Happy Birthday, James Watt (and JimOnLight)!

WHOA!  No way.  It’s January 19 again, and that means that it is the birthday time celebration for good ol’ James Jim-Jim-Jimmy-Jarooni Watt, the man we have to thank for several different and awesome inventions like the steam engine and the first copy machine.  Yeah, that’s right.  He’s awesome — or at least was while he was alive!


Check out a post I wrote about the Amazing James Watt over here at…  uh… on, uh, JimOnLight!

Also, also, how about a FREE KINDLE BOOK about James Watt, written by Andrew Carnegie?!  Everyone likes free, it’s a proven fact — now tie FREE and LEARNING and you’re on fire!!!

Happy Birthday, Jimmy Watt!

ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS of the Fall Scholarship Contest!

I apologize for the delay folks, I’m fighting some kind of flu bug.

Now, without further dudes:

Ladies and gentlemen, the public has spoken in the Fall Scholarship Contest!  Congratulations to TEAM DULUTH, who takes first place by popular vote.  First runner up is Johanna-Mai Vihalem who is currently in Paris, and the second runner up is Daphne Mir, everyone’s favorite budding LD out of SoCal.  Congratulations to each of you who entered – each one of you is going to receive a 4Wall Entertainment t-shirt and a box of goodies from me.

Winners, I’ll be in touch shortly to get relevant information!

I’d like to take a moment to comment on and add a little surprise to the contest.  I put the donated scholarship funds and my contribution to the pool out to vote by the Community as a whole.  The readership is full of very intelligent and influential people who are all out there shaping and advancing the industries of light – researchers, designers, scientists, laser engineers, LED manufacturers and developers, production technicians, lighting directors, solid-state lighting scientists, opticians, doctors, physicists, and many other professionals read the blog each day.  The reason that is able to do anything for the community is DUE TO the investment of the community into the future of our beloved industries.  I trust the readership to choose.  Far be it for me to take seven light lovers’ videos and make a decision on whose passionate plea for light was better than any other – I got warmth from each and every video.  I am inspired by each and every one of you.  So much, in fact, that I am going to give each of you a post on for your video over the next month.

I want to add one more mention to the contest – after watching all of these videos, I felt like I needed to recognize one video for its production and creativity.  I enjoyed every one of these videos – and I plan on having more of these contests to give back to the lighting industries.  Overall, on a production aspect, I want to recognize Nik Robalino‘s video for being the most well produced.  Nik, please tell your crew that I think they did an excellent job.  I’m working on putting something special together for you and your crew.

Contest participants – I’ll be in touch shortly to get addresses and all of that so I can send you each some good stuff.  Great job to everyone – you should be ridiculously proud!  Thank you to the Community for participating.  More to come!

STUDENTS. I’m Giving Away $500 for Books. You Just Have to Make A Video.

Lighting Students, listen up.

I posted the competition rules a while ago for the contest that I am holding for a FIVE HUNDRED DOLLAR PRIZE for books and supplies (which, hey, kinda rhymes!) and the cutoff time is MIDNIGHT TONIGHT.  So far, we have two entries.  TWO.

Does no one want $500 free dollars for books? I gotta believe that this ain’t true.

The two entries that are currently in the running for $500 for books and supplies – Daphne Mir, whom we all know affectionately as @lekogirl, and Zac Weigand’s video.  Zack and Daphne are both lighting design students.  Check out Daphne‘s first:

and Zack Weigand‘s video:

The original contest video and rules:’s Fall 2010 Student Book Money Contest from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

The Fall 2010 Student Contest RULES:

  1. Make a video telling the world how you feel about the best thing ever – LIGHT!
  2. Upload the video somewhere like Youtube, Vimeo, Viddler, or somewhere else public before September 15, 2010 at midnight CST.
  3. Email Jim with the link to the video:  either jim AT jimonlight DOTCOM or


  • There is no time limit or minimum on your video.  Make it as short or as long as you like.  Just make your case.
  • Please, no naked anything.  It doesn’t help your case, and if you make it public, you better believe people are going to see it.
  • Be nice.  The world would be so much more awesome if everyone was nice and treated each other how they’d love to be treated.
  • Light Associated Media LLC and cannot be held responsible for anything you do that upsets people.  I just want to help a student.  Don’t put me in a situation where I have to make defensive decisions.  By entering the contest with your video you agree not to act like a fool and do stupid things.
  • I make final decisions on who ultimately gets my $500.

What? Ohio Public Utilities Commission and FirstEnergy’s $10.80 Stupidity


Have you ever had a volunteer come to your door with a free compact fluorescent lamp?  When my wife and I lived in Oklahoma City,  a community program volunteer brought a free compact fluorescent lamp to our house for us to have and use in order to save energy.  How nice, right?  We thought so.  A public utility, FirstEnergy in Ohio, set up a program (that was approved by the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, by the way) that distributes compact fluorescent lamps to customers in Ohio.

Cool program, right?  Free fluorescent lamps for all.  Except they’re not free – FirstEnergy will be charging their customers $10.80 each for the lamps, automatically, with no opt-out program.  Hold on a minute – for $10 I can go down to Target, Home Depot, or Lowes’ and buy a half-dozen compact fluorescent lamps.  What’s with this $10.80 per lamp crap?

Last year, the Ohio state government passed a bill saying that utilities had to cut their customers’ usage 22% by the year 2025.  Apparently this is how FirstEnergy is going about reducing energy usage – by charging customers way, way too much for something that people can buy on their own for 1/6 the price.

An article from John Funk at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland states:

FirstEnergy bought Chinese-made bulbs from three distributors including TCP Inc. of Aurora, because it couldn’t find any made in the United States. A California company will deliver 3 million of them door-to-door to Illuminating Co., Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison customers. The rest will be mailed.

Passing out the bulbs is not the way to persuade people to use them, Migden-Ostrander said. The company should have given its customers discount coupons and let them shop for the best deal, she said.

The company’s lawyers resisted that, arguing that FirstEnergy had to begin cutting back power deliveries right away to meet the terms of the new law.

Hmm.  You know what really sucks about this?  If you have seen the letter from FirstEnergy VP of Customer Service John Paganie, it seems like they’re giving these lamps away for free:

We are pleased to provide you with two energy-efficient CFLs. When you install these bulbs in place of two 100-watt incandescent bulbs in your home, you could save about $30 over the life of each bulb.  Here’s how:

Traditional incandescent bulbs cost less to buy than CFLs, but they might only last 750 hours. Your new CFLs should last 10,000 hours, which is 10 times as long. This means you would need to buy more than 13 traditional bulbs to equal the lifespan of one CFL.

Also, your new CFLs will use 75 percent less electricity than a standard 100-watt incandescent bulb, and will produce the same amount of light. When you combine the longer life and decreased energy usage of the CFL, you can see significant, long-term savings for each bulb you replace.

FirstEnergy’s Ohio utility companies — The Illuminating Company, Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison — are providing these light bulbs to residential customers in Ohio.

We’re dedicated to helping our customers reduce the amount of electricity they use while increasing their energy efficiency. These CFLs are just one simple way you can improve energy efficiency in your home. We’ve also enclosed a booklet with more than 100 energy-saving tips.
For additional information, please visit

Thanks, and enjoy your two compact fluorescent light bulbs!

John Paganie
FirstEnergy Vice President of Energy Efficiency and Customer Service

What the hell.  Doesn’t this seem like a bit of a misleading statement?  I think it does, and apparently thousands of Ohioans also thought it did, because the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, who approved the program in the first place, has turned around and said that they have now asked FirstEnergy to postpone the start of the program until someone knows what on Earth it is going to cost, and what exactly is going on.  From the Consumerist website, a pro-consumer news site (I’m sure you know who they are), who posted the response from the PUCO on the FirstEnergy backlash:

“The PUCO has received a large volume of calls and emails in response to the compact fluorescent light bulb program approved last month for FirstEnergy. Today, I received a letter from Gov. Strickland asking that the PUCO postpone the program until such time as we can address several questions raised by the governor, members of the Ohio General Assembly and FirstEnergy customers related to program details and costs.

As a result, I have asked FirstEnergy to postpone deployment of its compact fluorescent light bulb program until the Commission can thoroughly assess the costs associated with this program. The PUCO approved the program following consensus reached during discussions among the company and other organizations including the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Although the PUCO allowed FirstEnergy to implement its program, we did not approve the charge that will appear on monthly bills as a result. Reports in the media place the cost to customers at sixty cents per month for three years, which equates to $21.60 over the life of the program. The PUCO has not approved these additional dollars nor have we received a request by the company to do so.

The PUCO will gather additional information regarding the program and its related costs. Until the PUCO has specific details regarding the program costs, FirstEnergy should not deploy its compact fluorescent light bulb program.”

I’ll be watching for more information on this ridiculance. If you have any more news about the program, please contact me via the contact form and I will get that info published right now.

A record of the legal case for this ridiculance is here – it’s a dry read, but interesting nonetheless. and A “Light Plot Deconstructed” Contest!


Great things happen when people work together!

My good pal iSquint and I are running a contest for two of Greg Hillmar’s book, Light Plot Deconstructed, which retails for $40.  Greg’s book deals with Vectorworks Spotlight, a popular program on the market of CAD software.  Greg has graciously donated two copies of his book, SIGNED, for the contest!

We’re conducting this contest in two parts – iSquint is rocking the first two weeks of October, and I will be rolling the last two weeks of October.  iSquint is holding the first part of the contest from October 1 and ending it on October 18; I will take over on and run it from October 19 and end of October 30.

Entering is just as easy as any other JimOnLight or iSquint contest – for the first half, hop on over to iSquint’s contest page for the Greg Hillmar book and leave your name, email (which is as always private), and a note – notes are awesome!  I’ll post a contest page when it’s my turn.

What are you waiting for?

Anniversary Week on – Thursday Winners!


Two more days of giveaways – who wants free stuff?  This week is all about saying thank you to the JimOnLight community – thank you so much for reading and supporting the effort to share knowledge with our beloved industries of light!

You can of course still enter the contest — just leave a comment at the original anniversary post — I’ve disabled comments on this post.  Remember — all winners are chosen by the cold, unfeeling finger of the Random Number Generator — no favoritism at, everybody rocks!

Just a quick note – if you’ve been listed in any of these posts this week as a winner, don’t worry if I haven’t contacted you yet. I’m waiting until the week is over, and then I am contacting everyone en masse.

Thursday’s Giveaway – Three Zinman 3-packs (iSwitch DMX, GelCalc, and PocketLD)

Winner 1:
Ryan Wilkinson
Winner 2:
Chris Flood
Winner 3:
Andy Helms

New stuff from Wybron, Inc: a Wybron fitted hat and two Wybron blood-alcohol content tester/BMI Supply LED keychain light pairs! (you read that right!)

Wybron fitted hat:
David Stansby
BAC tester/BMI light:
Joshua Williamson
BAC tester/BMI light:
JP Gagnon

One license of Mike Zinman’s ML Finder PRO software for the iPhone/iPod Touch – a great program!

Dan Dansby

Winner of the Rigging Book Contest!

jay o glearum book jimonlight

Sweet!  The winner of the first contest I get to announce from Sweden is Joshua Williamson!  Congratulations, Josh!

Josh’s answer on remembering how to tie a bowline knot:

“The rabbit comes out of the hole, goes around the tree, and back into the hole again.  But I find that theatre folks have easier time remembering: “The drunk comes out of the bar, goes around the corner, and back into the bar again.”

Congratulations Josh, and look for a new contest this week, everybody! Contest: Let’s Rock Facebook!

Several milestones have been met this week – I am thrilled to tell you that has reached over 100,000 readers, and I just finished writing over 1,000 posts on the site.  Every person that reads drives me to write more and more, as I love sharing my knowledge of light with anyone willing to listen!  There is a sink of dishes waiting for me, as a matter of fact, that has been neglected because I’ve been researching articles.  At least it hasn’t started to smell yet!

In light of this milestone, I’m firing up another contest, this time for a copy of Wolf, Parker, and Block’s textbook, Scenic Design and Stage Lighting from Wadsworth.  Mine is the eighth edition, not the ninth, just FYI.  I taught out of a copy of this book for a good handful of years.  It’s a great book, and many people across the country are using it for their classes!

The one I am giving away is new, and retails for about a hundred dollars:


Contest Details

This is a pretty easy contest to enter, like I try to make all contests I conduct.  All you have to do is become a fan of the JimOnLight Facebook Page.  That’s it!  Once I get 100 fans on the page, I am going to have a random drawing for the winner of the book from all of the fans on the page.

Tell your friends on Facebook to fan the page!  As soon as the page reaches a hundred fans, I’ll pick a winner and update this post.  Good luck!  Please pass the word!

Another Round of Stickers

Obviously my copy editor (and Vice President of Beagle Farts) Gracie is considerably thrilled about me sending out more stickers…

gracie jimonlight

Anyone want a sticker?  Just send me your address through the contact form, and I’ll toss one in the mail to you!  I’ll probably send out another batch on Friday of this week, so if you want one, send me your address! All I ask is that you snap a picture of you and the sticker somewhere cool and email it to me!

Templates and Supplies WINNERS!

I am proud to announce the two winners of the templates and templates, and the drafting and rendering supplies!

Joshua Heerssen, ( you’re the templates winner!
Megan Reilly (, you’re the supplies winner!

Plese send me your addresses via email – everything is packed up and waiting to get shipped!

I have a ton more stuff to give away, so if you didn’t win, don’t fret – more chances are coming up!

Thanks for all of the entries!