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Christmas Cheer Toys

Alek's Christmas Lights: Humbug 327

Posted by timothy
from the so-whaddya-do? dept.
g00set writes "Alek's Christmas lights story was previously covered on Slashdot here, however the Denver Channel is now reporting that it was all a hoax: 'The Lafayette man said he accomplished the trickery by taking 12 "base" photographs of the house with lights on and off and then constructed a Web page that appeared to show lights going on and off when the Web visitor clicked.'"
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Alek's Christmas Lights: Humbug

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  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tekiegreg (674773) * <tekieg1-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Monday December 27, 2004 @07:20PM (#11195266) Homepage Journal
    How many times can you piss off the neighbors before the homeowner's association punishes you, coupled with the desire to please your audience?

    Still though, oh the humanity Alek, couldn't you just leave one string of lights internet controlled next year? Wouldn't be too bad...
  • LOL (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Neil Blender (555885) <neilblender@gmail.com> on Monday December 27, 2004 @07:21PM (#11195289)
    With wireless and what not, how fucking hard would this be to fact check?
  • by radd0 (558899) <radman@NOsPaM.acid.org> on Monday December 27, 2004 @07:27PM (#11195332) Homepage Journal
    "I apologize to those people who may be angry with me, but hopefully most will see the humor in the whole situation ... and realize that my attempt to bring joy and a smile to people's faces was successful"

    Personally I wasn't too impressed with the site to begin with, hoax or not. It didn't hold a candle to the likes of the Chaos Computer Club's [www.ccc.de] Blinkenlights [blinkenlights.de] project.
  • by xmas2003 (739875) * on Monday December 27, 2004 @07:47PM (#11195504) Homepage
    Allright guys, be pissed at me, but whatever you do, don't sick the spammers on me! ;-)
  • How can you be mad? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Specks (798579) on Monday December 27, 2004 @07:48PM (#11195512)
    Although it was a hoax. It's a clever one and very harmless. I just can't help but feel amused by this. Nice one Alex. Now I can't remember if he had any banners on the site but he could have made some good cash if he did.
  • Let's show him up (Score:3, Interesting)

    by utlemming (654269) on Monday December 27, 2004 @07:48PM (#11195515) Homepage
    The BSD Daemon in me wants to code up a little project to do what his sight was supposed to do. Sure the neighbors would be annoyed. But something about really doing it and being able to prove it would be a little satisfying. Pride -- yup. Oh well. Maybe we'll see the Christmas Light project on Source Forge soon....
  • Google Ads? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) on Monday December 27, 2004 @07:52PM (#11195540) Homepage
    Alek, how much did you make from the Google Ad placement last year?
  • Easy Fix (Score:3, Interesting)

    by purduephotog (218304) <hirsch@@@inorbit...com> on Monday December 27, 2004 @08:30PM (#11195820) Homepage Journal
    Downloaded 3 images. Found out the fixed noise patterns were the same.

    You'd think that, as a camera would operate, the temperature would change and some of the random noise would be different.

    Sad to say, it wasn't.

    Conclusion: Either he had a very good noise removal algorithm... or he was faking the images.

    Proof: None. Just smile, snicker, and keep loading his pages until his bandwidth exceeds his heating...
  • by xmas2003 (739875) * on Monday December 27, 2004 @08:38PM (#11195874) Homepage
    Read near the bottom my hoax page [komar.org] ... I talk EXACTLY about this situation - good for you to "check it out" ... you'd put 99% of the Press to shame!

    P.S. I really DO have two kids and yes, please do not come knocking on my door - you were quite cool about the whole thing ... and I really DO mean that ... if you believe me! ;-)

  • by coyote-san (38515) on Monday December 27, 2004 @08:49PM (#11195970)
    This is Denver. I live maybe 5 miles away from this guy but I'm sure we occasionally have markedly different weather. (E.g., merely overcast vs. several inches of snow on the ground and more falling.)

    I once left a dark and gloomy Boulder (just NW of Denver) and met somebody in south Denver, about 40 miles away. The sky was mostly clear, just some clouds over the mountains. She was shocked when I commented on the weather.

    Did the weather just clear? Nope, it was still dark and gloomy when I returned 3 hours after I left. Davidson Mesa isn't that high, but it was enough to produce wildly different weather that day.
  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by plover (150551) * on Monday December 27, 2004 @10:23PM (#11196514) Homepage Journal
    We formed an HOA. It turned out that our cul-de-sac was owned by the property developer who built our housing development, and was never turned over to the city as an official street. He went belly up, and then went delinquent on the property taxes.

    Then the snow stopped getting plowed. Nothing like incentive.

    The seven of us homeowners purchased the lot for back taxes, and then we paid for snow plowing, garbage collection, insurance, maintenance and property taxes out of the dues we collect. We were able to strike a multi-family deal with a garbage hauler so that we actually pay less in dues for all of the above services than we did for single family garbage collection! Also, we haven't raised dues once in the 11 years since we formed the association.

    When I wrote the association by-laws, I purposely omitted everything related to exterior appearance or maintenance. Sure, I wish the guy across the street would mow his lawn more often, but BFD. It sure beats having a committee decide on your house color, or painting your house then billing you.

  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Monday December 27, 2004 @10:44PM (#11196616) Homepage Journal
    qualifies as a hack in my book

    In my book, a hack is something you do to tech. Fooling people is a con.
  • by jrockway (229604) * <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Monday December 27, 2004 @11:22PM (#11196756) Homepage Journal
    I read the linked Adsense policy, and there was nothing there stating that you couldn't tell us what you made. Cough it up.

    Oh, I know. If he tells us he'll have to pay taxes to the IRS. Didn't think about that, didya.
  • Re:Alek Comments (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Technician (215283) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @01:48AM (#11197451)
    The epilogue is great. The question arises about how the site being fake wasn't a hoax on the Wall Street Journal.

    It's a hoot.

    One "problem" when I talked to the Wall Street Journal is that Charles Forelle was concerned I was pulling a "double-dupe" - i.e. I claim to the world that there was a webcam, but to them, I said it was fake ... but maybe it really was real, so the WSJ gets eggs on their face - I hadn't thought of that, but WOW, that would be quite the hoax. Good skepticism - we need more of that in the media!
    So then the issue was how can I PROVE to Charles that it really is fake since he is on the East Coast. I suggested he have a trusted person come by the house some night, and (while Charles was on the Internet watching the lights flash on and off), his friend could park in my driveway - not only would the car not be visible on the web, but the lights would not be changing. Charles said he would try "something" but would not tell me (again, good for him!) ... and another thing we did is I enabled the webcam dedicated to his IP address ... during the day! Needless to say, my house looked pretty dark on his computer screen despite it being 1:00 in the afternoon here. And then I did some stupid geek tricks like make tonsa cars drive by, lotsa people, have the garage door go crazy up/down, and have the entire United Airlines fleet show up in the sky over my house. While he got a good laugh out of all of it, I'm sure he independantly did some confirmation - yet another reason why I've been a WSJ subscriber for 20+ years - these guys do good news!


    I hope he puts some of the airplane overload photos on his site. I would also think it would be fun to leave the "webcam" up 24/7.
  • by upsidedown_duck (788782) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @02:37AM (#11197631)
    That being said... Alek, you suck. :)

    I don't see it being nearly as bad as the millions of parents who lie to their children about Santa Claus. We teach our children not to lie in other circumstances, so why is it perfectly okay for parents to lie about Santa and the Easter Bunny? Lying during very significant events in the Christian tradition, no less!

  • Re:Alek Comments (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xmas2003 (739875) * on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @05:46AM (#11198090) Homepage
    Ahhhh ... someone who actually read down to the bottom of the overly lengthy page ... but yea, this really DID become an issue as stated and glad you enjoyed the writeup on it.

    And you better believe I turned on the "Airplane Invasion" option (along with a few other "tricks") and while I turned it off for the night, expect it back on in the morning.

    BTW, I thought the /. crowd would have more of a sense of humor - the FARK guys are hilareous! ;-) [fark.com]

  • by xmas2003 (739875) * on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @03:14PM (#11201383) Homepage
    I enjoyed reading reading through the comments from everyone - you guys were a bit tough on me, but I think that is partially because the referenced link was the Channel-7 one ... and whether you believe me or not (ummmm!), they STILL don't have the story right almost 24 hours later [komar.org] ... and this is also interesting reading [komar.org]

    Interestingly enough, the FARK guys linked my Hoax page [komar.org] which includes a pointer to the WSJ article [wsj.com] and those FARK guys wrote some HILARIOUS comments [fark.com] - so I wonder how many comments above were biased by the original press report?

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan

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