Archive for the ‘General’ Category.

Baby on the way!

Megan and I have a baby on the way in the next few weeks!

PS. A huge thanks to Shin Chang for the amazing photos!!!

Do you want to do some very part time office IT support in San Francisco?

Update 1-21-15: the position below has been taken. Thanks!

Do you want to do some very part time office IT support in San Francisco?

With grad school and a baby, I don’t have time to support the company I do IT support for. It’s just 2 computers, both Windows. About 5 hours per month. Much of the support can be done remotely.

Light Bulb Dimmer Compatibility

Please help me find household lighting dimming that doesn’t flicker or hum! Please email or comment if you can help me.

I am sensitive to light bulb flicker (previously) including all the new LED tail lights on cars and household light bulbs and dimmers that use flickering (PWM or Pulse Width Modulation) to control their brightness.

It is a very real problem. While driving, it is extremely distracting; when I turn my head quickly, LED tail lights look like police flasher lights. And at home, a light bulb that is set to dim is soothing on my eyes except for the constant BZZZZZZ!! of the light flickering. Not fun.

Lights don’t have to flicker. They flicker because companies take shortcuts that make their lighting less expensive. In brief, instead of smoothly decreasing how much power the bulb gets, they turn the bulb on and off really quickly, fast enough so most people don’t even notice it. But I notice it. :-(. You might want to look up the concept of flicker fusion threshold for more reading.

I am willing to pay more for good lighting that doesn’t flicker. The problem is, I can’t figure out who to pay. Can you help me find household lighting dimming that doesn’t flicker or hum?

Here is a letter I wrote to Lutron (one of the biggest lighting control suppliers in the US) the other day and their (very sad) response:

I am looking to outfit my home with flicker-free and noise-free dimming lighting controls. Can you help?

I have tried using the Credenza Lamp Dimmer with an incandescent bulb and the flicker at low brightness doesn’t work for me. I have also tried using in-wall dimmers with LED lighting and both the flicker and noise of the system was bothersome. It is clear that the bulb and dimmer must be well-matched but I have yet to find a reliable way of matching them.

Here is Lutron’s response:

Application Group via
We really cannot tell you what to use. The reason for that you can get flickering or buzzing noise from any of those lamp types. And it has to do with the quality and compatibility of the dimmer with the bulbs. You really won’t know what you get till you have wired it up together. With incandescent if you have poor quality bulb you could get buzzing noise. With CFL these bulbs are typically a noisy bulb and you have to match the correct bulb with dimmer. And even with that they are still noisy. And with LEDs you really have to match up the dimmer with the bulbs and you may still get noise and flickering and that may be normal. It really is a trial and error. We have a list of CFL and LED brand and model of bulbs that we have tested and can say will work with our dimmers but that does not mean that you won’t get flickering or even buzzing noise from the dimmer or bulbs.

Lutron Tech Support
Lutron Electronics, Inc.

My Favorite Daily Mail

What is your favorite daily mail?

Here’s mine:

Creators Project. New cutting edge art. I get the weekly mailer

The Daily Digg. News and stories.

SomeEcards. Humor

Projection Mapped Faces: Wow

I saw projection mapping at an Amon Tobin concert at the Greek Theater in Berkeley in late 2012 and it was amazing. This is the next, mind blowing level! Real Time Projection Mapping on Faces!

Via Creators Project

Purnail is an expensive scam, likely rebranded Fungisil snake oil

Purnail is a toenail product to treat nail fungus. It’s active ingredient, undecylinic acid is available for about 1/40th the price at your local CVS!

For example, $13 for 1 ounce of 25% undecylinic acid in Fungicure vs $60 for 0.3 ounces of 10% undecylinic acid in Purnail.

Purnail is a scam. I’d like to give you better news but modern science doesn’t have a cure-all for nail fungus. Feel free to browse my site for ongoing real discussion about nail fungus cures.

Short form: orals sometimes (50%?) work but they can be toxic to your liver. Any topical has a low (10%?) chance of success at curing. Some people say one formulation has done better for them than others. Don’t hold your breath and don’t spend a ridiculous amount of money on treatments: if it seems to good to be true, it is. Keeping your infection at bay with an inexpensive topical might be the best you can do.

Purnail is almost definitely just a rebrand of another product made with the same ingredients with the same bottles and the same marketing. Take a look at the two product pages, do you notice any similarities?