Posts tagged “lighting”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Richard Eoin Nash, Social Publisher – What “social” means is that there’s going to be more information about books, more scope to interact with the books (your own commenting & annotating and reading others’), more scope to interact with the author, more scope to interact with one another. (This latter item, to get semi-techy for a sec, is something that the broad horizontal book social networks—Goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari—do well, though, so we’re likely to focus on using their APIs rather than asking people to build their own bookshelves anew.)

    “Social” is taking the book and making it much easier to have a conversation with the book and its writer, and have conversations around the book and its writer.

  • L-Prize – Lighting Competition – I've written before in frustration about money spent to push the CFL at us instead of spending money solving the product problem. The DOE is sponsoring the L-Prize to create a low-energy bulb. "The competition also includes a rigorous evaluation process for proposed products, designed to detect and address product weaknesses before market introduction, to avoid problems with long-term market acceptance."
  • Princeton tests of Kindles for textbooks doesn’t go well for Kindle – “Much of my learning comes from a physical interaction with the text: bookmarks, highlights, page-tearing, sticky notes and other marks representing the importance of certain passages — not to mention margin notes, where most of my paper ideas come from and interaction with the material occurs,” he explained. “All these things have been lost, and if not lost they’re too slow to keep up with my thinking, and the ‘features’ have been rendered useless.”

    “For some people,” she explained, “electronic reading can never replace the functionality and ‘feel’ of reading off paper.”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • 100-WATT BULBS IN STOCK. (FOR HOW LONG WE DO NOT KNOW) – “Let some government official come in and tell me I can’t sell these,” Jonathan Wright, who has owned Classic Lighting for 40 years, said defiantly as he surveyed his warren of upscale light fixtures and shelves filled with neatly stacked bulbs. “I’ll find them wherever I can get them and sell them for whatever they cost. People are buying in bulk because they want them.”

    In the last two months he has sold 3,000 of the 100-watt bulbs — the traditional mainstay of British light fixtures — more than 30 times the usual. People are buying 10 at a time, the limit per customer, even though their price is nearly 50% higher than it was a year ago.

    Indeed, his customers have a litany of complaints. CFL light is too dim, especially for reading and putting on makeup, the bulbs, which are a bit longer than incandescents, protrude from small light shades; they take a long time to reach full brightness; they cannot be dimmed by switches; they contain mercury and require special disposal.

Shine a light

Just over a year ago I blogged about the push approach that Wal-Mart was taking to drive adoption of energy-efficient fluorescent lighting, spending money on persuasive marketing rather than addressing the known barriers to adoption. A year later, it seems to be okay to acknowledge the problems with the bulbs. The New York Times recently looked at the problems that people have with the quality of light created by those bulbs (nothing new, of course, but the fact that the angle of the story has changed is thought-provoking). Most recently, they offered up this this interview with a Sylvania technologist who speaks to the ongoing work to improve the quality of the light that people experience.

Of course the efforts to improve the bulbs were always ongoing. I’m intrigued by the cultural story that was created by marketing and the media, spending money to force a behavior under the guise of “educating” people.

Make a better light bulb, already. One that is energy efficient and doesn’t make us feel (and look) like crap in our own homes. We’ll beat a path to your door.

I wanna push you around, well I will, I will

Recently, Rob Walker posted about Wal-Mart greenly pushing the the single-bulb-fluorescent (from the NYT) while Mike Wagner posted about how to help the Des Moines Kiwanis Club grow. The substance of the NYT piece and the response to the Wagner entry typify something that is increasingly surprising to me (but maybe shouldn’t be). People (at least in the corners of the blogosphere that I hang in) want to sell ideas. They want to persuade, influence, advertise, manipulate. I sometimes feel a lone voice in asking for i) a user-centered view of what the product or service could evolve to and ii) innovation and development to fix the problems in the product or service.

It’s easier to talk about how to push the idea out there, it seems.

Wal-Mart is working to get these bulbs adopted. But they know what people don’t like about the bulbs. How’s about working on that? I mean, jeez, you already know what the problem is! That seems like an easy one. And the suggestions for the Kiwanis group are strongly focused on how to attract members, without anyone trying to understand what (just to take one of many questions they need to be asking) the current members love about their experience with the organization. No doubt there’s a mismatch between what story is being told to prospective members and what story is desired by those prospective members, as another angle. But no, let’s just focus on how to shout about the existing story.

Push, push.

How Hard is It To Get A Lamp Right?

We’re trying to start 2006 properly lit. We’ve just been suffering from too few lamps with too low wattage. So we got three lamps. One from West Elm we hope will arrive soon. One from Room and Board, and one from Lamps Plus.

The lamp from Room and Board was really disappointing. The whole retail experience is all about calm quality and modernism. The lamp we purchased was a Kovacs product (or so we see on the box) complete with a tag inside filled with purple prose about the future legacy we’ve purchased (I kid you not) and then followed by impenetrable instructions on a piece of photocopy paper. I guess the brand design stops at the labels. Anyway, the legs were not assembled properly and screwed together all askew. A crucial part was missing (that we couldn’t tell from the instructions) and the rest of it wouldn’t screw together.

We took it back, and they happily went and retrieved another from the basement. I decided to open it and look for similar warps in the product, and voila, it was also bent. That was their last one; they’ve ordered one to be delivered to us – will it arrive intact? I’m skeptical, we’re 0 for 2.

The LampsPlus lamp (made by Orbit) arrived today. I put it together, plugged it in, looks great. I then go to remove the wrapping from the lampshade, and there’s a gross stain on it. Oops, we’ll have to pack the whole thing up and ship it back for exchange – on our own dime? Or we can take it into a store. It’d be great to just exchange the shade, and not have to deal with taking the whole thing apart, packing it up (in its arcanely efficient way), fitting it in the car, and then taking a new one home and reassembling it. I bet they won’t do that.

Update: the replacement Room and Board lamp was complete but broke during assembly. Still waiting on the replacement shade for the LampsPlus lamp. Sigh.


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