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April 15, 2015

Light Reading

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

Despite promises, the computer has a long ways to go as far as clearing your desktop is concerned. I’m referring to the real desktop, the one that has papers, pens, pads, and perhaps even a calculator sitting atop its surface. Another item the computer isn’t keen on replacing is the common desk lamp.

Yes, the computer does generate light, but it’s a crummy lamp. Having a lamp near the computer isn’t considered unusual. In fact, frequently it’s a must-have item.

Being mindful of my personal energy consumption, I recently purchased an LED desktop lamp, shown in Figure 1. I believe it cost $20 or so at the local office supply store.

Figure 1. My old, LED desk lamp.

Figure 1. My old, LED desk lamp.

After about a month’s use, the LEDs started to fail. They didn’t just die, they pulsed. After two of them malfunctioned, the effect was similar to running water. While that may not be the best description, the effect was that the lamp was annoying due to the flickering LED lights.

So I did what any hacker would do: I tool the thing apart.

The LEDs were cheap and poorly installed. I could probably replace them, but that’s not why I bought the lamp.

Also, to make matters worse, they were the annoying full-spectrum LEDs, which look bright blue. It’s a cold, emotionless light and it actually bothers me to work under it.

When the lamp’s LED failure rate grew to about 30 percent, I looked for a replacement. I chose the Softech DL-90 Natural Light Multi-function Lamp, shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. The Softech DL-90. It ain't cheap.

Figure 2. The Softech DL-90. It ain’t cheap.

The DL-90 is a far, far better LED lamp. It features three rows of LEDs which generate different color tones. A control panel sets both tone and intensity. The lamp also features a timer that turns off the lamp after an hour, plus a USB port.

My new LED lamp is a dream. I used the same model while at Lynda in the recording booth. That’s why I knew it would be a good purchase — and a long-term investment. I think I paid close to $90 at Amazon for the lamp. The blurb there says, “Don’t be disappointed by cheap made-in-China knock-offs.” How true.

I flipped over the old LED lamp, the one that failed. On the bottom, the sticker said, “Made in China.”

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