Disco Lights & Making Money — My Two Favorite Things!

If you’re a loyal reader of my blog, you’ll remember my post a while back about how one can use inexpensive LED lights attached to the rear of an LCD television to decrease eye strain when watching movies in low-level lighting:

The finished product; ambient light behind the TV so there is no eye strain AND no glare!

The finished product; ambient light behind the TV so there is no eye strain AND no glare!

After noting I had tons more LEDs sitting around and dreading that I would be sitting through several lengthy conference calls today, I decided to reduce eye strain on my main computer workstation, too!  Check out how fun the back sides of my monitors look now that they have been coated with such fabulous luminosity.

LEDs now outline the monitors on my desk.

LEDs now outline the monitors on my desk.

OK, some of you may be wondering why I have three monitors on my desk. I’m a geek, that’s why. Seriously, though, it’s a common setup for people who work in technology.  I’m sure that you have noticed how annoying it can be when you are trying to look at an Excel file, read an email, and type a letter — and then you need to lookup something on the web. You have to juggle things around, and I often would forget what I was even doing before opening the new browser window. The work that I do is 99.9% done “on-screen”, so my having 3 monitors is like someone else having a wide desk so that he can see more than one sheet of paper at a time. And not to brag, but my center monitor is larger than most previous century televisions at 30″. It helps get the work done. It really does.

I know a lot of people who, for one reason or another, wind up with an extra monitor in the house. I highly suggest you try out using multiple monitors. You don’t have to start out at 3 — in fact, I think the most useful setup is when you have your primary large monitor in the center, and then you add a smaller, cheap 19″ monitor to either the left or to the right.  What for? Well, if you’re like me, you constantly get email and Facebook messages while you’re actually trying to get work done. I dedicate the smallest of my monitors as the “communication center” so that nothing pops up and annoys me when I’m doing real work. I can easily glance over at the little monitor and see the email that is coming in without being distracted by it or worse — having to do that annoying juggling of windows trying to find the place where I was working before I checked the email and screwed everything up. Most of the video cards that come in modern computers can support a second monitor — you just plug it into the extra monitor port.

In case you’re curious as to how the mouse and keyboard fit into this, don’t worry. Windows is smart, and when your mouse reaches the edge of one monitor, it automatically jumps over to the next one. Actually, it doesn’t jump at all — it’s quite smooth.

And, to reiterate…

DISCO LIGHTS & MAKING MONEY — MY TWO FAVORITE THINGS!

 

Get Infinitely Better Picture by Installing LED Backlighting

I finally finished a project I’ve had on my list for ages — installing wall-facing LED backlighting behind my TV in the living room. It’s a 65″ screen, and it can really cause major eye strain when you’re watching a movie in a darkened room.  Experts agree that having ambient lighting in the room prevents your eyes from getting fatigued from the high-contrast nature of TV viewing.  The problem with new LED TVs, though, is that they tend to reflect ambient light in the room — spoiling the quality of the picture. Major high-end TVs actually come with rear-facing lighting that adjusts in color and brightness to provide the optimal viewing experience. But these are TVs that usually cost as much as a car.

Luckily, I found the time and energy tonight to whip out the soldering iron and some spare parts from the garage, and I lined my TV’s rear perimeter with color configurable RGB LEDs so that I can enjoy the enhanced picture quality of backlighting without the enhanced price tag.

My TV lined with RGB LEDs facing backward.

My TV lined with RGB LEDs facing backward.

If you’re interested in doing the same, the materials cost about $30 for a 50-75″ TV, and it takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. I’d be happy to give you instructions!

The finished product; ambient light behind the TV so there is no eye strain AND no glare!

The finished product; ambient light behind the TV so there is no eye strain AND no glare! (Click to see full size image)