Compact Fluorescents and a Selfish Public

I just sat, horrified watching the news about the forthcoming ban on the sale of incandescent light bulbs on Sky News – but not because they are being banned.

Standard light bulbs use horrendous amounts of electricity and throw most of it away as heat. Compact fluorescent lamps on the other hand are much more efficient, giving out very little heat and mostly producing light. They cost less to run and last many times as long. I’ve been using these at home since they first came out and very rarely do I see a broken lamp, something that used to be common-place. I’ve been amazed from time to time watching people go past the lighting section in supermarkets and turning their noses up at the “new” lights – but I’ve never quite seen anything like the acts of selfishness and ignorance on the news today.

In the interview, dealers were giving out plain wrong information, people were talking absolute gibberish about “being controlled by the government and were openely stockpiling the old lights being just the beginning. Part of the problem is that the early compacts were large and gave off a rather cold light – not to mention being expensive. Indeed, inexplicably, a certain DIY store still charges over the odds for these lamps but thankfully the supermarkets are now in on the act even though few staff have any training whatsoever to help customers decide. The newer lamps are the same colour as the old, extremely cheap and in some cases the same size as the lamps they replace. The better ones actually say “warm” colour.

Older filament lamps are COMPLETELY un-necessarily wasting electricity and anyone who cares about the environment can make a quick contribution by getting rid of them. The sooner they are gone the better. For those using halogen lights there are now LED equivalents (sadly still a little expensive) which are almost as bright – and it’s only a matter of time before they are brighter).

As for the brightness of compact fluorescents, I’m currently in Spain and the DIY stores here sell a 50w compact fluorescent that is so bright it almost hurts to look at it.

To those who are stockpiling 100w bulbs to beat the ban – all I can say is this – you are SELFISH!

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Strings and Superstrings

Peter ScargillI’ve always had an interest in this subject… Superstring theory attempts to unify general relativity and quantum mechanics.. and though ridiculed in it’s early days now has sufficient credibility that we’re spending large sums of money on colliders to try to find evidence of the other 6 dimensions (in addition to the existing 3 and time) that the theory requires.

All of this is great stuff but giving the layman an idea of how this all works is not easy and I continually find writers that just can’t help going into technal jargon with the result that ordinary readers are turned off.

Anyway, I stumbled across 3-hours worth of VERY interesting TV (in 3 sections) – if you want to understand more about how possibly everything works – here’s a good start.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/

I watched the videos – then realising they were not quite up to date then read the “conversation with Brian Greene”… then went off here…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introduction_to_M-theory

I would not say I’m entirely happy that science even in the 21st century does not have all the answers – but these guys are doing sterling work. In an earlier blog I linked to a site which attempts to give you some mental image of multiple dimensions – it’s here.. http://www.tenthdimension.com/medialinks.php

Windows 7 RTM on the EEE 904HD

Yesterday morning as the MSDN notification came through, I started the download of the official release of Windows 7, having previously had the BETA on my 094HD laptop. I’m up in the wilds of Andalucia at the moment so it took all day to download!

Once the download was complete, I put the files onto a memory stick and had several attempts to make this stick bootable on the 904 – all without success, so eventually decided to just try the SETUP file.  As expected, UPGRADE was not allowed from the BETA and so I elected to do a new installation.

The installation went without a hitch. When Windows 7 finally came up – the only thing that was not working was the screen driver, so the EE found itself running at 800*600.  Sleep mode seemed to be missing – so I went to START-PROGRAMS and ran the WINDOWS UPDATE. This immediately pulled in the right screen driver and after a couple of resets the screen was fine – and the SLEEP mode was working.

I then installed SKYPE and AVG. Skype went without a hitch including video and audio – but AVG free installer kept failing – eventually I just downloaded the EXE file and ran that – AVG installed no problem.

To do? Well, I need to install Office 2007 and my favourite screen-grabber MWSNAP – and Life Writer so I can continue this with some screen-grabs –  will continue this article as I progress – but first impressions-  it just works – but there’s a long way to go – more later.

The GOM Player

I’ve been a fan of VLC player for years and recommend it to lots of people – and it’s fine – about the only comment I could make is that it’s user interface could do with a little polish (Update: they’ve just released version 1.0 of VLC which can now record video so it’s still worth checking into). It is faster than Media Player and more powerful – and until now there was nothing out there that might make me think twice..  and then along came GOM Player.

GOM Player

Apart from an ad button on the front which doesn’t really get in the way, the editor is the smoothest thing I’ve seen to date – it is fast, clean and efficient – GOM controlsbut powerful like VLC.  On the one hand you have really simple controls… on the other, a simple right-click produces a vast array of fine tuning from snapshot, aspect ratio (again missing in Media Player), pan and scan, there is a graphic equaliser, playlist editor.. and it all just seems to WORK.

More on this one later but for now – it’s worth grabbing the GOM Player just to compare with VLC.