Christmas lights Web site scam

Man admits Christmas lights Web site scam

I really don't understand this at all.
1) He went to all the trouble of building a site with pictures that made it look like you could control the Christmas lights at his house from the Web with still photos. Even went to the extra detail of adding planes and cars for realism. If he's that dedicated, though, why couldn't he also add a serial port interface to his Web server to control (what appears to be) an X10 setup?
2) Is he really the first person to come up with this idea? I mean, years after the first vending machine Web cam it seems that plenty of other people would have setup similar, real Web-activated Christmas light decorations.
3) Are reporters really that naive? Thankfully somebody finally asked to see how it works. But what about The Wall Street Journal?
4) How did he get not only his wife, but his neighbors as well, in on the scam? This guy must be pretty charismatic.