Animated Musical Holiday Lights at TVUG

Posted November 14, 2008 11:57 PM Categories: .NET | Coding4Fun | TVUG | Events | Light Sequencer | Coding4Fun Book | Hardware

image I’ll be presenting a session on building your own holiday musical light show using Phidget boards and .NET at this month’s Tech Valley User Group.  I’ve previously written an article about this topic on the Coding4Fun site, and there will be a full chapter on this in our upcoming “Coding4Fun: 10 .NET Programming Projects for Wiimote, YouTube, World of Warcraft, and More” book.  Here are the session details…

Abstract: This month, learn how to build an animated light show set to music, much like the famous holiday light show videos you may have seen on YouTube.  This session will cover how to build the hardware, how to build the software, and how to combine them to create a synchronized musical show for your home.
When: Tuesday November 18th, 2008 - 6:30-9PM
Where: VersaTrans Solutions, Latham, NY

Hope to see you at the session!

Coding4Fun Book News

Posted September 4, 2008 7:00 PM Categories: Personal | Gaming | .NET | Coding4Fun | Wiimote | XNA | Windows Home Server | Light Sequencer | Coding4Fun Book | Hardware | Visual Studio

Now that we have finished writing the book, we finally have an official title and chapter listing.  Someday we may even have a cover.

The title has morphed into Coding4Fun: 10 .NET Programming Projects for Wiimote, YouTube, World of Warcraft, and More and the final chapter listing (not necessarily in this order) is:

  • Alien Attack: Create a 2D clone of Space Invaders with XNA for the PC, Xbox 360, and Zune
  • LEGO Soldier: Create an action game using Popfly with a custom-built virtual LEGO character
  • World of Warcraft RSS Feed Reader: Use WoW's customizable interface to have feeds pop up while you're gaming
  • InnerTube: Download YouTube videos automatically and convert them to a file format for off-line viewing
  • PeerCast: Stream video files from any PC
  • TwitterVote: Create custom online polls on Twitter
  • WHSMail: Build a website with ASP.NET for Windows Home Server that lets you view the messages stored on a computer with Outlook
  • "Wiimote" Controlled Car: Steer your remote-controlled car by tilting the Wii Remote controller left and right
  • Wiimote Whiteboard: Create an interactive whiteboard using a Wii Remote
  • Holiday Lights: Synchronize your holiday light display with music to create your own light show

We also have an official web site for the book located at  This will be the “go to” place for source code downloads, forum discussions, updates to all projects as we continue to work on them, and everything else you will need to fully enjoy the book.

Get your pre-order in now and save 34% off the list price at Amazon!  Or, buy from O’Reilly with another book and get a 3rd free!

Pure Pwnage & Rock Band

Posted May 7, 2008 1:43 PM Categories: .NET | Light Sequencer

Ever wanted to get a perfect score in Rock Band without really trying?  Mark Single and the folks over at Pure Pwnage wanted to do the same for one of their episodes and wound up using my Light Sequencer from the Animated Holiday Lights Coding4Fun article I wrote to sequence the hardest song in Rock Band, Green Grass and High Tides.  Using the sequencer, a Phidget Interface Kit and some specially modded guitars, they succeeded in getting a 5 star rating at 99% accuracy to achieve the payoff for the sketch.

Check out the original episode, and the "behind the scenes" documentary on how they did it.  Great work, guys!

Animated Musical Holiday Light Show - Version 2.0

Posted December 23, 2007 1:35 PM Categories: .NET | Coding4Fun | Light Sequencer

I finished this a bit later than I wanted to, but a brand new version of my Light Sequencer application and article is now available at Coding4Fun.  You may recall my previous article on creating a musical light show for the holidays.  If not, here's the video showing the output:

New Features for 2.0

  • MIDI support
    • Load a MIDI file and a sequence will be automatically created based on the data contained in the file.  You can automatically create your own show with barely any effort at all!
  • Playlists
    • Load up several sequences and have them play in order to create a multi-song show!
  • More accurate timing
    • The timing algorithm used in the last version was very worked, but it wasn't perfect.  The new version uses a method which gives millisecond precision timing
  • Cut/Copy/Paste
    • One can now cut/copy/paste cells on the grid...makes it easy to repeat chunks of sequences without having to tap out the rhythm by hand over and over again
  • Edit existing sequences
    • After loading a sequence created by someone else (or yourself), you can now re-assign Phidget boards, serial numbers, output ports, etc. to get them to run on your setup.

Note that any sequences created with the old version will continue to play just fine, but editing them could be troublesome due to the new timing method.

Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you.  Hopefully version 3 won't take as long as this one did...

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