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About PJD

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  • Gender
  • Location
    West Chicago, IL
  • Occupation
    Manage small family business

More About Me

  • Interests
    Background in Mechanical Engineering and then a Masters in Computer Science. Enjoy 'playing' with computers. Also mess around with photography, sing in a classical choir, and read a lot.
  • How I learned about Light-O-Rama -
    I am married to DBeebe who has been using LOR since 2010. We have decided to split up the work - he is handling hardware & I am handling software.
  • Favorite Decorating Holiday?
    Christmas (& a smaller Halloween show)

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  1. The entire Help is available as a PDF or EPUB at http://www1.lightorama.com/sequencing-software-download/ (Scroll down a bit - there is a table with all the versions and formats) I sat down and read the whole thing last summer (for the current version of S5 at that time) and I found it very helpful. It can be a little odd in that it is the same material as the built-in help in the program, so the order of pages is occasionally a little weird for reading straight through, but it isn't difficult to jump around a little as needed. I have kept it on my eReader and often pull it up when I am trying to work my way through something new.
  2. UPDATE: We ended up ending the show early. Planned to go through tonight (Epiphany/3 Kings Day) but the weather was so nice yesterday that we started the tear down and our last night for the full show was Saturday January 4th. I will keep some of the lights coming on each night - mostly static - it is technically a "show" but its just the icicles fading back and forth from all white to multi and back. There are a few lit swags and wreaths as well. I've set the pixels that are still up to just be a single color. We usually keep at least some lights until mid/late January just because it is so dark and sad when we stop. January near Chicago is not particularly pleasant - dark and cold - and the lights just help a little We will probably just take them down bit by bit as the weather cooperates.
  3. I agree that some of the LOR Video Tutorials are helpful. There were also some useful bits in the PDF on Upgrading from S4 to S5. In my opinion, the most important thing you need to understand is the importance of the Preview. I started really using LOR this past year. My husband has been doing the lights on his own for many years, but we decided to split it up and he handles most of the hardware and I handle most of the software. His old sequences are probably from S2 or S3. I debated for a while whether to go with S4 or just to S5, but finally decided to make the plunge. At first, I tried upgrading the old sequences and using that as the starting point for my Preview - finally decided that was causing more problems than it was helping. Started from scratch and setup my Previews (one for Halloween and one for Xmas). They are still being tweeked, but that is OK since all the sequences based on a Preview automatically update when you make those changes. We were a week or so into the Xmas lights season when I decided the pixels had to be pulled back - they were so bright that you couldn't really see the pictures on the pixel trees. Went into my Preview and updated the dimming curve for each prop and that was it, all the sequences in my show (about 12-15 at that time) were updated (and looked MUCH better). Once I had a Preview setup, my basic workflow is to open an old sequence and temporarily use the automatically "upgraded" Preview created for it. I have been naming those so they are easy to find and delete from the list of Previews when I am finished. Then I open a new musical sequence for the same song using my brand new S5 Preview. The 2 tabs are open side by side and easy to go back and forth. From there, it is pretty much just copy/pasting the sequences over. This might be a bigger deal if I had more channels and sequences than I did - but we had less than 20 sequences and most of them only had 48 or fewer regular channels. This was our first year with pixels (2 16x50 trees and a gazebo covered in icicles and snowflakes - about 2800 total) so I didn't have any of that to copy over. I used the same technique using the wonderful shared sequences from JR & James - open their file in its own tab with its own generated preview and copy to my new sequence that used my Preview. I also found a lot of Alan's (default) posts and tutorial videos useful. There are a number here on the forum, but I don't know if there is an easy way to search for them. I've just watched them as came across them and pretty much always learn something new. He also has a Vimeo channel (sometimes linked when he has posted a video to help answer someones questions.) and again, even if they are very specific in answering someone else's question/problem, I always seem to learn something new! (Thanks, Alan!) As Alan mentioned in the post above, you can insert Motion Effects by right clicking on a selection and using "Insert Motion Effect". It is also on the toolbar menu in the "Type" box. However, I think the option may be grayed out if you do not have any "Motion Effect Rows" in your sequencing grid (again, something that is usually setup in the Preview). Lastly, one of the things that helped me the most when I started learning S5 was reading the entire Help documentation. It can be downloaded from the LOR site, so I just put it on my kindle and read it through.
  4. Since the holiday season was shorter this year (I read that this was the shortest possible period between Thanksgiving and Christmas - ie Latest possible Thanksgiving) we are running a little longer this year. We have decided to run thru this coming weekend up to Epiphany (3 Kings Day). If things dry out over the weekend, the inflatables may come down earlier, but the lights will continue. Unless the weather drastically improves, we probably can't take them down right now anyway - usually we just turn them off and then wait for a "warm" (for Chicago)spell to start taking anything down. Sometimes the icicles don't come down from the eves until March! They are about 30' up and I won't let my husband up the big ladder if there is ice/snow on the ground. Often, most of the lights are frozen in place until we get a few warm days in a row. We have once or twice turned on whatever was left for Mardi Gras just for the hell of it since they were still in place LOL.
  5. Just want to jump in and say that the drive letter mapping is an awesome way to handle this. Thanks Jim for the idea. I saw this months ago and couldn't remember who had posted it! I use 3 computers - 1 sequencing computer at home, 1 at work (small family business so I can work on sequences during down time) and the show computer. My "Documents" folder is in a different location on each of them but it doesn't matter. I didn't have L:\ available on 1 PC, so mine are all on O:\. I use OneDrive to move files around between machines and as soon as I copy them to their folders, everything just works.
  6. Not exactly an answer to the original question, but we bought a new show computer this year and decided to go with an HP "ultra slim" desktop. The main logic was that it had a lot of available ports. It has several USB (6 USB2 and 4 USB3) ports and RJ45 (and WiFi) but it doesn't take up much space. We didn't worry about getting the latest/greatest machine since it is intended to be pretty much only for the show. Picked it up as refurbished from Woot last summer and everything has worked great. It came with Win10. The WiFi is setup to connect to our regular home network (and turned off during shows). The RJ45 network is only used for E1.31 and is on a different IP segment. This is our first year with Pixels, so we only have about 2700 so far. My husband is already making plans for more for next year.
  7. Hi James, I would like a copy sent to pdarrah@gmail.com I agree to not sell or share this sequence with anyone. This request will be used for my private, personal use on my show only. I also understand the mere fact of making changes to the borrowed sequence and pasting it in to my sequence does not make it mine to share. Thanks - PJD P.S. Mele Kalikimaka was fantastic - thank you so much!
  8. I would like a copy sent to pdarrah@gmail.com I agree to not sell or share this sequence with anyone. This request will be used for my private, personal use on my show only. I also understand the mere fact of making changes to the borrowed sequence and pasting it in to my sequence does not make it mine to share. Thank you so much for all you do - I am really enjoying all of your sequences
  9. I also agree that no one should try upgrading right now in the midst of the lighting season, but I really like S5 also. I barely used the earlier versions ( I did one sequence in maybe S3?) so I think the learning curve was actually easier. I particularly like the Preview. Creating a preview and then basing my sequences on it works really well. I love that when I need to make a change (husband put up the pixel snowflakes in a different order from what I had expected. We needed to reduce the intensity of the pixel trees, A pair of props got reversed and husband didn't want to climb back under the porch just to switch the plugs, etc.) I make a simple change to the Preview and that change gets reflected to every sequence created using that Preview. About the only other thing that is needed, is that I need to run the show so it will recreate the play files. Thankfully, my 14 sequences (current count, it keeps going up!) only take about 5-7 minutes to process. For those who have a background in programming, it makes me think of the early days of Object Oriented programming. For those who were really used to sequential programming in FORTRAN or COBAL and such, OOP seemed like this horrible confusing mess and there was a lot of push back from long time programmers. The Preview makes me think of this as Object Oriented lighting. My Prop objects in the Preview have properties that define the network they are on, the controller, channel, color, dimming curve, shape and so on. Anything I want to know about a prop is stored there. Sequences use those Prop objects. If I change a property of a Prop, then every sequence that uses that Prop, inherits the change. It is awesome!
  10. Sadly, I don't think warnings like this are likely to stop the problem. It should be common sense to not upgrade something right when it is crunch time and yet people do it all the time. -- Sarcasm on --- Hey, my huge project is due in 3 days - this is a great time to upgrade the OS on my computer! I'm leaving on vacation tomorrow, this would be a great time to update the firmware on my security system! -- Sarcasm off -- I personally, really like S5 - but DECEMBER is not the time to upgrade. Kapkirk - I find the Preview in S5 to be a huge benefit. When I make a change to something in the preview, then every sequence that uses that preview automatically gets that change. I recently found out that using a dimming curve on my pixel trees and reducing the overall intensity would improve how they look. I added a dimming curve to each tree in the preview and then ran a Show on Demand to re-make the show files ad that was it. All 12 of my sequences for this year were now using the dimming curve for the pixel trees. The whole thing took less than 10 minutes. Of course, in a way, I have an advantage in that I never really used the earlier versions. It was mostly my husband's thing in the past. I sequenced one song back on , I think, S3. I think the real difficulty with S5 is for existing users since it seems to be a huge change.
  11. If you already have a Preview made for your setup, it is often easier when you get a sequence from someone else, to open theirs and a new one based on your preview in side by side tabs and then copy the various effects from theirs to yours. Most sequences you get from others don't usually match up all that well to your setup since there isn't really any "normal" or "right" way to setup your lights.
  12. Hi James - I haven't tried a pixel tree face yet, but it sounds interesting. Just saw the movie a couple days ago and thing this might be fun to add to the show. I would like a copy sent to pdarrah@gmail.com I agree to not sell or share this sequence with anyone. This request will be used for my private, personal use on my show only. I also understand the mere fact of making changes to the borrowed sequence and pasting it in to my sequence does not make it mine to share. Thank you - PJD
  13. If you are still sharing this, I would love a copy - pdarrah@gmail.com If you are following JR/James lead: I agree to not sell or share this sequence with anyone. This request will be used for my private, personal use on my show only. I also understand the mere fact of making changes to the borrowed sequence and pasting it in to my sequence does not make it mine to share. Thank you - PJD
  14. Thanks everyone for this thread! I hadn't even thought about dimming the pxels on my tree to make it easier to see (a little counter-intuitive) but after reading this decided to give it a try. I changed the pixel trees in my Preview to the 70% dimming curve and it massively improved them. When I get a chance, I'll probably experiment with other settings, but I am thrilled with how much better they are already. Also - would just like to say that one of the great things about S5 is that I made that one change to my preview, ran a Show on Demand to force the play files to be created, and then all sequences in my show had the change. I've had a few other tweaks I've had to make and it is fantastic just making the change to the Preview and that is it. (Although I ALWAYS export out a backup of my Preview before making any changes. I suspect it could be a nightmare if I managed to corrupt the Preview in some way since that would effect all my sequences as well.)
  15. PJD

    Help where do I start.

    Hi Jessie - I'm afraid I wasn't online last night. In case you haven't worked it out, here are a couple of pictures that might help. When you first run the LOR Control Panel, you should see this Popup box. (Unless you have ticked the box not to see it in the futures - I don't do that as I like to know that it worked) Click OK to clear the box (if you don't, the right-click below won't work) You will now have the LOR light-bulb running down in the system tray on your task bar and the LOR Comm Listener (has a CL icon in the task bar) will be running. Right click on the light-bulb icon to see the LOR menu Although the menu seems a little scary, you don't often use more than half of these options. The ones I've used are: Sequencer (SE) Superstar Sequencer (because I added pixels this year) Hardware Utility (when first setting up the controllers - haven't touched it since) Network Preferences (again, only during initial setup) Show Editor (to put a group of sequences together into a show) Schedule Editor (to setup a schedule for when my show will run) Enable Schedule (to actually use the schedule that was created) Show on Demand to run a show without a schedule (used a lot during testing phase). Disable shows Gracefully - only available when a show is running - will stop the show at the end of the current sequence Disable shows immediately Unload Light-O-Rama - Unloads the Control Panel and Comm Listener
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