It’s a Twitter Christmas for Retail

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ABC World News took a look at the “Twitter Christmas” in this report about how retail companies are using social media resources like Twitter and Facebook to reach out to the public.

I had a chance to speak about our own @Twelpforce in the report, as I answered incoming tweets while on-camera.

Shipping: Another Point for Gift Cards

I came out of the UPS Store today $20 lighter after having shipped out two presents across country for my family. Considering how long it took to wrap the presents and get them ready to ship, along with the cost of boxes, bubble wrap and shipping, I’m very much seeing the allure of simply giving gift cards out to friends and family.

Are gift cards classy, thoughtful gifts? No, yet only having to toss one in an envelope to wrap it up and ship it out is definitely a point in their favor.

Christmas Music Remix

SomaFM.com, one of my favorite streaming Internet radio sites, now has a new channel available called “Christmas Lounge“.

They describe the channel as “Chilled holiday grooves and classic winter lounge tracks. (Kid and Parent safe!)” and so far it’s been an interesting mix of remixed Christmas music with a dance and electronic feel, interspersed with old holiday music that I haven’t come across being played on the regular radio stations.

Making Your Own Holiday Light Show

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If you remember the videos a few years back of elaborate Christmas light shows synced to music, you may have wondered how you could do something similar for your own holiday decorations.

In the process of planning my own Halloween decorations, I discovered that there’s an entire industry that has sprung up around helping make displays like that possible for anyone, with the only limit being the time and money you want to invest.

Now, instead of hand-built electronics, you can buy unassembled light controller component kits from companies such as Light-O-Rama or D-Light Designs. Prices for 16-channel kits range from $120 and up, with pre-assembled kits being as cheap as $200.

To create your computerized light show, you’ll need sequencer software. The program I used for my own Halloween light show is called Aurora, available for purchase for $100, though there are a wide range of programs at different price points, including some free, no-frills command-line programs.

If you don’t have the time to create a light show and sync it to music, you can even find pre-programmed sequences from companies such as WowLights Productions, along with a number of other light show product packages.

Having assembled the pieces for my Halloween light show, I can say that it’s definitely not a cheap holiday project, but I can say that the sense of satisfaction when the lights come alive and dance to the music I’ve synced them to makes it worth every dollar I’ve spent.