27 April 2009

it ain't easy being green

are incandescent bulbs so bad? the more compact fluorescents i put in, the more i miss them. my kitchen appears to be lighted by a single flashlight muffled by someone's hand when i switch on my 5(!) CLs. it brightens over a short period, but the light quality isn't so great. but even that is only half as bad as the double CL contraption i have hanging in the family room. i hardly ever use it.

Howard Brandston, award-winning lighting designer (but is he licensed?), argues that incandescents have been unfairly maligned. 'experts' have failed to measure the lighting systems holistically. one interesting blurb:
If someone really wanted to do a green household, they could use dimmers, they could use occupancy sensors to turn off the lights in case they forgot to. Control of the light is really the most energy efficient way to gain benefit. If you dim an incandescent lamp from 120 volts to 110 volts you will increase its life by approximately three times. If you dim it a little more, you increase it even more. And then they will surpass the lifespan of a compact fluorescent lamp.
the whole article is very much worth the read. i don't think i'll be buying any more CLs. instead, i'll be buying dimmer switches.

video streaming

i've been without cable now for a month or so. maybe two. i can't honestly remember, because i don't miss it. with over-the-air broadcasts recorded to mu old tivo and netflix and playon streaming to my xbox 360, i can get most anything. since i don't yet have an HD TV, the video quality strikes me as phenominal.

playon also has an active plugin developer community that adds some extras (via C#). i'm thinking i might have a go at rolling up some more channels so i can get the rest of what i had with cable.

audio streaming

i've been attempting to tackle the streaming of my extensive audio collection to my xbox 360. mp3s are supported simply and easily, but MS and Apple seam to be slap fighting with me in the middle when it comes to format support. i've tried a hack or two to avoid converting my itunes formats in bulk. i especially didn't want to use up a bungload of blank CDs to do it.

now i've found DVD neXt Copy iTurns (free). i can 'burn' a playlist to mp3s without waste. their argument that it doesn't violate copyright law kinda makes sense (especially since i want it to).
DVDneXtCOPY iTurns does not disable any DRM* Protection. iTurns uses a feature inside the DRM Protection that allows you to make Audio CD copies of your purchased content. This does not violate US and European law because it is not circumventing and is part of DRM. Instead of illegally defeating copy-protection measures, iTurns uses an innovative, technically optimized process that records original files as they play and legally burns files to a virtual CD-RW drive on your hard drive, saving the recordings in unprotected digital formats. *Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a copy protection technology that is designed to restrict the illegal distribution of copyrighted music. Forms of control can include restrictions on the use of certain music players, how many times a purchased music file can be burnt to CD or the number of computers it can be transferred to.
now i don't have to write my own utility to do this. anyone know if the next windows supports m4a/aac stuff by default?

11 April 2009

liquid syntax

i've been playing with more expressive syntax in c# today, trying to be more ruby since that avenue is blocked for me.
them's alotta parens. i've been toying mostly with dates and testing syntax. thankfully, the nunit guys did most of the work for me on the latter point. i've also found it's fairly easy to eliminate some of the standard duplication in .net, for example, raising events always requires a null check on the delegate. not anymore.
while c# still lacks much of the flexibility and beauty of ruby (from what i know of it), it should be possible to achieve many of the same niceties.

09 April 2009

quote of the day-or-so

It’s always a shame when customers don’t get what they pay for, but in the current economy, it’s a real shame when a client burns money hiring someone on the cheap or without real credentials instead of paying someone who might at first look more expensive but would be a bargain in comparison in terms of value for money.
Rick DeNatale