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Christmas Cheer

Submission + - NOT another silly "blink my xmas lights" w (whittaker.ca)

Clark Griswald writes: "Ok, so we've got our Christmas Lights hooked up to the 'net from a website for public control. Been done before so it's cool but no big deal, right? There's something different about this one. Our system operates as a NETWORK and has been designed to allow anyone (ie. you, friends and family) to join their home into our pattern and sequences, in synch and in real time anywhere around the world. How is this possible?

Because our system (hardware/software) is designed from the ground up to be networked, it's possible to add any home, hopefully even YOUR home to our network, and you can be in real-time synch with our lights anywhere in the world. We have a small Java program that runs with an Internet Network Time synch protocol that keeps everything running to the nearest 10 to 30 milliseconds.

The switching speeds are very fast, approaching 10 MS with relatively complex patterns. Space aliens will be alerted to our synchronized flashing lights from a variety of places from around the world! Perhaps it's best to just try and draw the attention of Santa for the kids until we get all the kinks worked out of the system. Here's the system working in synch on the first node of 4 combined homes in our network. Take a look and judge for yourself....WebSite Video FAQ"

Handhelds

Submission + - Do Blackberry devices ruin your social life (idg.com.au)

StonyandCher writes: Finally staff have realised that Blackberry devices can strip away a balance between your work and social spheres, and have expressed fears about these devices taking over their lives. An Australian federal government department stalled the distribution of a new fleet of BlackBerries following fears the devices would have a negative impact on the work/life balance of staff. Staff expressed fears about BlackBerries contributing to a longer working day and felt it was going a step too far because mobile phones are adequate for out-of-office contact. The Blackberries were purchased for the Minister for Environment, Water, Heritage and Arts, Peter Garrett, as well as 40 other executives including senior departmental staff. However, access to the new devices was delayed after concerns were expressed about the BlackBerries infringing on the work/life balance of staff. According to a source within the department, who requested anonymity, there are a number of government decision-makers that believe executive staff should rarely be contacted after-hours and if necessary can be contacted by mobile phone.

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