The Lighting Trinity: 3 Specs You Must Know When Purchasing LED Light Bulbs

3 Bulbs

Shopping for lighting used to be pretty easy. For most bulbs, you only needed to know the physical shape and the wattage. For something more exotic, you could bring your old bulb to the store and match it with something on the shelf.

It’s very easy to purchase the wrong bulb — and end up dissatisfied.

Today, light bulb shopping is a convoluted mess. The wattage is no longer tied to how bright the bulb is. There are a bunch of new terms, like Kelvin, CRI, and lumens. It’s very easy to purchase the wrong bulb — and end up dissatisfied.

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Introducing SimpleBulb: The Easiest Way to Find LED Light Bulbs

I work in lighting. Many people ask me “what LED light bulb should I buy?” Indeed, visiting Home Depot or even Amazon is a recipe for confusion.

I find it frustrating when I see multiple types of bulbs (LED, fluorescent, incandescent) in the same room, especially when they are a different color. I’m sure others are not happy with their lighting purchases.

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Blog Moving to Medium

I’ve been cross-posting on this domain and on Medium for a bit. For blogging, I prefer Medium’s super-clean design, it-just-works writing interface, and social features over WordPress.

I’ve already posted two updates that don’t have a copy here:

See all my posts on Medium.

Book notes, travel, and other projects will remain on this domain.

Soon, I’ll figure out how to seamlessly integrate this site with Medium.

The Mac is Back

For a while, it felt like Apple was neglecting the Mac.

Late last year, the company updated the MacBook Pro, but priced the entry-level model much higher than the outgoing model. It dramatically raised the cost of an adequate computer.

The company has not introduced a compelling high-end desktop in nearly 10 years. The most recent Mac Pro was plagued with thermal issues and has proven difficult to upgrade.

Most major announcements in the past few years have centered around iOS devices.

The Mac is not the company’s cash cow — that would be the iPhone — but it’s the product the core audience cares about most. I’m talking about graphic artists, videographers, software engineers, machine learning experts, game developers, and other power users.

These power users care about specs, but they also care about the intangibles that come along with owning a Mac. It’s about the workflow, the lack of distraction, the perceived reliability, and the fact that just about everything just works. Cutting-edge designs and lighter weight are nice to have as long as they don’t compromise specs and intangibles.

Power users have long been neglected. But things are starting to change.

Earlier this year, Tim Cook stated the company would do more about the Mac lineup for pro users.

At WWDC this week, we saw some exciting new developments.

MacBook 2017 Lineup

A lower-cost MacBook Pro. In other words, the laptop most people are going to buy. The gateway drug for millions of students and other smart creatives into the world of creation, not just consumption.

Incremental performance upgrades across MacBook Pros and iMacs.

The stealthy, crazy-powerful iMac Pro that is ridiculous on its own, but foreshadowing for a revamped Mac Pro tower. Fingers crossed.

iPads getting Mac features, like the Dock, drag-and-drop, and a file browser. Instead of the other way around.

External GPU support. A new file system. Improved Spotlight.

Long live the Mac.

Notes #13: Moonshots

Some fascinating links from the last couple weeks:

  • SpaceX is on a race with NASA to send two people around the moon next year, opening up the door for space tourism.
  • So long, steering wheels. California is proposing rules that would allow for the manufacture, sale, and operation of autonomous vehicles in the very near future.
  • Tesla pledges 100 MWh of battery storage in 100 days to help fix South Australia’s energy supply shortage.
  • Solar now provides twice as many jobs as the coal industry.
  • The Raspberry Pi Zero W is is a $10 computer with WiFi and Bluetooth. Not the first, but we need more cheap, connected computers.
  • Ben Thompson has put out a great read on Intel’s acquisition of Mobileye, an autonomous vehicle and collision avoidance software and hardware company. His analysis of the potential winners (software and components companies, ride sharing networks) and losers (some existing automotive companies) is worth paying attention to.

And check out my most recent blog post: 2017: The Year Electric Cars Go Mainstream.

2017: The Year Electric Cars Go Mainstream

Until now, EVs were either limited in practicality or priced in luxury car territory. Both of those issues will go away this year. The Chevrolet Bolt EV and Tesla Model 3 are the first all-electric vehicles for the masses.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

200+ Miles on a Charge

Most of the major auto players have put out compact EVs hovering around 100 miles per charge. The average daily commute is about 37.5 miles, so technically these EVs would work for a lot of people. However, longer trips could get complex,  and I imagine this fact puts off a lot of potential EV buyers.

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With the Model 3 and Bolt, drivers can expect 215 and 238 miles per charge, respectively. This means a day trip is now within reach. Tesla boasts a growing Supercharger network that enables cross-country trips. Chevrolet offers a charging station locator in several apps.

Competitively Priced

The total cost of ownership of these new cars is close to hybrids and not much more than internal combustion engine cars in the compact class. Because electricity is cheaper per mile than gas, the cars have a remarkably similar TCO after 3 years.

basemodelstco

premiummodelstco

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These prices reflect the vehicle MSRP, options prices, delivery charges, cost of gasoline ($2.30 per gallon), cost of electricity ($0.12 per kWh), charging conversion efficiency (90%), tax credits ($7,500 for EVs and the Chevy Volt, $4,500 for the Prius Prime), and any incentive programs available around the time of writing. Insurance, maintenance, and taxes are not considered. My analysis is in this spreadsheet.

Side note: The Toyota Prius Prime, a plug-in hybrid with 25 miles of all-electric range, has a lower TCO than the standard Prius. The non-Prime Prius does not have an EV-only mode. The reason for the lower price on the Prius Prime is a tax credit not available for the standard Prius. Of the cars compared, this is my top pick for those really needing the extra range of a hybrid.

More Where That Came From

Maybe you’re not in the market for a compact. While this top-selling segment is getting a lot of attention right now, we’re sure to see EVs with many more shapes and capabilities in the next few years.

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Tesla Model 3

The Chevy Bolt is already out in limited quantities. I saw a handful on the road during a recent trip to California. The Tesla Model 3 is ramping up for production now, with deliveries slated for midyear.

Notes #12: Back to Earth

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Lands Successfully

This past weekend, an historic launch took place at Kennedy Space Center. The launchpad, last used by the shuttle program in 2011, is now open to commercial use. SpaceX’s rockets are innovative in a variety of ways, but a standout feature is the ability of the first stage to land and be reused.

This Self-Driving Car Drives Flawlessly in the Rain at Night

From drive.ai.

Bullet Points

Blog Update

My latest blog post is about lane detection in self-driving cars.