Status: Real Last year
Alek Komarnitsky thrilled internet surfers with his web-controlled christmas lights. Visitors to his site
could remotely turn the lights on and off, and view their handiwork via a webcam. Millions of people checked out his site. Then Alek confessed to the Wall Street Journal
that the entire thing was a gigantic hoax. His christmas lights weren't controllable via the web. He had simply rigged up some software to make it look that way. Well, Alek's back, and this year he says his christmas lights REALLY ARE controllable via the web. The Washington Post reports
Now Komarnitsky, a computer consultant and self-professed tech geek, wants the world to believe that this Christmas he has turned his hoax into reality. Using his technical skill, he says, he hooked up three webcams that feature live shots of his 26,000 Christmas lights, updated every few seconds. As the clincher, his Web site ( http://www.komar.org/cgi-bin/xmas_webcam ) has buttons that he insists really do allow his Internet visitors to operate the lights.
I, for one, am inclined to believe him. I've been in intermittent contact with him throughout the year after contacting him about using a picture of his xmas lights in my book, and he seems like a nice guy to me. I know that's not a good reason to trust someone, but more importantly, he's also invited reporters to check out the set-up. Plus, he's using the popularity of his site to help raise funds for celiac research.