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How do you run your computer?


FischLights

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I was just wondering how you guys run your computer after Thanksgiving when your show is running?

Do you restart it often or just let it go till after the New Year? Any special settings?

I'll be using my computer for everything I usually do and running my show.

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As a few on here, I have a dedicated show computer. Runs 24/7/365 days a year being that I run my landscaping lights on LOR too. Once in a while, I will reboot.

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cenote wrote:

. Runs 24/7/365 days a year being that I run my landscaping lights on LOR too.

So do you make your landscaping lights run to music and blink.

I leave mine on and reboot every few days.
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friskybri wrote:

So do you make your landscaping lights run to music and blink.

Not yet, but can...

Mostly just confuse the neighbors, change colors of different trees very very very slow threw out the night.
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If you are doing other things on the computer while the show is running, You want to make sure that you turn off any sounds that will be emitted by other programs because they will be heard by anyone watching the show.

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Another thing to keep in mind is windows automatic updates. These can cause your PC to reboot on its own so I make sure to set them up to not load automatically.



Last year I pulled the network plug and let it run free standing most of the time

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Funny someone should ask this question. Last year was my first year. Now things had been running great from the night after thanksgiving. And it was about the 10th of Dec. and my daughter had been abroad studying in England. So we left to go to pick her up at the airport and would be returning to our house after dark. So, we pull up and daughter had not seen the display till now. What a big let down, the music was playing but the lights were like spazola. Well a simple reboot cleared things up and we went back out to the car to watch the show. I might have done one more reboot to be on the safe side before taking the show down for the year. I think this year I will do a reboot every two weeks just be on the safe side. BTW I will also remove the ethernet wire.

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I am dedicating a machine to LOR operation...it was the perfect time to upgrade my wife's computer, and gee, her old machine, well, it's still a solid machine for, um, hmm...a special dedicated use...gee, what could that possibly be??...:). Of course, faster processor, upgraded mobo, and double the RAM from what she had for her, she's ecstatic..

I'm wiping the HD clean and installing an unused copy of XP-pro I have sitting on the shelf...figure I'll do updates when I install, and from there, likely unplug it from the internet. I think it only has 2 GB RAM, so will likely take the plunge and bump it to 4.

With the way I'll have things set up, I'll likely let it run all the time while I have the display out, but after that, mothball the machine in the "off season"..

I like cenote's idea of doing something with landscape lighting...am likely changing all my MR series landscape lights out to LEDs..multiple colors during the season, back to pure white for off-season...but with several palms and a few other types of bushes, could be some cool stuff I could during the non-Christmas time.

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Keep in mind that many older computers will run the shows just fine and if you can dedicate an older unit to just your show it will give you some piece of mind. I recently picked up a used off lease corporate PC at a local mom and pop computer place for $200. This was a Dell 3.0 ghz P4 with 80gb hard drive and 2gb of ram and a legal copy of XP Pro.

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I'm an IT so I always have an extra box laying around. This year is no exception - a new box running Win 7 64 bit with 8 gig of ram - WAY over kill - but hey..

I run a dedicated box, always have - and reboot it at least weekly..

Several things for those who run a dedicated box for LOR - and I am sure i will miss a thing or two but here goes;



  • If your just starting a dedicated machine - start it clean - meaning reload the operating system after totally erasing the hard drive - or better yet install a new clean drive - after installing make sure all the windows updates are done.

  • Remember your anti-virus - get it updated - then change the update and scan schedules to sometime in the middle of the day. My advice during the show period (end of November to New Years) is to unhook it from your network and turn off any and all updates, including Windows updates.

  • I connect a battery backup to my machine, that way if you have a power bump it won't mess up your scheduler and will start on time.

  • Setup your machine so if it does power off for some reason, when the power comes back on it will boot into the OS and your show will start as you have it scheduled.

  • Put the keyboard and mouse in a place that a child or a playful pet won't click on the keyboard or mouse.

  • Many of us play Christmas music over our transmitters during show off hours, if you want to do this Zara Radio is a good choice - one of many - but remember your show is priority.

  • Remember - it's Windows - and a reboot once or twice a week is good for it.

  • ( your other ideas go here )

Enjoy the season and remember to take lots of pictures.

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I've dedicated an old laptop for the shows.
I'm also in IT, in fact, I am one of those mom and pop shops :)

The lor site states you need "Windows 98SE or higher, Windows media player 9 or higher. A purchased copy of LOR software."
That's really minimal for any computer that is still running in the year 2010.

This is my first year with LOR, so I may be off a bit, BUT to avoid the computer worries, I recommend dedicating a computer, and once you are in "show mode" disconnect it from the internet entirely, then disable your antivirus. You will not need antivirus again until you connect it to the internet, and it will free up some system resources.

Also, is there any reason why you guys are not scheduling the computer to reboot itself every week or day for that matter?

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DonFL wrote:

I am dedicating a machine to LOR operation...it was the perfect time to upgrade my wife's computer, and gee, her old machine, well, it's still a solid machine for, um, hmm...a special dedicated use...gee, what could that possibly be??...:). Of course, faster processor, upgraded mobo, and double the RAM from what she had for her, she's ecstatic..

I'm wiping the HD clean and installing an unused copy of XP-pro I have sitting on the shelf...figure I'll do updates when I install, and from there, likely unplug it from the internet. I think it only has 2 GB RAM, so will likely take the plunge and bump it to 4.

With the way I'll have things set up, I'll likely let it run all the time while I have the display out, but after that, mothball the machine in the "off season"..

I like cenote's idea of doing something with landscape lighting...am likely changing all my MR series landscape lights out to LEDs..multiple colors during the season, back to pure white for off-season...but with several palms and a few other types of bushes, could be some cool stuff I could during the non-Christmas time.


4GB of ram will be a waste because windows can only see 3 and besides LOR needs very little to run.
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Papa-LF wrote:

I'm an IT so I always have an extra box laying around. This year is no exception - a new box running Win 7 64 bit with 8 gig of ram - WAY over kill - but hey..

I run a dedicated box, always have - and reboot it at least weekly..

Several things for those who run a dedicated box for LOR - and I am sure i will miss a thing or two but here goes;



  • If your just starting a dedicated machine - start it clean - meaning reload the operating system after totally erasing the hard drive - or better yet install a new clean drive - after installing make sure all the windows updates are done.

  • Remember your anti-virus - get it updated - then change the update and scan schedules to sometime in the middle of the day. My advice during the show period (end of November to New Years) is to unhook it from your network and turn off any and all updates, including Windows updates.

  • I connect a battery backup to my machine, that way if you have a power bump it won't mess up your scheduler and will start on time.

  • Setup your machine so if it does power off for some reason, when the power comes back on it will boot into the OS and your show will start as you have it scheduled.

  • Put the keyboard and mouse in a place that a child or a playful pet won't click on the keyboard or mouse.

  • Many of us play Christmas music over our transmitters during show off hours, if you want to do this Zara Radio is a good choice - one of many - but remember your show is priority.

  • Remember - it's Windows - and a reboot once or twice a week is good for it.

  • ( your other ideas go here )

Enjoy the season and remember to take lots of pictures.




I do all my updates before the start of the season then remove the gateway so there is no internet access and shut down almost everything.

I run a virus scan to make sure it is clean then shut down that as well.
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PaulXmas wrote:

DonFL wrote:
I am dedicating a machine to LOR operation...it was the perfect time to upgrade my wife's computer, and gee, her old machine, well, it's still a solid machine for, um, hmm...a special dedicated use...gee, what could that possibly be??...:). Of course, faster processor, upgraded mobo, and double the RAM from what she had for her, she's ecstatic..

I'm wiping the HD clean and installing an unused copy of XP-pro I have sitting on the shelf...figure I'll do updates when I install, and from there, likely unplug it from the internet. I think it only has 2 GB RAM, so will likely take the plunge and bump it to 4.

With the way I'll have things set up, I'll likely let it run all the time while I have the display out, but after that, mothball the machine in the "off season"..

I like cenote's idea of doing something with landscape lighting...am likely changing all my MR series landscape lights out to LEDs..multiple colors during the season, back to pure white for off-season...but with several palms and a few other types of bushes, could be some cool stuff I could during the non-Christmas time.


4GB of ram will be a waste because windows can only see 3 and besides LOR needs very little to run.


Valid point...I can never remember whether XP 32 bit tops out at 3 or 4...and when i checked this weekend, the mobo in question is limited to 2, so it is a moot point. And agreed, LOR is not a RAM hog by any means.

Call it overkill for now on my other machines, but hopefully with Win 7 and beyond, I'll grow into it..:)
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A 32bit OS can only address and use up to 4GB of RAM. And of that XP will only use 3GB if you use the /3GB switch in the boot.ini. Without the switch applications only get 2GB. The rest is system reserved for the OS itself.

I am running my show from an XP virtual machine. Works slick! I am happy I will not have to build a another dedicated physical machine just for LOR. :)

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I had basic knowledge of the RAM limitations, and some misunderstanding; thanks for clarifying. After doing some google-ing of the "/3 gb" switch, what i read made it clear it's not something I want to mess with.

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No problem. The switch can make a system unstable. Usually it is safe though. The switch simply takes 1GB from the OS and allocates it to applications. I can't imagine needing it for S2 given the light foot print of the application. The switch comes in handy for more memory intensive applications like certain games and photovideo editing suites.

You can go a step futher with the /PAE switch. The /PAE switch allows applications to see up to 64GB of RAM on a 32bit OS. Remember though, the application would need to be written to utilize the extra RAM and the OS itself would still be limited to 4GB.

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