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Linux, Apache, Perl, X10, Webcams... and Christmas Lights

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the blinkenlights dept.

Perl 30

An anonymous reader writes "Clement Moore writes

'Twas the night before Christmas,
and while not a creature was stirring (not even an optical mouse),
/.'ers were posting & moderating with squeals of delight.
When out on the Internet there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my keyboard to see what was the matter.
I knew in a moment it must be Alek's Controllable Christmas Lights Webcam.
But remembered in previous years it was a hoax - /. said damn.
And then, in a twinkling, I realize Alek has done it for real — W'OH!
With 20,000 lights plus giant inflatable Elmo, Frosty, Santa, SpongeBob, and Homer Simpson — D'OH!
The X10 controls and 3 live webcams provide such clarity,
that it has raised over $70,000 for Celiac charity.
'Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!'"

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30 comments

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X10? (3, Funny)

colinrichardday (768814) | about 2 years ago | (#42384939)

Was X10 even active when Linux was developed?

Oops (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | about 2 years ago | (#42384953)

Re:Oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42385289)

Why are we allowing unholy slug-bearers to subvert and destroy our wonderful President Barack Hussein Obama? What possible justification could there be for non-mobile refrigerators with strange coolants that nature never intended?

Re:Oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42386687)

What, are they getting in the way of the latest Green Energy kickback scheme?

Re:X10? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#42384967)

Was X10 even active when Linux was developed?

Yes, if you ran SCO Unixware or Openserver.

Who am I kidding, that is way too cutting edge to compile without some serious work.

Re:X10? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42385015)

What kind of troll is this? X10 still sells their products (home automation hardware) and they work well enough. They've cleaned up their act a lot and are no longer the king of internet spam. Actually, it's been years since I've seen X10 spam. Maybe that's because I became a paying customer...

Word Association..."X10..." "Annoying Yahoo Popup" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42385127)

Actually, it's been years since I've seen X10 spam. Maybe that's because I became a paying customer...

It's probably well over 10 years since I last saw X10's annoying popups. Maybe *that's* because it's the main thing that encouraged me to finally move from Yahoo to Google and I've hardly ever used Yahoo since, except for mail.

Interesting question as to whether the money Yahoo made from X10 was offset by the users they lost, or whether I'm an overly atypical example and- as someone who doesn't really care about ads irrelevant to them- was not important to Yahoo anyway.

(Oh, and it's actually Christmas proper where I am now, so Merry Christmas and all that cal!)

Re:Word Association..."X10..." "Annoying Yahoo Pop (1)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | about 2 years ago | (#42385389)

Indeed, it's been what, since Dec 2001 the last time i've seen the X10 popups advertising with voyeuristic opportunities at the pool and the toilet.

Re:Word Association..."X10..." "Annoying Yahoo Pop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42385703)

Don't forget the badly photoshopped women with chunks cut out to make their chest bigger / waist smaller.

Re:Word Association..."X10..." "Annoying Yahoo Pop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42385757)

I left Yahoo when I setup new account for a friend and had spam waiting before I could hit the opt-out screen... X10 is a company whose products I won't use for being the first, worst marketing campaign.

Re:X10? (2)

colinrichardday (768814) | about 2 years ago | (#42385235)

To clarify my previous acknowledgement, I thought it meant X10 as in precursor to X11.

Again, my bad.

Re:X10? (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#42385339)

that was my thought on reading it too.

happy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42385141)

happy holidays!

My version (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42385195)

'Twat the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Nothing was stirring, except for the mouse
Of one solitary user, as surfed 'til the morn,
Trawling the web, for deviant porn.

I Didn't Get Invited for Reindeer Games (2)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 years ago | (#42385239)

Maybe next year... [youtube.com]

My annual self-promotional post (0, Offtopic)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 2 years ago | (#42385241)

My string of networked RGB Christmas lights: http://www.youtube.com/treegeergb [youtube.com]

The first attempt was in 2006 (ATTiny2323s, each controlling 4 RGB LEDs, wired together with an unholy amount of wire-wrap wire, with the controller chips soldered "dead-bug style" and wrapped in heatshrink.

The first decent-looking prototype was 2007. The first music-choreographed video was from 2008, with another one from 2009. I haven't made any new music videos since then, but the lights still work fine. My goal for next year is to assemble a bunch more, and redo the controller to use an Android tablet (or old Android phone) and Arduino ADK for the controller.

The design is pretty simple... Atmel ATTiny25, 4-resistor array, RGB LED, and a linear regulator capable of delivering 5v@~100mA from 9-12v. The code is 100% assembly, the serial protocol is bitbanged and vaguely inspired by the way infrared remote controls work. The onboard voltage regulator is so I can use three thin (AWG22) wires instead of doing something brittle/dangerous, like rectified 120v in series, or be forced to use thick wires to keep the voltage drop down.

I learned a lot about serial bus design while developing it. The original design (and in fact, the circuit boards) was for daisy-chained serial (with each module regenerating it), but it ended up working well enough at ~2kbps with everything wired in parallel to do it that way. Daisy-chaining and regenerating bit-by-bit caused bit-stretching and distorted the timing too badly, and trying to regenerate it byte-by-byte caused delays when the string got to be too big (because each light module delayed the 9-bit "byte" for one full byte before passing it along). The other catch with daisy-chaining is the fact that if one light died, everything downstream from it would have died, too. In an ideal world, it would be implemented with multidrop RS422 (485?), but AFAIK, neither Atmel nor anybody else makes a MCU that can output balanced serial without additional driver chips (though I DID contemplate trying to power the chip with "ground" = -2.5v, and "Vcc" = +2.5v, on the theory that it would still act like 0 and 5v, and let me transmit the serial with -2.5v and +2.5v by bitbanging two pins with opposite values; not sure whether it would actually work, though. I don't particularly understand analog electronics very well, least of all things like negative DC acting like "ground" relative to Vcc).

The light modules themselves are fully autonomous, and have their own mostly-complete semi-assembly language (kind of like the quasi-assembly used by the Cosmac Elf/Studio 2, or the TI-99/4A, or other systems of the 8-bit era). Most of the opcodes translate loosely to "transition [now|slowly|quickly] to color $x, then [continue|pause|delay|stall]", but I also have opcodes to implement for/next, subroutines, if/then, random numbers, etc. The lights are addressed by individual ID (192 max without resorting to segmentation) and by row/column (7 rows, 7 columns). In other words, I can direct commands to "All lights in row 6", "all lights in column 5", "All lights in row 3, column 4", or "light number 97". The row/column addressability compensates for the slow serial protocol (2kbps) and long datagrams (9, 18, or 27 bits), as does the fact that I can send opcode-arg-address, then modify it for other lights by just sending arg-address if opcode remains unchanged.

Anyway, enjoy. By the way, the treegee.com domain name has long-since lapsed and is probably a porn site now, so don't bother trying to go there.

Re:My annual self-promotional post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42385603)

That's like... teh gay.

Re:My annual self-promotional post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42385857)

WS2801 [sparkfun.com]

Hi (-1, Redundant)

KevinTran87 (2801617) | about 2 years ago | (#42385275)

Hello there, You have done an incredible job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this web site. high pr dofollow blogs [armadabeauty.com]

Imagery 0 (0)

PacRim Jim (812876) | about 2 years ago | (#42385433)

Keep your daytime non-poetry job.

Re:Imagery 0 (0)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about 2 years ago | (#42385613)

I completely and utterly agree. Worst poem I've read in a long time, but this site and light/inflatable control is pretty cool.

Re:Imagery 0 (2, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#42385647)

What poem are you referring to? I didn't see anything that'd qualify as a poem...

Who gives a motherfuck? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42385449)

Linux is for total faggots and cunts.

on Opera (2)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about 2 years ago | (#42385591)

popup: "WOW an Opera Web Surfer \nPlease Sing for the Internet!"
What does this mean?

Re:on Opera (1)

isorox (205688) | about 2 years ago | (#42386571)

popup: "WOW an Opera Web Surfer \nPlease Sing for the Internet!"

What does this mean?

It means slashdot uids have reached 7 figures. It went downhill at 6, but 7 is disastrous

Re:on Opera (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42388275)

I call lie, nobody expects Opera.

Bah, humbug! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42385675)

'Twas just a Monday, but, all thro' the Net...
No one was counting the National Debt!
All trolls logged off, to play in the snow,
And Drudge only had a red 'n green glow!
No one brought up all that Pro-Life drama,
And no one shouting, "Down With Obama"!
Preppers in their fallout shelters sat tight,
And nothing was heard from the crazy Far Right!
Oh, what a wondrous night of the year -
When Republicans get simply too drunk to care!

--libman

Open Source Xmas (1)

hackus (159037) | about 2 years ago | (#42385761)

Which I would like to take a moment to say what a wonderful idea in celebration of this year.

To all my Slashdot's which I have written for over the years, mostly in a negative tone, but thanks for the Excellent Karma anyway.

Merry Christmas everyone, may peace be with you, and keep you.

-Hackus

good ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42408451)

hello ! . [downjustforme.com]

Huh (1)

Oxidopamine (2809777) | about a year and a half ago | (#42501813)

Reminds me of the Windows 95 'Cyber Sitcom', featuring Jennifer Aniston and Mathew Perry. I'm not even shitting you. It's right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DqJwmzG6Fk [youtube.com]
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