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Everything posted by Speedster

  1. Ours is a 48-channel setup. I don't consider it a monster display (especially when compared to the much bigger displays by members of this forum). but we definitely have the most lights on our block, and I'm not aware of anyone else in our small town who is also doing a synchronized light & sound show. I usually start around the first week of November with the intention of being done the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Turkey Day is our official first light-up night for the Christmas season. Last year it took me about 48 hrs to set up everything, but that included about 24 hrs of time required to make several new props. So if I put on the same show this year and don't make/add anything new it will take me about 24 hrs to set up all the lights & props and hook them up to the controllers.
  2. Still lots of stuff available in case you change your mind! I passed too, even tho I originally planned on getting another CTB16PCg3-ReadyToGo and a pair of ELLs. Had some unexpected medical expenses and unfortunately didn't have enough $ left. Plus there's a 50/50 chance I may decide to go dark this year. But we'll see how I feel about that when the summer sale comes around.
  3. Wow, that's an awesome new setup you got there! I bet you love the speed of the new computer and the size of the new monitors. Did you have to buy a new desk too? About a month ago I bought an HP Pavilion Gaming 690-0034 desktop on sale for $699. I would have preferred an Intel Core i7 processor, but so far no complaints about the AMD Ryzen 7- 2700 processor. I'm currently doing lots of research on multiple products and have 90 internet browser sessions open between Chrome and Firefox, and even with that many browser sessions open there is absolutely no delay or lag. My old i3 desktop would choke if I had more than 8 browser sessions open. Here's a CPU benchmark comparison of our processors which shows your i7 having a slight edge over my Ryzen 7. https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/Intel-i7-8700-vs-AMD-Ryzen-7-2700/3099vs3240 I can't wait to start doing some video editing on my new computer. I bet you're really enjoying your new HP too!
  4. I can't wait to do yard work because that means I'm not snow blowing or shoveling snow anymore.
  5. I did see some of those bad reviews mentioning Win 10, but I'm not worried because I have several desktops and laptops that are still running Win 7. One of the Win 7 desktops has an Intel Core i7 processor with 24 GB of RAM, and a few others meet the minimum requirements for that Elgato device & software. I purposely didn't upgrade all of our computers to Win 10 because of situations like this where software works fine on some older versions of Windows, but crashes and burns on Win 10. So if I decide to get that Elgato device, I'll probably do the video transfers on the Win 7 i7 desktop, save the video files to a 10 GB external hard drive, and do the video editing on my new super-fast HP desktop that has an AMD Ryzen 7 processor. We never have a shortage of usable computers in our house because I work in IT, and I always have multiple desktops and laptops, and can always do a clean installation of Win 7 or Win 10 on any of the computers in our house. If I get nostalgic, I can even install Win XP lol! (One of my Microsoft certifications is for Windows XP, but for obvious reasons I don't list that on my resume anymore!) Working on computers is a fun hobby, but after a while you end with up so many desktops, laptops, keyboards, mice, hard drives, DVD drives, video cards, cords, cables, & RAM sticks all over the place (I call it my "computer clutter"). So every few years I have to put an ad on Craigslist to get rid of older computers & hardware. It's amazing how many people want to come and pick up old computers & components, even if they don't work anymore.
  6. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I can already convert VHS to DVD using a unit that's a DVD and VHS recorder/player. I have 2 working units hooked up to 2 TVs and have used them to successfully create DVDs from VHS and VHS-C tapes in the past. But since I want everything in PC file format anyway, I'd rather "eliminate the middle man" and just go directly from VHS to PC video file, and save the time that it takes to rip/convert DVD to pc. I'm now looking into devices like this that connect to my VHS player (or camcorder) and allow direct transfer/conversion to pc video file. https://www.amazon.com/Elgato-Video-Capture-Digitise-iPad/dp/B0029U2YSA/ref=sr_1_10?keywords=vhs+to+pc+file&qid=1550307900&s=gateway&sr=8-10 I know it'll be a lot of work and take a lot of time, but these days I have more time than money. So paying a service to do the transfer/conversion is out of the question. I'll do a little more research before buying anything, but the reviews & ratings are very good on the device in the link above, so very good chance that I'll end up buying it.
  7. I've got about 25 yrs worth of family videos on VHS and VHS-C (mini VHS) tapes that I want to transfer to my computer in pc video file format. Any recommendations for hardware and software that work well for doing this? I can already transfer the video from tape to DVD, but I'd rather convert directly to pc files since I'd want to do some video editing and upload some of the videos to youtube. Plus they'd be easier to copy to flash drives and external hard drives for other family members.
  8. The left side of our display has 2 blow mold candles and blow mold Santa and Mrs. Claus. The candles have a solid bottom so I filled them with sand and also attached them to tall garden stakes with fishing line (rebar would've worked too). The bases of Santa & Mrs. Claus have cut-out holes so I inserted 3 big/heavy landscaping bricks into the bases to weigh them down. The bigger blow molds in our Nativity scene also have parts of the bases cut out, so I also used landscaping bricks to hold them down. For the 3 animals to the left of the shepherd, and the camel (furthest to the right, hard to see in the video), I have them screwed into boards that are held in place with landscaping hooks that are pushed into holes drilled at the end of each board. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJj9MhZumuw
  9. I too would like to thank LOR and this great lighting community for all the help, advice, and sharing of sequences and information. Our house & yard have gone from dull & boring to fun & blinky-flashy thanks to you.
  10. I actually have a smaller Milwaukee drill/driver that I was using as a cordless screwdriver. it was the older version of this one: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Milwaukee-M12-12-Volt-Lithium-Ion-Cordless-3-8-in-Drill-Driver-Kit-with-Two-1-5-Ah-Batteries-Charger-and-Tool-Bag-2407-22/204300706 But the batteries ran out of juice too fast and one of the batteries died after less than a year, so that's why I ended up using my Milwaukee cordless drill/drivers as cordless screwdrivers. Because I actually worked for Milwaukee Tool for almost 10 yrs, I bought a lot of new & reconditioned tools with my employee discount and I have 6 cordless drills. I used the more powerful 18V & 28V lithium ion drills for drilling holes, and my smaller/lighter 14.4 cordless drill/drivers to drive in the screws. Cordless screwdrivers are definitely lighter & more convenient, but I prefer using drill/drivers because they have more torque and the batteries don't run out of power as fast.
  11. LOL! As usual, a thread turns into a discussion about something else! 😀 Aches, pains, injuries, illnesses.... if we keep going like this we're gonna need an ER or an Urgent Care Center here on the LOR forums! Thanks Orville, I appreciate it! I'll send some prayers in your direction since it seems you could use some help too. Hopefully spring and warmer weather comes early for us this year.
  12. YIKES!!! I feel your pain...sort of. I slipped and fell hard on our icy parking lot at work on Jan 15 and landed hard on the upper left side of my back. X-rays were negative, but the doctor said fractured ribs are sometimes very hard to see on X-rays. So I was diagnosed with a "rib contusion". It still hurts to cough or sneeze, and I can feel something "clicking" when I push on the left side of my rib cage. And when I move a certain way I feel something "grinding" on the lower left of the front of my rib cage. So there must be a broken rib and/or torn ligament or cartilage somewhere. Going back to have new X-rays taken to see if something was missed. Hopefully you're not in too much pain, I can't even imagine having to do a full tear down with any kind of injury, so I'm glad I already did it 3 weeks ago when it was 40 degrees (it was 15 below zero this morning). Instead of using screwdrivers for long screws, use a drill with the appropriate head (a star head for most deck screws) attached to it instead of a drill bit. Set it to reverse rotation to unscrew the deck screws. Just make sure the drill has a "driver" setting because that's what you need to basically use the drill as a cordless screwdriver. (Make sure you don't set the torque too high when driving in screws because you'll break the heads off...been there, done that.) Always wear safety glasses when using a drill for this purpose, or any power tool. Because of working on computers since 1988, I have carpal tunnel syndrome in my right wrist and there's no way I'd be able to screw in or unscrew as many big long screws as you have to. Using drills instead of screwdrivers to screw/unscrew long screws is a wrist-saver and a time-saver. Hope you've fully recovered from your pneumonia & flu. I wouldn't be able to tear down until I was fully recovered because it's too cold here in January to be outdoors for several hours if you're still recovering from being that ill.
  13. Surprisingly I was able to complete the tear down in just over 7 hrs on Saturday, the day I posted this topic. Our next door neighbor saw me taking down some lights and said something like "Oh no! You're taking down your beautiful lights." Made me feel good to hear that. But made me feel bad at the same time too. It was tempting to leave them up for another full week, but it was 40 degrees on Saturday, which is unseasonably warm for WI in January, and I felt that I had to take advantage of the good weather and complete the tear down. Now I can start planning what to add for this year's Christmas display.
  14. That was absolutely INCREDIBLE! Such a shame that this was your last show, I'm sure your neighbors and everyone who came to see the show will really miss it. But I can understand how this gets harder and harder to do as we get older. I'm 54, and because the cold Wisconsin weather affects my joints & muscles much more than it did when I was younger, I won't be surprised if I end up calling it quits by the time I turn 60. I just can't handle the cold weather anymore. This year it took me over 45 hours to make some new props and set everything up outside, and the temperature was only in the low 30s most days. I was exhausted & frozen when I was done, and thought to myself "Why do I keep doing this? I don't want to do this anymore, next year I'm going to go dark forever". I'm sure I won't go dark forever next year, but some year I'll say that and it'll actually be the truth. Enjoy your well-deserved lighting retirement, your show will be missed by many.
  15. Since it's the 1st weekend in January, as usual I'll start tearing down our outdoor Christmas light display in about 10 minutes. Since I started this hobby 4 yrs ago, this day has always made everyone in the family feel sad, as the lights have brought so much joy & happiness during the holiday season, and we hate to see them go. And since we only light up during Christmas, we'll have to wait until Thanksgiving night to see our lights again. My family felt so sad after I took down the outside lights after the 2nd year, so I decided to "compromise" and told them we could wait until after Valentine's Day to take down our Christmas tree and indoor lights. But then after taking down the tree in Feb that year (2017), they wanted to leave the rest of the living room indoor lights up a little longer. Well, "a little longer" turned out to be much longer than I thought, and our indoor Christmas lights have stayed up ever since then. In our living room we have Christmas lights around the big picture window, small window, door frame, a fake tree, and fake plant. They can't be seen from the outside, but we can see them inside, and that's all that matters. It may seem weird to some people to turn on indoor Christmas lights every month of the year, but "weird" has become our "normal" lol. So even though our house & yard will be back to looking dull, boring, & sad by the end of this weekend, at least we can still enjoy some lights inside our house 24/7/365.
  16. What devices did you two try watching it on? Tablet? Cellphone? I just watched it on my desktop pc without any problems. EXCELLENT work as usual John!
  17. Very funny & really clever! Weird Al Yankovic would be proud!
  18. No problem, looks like they extended the sale until Jan 7. But I'll probably have to wait to buy it because I've been having problems with my computer for quite a while, so I won't buy anything until I get a new computer.
  19. I've heard of them, but don't know much about them. That company came up in a search when I was looking for the best deal on SPT1 wire and vampire plugs. They didn't have any, but I took a look at their other offerings. Cool stuff for sure, but I wasn't in the market for any of their other products at the time.
  20. Happy New Year, hope everyone has a happy & healthy 2019!
  21. Glad you had a successful lighting season. Always a good feeling when starting out the new year. I also had a good experience this Christmas season with everything working perfectly and no issues whatsoever for the first time. I don't plan on tearing down until next weekend, so even if I experience a little glitch at this point, I'll still consider this year to be the most successful ever. My biggest fear was that one or more of the new 60 SPT1 extension cords I made (about 950 total feet) would fail, but no problems at all. I also feared that I'd experience the GFCI breaker trips that happened last year during a light rain, but thanks to everyone's advice last year I was able to avoid that issue this year. I also had several of my coworkers stop by from out of town to watch the show with their families, and one of them lives about 60 miles away but was excited about the videos I posted, so she and her family actually made an effort to drive down to see the show in person. To cut down on excess traffic, I don't use a "Tune To" sign, and I've only told some neighbors which radio frequency I'm transmitting on, so it was nice to have my out of town coworkers check out the show. Thinking of adding 1 or 2 candy cane spinners next year, and maybe a mega tree. If I don't add a mega tree, I might add a Marty fan instead. I'll probably buy another CTB16PC controller or two during the LOR spring sale, and possibly a pair of ELLs. After I get a new computer I'll finally try sequencing a song from scratch for the very first time.
  22. Which version did you end up buying? I'm using a watered-down free version that came with some computer hardware that I bought a few yrs ago. I'm thinking of upgrading to the Ultra version for $69.99 (regular price is $99.99 and the sale price ends today).
  23. That's exactly what I started out with last year...TSO ShowTime Central with 2 controllers. I ended up getting a 3rd controller. You will need another Cat 5 cable to connect the 2 controllers to each other. Basically whenever you decide to add another controller, you'll need another Cat 5 cable. (You also have the option of going wireless with ELLs to avoid long cable runs). You might also want to consider buying the 12V wall transformer for the MiniDirector. That way you can plug it into a timer to start and end the show at specific times. That also allows you to keep all the light controllers plugged in and powered without having to worry about them supplying power to the MiniDirector (which would keep the show running constantly).
  24. As I mentioned earlier I added 3 eight-channel firesticks to the front corners of our house and 2 eight-channel leaping arches. My camera doesn't take very good video but here's 1 of the 28 songs in this year's show: One of my coworkers said the firesticks reminded him of the light sabres from Star Wars!
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