text.   I got this clever idea from these guys where they have a webcam pointing at a computer screen, and you can enter some text and it is displayed. Would be really cool if I could have some sort of alphanumeric text board that I could feed data too - pls Email me if you have any recommendedations. UPDATE: maybe at Christmas 2004

4. Tracking/Location of airplanes flying overhead.   Along those lines, I've been using some modified X10 Motion Sensors to see if airplanes are flying overhead from nearby airports. With a little more work, I might be able to have it provide a more accurate bearing/elevation. Rest assured this won't be integerated into a SAM site ... ;-) UPDATE: doesn't give accurate readings ... yet

5. Possible new bells & whistles with Webcam and Webcontrol.   The Webcam and WebControl (which allowed folks to not only view the lights in real-time, but also turn them ON and OFF) was a BIG hit. New for 2003 (when I had my 40th birthday) was the webcam supported Pan/Zoom capability (plus the image size was a little larger at 640X480), so I'm curious to see what technologies come my way this year to see how they can be used. As an aside, I recently read about a sticky pod camera mount that allows you to attached your webcam to a car (or an airplane!) using only suction cups - pretty cool!

6. Dedicated halloween/xmas lights storage facility.   Needless to say, I have a LOT of decorations and lights ... and they have been piling up in my basement ... hopefully 2004 will be the year I finish the crawl space - aka The Catacombs Project!

7. Near real-time tracking of webcam usage.   There is quite a bit of webcam statistics generated, but these are somewhat "batch" driven and the raw data is a bit hard to look at - maybe I'll polish these up a bit so they can be seen semi-real-time.

Send HULK a public Email with any other ideas and be sure to check back here in September 2004 to see and control the lights for Halloween 2004!