It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas…

It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas… Well not really, unless you are at Costco.
Christmas in AugustThis seems a bit early even for me, but it did get my Christmas light juices flowing again after not thinking about them (well maybe I though about them but haven’t done anything) since I finished packing them all away in April. This week I also got to set my budget for this year and the Light-o-rama summer sale started (Aug 19-29), which is when I usually buy most of my new gear. I had put some thought into what I wanted to do in April but in the words of the Legend David Bowie, “time can change me but I can’t change time”. And time has changed my plans a little since spring. I still want to upgrade the key features on the house to be  RGB but decided that with the LOR summer sale I could afford a little more than I initially planned so I have decided to upgrade my big tree from Multi Colour LEDs to RGBs with a 12V – 16×50 RGB Bulb Package with PixCon16 Controller . 

Doing this I have had to remove some of my planned additions, 2 more 50W floodlights and converting the trunk of my small (burst) tree to Cosmic Colour ribbons. Additionally I am trying to decide how  to convert my Mini trees, I can remove one and have 4 using 2x Cosmic Color Controller II with 2 Strings of 50 Bullet Pixels or buy a Pixie16 Controller – 12 Volt System and 5x 12V Black Square Pixels 50 Count With End Connector bulbs and have the 5 mini trees I had this year, the difference would be about $180 for the extra tree. Having the tree would make it easier to convert my sequences because I  could copy the existing sequences into the RGB field and really match what was already there, dropping to 4 would mean some rework when running end to end runs along the trees. The Pixie 16 would also leave me with 11 available outputs to add more RGB Strings in the future. This is really my only decision left before I place my order.

One final thing that got me going is I discovered this:

How did I not know this existed before? I love rock Christmas songs, adding some 80’s cheese and a metal edge, what could be better? My goal is to sequence the whole album (yes I already bought it on iTunes) and have a Twisted Christmas hour at 9pm every Saturday.

3144808948_71ac388370_zMy initial goal for this year was to complete sequencing the original Now that’s what I call Christmas Album from 1985. This Album was a staple of Christmas from my pre-teen years when it was released right through adulthood, it wasn’t Christmas if this album wasn’t spinning on the turntable.

  1. Band Aid : “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – 3:41
  2. Roy Wood with Wizzard : “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” – 4:42
  3. Slade : “Merry Xmas Everybody” – 3:44
  4. Wham! : “Last Christmas“‘ – 4:28
  5. Elton John : “Step Into Christmas” – 4:33
  6. Mike Oldfield : “In Dulce Jubilo” – 2:51
  7. Gary Glitter : “Another Rock n’ Roll Christmas” – 3:45
  8. Paul McCartney : “Wonderful Christmastime” – 3:49
  9. Shakin’ Stevens : “Blue Christmas” – 2:48
  10. John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band : “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” – 3.36
  11. Greg Lake : “I Believe In Father Christmas” – 3.31
  12. Chris De Burgh : “A Spaceman Came Travelling” – 5:04
  13. Jona Lewie : “Stop The Cavalry” – 2:57
  14. The Beach Boys : “Little Saint Nick” – 2:01
  15. Queen : “Thank God It’s Christmas” – 4:19
  16. Mud : “Lonely This Christmas” – 3:34
  17. Johnny Mathis : “When a Child Is Born (Soleado)” – 3:42
  18. Bing Crosby : “White Christmas” – 3:06

It’s still my goal to get this completed (I already have many of the songs sequenced) but a twisted Christmas has bumped its priority.

The next thing I needed to solve was the machine I use to do my sequencing on had gone kaput and would not power up. This is an issue with some of the older Surface Pros (mine is a Surface Pro 3). I really like using this machine because it is powerful enough to run the sequencer but portable enough I can take it with me (to accompany my work issue Pro 4) when I travel, sit in bed, at the kitchen table or really anywhere I choose. I also really like using the pen for sequencing (LOR Sequencer would be amazing if it were a touch enabled package). The other old laptops I have laying around are a little bulky and weak in the battery to be useful in the same way.  I also thought about using my surface 3 but it is a bit underpowered and has limited storage so would likely be frustrating to work with. I also considered buying a new device;  a surface studio as that would be a great way to work but definitely not portable or the new surface Go, but all this would eat into my budget.  For my SP3 I’d tried every hard boot sequence that was recommended on the support forums. After trying for a couple of weeks I had given up thinking it was dead, but as my Christmas spirit rose I decided I’d give it one last try, looking around the web for other button combos I found one zany thread that recommended freezing the device, yes you read that right putting it in the freezer. There seemed to be lots of people commenting in the thread that this had worked for them. The only thing I could think was it was a big gag where someone had created a bunch of user names to destroy peoples devices, but I this point I had nothing to lose. I put my device in a FoodSaver bag (to keep any condensation from forming inside the device), sucked the air out and sealed it up. In this process the screen actually flickered the surface logo. Eager I tried booting it in the bag to no avail so I threw it in the freezer. 20 mins later I took it out, removed it from the bag and let it sit at room temperature for 15 mins, hit the power button and it fired right up. I cannot say I understand why this works, but it did!

After getting the device fired up I used it for a little bit, let it go to sleep and wake up (this is what happened when it went kaput) a few times and it seemed to be back to its old self. Now I was happy it was stable I thought I’d install the latest LOR Sequencing software and I was happy to see the LOR 5 had come out of the beta version I ran my show on last year to a full RTM production version with a swanky new name “Show Time Designer Pixels”. Now I am all done and ready to rock.

Now all I need to do is decide on what lights I want to buy, update my preview file in LOR and begin sequencing. Maybe it is starting to feel a lot like Christmas.

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