As you well know, if it exists it can be hacked. And what better way to ring in the holidays than by taking a string of GE Color Effects G-35 lights and -- thanks to some hand-crafted drivers and a Microsoft .NET Micro Framework embedded controller -- turning it into a IM notifier? Of course, these aren't any old Christmas lights: between the ability to change colors and the preset light shows, these guys boast a feature set that Clark Griswold would die for. And that's where a Microsoft employee named Andrej Kyselica comes in: using the Microsoft Lync 2010 Office Communications Server, our man has rigged a system that allows him to assign each of his instant messenger contacts to a particular bulb, which changes color according to each contact's status (for instance, green indicates that someone's available, white means away, and purple means out of the office). Pretty sweet, eh? Check out the video after the break for a closer look.