Flourescent lights

Jaimie and I have been pushing to reduce the impact of our living on the environment. Recycling was an obvious first choice. Just by being careful about what we throw out, we’ve been able to reduce our trash significantly. Our recycled papers and plastics have taken a lot of the mass out of our weekly trash.

The second largest change we could make was to swap out our normal light bulbs for flourescent ones. These have several advantages, use a fraction of the electricity and last much longer. However, they have downsides as well. The color is different, a much starker white. It’s a bit weird to get used to at first, but not the end of the world. Another problem though is that they take a while to warm up. The bulbs will start out dim and come to full brightness after about 60 seconds. This can be a problem in areas like a bathroom, where you enter and leave fairly quickly, not giving the bulbs a chance to warm up.

I’d really like to be able to stay with the new light bulbs, but to offeset the negatives I’ve found that mixing the flourescent bulbs in a 2-1 ratio with standard bulbs works very well. This balances the color out to a more standard feel and adjusts the brightness so that there’s light immediately.

Otherwise I’ve very happy with the new bulbs. There’s no flicker or any other downsides of flourescent light bulbs.

Weird things coming home from vacation

Jaimie and I prefer to vacation in Hawaii, it’s beautiful, it’s easy, and it’s not too much work. However, the last two times we’ve gone, the only two since we’ve been in the new house, we’ve come home to some strange things. The first time we came home from a week trip and all of the smoke detectors we’re going off. Apparently they had been for the entire afternoon. There’s nothing in the world that will get your adrenaline pumping like coming home to your newly purchased home and hearing all of the smoke alarms going off. Nothing was amiss in the house except that we had let the heat go down, but not <50*. We figured that this must have somehow affected the smoke detectors.

What was really strange was that none of the smoke detectors are attached. They’re all simple battery units, but three of them were going off in three different rooms of the house. They also weren’t CO detectors or anything else fancy.

After going in and pulling the batteries to get them to shut up everything was normal. Then after putting the batteries back we found that they were all dead, they kept doing the low battery chirp. So, one trip to Home Depot later, I pick up new batteries and new smoke detectors just to be sure, had wanted to get CO detectors anyway. Haven’t had any problems since then.

This time on returning from our latest trip to Hawaii, we’ve got another smoke detector dead and chirping. We didn’t allow the house to get abnormally cold this time as we kept the heat program running through the week. Just a strange coincidence to come home to.

Trouble for Webshots

Webshots and the Facebook have a rather symbiotic relationship. The core audience of the Facebook has historically used Webshots to post all of their party pictures. Webshots allows free hosting of 240 pictures per free user. However, most people are smart enough to realize that they can sign up as many free users as they like or if they really care, sign up for a premium membership to get storage for 3000 photos. The problem is that the Facebook just announced free unlimited photo hosting for their users. This removes any impetous for their users to go to Webshots and manage a half dozen free users. I’m curious to see how Webshots responds.

Just a little pet peeve with Bloglines

I love bloglines. I use it every day and usually keep a browser window open to the site. However, lately I’ve noticed that I seem to be getting more and more stories duplicated. I’ll check in the morning and go through all my feeds. Then later on many of the stories that I read earlier will return as new again. Not the end of the world, but a bit of a pain none the less. Is this due to load issues at bloglines? Otherwise a great service.

Javascript libraries

There seems to be dozens of javascript ajax libraries opening up these days. There was an interesting one featured on ajaxian recently called moo.fx that produces very nice effects within the browser. I’m finding it amazing how far the web developers toolkit has come over the last several years. It used to be that it was very difficult to create a full featured website that would work consistetly in everyone’s browser. Now I think we’re finally on the verge of creating desktop replacement apps on the web.

If you’re careful and design the archetecture from the ground up to do so, it should be possible to start replacing desktop apps on the web. I’m very excited to see what the next year brings on this front and am personally playing with creating some apps as a test bed.

One of the issues that I’m concerned about though is with mixing these libraries. If you want to take one thing from one and another feature from another, what is the impact on the end user. Do the various libraries allow themselves to be cut up into smaller pieces?