App shines a light on holiday displays

Free iPhone creation featured in national review

Walters
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Lone Tree’s Greg Walters wasn’t upset when a New York Times reporter earlier this month called his holiday lights iPhone app “the Charlie Brown Christmas tree of apps.”

“I thought it was kinda cute,” he said. “The reality of it is, people pick up an app and expect everything to be perfect. A lot of times they’re not.

“A lot of those apps are just written by people like me. It’s really hard for us to keep up with Apple.”

The Christmas and Holiday Lights Display app, which the reporter also called “the sweetest, most Christmasy concept” he’d seen, shows viewers where to find holiday light displays and allows them to download other festively lit sites.

Walters, a hobbyist app creator, said he wrote the holiday program three years and two iPhone operating systems ago.  

“I just haven’t had time to keep up,” he said.

The 20-plus-year Lone Tree resident was inspired to create the app by newspaper listings of holiday light displays, and driving his two now college-aged children to see them.

The free app works anywhere in the United States — including its home turf.

“There are quite a few in Lone Tree,” Walters said. “My house is on there, but I haven’t decorated yet this year.”

But that’s OK; the app also allows people to note the status of a display.

It’s not the only app that Walters, a full-time CenturyLink employee, has created. An avid hiker, he’s launched others to help identify mountain peaks and wildflowers. Another, the Drink Manager, features a variety of cocktail recipes.

“I’ve been writing iPhone apps for six or seven years now when I have spare time,” said Walters.

With a side photography business thrown into the mix, he admits there’s precious little of that.

Technical glitches aside, Walters said the Christmas and Holiday Lights Display app is a decent guide to one of the seasons’ sensory delights.

“Coverage for the Denver metro area is quite good,” he said. “But I really encourage people to add more.”

To access the app, visit the Apple or iTunes app store and search “Christmas and Holiday Light Displays.” The free app should be the first to come up and has Walters’ name right on it.

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