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Showing posts from January, 2009

Too Many LEDs

I was having a conversation yesterday with someone and we somehow managed to get onto the topic of LEDs and how there are too many of them. I wholeheartedly agreed because I've been getting annoyed lately at how bright everything is when the lights are turned off at night.

This morning I walked around the place before I turned anything on. I could see my way clearly everywhere. Whatever happened to all the fun we used to have with being able to stub our toes on something in the dark? Light Emitting Diodes. Pff. Whatever.

I counted them before turning anything on: 47 LEDs all either steadily on or going blinkety-blink in the dark. No one is looking at them. In terms of brightness at night, the bright blue and bright white LEDs are the worst (i.e. they output too much light). Green falls behind at a close second and red is last. I'm sure there are other colors and maybe different perceptions of how bright they actually are but all this light is wholly unnecessary. Espe…

Why Unicode stinks

Happy New Year! Cliché, but awesome nonetheless. I hereby resolve to blog more. Nah. Scratch that. Who keeps their New Year's resolutions anyway? My family recently discovered that my grandmother, for instance, had a diary that she started every January in the early 1940's and the farthest she ever got was June (about mid-1940's - after that it looks like she permanently gave up).

Anyway, onto the actual topic of discussion. What follows is a summary - it isn't accurate, but that won't really matter too much.

A byte, for all intents and purposes of this discussion, is 8 "bits". A "bit" is a 0 or a 1. 8 bits offers 256 combinations (2^8 = 256). The smallest logical unit that can be used in a computer program is a byte.

A computer screen is made up of a whole bunch of pixels, typically arranged in a 4:3 ratio (e.g. 800x600).

With that knowledge and assuming you were designing a computer, how would you display a letter of the alphabet to the user?

The f…