How to Save $11,644.07 On A Designer Fixture?


I ran across this great Instructable that shows in detail how to make one of the ever-so-popular cluster globe chandelier lamps.  These things can be so ridiculously expensive – not that I don’t believe in buying quality, I just don’t have the bones to drop it on a “gourmet” fixture right now.  There’s been so much press on the cluster globe style of fixtures, and I really enjoy the style.

If you’re a fellow “I can make that myself”-er, then you’ll probably enjoy this article.  Check out How to save 11,644.07 on a designer lighting fixture! at Instructables.  Thanks to user edwinston14 for the article!

1.44″ Diskette Lamp

This past Christmas I went to see my dad, and after a few days I found myself rummaging through old boxes of forgotten stuff in my old room.  I found a box full of 1.44″ floppy diskettes, undoubtedly filled with forgotten files, high school projects, pictures, and all manners of stuff that was once important.

A small design firm called Oyo has taken floppies like this and made a full-speed-nerd lamp – which, I must say, I like.  The Floppy Disk Lamp is a pendant-style with a laser cut plexi circle in the middle to hold the disks together in all of their nerd glory.

This lamp makes me wonder if it is after it’s time, or right on time.



Thanks, Eco Gadgets!

Light Writer – Photography Effects for iPhone

Did you ever have one of those persistence of vision (POV) gadgets?  I had one that had 4 LEDs on a stick that moved back and forth very, very fast, and would spell out programmed sentences and images.  I think I won it at a Dave and Buster’s or something like that.  You know, the same concept as these things:


Well, the other day I read a post at Hack N Mod about an iPhone app called Light Writer – it’s a POV device that you can use to do some light painting – I believe that this is the first one I’ve seen that doesn’t used LEDs.  It’s pretty cool!  I took a picture and did some shameless self-promotion:


I think it was a buck, or $0.99.  Here’s a direct iTunes link to the Light Writer app.  Thanks for posting about it, Hack N Mod!

Howard Brandston VS. Sodium Vapor – DEATHMATCH!

Okay, maybe deathmatch is a little bit much, but Howard Brandston, one of the lighting industries superstars (with over 50 years and 2500+ projects)  is certainly not a fan of high pressure sodium light.  I just ran across a New Yorker article about Howard Brandston discussing some sodium vapors (and other stuff) on a walking tour in NYC.  Howard calls HPS “the lamp of least choice.”

It IS ugly.

Check out the article at The New Yorker.  I am pretty sure I got this from Craig over at LightNOW.

Advertiser Shout-Out: Mike Zinman and ZinmanCo

When I have advertisers, I like to give them a shout-out once a month.  This month’s advertiser is Mike Zinman of ZinmanCo – the guy who has brought a lot of great software to the market, starting way, way back with AutoBlock for AutoCAD.

ZinmanCo has produced several very good pieces of iPhone software lately – iSwitch and iSwitch DMX are very fantastic dipswitch calculators, and when you’re sitting in a scissor lift trying to calculate dipswitch addresses on the back of a Cyberlight, are well worth five bucks.  Portfolio, one of Mike’s newest creations, is an iPhone based portfolio that helps you carry your design life on your iPhone.  TCP/IP Remote is a good remote connectivity program.  GelCalc helps you calculate sheet, cut, and size calculations for a ton of fixtures, and PocketLD is a beam calculator, intensity calculator, and desk reference rolled into one.  Mike Zinman’s work is great.  Go check out his line at iTunes!

Mike Zinman and ZinmanCo’s iPhone Offerings on iTunes

Battery-Free Flashlight

Check out these supercapacitors – 220 farads!


Holy crap.  Instructables user mrigsby posted instructions on how to build a battery-free LED flashlight that charges in about three minutes and lasts for 24 hours.  Apparently it’s about 2-3 hours of bright light, and then it drops to “night light” levels.  Whatever, I guess – three minutes to charge!

Check out mrigsby‘s instructable.  Very cool!  This project comes from a book called Haywired: Pointless (Yet Awesome) Projects for the Electronically Inclined by mrigsby himself.  This book is totally on my Amazon wishlist.


Thanks, Make and Instructables!

General Electric – How Are They Really Doing?

One of my favorite aspects of keeping up with the lighting industries is watching the business news, and what information companies voluntarily put out – as well as information they do not voluntarily put out.  Reading as much news and articles about huge companies like Philips and General Electric teaches you to dig down and actually read each article you come across, and not to skim.  Sometimes the whole point of the article is the seven words in the middle.

Such is the case with a lot of the news stories about General Electric.  One week we’re hearing about how they lost their AAA credit rating, and other days we’re hearing about huge investments.  Everything is so up and down lately with everything – one day we’re hearing about how AIG paid out bonuses to some of the same quants that caused all of this crap in the first place, and the next day we’re hearing about how our NEMA Lighting Index just experienced the worst quarter in a decade.  There’s good ol’ musical comedy quality news all over the place!

I get a lot of press releases from about a hundred companies every couple of days; as much as I hate that I do it, I also keep a loose eye on the stock market for a ton of these companies.  It just feels good to know as much information about the industries as I can – you would be amazed at how much news you can get by reading press releases.

I found two different stories about GE today, and they’re both positive bits of news from the company’s standpoint.  GE’s stock traded at $10.41 today, down two cents.  How do you think GE’s investments are going?  Everyone gets freaky at the talk of something like losing their credit rating, but what does it really mean?  It just means that GE might have a little difficulty selling their commercial paper on the market.  I’m certainly no stock analyst, though, that’s for sure.

GE’s two news stories related to investments  – the first was about an investment that was made by GE Capital into Georgia Gulf Corporation – a $175 million accounts receivable securitization agreement.  There are all kinds of details involved in this agreement – but essentially Georgia Gulf Corp needed $175 million for some working capital.  Who knows why the investment was made – Georgia Gulf is a leading manufacturer of chlorovinyls, aromatics, and vinyl-based building products.  They’re experiencing hard times just like everyone else – they needed GE’s $175 million, and they also just got a NYSE warning that they’re experiencing low market capitalization and equity.  Georgia Gulf did, not GE.  From the press release:

NORWALK, CT– March 23, 2009 — GE Capital’s corporate lending business today announced it provided a $175 million accounts receivable securitization facility to Georgia Gulf Corporation, a leading chemicals company. The proceeds will be used for working capital needs.

In this type of structure, GE provides an asset-based loan secured by the company’s accounts receivables.

Georgia Gulf Corporation is a leading, integrated North American manufacturer of two chemical lines, chlorovinyls and aromatics, and manufactures vinyl-based building and home improvement products. These products, marketed under Royal Group brands, include window and door profiles, mouldings, siding, pipe and pipe fittings, and deck, fence and rail products. Georgia Gulf, headquartered in Atlanta, GA, has manufacturing facilities located throughout North America.

“GE worked closely with us to quickly understand our business objectives and structured a facility to meet our needs,” said Greg Thompson, CFO of Georgia Gulf Corporation. “We appreciated their ability to commit to the entire facility amount and close quickly.”

The second bit of news involved an agreement that GE Hitachi Nuclear just entered into with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) to essentially raise India’s nuclear-generated electricity supply from 4.1 GW today to 60 GW by 2032.  From the release:

WILMINGTON, N.C.–23 March 2009– GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) today announced the signing of two agreements with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) as the companies prepare to collaborate on building multiple GEH-designed nuclear reactors to help meet India’s energy production goals.

GEH, a world-leading nuclear technology and services provider, signed separate agreements with Mumbai-based NPCIL, India’s only nuclear utility operating 17 reactors, and New Delhi-based BHEL, the country’s leading manufacturer and supplier of power generation equipment and components.

The two government-owned companies are helping lead India’s efforts to expand electricity generation from nuclear energy in the world’s largest democracy more than tenfold over the next two decades, from 4.1 GW today to 60 GW by 2032.

So, what do you think?  Apparently things can’t be too bad.  What a weird situation to be stuck with at these times, though – you’re General Electric, the economy sucks nails, but you have to keep on truckin’.

Check out GE Hitachi Nuclear‘s website and GE Capital‘s website.

Setting Up Pixellage – Cat West’s Video

One of the people I follow on Twitter – a gal named Cat West – has published a video on using the Echo software to collage across pixelation luminaires (ie, StudioPix and ShowPix).  It’s a good video – please check it out!

Setting up Pixellage from Cat West on Vimeo.

Also, check out Cat’s blog at Console Trainer.  Thanks, Cat!

In-Roadway Warning Lights – Pedestrian Protectors


I have seen several articles lately about in-roadway warning lights, or IRWLs – pedestrian crosswalk lighting systems built into the roadway.  Imagine flashing lights that are activated either by a pedestrian plate in the road, via the ol’ pushbutton manual control, or automatically with infrared beams placed across the entrance to the roadway.  The lighting systems are built into the road surface and also have a diamond warning sign with flashing lights on the side of the road.  These systems can be wired into the city’s grid, or powered primarily by solar collection.  They are of course LED, too.


These systems are apparently succeeding in “traffic calming,” and making drivers more aware to pedestrians in the roadway.  One company I discovered in my research was Global Spec with their Smart Crosswalk Traffic Calming System.  This particular system is a hard-wired system – the company mentions that a hard-wired system is a lot less likely to fail than a wireless system.  Their system also has a specially designed flashing pattern, developed with the University of California’s Berkeley Vision Detection Laboratory to help drivers to process the flashing lights in the part of the brain that senses motion quickly.

There is a video made by StreetFilms about one of these installed systems in Seattle.  I’ll be in Seattle in a few weeks, I’ll make sure to snap some pictures of one of these systems.

Thanks, Streetsblog and Global Spec!