from the christmas-cheer-topic-not-entirely-appropriate dept.
Fiver-rah writes "There's USB Christmas trees; lame acrylic things with LED lights that are powered by your computer. It's an amusing idea, but it doesn't really take advantage of being attached to a computer. Enter the USB Menorah. It can correctly calculate the dates of Hannukah for at least the next few thousand years (or any historical date back to 2 B.C.E.). As well as 'lighting' the candles based on when the sunsets (I set the default geography for San Francisco/Berkeley, but you can enter any latitude/longitude and (assuming you don't live too close to the arctic
circle) it will be correct to within a few minutes. Furthermore, the shamas (candle you use to light the other candles) can blink out any morse-code message you want--it'll convert the words to morse code for you! And you can even put it into Kwanzaa mode! Each candle can take three different colors (Red, Green & Yellow),
allowing you to do some animation. Software is a GPL command line program for Mac OS X. Basically only the USB communication stuff needs to be ported for other OS's. Delcom
(the manufacturer of the USB interface chip) supplies drivers for
Windows, and a few people have written Linux drivers, so it wouldn't be
too hard for a motivated individual."
That's the thing about people who think they hate computers. What they
really hate is lousy programmers.
- Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle in "Oath of Fealty"