The Humble Light Bulb, the Compact Fluorescent the myth of the long-lasting white LED

I’m one of those retentive types that ensures they have low energy lightbulbs all over the house, purely and simply because having a background in electronics I’m very much aware of just how grossly inefficient incandescent (standard) light bulbs are. We generate all that CO2 and heat in order to produce more electricity – to pipe it into your homes – to power bulbs that, by and large, just generate more heat. The amount of actual light compared to heat is tiny.

So it was with great delight when B&Q first started selling low energy compact fluorescents that I bought a couple to try – but due to the absolute rip-off price at the time – I waited until IKEA started selling the 11w versions at about £1.99 before completely kitting the house out. They’re now down to something like £1.00 but even then there are those diehards who aren’t too good at math who say “why would I want to spend £1.50 on a bulb when ordinary ones are less than 30p.

Well, that argument just went straight out of the window folks – I was at Morrisons a couple of weeks ago (this is a UK-based blog for anyone reading outside of the UK – sorry – but I’m sure the USA will have similar bargains) – and I was blown away. They’re selling packs of TWO of these bulbs – for 49p.

Yes, that’s less than 25 pence for an electronic low-current bulb. Needless to say – I bought a few. Even in Spain where they are generally WAY more expensive (we’re talking 6 euros or more) I spotted at Carrefour twin-packs of 20w lamps for a couple of euros which isn’t at all bad. Hopefully now we can see those horrible old filament lamps resigned to history – where they belong. Until the LED housing manufacturers decide to look past the end of their incredibly greedy noses – CFLs it is! (White LED lights themselves are typically under 20p for decent bright diodes – but somehow once 3 or more of them end up in a light fitting – the price seems to go up by many, many times – that will change eventually. There is a building in London near Victoria who’s entire front lighting is in multi-colour LEDS – it is incredibly bright – so it’s only a matter of time before we’re all using them.

Beware however – not ALL modern lamps are a god-send. Current white LED technology simply does not last no matter WHAT the claims are.  Resellers blindly repeat the general claim of LEDS lasting countless thousands of hours – but WHITE leds are not ordinary leds. Make sure you keep the receipt!

Scargills new toys – Bricopack Vista Inspirat and Launchy


I’m running XP mainly because I’m waiting for SP1 before moving along – right now I find Vista a little slow for my liking – but I DO like the visuals. So here are a few toys to make your old XP box zip along.

Shell Packs BricoPack Vista Inspirat Ultimate 2 dlbFirstly,  Bricopack Vista Inspirat Ultimate 2 – good grief I hear you say… that’s a name and a half – well it is but it converts your tired old XL machine with new visuals, new sounds and a new start bar – and it’s free. I’ve put this on 2 machines now – no adverse affects and your PC looks just like Vista.

The only thing about BVIU2 is that the start bar isn’t that clever.  I’ve been running a little program called LAUNCHY for some time now, hit a couple of keys and a little window pops up – you type in the first couple of letters of any program on your computer (for which you have a shortcut) and it offers it as an option. Invaluable and WAY better than hunting around with a mouse. Oh, and one more….   get the flashy task flipper so beloved in Vista. It isn’t obvious but instead of using ALT-TAB  you use WINDOWSKEY-TAB (to the left of ALT) and instead of the normal boring icons you get exactly what Vista users get.  Great fun!