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Christmas Cheer Software Linux

Linux Powers Controllable Christmas Lights for Charity 30

Santa Claus writes "Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier's recent article at Linux.Com tells the hilarious story of Alek's Controllable Christmas Lights. When he out'ed himself to the Wall Street Journal, saying that it was a simulation/hoax in 2004, the mass media howled at being fooled while Slashdot simply said Humbug. Alek claims that he went legit in 2005, as confirmed by the Rocky Mountain News. Brockmeier did an on-site visit to actually see and report in detail how the system really works ... for real! For 2006, there are three D-Link DCS-6620G webcams providing live coverage of 15,000 Christmas Lights, plus giant inflatable Elmo, Santa, and Homer Simpson. X10 power technology allows web surfers to turn stuff on & off with a click of a mouse. You can also type in text for everyone to see on a laptop in Santa's Workshop Cam. This year over $15,000 has been raised for the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, as a result of the lights. Brockmeier and the Christmas FAQ says it is load-balanced across four dedicated 100 Mbps Apache/Linux servers running mod_perl." Linux.com and Slashdot are both owned by OSTG.
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Linux Powers Controllable Christmas Lights for Charity

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  • by xmas2003 ( 739875 ) * on Sunday December 24, 2006 @11:35PM (#17357462) Homepage
    As a Slashdot Subscriber [slashdot.org] (highly recommended BTW), I saw this story in the "Mysterious Future" and needless to say, it is EMERGENCY ALERT on Komar.org [komar.org] as I'm sure Scotty will be saying shortly "Control Circuits threatening to overload Captain!" [komar.org] The four dedicated 100 Mbps Apache/Linux web servers (using mod_perl) handled a doubleheader of DIGG and FARK on December 13th and are already getting hammered ... but Slashdot could be another level ... lets see how high the load factor goes on this snowy Christmas Eve.

    Zonker's article is excellent [linux.com] - highly recommend /.'ers RTFA (hah!) since there is ... uhhhhh ... a bit of history associated with my "controllable" Christmas Lights ... ;-) [komar.org]

    People around the world are hammering it allready (Google Maps mish-mash) [komar.org] so I'll try to keep the web servers going while everyone turns the lights ON ... OFF ... ON ... OFF ... ON ... etc.

    Have fun with it and Merry Christmas to all,

    P.S. The web site is totally free ... but raises awareness/funds for the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Disease. [celiaccenter.org] This is something my kids have, so it's personal for me ... so if you are feeling the Christmas spirit and want to donate a few dollars, please do so at their site.
    • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
      I can't imagine how you managed to get modded off-topic when posting about your own stuff. -sigh-

      As for the system... Wow. That's quite a setup to try to survive digg/fark/slashdot. I hope it makes it.

      Also, I'm glad you were able to use the publicity on this to benefit a worthwhile cause as well. Good thinking there.
    • by Salvance ( 1014001 ) * on Monday December 25, 2006 @12:15AM (#17357666) Homepage Journal
      No offense to Captain Taco, slashdot, or anyone here ... but I hardly imagine slashdot would take down the servers if the servers already handled Digg (particularly on Christmas Eve). Slashdot is News for Nerds, Digg used to be, but is now general purpose slop. As a result, Digg volume is unbelievably HUGE since it's now being used by a far larger population than just techies.

      As an example, on a blog I own (not the site in my sig), one of my posts hit all the major "social bookmarking" sites at once. Here are the stats:
      - Reddit: 1,027
      - Del.icio.us: 1,856 (I was surprised here)
      - Fark: 8,347
      - Slashdot: 18,111
      - Digg: 94,991

      And on my site in my sig, the owner has seen #s from Digg around the 100,000 visits within 24 hours as well (since it's not a tech site, I can't compare #s to slashdot since it wouldn't hit slashdot's front page). It's actually really annoying, because Digg visitors almost never stay for more than ~5 seconds (slashdot readers appear to at least read part of the story).
      • by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Monday December 25, 2006 @12:36AM (#17357756)
        It's actually really annoying, because Digg visitors almost never stay for more than ~5 seconds (slashdot readers appear to at least read part of the story).

        I think you just said why a site that lets you play with Christmas lights is much more dangerous on Slashdot, than on Digg.
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by vorpal22 ( 114901 )
      Coeliac disease [wikipedia.org] is a very serious condition. I know all about digestive system disorders, having Crohn's disease [wikipedia.org] myself. These conditions are largely misunderstood and often dismissed, and as they can already be very physically debilitating, to have them looked at trivially by a large chunk of society adds a huge dimension of emotional suffering and stress to an already horrible situation. I urge people to donate for medical research to these often ignored causes, which seem to be increasing steadily in inc
      • by pieterh ( 196118 )
        Has anyone bothered to study whether children affected by digestive system disorders like Coeliac disease and Chrohn's disease were exposed to antibiotics at a vulnerable young age?

        Seems quite evident to me that there is a series of factors: working mothers who have less time to breast-feed; babies put into daycare where they can get more bugs; wider use of antibiotics to cure these bugs; lower immunity and weaker intestinal fauna & flora due to less breast milk...

        Probably no cure for someone who's dige
  • by proxy318 ( 944196 ) on Monday December 25, 2006 @12:40AM (#17357768)
    Wow! All these years I've been wasting my money using electricity to power my lights. Wish someone had told me about this earlier.
    • 53.7 amps * 120V = 6.44kW at $0.15/kwh it's about $0.96 an hour. So if he runs this for 30 days it's $696 dollars in electricity. Merry Christmas to the power companies :)

      LED's anyone?
      • First, hats off to you for actually doing the calculations. But a few significant corrections are in order that reduce the electrical costs to less than $100 for the month ... or about $3/day. My electricity (including taxes) is about 10 cents/KWH, the lights are typically operational for only 5 hours/day, and people turn them OFF about as often as they turn them ON. LED lights are still pretty darn expensive, especially when you have thousands of lights to put up and considering I buy my stuff at the post
  • My Eyes! The goggles, they do nothing!

    Anyone else think that site was just a tad bit spastic?
  • I say humbug! It's a hoax!
  • Does it r-- oh, nevermind!

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson