2012_09_25: I'm trying to get some upgraded webcams for the display this year (wish me luck) and hope to have everything online by mid-October. And remember that since this is an election year, we'll be having "voting" for your favorite candidate - Obama, Romney, or HULK for President - support the Green Party Candidate who almost won in 2008! ;-)
2012_09_28: Commenting is turned on for the Halloween Blog.
2012_10_07: For years, I've been using servers from Softlayer, the largest privately owned hosting company in the world ... and thanks to their help, the Controllable Halloween Decorations & Christmas Lights for Celiac Disease are now running on newer/faster hardware to enhance the experience for web surfers around the world. To summarize, they offer kick-a** servers, network, and customer support ... plus are some great people to work with - highly recommended!
2012_10_13: While I don't have everything setup yet, I turned on the webcams and X10 controls tonight. It's a good way to get the "rust" out of the system and "exercise" the code. There were very few hiccups ... and most of the work was spent addressing stuff for the election voting, since that last happened 4 years ago. I detected some ballot stuffing in 2008 ... and since I now have better analysis tools to determine PRO/CON bias, it's perhaps not surprising that I again saw ballot stuffing in 2012! ;-
2012_10_17: Pretty much everything is setup and working. One minor annoying thing is Hulk #1 has a small leak in his head at the right ear seam ... and I haven't been able to get a good patch. So while I can pump it back up each evening, he looks like he is falling asleep several hours later - D'OH!
2012_10_21: The fine folks at IQinVision were nice enough to send me a loaner network camera for the holiday season ... so I swapped out webcam #3 in the Haunted Office. Check out the higher image quality in Blog post #105 - OH YEAH! ;-)
2012_10_23: The great X10 products and fantastic customer support from JV Digital Engineering have been a great help. I recently got an XTBM Signal Analyzer which has allowed me to figure out where my signal-suckers and noise emitters are and then apply an XPPF filter on one particular area. The XTB-IIR/III X10 signal booster ensures a powerful signal goes to all X10 modules so that when Internet surfers clicks ON/OFF, that happens reliably. If you are an X10 user, I strongly encourage you check out JV Digital Engineering - Jeff Volp makes some great products (the craftsmanship is exquisite) and is a genuine pleasure to work with.
2012_10_26: It has been a warm and sunny October ... but we finally got our first couple inches of snow. After a day or two of cold weather, it should warm right back up so will be great weather for trick-or-treating on Halloween.
2012_10_30: The weather forecast for Halloween night is sunny and 70°F ... so should see quite a few trick-or-treaters. I have hundreds of pieces of candy for the little kids and quite a few liquid refreshments for the "big" kids - hopefully this will be enough! ;-)
2012_10_31: It was sunny and 70°F today with zero wind, so perfect night for trick-or-treaters. I'd estimate about 150 people came by, and fortunately I had enough candy for the kids and libations for the adults. As typical, lots of people watching online - screenshot here - and you can relive the entire evening in one minute time-lapse videos from the webcams on the Halloween Movies page. Fun for everyone and especially me seeing all the smiles.
I shut down the X10 controls/display after allowing one final day of "voting"
for the Presidential contest between Obama, Romney, and the HULK.
It was very close ... with quite a bit of ballot stuffing. Fortunately, the Perl scripts were able to detect this ... and after manual verification, those votes were invalidated. In 2008, Obama won with 21,966 votes ... followed by McCain with 21,821 and HULK with 21,692. For 2012, it looks like we are sending a Big Green Monster to the White House as the final tally was:
16,161 - HULK
15,373 - Romney
15,345 - Obama
Congratulations to the Green Party Candidate and I'm sure he'll do a SMASHING job! ;-)
2012_11_02: The display was taken down as (famous last words) I made it through another year without falling off the roof. If you missed the takedown action, here the timelapse videos via webcam 1 and 2.
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