The first strand came from Adafruit, yay!  There was a significant kerfluffle with UPS who lost the package, then found it, came to my office but at the last second decided that their tracking system wouldn’t let us have it, then wandered back to their warehouse in Menlo Park. Sheesh, what a PITA. Interesting, though, that on the brink of Facebook’s IPO, the (not so mean) streets of Menlo Park E of 101 seem to have more Maseratis and McLarens than is Right. They expect great things over at Sun Quentin apparently.

Still in baby steps as I figure out how to solder stuff to make connectors. I did a crude hack, got leads from the Arduino into the breadboard and thence to the strand. Blinkies were achieved!

Adafruit publishes a library for addressing the WS2801 strands, but it’s a little slow and cumbersome. Fast_SPI is a little hairier to hack, but clearly the Right Way to do it.

Some hacking was required. The Fast_SPI library isn’t very well maintained, and there were growing pains as Aduino launched v1.0. Finally I was able to get it working using mods found in the google.code’s issues thread.  Thanks, ashley.r!

The video below shows my strand running the Fast_SPI example code. This is a highly satisfying result.