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Poking that "open source" thing a bit...

I have been looking for a project to put into the "open source" community for the longest time now. Problem: Too "good" projects, I might want to sell eventually and open source is not going to improve the chances on that. Bad projects (i.e. toy projects like my TLS library) are not really showcase stuff.

That leaves: The good old "hello world!" project. Yuck. I want at least *a bit* more substance.

Along comes Christmas 2016... and an idea for a christmas ornament: my character tangled up in the christmas tree lights, like any cat would be! And of course the project is tiny enough yet at least useful in a decorative way to be worthy of an "open source" project with hard- and software aspects even!

I might note that I had the idea long before that current "cat flails under christmas tree" GIF hit telegram...

I kept thinking: "How to get the LEDs blinking?" and - of course - some simple oscillator circuits came to mind. But then I remembered an older DonRosa cartoon where Donald tried to decorate a christmas tree and everything falls apart rather dramatically... with Daisy asking "Why are the lights blinking 'SOS'?" - so I HAD to include that bit! And because of that, the randomness had to be controlled in one way or the other. Hence I went with the Arduino that I had around from waaaay back.

I had some initial problems getting that thing to run (see here for details) but eventually it worked and I got the software up and running yesterday night, just as Karpour finished the drawing. Today, I went out to my workshop and did the hardware to go with it.... brrrrr... I need some form of heating in there if I want to ever work during the winter.

After finishing my own version and taking lots of pictures, I wrote up a "how to" guide and put all the stuff together in a gitbub project: gitbub project page.

It does have some family friendly aspects that might make it interesting to the general (nerd)= public even: It takes some tinkering and soldering for the adult while a kid could do the coloring and jigsaw cutout of the panels. So if you know someone who needs a tiny project to keep the kids busy before Christmas... put the word out!

Hope you like it! I wanted it to be done way earlier but it's still somewhat in time for Christmas 2016... I hope...

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