Monday, December 7, 2015

Battling technology and putting up lights

For the longest time, since the kids have grown up, I always refused to put out outdoor Christmas lights,
Oh Humbug! Waste of time, money, and I'll be the kind of guy who leave them year round... I hate to see that :-)

But this year, I figured, I'll surprised her and try something different... (Insert huge grin here). So got myself a set of fancy LED icicles programmable... Can we say: Ouuuuhhh :-)

Still don't like to go up ladder, my feet and calves always hurt after.  Spend a good time of my life up a tree, a pole, a transmission tower etc. Been involved with Radio-Electronic since a young kid. I was always building all kinds of electronics devices. Built my first video game as a teenager, PONG,  all with TTLs chips, and so forth. Full disclaimer, I have always earned my money doing electronics repairs, since I was a teenager.

My shop in my parent's basement 1973

So you would think that I would be the first in line for the latest techno-crap, but Noooo. Similarly I most enjoy working wood unplugged. Have no intention of bringing one of these new fangled CAD machine in my shop thank you very much...

I hate useless gizmo or dumb interface, and I rather have a button to touch than navigate thru a stupid drop down menu... Prime example, I drive a 2010 Lincoln MKZ.

Love the creature comfort and convenience of having each our programmable car keys, which memorized our seating arrangements, mirrors etc. She is short, I am tall, we don't have to remember our driver's preference, it knows. Yeah it does more, but that is all I care. And dual temperatures. She like it hot, I like it cold. Harmony return to the interior cabin... I like that :-)

Summer 2014, I had some service to be carried out on my car while we were on vacation visiting family and friends in Ottawa.
They loaned me a 2014 MKZ. Hated it with a passion. Barely any buttons inside the cabin, now it is all on the touch screen.  And every times I raised my arm toward the screen, I would, unknowingly brushed up on the touch bar below the screen.  The interior cabin fan would go full speed, blasting cold air. She would say to me: What did you do? I would answer: I don't know, I did not touched anything Tabarnac!! (for my readers around the world, it means $%#@&^)

I also like to travel, even in the summer with the heat on my lower back. Ahhhh, my poor broken back need that.
On mine it is too easy, I can hit the right button a number of times and a LED bar display let me know at a curtsy glance, were it is set at, Hot---Cold. yes it can also blast cold air up the seat :-) I should try a kilt to have the full effect he he.

On this 2014 dumb thing, you have to navigate the various drop down menus to find it then access its setting!  Really! While driving!!?
I had to pulled over the road, grab the book in the glove compartment to figured out how to turn on the stupid thing!!
Ford, really blew it big time on that system powered by Microsoft.

Maybe younger generations can handle it easily while texting and driving (Please stop doing  that), but Lincoln owners tend to be slightly older shall we say...
It's long been the number one complain against these touch screen system in Lincoln and similarly equipped Fords.

2016, they ditched that system and introduced a better one powered by Blackberry, compatible with IOs and Android. You can scheduled you car to remote start via your phone. Hummm, do I really want to trust my car to my phone and SIRI? Lets just say, I'm in no rush to trade up to the newer model, thank you very much... So my local Ford/Lincoln dealer if you read this, stop calling me to trade up my car...

Now that you know where I stand with technology, back to our Christmas lights...
Instead of just putting on one string of idiot lites, I figured I should be hip and try something programmable, for the fun of it.

So I decided that I should act my age, and pretend I know what I'm doing with this outdoor light set which is programmable from my phone (with an APPs)
How hard could it be? Any teenager should know how to set that up. So I just have to act like a teenager (be myself in other words :-) and chill out man, I got everything under control.  Famous last words, like: Heh, hold my beer and watch this!

While I'm up there, I may as well see if the gutter need cleaning, I keep putting off going up to see. Still see some leaves blowing dear, I'll go up as soon as they stop. One of these days I'll install gutter leaf guards...

OK, so they needed cleaned up. Back to our lights, I got 24 ft of them, 24 bulbs in all. Visited AppLights site to get the App on my IPhone, installed it, but my phone doesn't talk to Bluetooth V4...grrr.  OK, it is an older 4S but still, would have to download the latest IOS upgrade I supposed, sigh!
Tried on my newer IPad Air, ah ah, success it work as advertised. And did not had to update my IOS like it want me every time I used it...
If anyone want to tell me I should always update IOS to get the latest protection...screw that, I use Norton! :-)

Plug them in inside to try out the app on my IPad, work like a charm... after I read the instructions (go figure)
I was going to install them above the garage doors, but she rather I put them along the front of the house. OK, so much for a surprise, but that is what she wants, so... Pst I can always upgrade my light show later :-)

Umpteen trip up and down my ladder later, I have my lights up, and sore feet, hamstring and back.
Now comes the fun part, programming a light show we both like.
Well it is for her after all, so she can have what she want....

There are 140 light show sequences programmed into this thing, the season may not be long enough to try them all :-)

What! That's it? Well, no, still got a ''few things'' to put up, but wanna see the effect before I commit more :-)  This APP control 3 different devices, hummmm... all from the couch, beer in hand, IPad in the other, puppy on your lap, yeah, I can get used to that...

Bob, back inside warming up with my little portable fluffy furnace, Rudy the warm puppy.


  1. My wife read this and said that you are twins. That blue label looks to be a bit to far to reach without disturbing him.

  2. I know it was very spooky to see the couch fabric... :-)
    Yeah, but thats ok, its not like he never disturbed me, :-)

    Bob, changing ligth patterns from my couch

  3. Lol. I have to think about Clark Griswold, mounting his light bulbs to his house. And now I imagine he would have that fancy gadget you have. Man - 140 light patterns. How cool is that?
    Changing light patterns from the couch, a beer in the other hand, sounds fantastic.

  4. Hi Stefan
    Yes, the same thoughts ran thru my head he he. But i'll stop way short of Clark...I have an airport across the street,
    would not want to have planes landing in my yard :-)

    Yes, the control from my couch was a good incentive for me... :-)
    Too bad its only bluetooth, if it was wifi i could turn the lights on off from wherever he he

    Bob, the kid at heart

  5. My kids are grown up too, and it's hard for me to get lights up. But, I do try to make it festive. The car in the pictures is beautiful. That's something I would love to drive, but sometimes the technology can be a bit confusing, but it's great when I can figure it out, and that goes with everything!