March 2015 Archives

LEDing the way
March 21, 2015 3:34 PM | Posted in:

I've finally decided to bite the bullet and switch over to LED light bulbs throughout the house, although I may have to set up an Indiegogo account to get it funded. Those things are seriously expensive.

I'm not sure I can justify this plan on purely economic terms. I counted more than a hundred bulbs in our house (and that doesn't include some of the desk and table lamps). LED replacement bulbs range from about $8 for a chandelier bulb to over $40 for some specialized high-wattage models. Even assuming an aggressive estimated average of only $15/bulb, this means that we'll pay $1500 to completely redo the house. The bulbs are indisputably more energy-efficient and long-lived than incandescent bulbs, but I suspect it will take a long time to recoup $1500 in electricity savings.

Things get even pricier if you want to swap out recessed lighting receptacles to the smaller ones that accommodate LED equivalents. I'm not planning to do that, because I don't think the smaller bulbs look odd in the regular receptacles, but there's always the chance that I could get overruled by the Chief Designer.

LED Chandelier BulbHowever, I really like that the bulbs put out almost no heat, and often have a higher lumen/watt ratio than standard bulbs. Most of them are dimmable, and most come in a variety of color temperatures (I tend to like cooler, less red/yellow light). You can even get bulbs to replace those 4' fluorescents in your garage, although that requires bypassing the ballast. Fortunately, that's relatively simple to do and there are a plethora of instructional videos on YouTube. And although I'm not the greenest of Gaians, I do like the fact that LED bulbs have no mercury in them (but...there's always a "but").

So, I ordered a boxful of chandelier bulbs, frosted and clear, and I've swapped out 16 of them this weekend. I've got another handful to replace outside when the rain lets up. The LEDs are longer than the standard bulbs so they were a tight fit in our ceiling fan fixtures, and the tips peek out from the inverted glass fixtures over our dining table, but the results are still pleasing. And if the propaganda literature is to be believed, we won't have to replace any of them for the planned period of our continued home ownership. (No, that's not an announcement, but 50,000 hours is a long time.)

There are a lot of places to buy LED bulbs online; I happened to pick EarthLED because of the selection, good product descriptions, and what seem to be competitive prices.

What color is your salmon?
March 12, 2015 6:26 PM | Posted in: ,

So, I was perusing my Twitter feed because it's much easier to get ideas from other people than come up with them myself and I ran across this article about how our salmon gets colored. As a frequent eater of salmon, I found it interesting that unless the fish was caught by aging hippie outdoorsmen channeling the spirit of Euell Gibbons, it got its pleasing salmon color by eating crayolas. OK, that's a loose interpretation, but, yeah, they feed "ranch grown" salmon a kind of pigment along with the regular salmon chow, otherwise we persnickety consumers would never buy it because it would be gray and not match our dining décor.

SalmoFanBut here's where it really gets fascinating. Someone has come up with a salmon color chart, which even has a trademarked and elegantly provocative name, the DSM SalmoFan™.  The SalmoFan™ comes in two varieties, one that's - wait for it - fan-shaped, with little colored "fingers" (not unlike the spark plug gap gauges back when such things mattered, or paint fan decks for those with limited automotive knowledge), and another that's a row of possible salmon colors. It's called SalmoFan™ Lineal, because, well, you know. 

The SalmoFan™ has an array of 15 strips, each of which is numbered from 20 to 34, with the lower numbers being lighter shades of salmon, and the higher numbers being darker, almost but not quite getting to red. According to sophisticated market research, darker colored salmon commands a higher price.

You can actually order SalmoFan™s from the DSM website, and they're free, although you have to give them a bunch of information that they may use to confirm that you're in the salmon color grading business or something, so I didn't bother, primarily because I couldn't come up with a convincing cover story about why someone in West Texas would have a commercial concern about fish pigmentation. But I still fantasize about how cool it would be to whip out my personal SalmoFan™ at the local sushi bar and quiz the server about whether she really believes that California Roll made with number 25 salmon warrants such an exorbitant price. Much professional winking and hilarity would ensue, I suspect.

Anyway, I was amazed and alarmed to discover that even though someone had gone to considerable trouble to identify 15 shades of potential salmon pigmentation, nobody has taken the next logical step and provided the hexadecimal equivalents for those shades. I suspect this has caused grief for countless designers building salmon-themed websites, because they've had to basically shoot in the dark and hope that by sheer chance they've picked the correct shade for their particular salmon-consuming demographic target. I aim to rectify this gap in human knowledge, and therefore submit for your consideration the EDS SalmoHex Chart of Pinkish Colors. The following chart has been prepared following rigorous proprietary analysis, drawing extensively on both my years of Photoshop experience and minutes of DSM SalmoFan study.


Hexadecimal Equivalent


Hexadecimal Equivalent


Hexadecimal Equivalent































I realize that as helpful as the preceding cross reference may be, it will still not meet the needs of those who must have just the right shade of invitation for their fish-themed wedding, but coming up with Pantone equivalents is too much work. I can't do everything, folks.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

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