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Extreme Christmas Lights In Orlando 318

Posted by timothy
from the what-generators-are-for-when-the-blackouts-come dept.
tripmine writes "The Orlando Sentinel has a story about a geek who can't get enough Christmas light. 'This Christmas, tech-savvy people such as Hansen are increasingly building the biggest, most elaborate holiday lights in neighborhoods across Central Florida and throughout the country. They typically work in fields such as computer programming, Web development, engineering or audio and visual services and are armed with a technical knowledge that the average person lacks. They trade tips and stories on message boards and set up Web sites with step-by-step descriptions of how they installed their lights as well as pictures and videos of the finished product.'" Many cities have neighborhoods where the spectacle takes up blocks at a time, not just individual houses, too, as anyone who's strolled down Austin's 37th Street can attest. Links invited (in comments) to the best / worst light-spectacles you know of.
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Extreme Christmas Lights In Orlando

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  • by imaginaryelf (862886) on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:24PM (#21807282)
    Or the police would've locked down the city already.
  • Global warming (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yusaku Godai (546058) <hyuga@noSpaM.guardian-hyuga.net> on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:25PM (#21807292) Homepage
    What's the point to banning some incandescent light bulbs if this bullshit is allowed?
    • Who's talking about banning incandescent light bulbs? Several manufacturers are trying to phase them out, but unless there's something I missed it's an entirely voluntary thing.
      • Just making a tongue in cheek reference to two or three stories down. And to be more precise, it's about banning the sale of certain types of bulbs.
      • by Deadstick (535032) on Monday December 24, 2007 @03:34PM (#21808572)
        unless there's something I missed

        There is.

        rj

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by orclevegam (940336)
          After Yusaku commented I went back and read the article he mentioned. The title of the article is actually somewhat misleading though as it's not a ban on incandescent bulbs, but a ban on selling non-energy-efficient incandescent bulbs after 2012. Going back to look over the article again it looks like the title has been amended as well to insert a "(most)" into it.
    • by Colin Smith (2679)

      What's the point to banning some incandescent light bulbs if this bullshit is allowed?
      Well DOH! Your politicians will have been seen to have done something so that you will vote for them again. Don't you get it? It's not about actual results, it's about the appearance of results.
       
    • by schwit1 (797399)
      Allowed? In a truly free society everything is assumed to be allowed unless there's a good reason to outlaw it. A nanny state does the opposite.

      What this has to do with global warming I'm not sure.

    • by MightyYar (622222)
      I tagged it "auxiliarynuclear", which fans of Christmas Vacation may recognize.
    • Re:Global warming (Score:5, Insightful)

      by One Childish N00b (780549) on Monday December 24, 2007 @03:21PM (#21808494) Homepage
      What's the point to banning some incandescent light bulbs if this bullshit is allowed?

      Shut up. This has been a year to end all years. We've been bullied into accepting bullshit laws left, right and center, we've seen our countrymen lose their lives in a neverending bullshit war, and the holiday season is the one time of year when we get to let our hair down and have fun without petty moaning getting in the way.

      Yes, it's garish, and yes it's a "waste of energy", but you know what? I feel like getting up and going to work every day just to fall into bed and do it all over again tomorrow is a waste of energy, too, and I look forward to the fun and silliness of the holiday season, and things like this add to the fun. Pretty much everything else fun has been legislated to death, if we start legislating Christmas then we might as well give up the fight altogether and become mindless automatons retiring to our alcoves for 8 hours 'recharge' in between 365 days of work.
      • by Deadstick (535032)
        you know what? I feel like getting up and going to work every day just to fall into bed and do it all over again tomorrow is a waste of energy, too

        Just don't clean fish in your cube, OK?

        rj

  • So 90's (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cthefuture (665326) on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:27PM (#21807316)
    These type of flashy animated displays are like flashing HTML text and all the other tacky crap from 90's web design.

    It can be done a lot more tastefully.
    • Re:So 90's (Score:5, Funny)

      by kylben (1008989) on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:37PM (#21807444) Homepage

      It can be done a lot more tastefully.
      Yeah, they could get about a million red, green, and blue lights and string them up in a grid, with a computer to control each light individually instead of entire strands. Then they could port Firefox into the code that controls the lights and just show the damn Trans Siberian Orchestra house video on it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by orclevegam (940336)
        So very very tempted right now.
      • by jd (1658)
        The Chaos Computer Club's Blinkenlights project lets you hook up games like Pong to hotel lighting systems. With the better resolution and greater refresh rate offered by christmas lights, it should be possible to get Doom or Quake to play quite nicely over the side of a mountain or something.
      • by karnal (22275)
        I was speaking with my wife about this - it seems that there are so many lights in use when people are doing this light control stuff at christmas that it doesn't "feel" like the lights always line up with the music.

        800x600 = 480,000 lights - reasonable for a 4x3 display on the front of my house. Now to get the money together. Anyone have a clue as to what type of controller / interface you'd need for something like this? I know Nine Inch Nails had a "light curtain" that could be programmed to show video
    • Re:So 90's (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Belial6 (794905) on Monday December 24, 2007 @02:40PM (#21808108)
      When I first read your comment, I though you were just one of those people that just like to complain. Then I saw the video, and had to completely agree with you. The display shows little to no creativity, and seem to be just a "I bought more lights" display. We used to have a house here in Santa Rosa, Ca that had a big display every year. It had a tenth of the lights, and was dramatically more impressive. It had spinning carousels, elves making toys, and various other animated displays. Buying more lights isn't impressive. Show me something I haven't seen before if you want to impress me.
  • Where's my BB Gun? I'm HOPING to put someones eye out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:32PM (#21807376)
    FTFA:
    Hansen's 25,000-light display is synchronized to five songs, which he broadcasts over an FM-radio frequency so passers-by can pick it up in their cars.

    Radio broadcasts a/k/a "public performance" of likely-unlicensed music? So who's gonna get him first? The RIAA? The ASCAP? The FCC?

    Takin' all bets!
    • Well, the FCC should have no claim, as most small transceivers aren't powerful enough to require FCC licensing. Now the RIAA (ASCAP?... maybe, but think that only applies to live performances) may have some sort of claim.
  • by dpryan (123256) on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:33PM (#21807402) Homepage
    Rochester Michigan has a really nice light display setup on all of the stores on Main St. Here's a link [ledgenlighting.com] to a slideshow from the company that put them up. Not surprisingly, the lights cause gridlock for about a mile in each direction, but it's worth it.
  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:35PM (#21807428) Homepage Journal
    Who has money for the energy bill from Christmas lights? Our household is very financially secure, but I'm not looking to spend thousands over the season to run the lights. My neighbor, who isn't really decked out as much as some, said his bill will be over $600 more this months for his lighting scheme. OUCH.

    I'm sure the environmentalists will cry foul, and I understand that philosophy, but for me, the lights are putting more demand on electricity, which means I'll pay a higher bill myself.

    The wife and I do like to see the more extravagant lighting setups out there, but we have noticed that some homes aren't running them 7 days a week. Wonder if its an electrical bill concern.
    • My neighbor, who isn't really decked out as much as some, said his bill will be over $600 more this months for his lighting scheme.
      I'm surprised you can fit that many bulbs on a trailer.
  • Story time kids (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Yusaku Godai (546058) <hyuga@noSpaM.guardian-hyuga.net> on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:35PM (#21807432) Homepage
    Back when I was in high school, my family lived in southern Florida. Miami, specifically. This kind of crap is extremely prevalent around there, and I'm not sure exactly why. At any rate, one year our neighbor, as usual, had up several thousands of lights, along with the usual array of motorized reindeer, inflatable Santa Claus, and of course a big plastic glowing Jesus (what Jesus has to do with a pagan/capitalist holiday I'm not sure).

    Anyways, a huge ugly array of crap that probably took a lot of work to put up--a perfect target for neighborhood hooligans looking to spoil peoples' hard work, right? Not so. The neighbor's display remained untouched. Meanwhile over at our house, we had simply arranged some lights in the shape of a peace sign over our garage door. Within two days all the lights had been torn down and stomped on. Ah, America...
    • Probably to make up for the complete lack of snow or really even cold weather. It's rather hard to get into the christmas spirit when it's 80 degrees outside, so people try to compensate by putting up ridiculously extravagant decorations.
    • by Deadstick (535032)
      Are you old enough to remember Anthony Abraham, a Chevy dealer, and Abe Aronovitz, a mayor of Miami? They lived across a street from each other in the Gables, and Jewish though they were, they competed every year for the most garish Christmas lights. I used to take people for airplane rides over there at night.

      rj

    • by c6gunner (950153)
      Clearly you are living in an oppressive nation whose traditions and beliefs run contrary to your way of life. I suggest you quickly pack up your meagre belongings, and, in the middle of the night, climb the wall into West Berl...I mean, Canada!
  • Awesome (Score:5, Funny)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101&gmail,com> on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:40PM (#21807476) Homepage Journal
    Of course, it's all fun and games until the bus of epileptic kids drives by.
  • You too can do this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:41PM (#21807494)
    Computer controlled, fully programmable.
    Lite-o-rama [lightorama.com]

    If you're insane and anal enough to do it right. Some of the displays are pretty impressive [lightorama02.com], though. In an over the top, freaky, kind of way.
    • of the American public.

      I watched part the video and it was like watching the eighteen wheeled log-hauler coming your way in front of you on the narrow mountain road suddenly jackknife and the tree trunks go up and over before coming down like a bunch of really BIG pick-up-sticks. (And you hope like Hell you jambed on the brakes fast enough!)
  • by cc1984_ (1096355) on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:49PM (#21807568)

    They typically work in fields such as computer programming, Web development, engineering or audio and visual services and are armed with a technical knowledge that the average person lacks
    ..and lack social skills and good taste which others are armed with.
  • Once I was with my family driving around looking at lights when we saw one house that had a huge nativity scene set up in their front yard. It had Mary, Joesph, the wise men, the whole nine yards. But it also had a huge fucking grim reaper behind the manager leaning over it all. I guess they were too lazy to take down the Halloween decorations all the way before setting up for Christmas, or they were just ape shit insane. Probably a little of each
  • by PhreakOfTime (588141) on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:55PM (#21807612) Homepage

    Thats not creative at all. its just plain old boring.

    Now, THIS [youtube.com] is original and creative. Id love to see the neighbors faces when this thing fires up on the front lawn! If some pinheads flashing lights annoy you, just pay them back with the wonderfully tuned sound of static discharge! Enjoy!

  • I still prefer the more understated FSM Holiday Display [bsalert.com].
  • For pure unadulterated camp, you can't beat the display on the 700 block of 34th Street in Baltimore's neighborhood of Hampden. Each traditional row house is decorated to the owner's own taste and vision, and while they aren't particularly technical, they certainly do make a splash. They've been lighting up that block for so long that realtors feel it's mandatory to warn prospective home buyers that they'll have to light up, too. There's a pretty good sampling here [flickr.com].
  • the energy required will soon surpass the rating of a standard household connection, but thankfully revolutionsing nuclear systems from Toshiba is promising to deliver lots of luminous joy for Christmas to come.
    • by Colin Smith (2679)
      Your're kidding, right. LEDs are going to make future christmases 10 times brighter for the same energy input.
       
  • Season? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Dr. Photo (640363) on Monday December 24, 2007 @02:02PM (#21807698) Journal

    "Around October, somebody was just walking around my neighborhood, and they told me they really liked our lights and that it really made the season for them," Hansen said. "If I am the one that triggers the season for somebody, then it really makes it worthwhile."


    No, you misheard: you triggered the seizures!
  • by melted (227442) on Monday December 24, 2007 @02:03PM (#21807716) Homepage
    I bet this guy drives a Prius and talks about reducing his carbon footprint all the time, too. ;-)
  • It'd be more impressive if it wasn't 21C there. Try putting up all those lights in 3 feet of snow.
  • This one is from Newmarket which is just north of Toronto Ontario:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXk0wc5qXuo [youtube.com]

    This one gained instant fame a year ago. Again it is a house located just north of Toronto:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4983931962566123785 [google.com]
  • It is just xmas, no need for fancy lights. Thankfully it will be over in another day anyway.
  • are so doomed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tero (39203) on Monday December 24, 2007 @02:20PM (#21807930)
    I don't think the human race will survive the coming global warming and after watching that video, I don't think we deserve to either.
    The display gets full points for not having any taste though..
  • Are they using CFL [slashdot.org] Christmas lights? Oh sorry, don't want to offend the liberals, "holiday lights?"

    Oh yeah, these are geeks. The CFL Christma... sorry, "holiday tree" lights are the wrong color temperature and they give the whiney geeks headaches. And you can't dim 'em. Can't have that, planet be damned.

    Peace on earth goodwill to men, I wonder how much electricity these displays take? Vain, selfich rich kids. Lets just do away with Christmas altogether.

    Sorry, I'm having a really bad day today. I'm trying fo
  • Will IT be visible by Dawn? What will SHE have to say about it?
  • by mpthompson (457482) on Monday December 24, 2007 @02:44PM (#21808140)
    ... on Eucalyptus Avenue in San Carlos [google.com] the whole neighborhood gets involved with spectacular lighting displays. While not technically elaborate or geeky as the linked video, it is still quite a sight. Kids, young and old, certainly enjoy it walking up and down the street enjoying the hospitality of the home owners.

    Of course, it's a sight that would make Al Gore cry, but he's an old Hum Bugger anyway.
  • Dallas Area (Score:2, Informative)

    by robwmc (734472)
    There is a house in Frisco (just north of Dallas) that has been doing this for several years. They have a small site and it gives descriptions, pictures and video. You can see it here [trykoskichristmas.com].

    We usually take our daughter to see it every year.

  • Basicaly it is a bunch of groups of lights that go on and off individually. The first time I saw something like this a few years ago it was impressive. Now it is just another one.

    It would be more impressive if he were realy steering each light individualy and thus making his whole house a screen. The real chalange would be to have more then one angle in which it looks great (no just good). This would mean some weeks or months of 3d modelling first to see how it works.

    The obvious next step whould be a connec
  • Blink (Score:4, Funny)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) on Monday December 24, 2007 @04:56PM (#21809268)

    They typically work in fields such as ... Web development
    Got to do something with all those unused "blink" tags...

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