Rumor mill rumors

Half fact, half rumor and half wild speculation.

Friday night we cranked up the satellite dish and caught the opening episode for Gold Rush on the Discovery channel. Vast landscapes of pristine snow. All us elves got a bit misty eyed because it so looked like home here at the North Pole. Unfortunately, Santa hasn’t let us outside for over a month because toy demands are through the roof this year. We’re not complaining, at least not too much. Busy elves are elves staying out of trouble. The more toys we build means the more smiles there will be on faces come Christmas day.

Remember Big Mouth Billy Bass of years ago? Looked like a plaque with a stuffed fish. Walk by and it would start singing while the head and tail moved. Cute the first time you saw it but it sure got old in a hurry (like some of Santa’s puns). Seems an inflatable version of Big Mouth Billy Bass is back for 2015. Over six feet wide and perfect for mounting above the fireplace, as long as it’s outside. Can someone stop the talking fish insanity???

I’ve heard some stranger-than-usual rumblings coming from Animated Lighting. One of the original founders has started a new company and hired away one of ALs lead engineers. The company is called something like Jolt Lighting and they’re getting really serious about RGB lighting. Now that I think about it, can anyone name a company that isn’t? Pretty sure I saw some light bulbs you can control with a smart phone at the Jiffy Mart.

We’re hearing from lots of over-the-top decorators deciding to jump into the deep waters of smart pixels this year and realizing they should have worn some sort of flotation device. Even though everything is low voltage you now have to worry about power injection, wire size and cable lengths. Reminds me of the incandescent days when yards were covered in orange extension cords to handle the heavy power needs. Then there’s the challenge of moving around a lot of data to make all those pixels dance to dazzle the crowds. Mumble-jumble geek words like multicasting and subnets are a bit too commonly used. Then there’s the data refresh rate of a WS2801 versus a WS2812B smart pixel. Good gosh I’m really missing a good old C7 incandescent bulb that just worked when you plugged it in the wall outlet.

Saw my first rainbow colored artificial Christmas tree on-line recently. I remember how radical it was in the 60’s with aluminum trees and color wheels. Over the last few years artificial trees started to look more real than real Christmas trees. Then came the pink and black trees. But rainbow colored? Is this some sort of political statement or have the tree designers tried one-too-many mind altering drugs? Let’s start a new tradition for 2015: real Christmas trees in the living room.

Christmas is on the horizon again. Be a little different this year. Share that Christmas spirit with others. As Andy Williams likes to croon: It’s the most wonderful time of the year!


This article was included in the November 2015 issue of PlanetChristmas Magazine.

By Master Elf N. B. Scuttlebutt

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