Compact Florescent Light Bulb Guide

There are zillion new CFLs around and it is so confusing. “Popular Mechanics”: did a review of them that seems to be the only up to date one. Going to Loews was so confusing. They cost between $1-$12 each and the lifetimes, colors and so forth seem so different. Here’s a quick summary:

* CFLs use 70% less electricity than traditional incandescents. That is a huge savings not to mention important for the environment. They also last much longer so its a pure win from a consumer point of view. No reason not to switch now.
* Color. The old florescents were very blue and ugly. These have fixed so that soft white is 2700K and daylight is 3400K so it much more like a good color and not the high temperature, deep blues of old florescents. So most folks will like the soft white which is very red.
* Disposal. You do have to dispose of these properly since they have mercury. You can take them to Ikea at no charge to recycle. This shouldn’t be too often as these things last 8-12,000 hours or 3x longer than conventional bulbs
* LEDs. The long term future are LEDs, but these are expensive at $75 each, but they are even smaller and more power efficient.
* “Cold Cathode”: is the latest technology. Cold cathode are easy to dim and they are much long life, but the main issue is that that they are not too bright. A 5 watt produceds only about 25 watts. So a CCFL products 40 lumens per watt, ordinary CFL produce 80 lumens per watt, halogen are at 20 lumens per watt. As a rough aside, an ordinary incandescent products about 11 lumens per watt. So an 8 watt CCFL products about 300 lumens which is in turn like a 30 watt traditional bulb. Use them when you don’t need lots of power but want something dimmable and they last up to 18000 hours (that is about 18 years, most lighting guys assume you use 1000 hours per year or about 3 hours a day).

There are a blizzard of different bulbs and sizes. The main thing is to get something that is small.

“Energystar”: has a whole guide to CFLs that helps you through the unusual shapes and sizes. They have an “Excel spreadsheet”: of every CFL that are approved.

“1000Bulbs”: seems to be the only place I can find with the huge selection that a modern house needs including:

! these are so common in kitchens these days. You have a dimmer and then a can up there the main issues are that if you turn it off in less than five minutes, you really reduce the life of the bulb. You need to leave it on for a while. So this is great for kitchens. Neptun makes a bulb 93019-ADIM that seems perfect It is 19 watts, 8000 hours, 2850K warm white, equivalent of 60 watts and comes in cases of 12. They are $13 each compared with $3 or for incandescent. No reviews on the Neptun. The main issue is that the Neptun is quite a bit longer at 5.125″ vs. the standard PAR-30 which is 3.5″. So, this really works as a replacement for the PAR-30 long neck and not regular cans. There are so many lights that are three-way and you need one that is small enough to fit the harp around the light. From Bartell Drug’s I got a $5 Sylvania, while 1000 Bulbs ahs for $12 a 50/100/150 watt equivalent with 10,000 hours and it is small 5.375inx 2.75in diameter. these are like regular incandescents but are dimmable. Good for the older cans that take regular incandescents. There are two kinds, one have a sleeve over it to make it look nicer and other which is a raw bulb. The Neptun 61916-ADIM is a good example, 16 watts (70 watt equivalent), 2750K warm white, 8000 hours. Main issue is that at startup you have to burn in for an hour before dimming.

“Cold Cathode”: Kind of amazing. These are the narrow base decoratives that are everywhere. Expensive, but they will last 25000 hours if they are so called cold cathode. The main drawback is that they aren’t bright, but that doesn’t matter for decorative. These come in narrow base and run at 30 watt equivalents.

Wikka Wiki

OK, we’ve finally got a good use for a wiki. As we are rolling out a new office, it is a great place to put construction and other documents. So off to find one. “”: has Wikka Wiki as their top choice. Seems simple enough. SQL based. Not as complicated as MediaWiki which is what Wikipedia uses. But first question, how do you take a Word document and remark it. Same with PDFs.

Here are some tricks:

* This is a Word Marco that does the conversion.

dBpoweramp audible backup

If you want to backup your audible .aa files because you are worried about being away and not activating properly, here is what to do. I had forgotten how to do this but needed to remember because I lost my Windows XP installation:

# Find an old copy of the Audible Manager. The one I have is called ADMSetup.exe and is 798KB and is dates 27-Feb-2006. This allows any Directshow compatible player like Windows media player to play a .aa file.
# Install this, it might require some DLLs for some reason, but they are msvci70.dll and mscvr70.dll. Google for these and download them into c:\windows\system directory
# Now install dBpoweramp. Currently this is version 12.4
# Also install the dBpoweramp Directshow filter. This allows dBpoweramp to convert any thing that .aa can see
# File run %appdata%\dbpoweramp and you will see a file directshow.txt. Add the single line that just contains ‘.aa’ This tells dbpoweramp that there is a directshow filter that knows about Audible .aa files
# You should now be able to right click on a .aa file and you will see “Convert To”
# When you select, choose MP3 and pick 32Kbps CBR as the format and this will take the encrypted format (the so called format 4 in .aa speak which is really an encrypted mp3) and put it into the clear for backup purposes only.

Essential WordPress 2.5 Plugins

Now that the blog is working, somethings to make it easier. Shamus does a good review of plugin’s. Better than just browsing them all…Also trolling is fun as well.

Essential Plugins for WordPress 2.5 « Shamus Writes

Ozh has fast become one of my favorite plugin developers. He consistently creates plugins that are practical and high quality. I’m running three of his plugins on all my installations that make the WP 2.5 dashboard experience a lot more fun.

Admin Dropdown Ozh’ Admin Dropdown Menu reorganizes the WP 2.5 dashboard, putting all the links in a single row at the top of the dash. What’s more, a simple mouseover for any menu tab will display a dropdown menu that will give one-click access to any submenu in the dash. This plugin effectively cuts dashboard navigation times in half.

Absolute Comments Ozh’ Absolute Comments makes it fun and easy to reply to reader comments by reorganizing the Comments menu and allowing for instant comment reply right in the dashboard. It’s fast and powerful, and every WordPress user should be running this plugin.

Better Plugins Ozh’ Better Plugins Page cleans up and reformats the plugin page, making it a little easier to look at and use. It also provides a set of filters that can be used to display only a particular subset of plugins.

The WP 2.5 dashboard comes with a fixed width, which is rather ugly for those of us who use a large monitor resolution. Remove Max Width undoes this limitation and allows the dashboard to stretch completely from side to side.

Blog is formatting is broken

Something is causing a format problem. I’ve got too many plugins. It looks like it doesn’t display Chinese and some other characters correctly. Narrowed that down to the Textile 2 plugin I was using. Tried Text Control and the same issue. I really need Textile 2 because I use its table feature.

“”: has a good list of plugins that do work with 2.5. I don’t know why WordPress doesn’t ship with a Textile plugin. Arggh. He uses something called TextileWrapper to make it all work. And this seems to fix all the problems.

He has some other good plugins to try.

The main issue right now is the right side of the blog is way down at the bottom. Not clear why that is. It looks like when I set WordPress to display 10 posts and the posts got long that certain templates don’t work. Best advice, keep the number of posts displayed at the default 5. Certain themes seem to work like the simple ones for WordPress 1.5, but the whole Cutline family is very odd right now when you have too many posts displayed.

Using Puts and Calls to control Yahoo

Deal Journal – : How Icahn Influences Yahoo Without Buying the Stock

How Icahn Influences Yahoo Without Buying the Stock
Posted by Heidi N. Moore

Carl Icahn is preparing to wage a proxy fight against Yahoo, using 59 million shares as his club. But Icahn doesn’t really own all those shares. He only bought 9.9 million.

How can Carl Icahn hold the rest without actually owning them? It’s because of an old strategy that Icahn and other corporate raiders used in the 1980s of using matching put-and-call options. Here’s how it works.

Icahn bought American call options on 49 million shares of Yahoo and sold European-style put options on another 49 million. The call options give him the right to buy Yahoo stock at a certain undisclosed price, while selling the put options allows Icahn to make money right away and allows other investors to protect themselves against a fall in Yahoo’s price.

Why would Icahn buy options instead of outright stock? Mainly because it is cheaper — and, when in done in a certain way, less visible to the market so that he doesn’t have to file with the FTC and signal his intentions. Call options for Yahoo have been selling for only a few dollars. 59 million shares of Yahoo at Monday’s open of $25.15 would have been worth $1.48 billion — a lot of money for Icahn to put to work on a proxy fight that may or may not work. However, the 9.9 million shares he bought would have been a relative bargain, valued at only $248.9 million at Monday’s price. And options can be used for a variety of purposes — either to take a position in the stock or to hedge against a fall in the stock — which makes it hard for the market to figure out why they’re being used. That, in turn, helped Icahn maintain the element of surprise – and earn money when Yahoo’s stock jumped as investors finally realized Icahn was buying the stock.

Icahn arranges with investment banks to make “flex trades,” so that the banks design the terms of the put and call options to Icahn’s needs. Icahn likes to use European-style put options because they can only be sold at a certain date. For instance, on Yahoo, Icahn sold European-style put options on 49 million shares, with a strike price of $19.50 per share and an expiration date of Nov. 5, 2010.

That means he’s betting that the shares will be worth well above $19.50, so the options will expire worthless and he gets to pocket the premium. Icahn also arranged that those options are settled in cash, which means that if Icahn’s bet goes wrong he will pay the market value of the stock instead of getting stuck with the devalued shares. He also has no control over the shares, which fends off concerns from the Federal Trade Commission.


Hat tip to Matt for this quote! I’ve been collecting bunches and now with Mac OS X Mail, you’ll get them rotated:

Benjamin Franklin Quotes

Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
Benjamin Franklin

Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.

Sun Tzu – Wikiquote

Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

Sun Tzu – Wikiquote (孫子; SÅ«n Zǐ; c. 6th century BC)


It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

(Literally). Know [the] other, know [your] self, hundred battles without danger;
not knowing [the] other but know yourself, one win one loss; not
knowing [the] other, not knowing yourself, every battle must [be]

WikkaWiki hacking

Well, back to making the igncap wiki work. Here are some obscure notes:

# Already talked about how get invite code to work by editing wikka.config.php
# To make sure only registered users can edit a page, you go to “Edit ACL” at the bottom of a page and click on it. Then change the * in the first column to a plus +, this means that only registered users can see the page
# To completely lockdown the Wiki, you need to change the default ACL to +, these are parameters in the wikka.config.php file at the root of the wiki

Change these:

“default_write_acl” => “+”,
“default_read_acl” => “+”,
“default_comment_acl” => “+”,

The default should be “+” for all which means that only registered users can see the pages.

Mac marketshare 66% of computers above $1,000 at retail

Mac Rumors: Apple Mac Rumors and News You Care About

eWeek first reported on an interesting breakdown of Apple’s retail marketshare. According to numbers from the NPD Group, Apple’s Q1 2008 retail (brick and mortar) reached 14%. Note that by limiting it to retail, they’ve excluded online sales and institutional/enterprise sales.

Chart from eWeek

More surprising, however, is if you limit the data to computers priced above $1,000, Apple represents 66% of all retail computer sales.