Archive for March, 2008

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Home theater lighting project complete

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

Lutron Maestro IR SmartSwitch pre-installCompleted Lutron panel

That day has finally come – my Lutron smart dimmers arrived, have been installed, and are now hooked into my Logitech Harmony home theater automation remote with great results. With a little help from Brien the dimmers are installed, and the wiring is now again safely hidden away behind nice looking wall plates.

The Lutron Maestro IR smart dimmer intelligently fades the lights up and down to preset levels at the touch of a button on my Harmony remote. With the track lights dimmed properly and pointed away from the TV screen it bathes my movie goers in soft warm light while avoiding distracting reflections on the TV.

Next up: painting the living room a darker color to help reduce light bounce around the room. The question has become deep midnight blue, or rich royal red?

Two Union Square by Aperture 2.0

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

I recently discovered Apple Aperture 2.0 and have simply fallen in love with it. It’s hands down the most performant and powerful photo management software out there. Coupled with Adobe Photoshop CS3 (technically the entire Creative Suite) my workflow has been entirely revolutionized. Aperture makes managing a set of 5 photos as easy as managing 10,000. By stacking and grouping photos it’s possible to quickly triage a shoot, find the good shots, and archive the bad shots all with GPU accelerated speed.

Unfortunately I’m come to realize just how unorganized my photos were in iPhoto and am being forced to go on a holy reorganization quest – luckily a not quite as monumental now that I have Aperture to help me out. As a bonus I’m finding lots of old photos that with a little tweaking come out great. It’s like finding rough jewels in a mine, only I don’t have to get all dirty and sweaty – I can just dig away at my desk.

Two Union
A new entry into my series of Two Union Square

Adult lighting project – 99% complete

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Track lighting 1Track lighting 2
Track lighting 4Track lighting 3

I’m a week late with the post, but better late than never. My adult lighting project has finally made a major splash on my living room. The new track lighting offers beautiful even lighting for the seating area without casting reflections on the TV screen thus bringing my home theater one step further to completion (thanks Brien!).

Sadly it’s still not 100% complete – I’m still waiting on Seattle Lighting to deliver on the Lutron Maestro programmable dimmer switch that I ordered. Without the dimmer switch the lighting is somewhat unusable as the full on setting is almost blindingly bright. Once the dimmer switch arrives I can hook it in to the rest of my home theater automation and allow the lights in the house to dim when I go into movie mode with my Logitech Harmony programmable remote.

While on the topic I have a mixed review of Seattle lighting – they have an amazing selection and access to some equipment nobody else in Seattle can get, but on the flip side they have horrible customer service. I placed my order in late December and was told that my whole order would take 2 weeks (3 tops) to arrive. Nearly 3 months late the bulk had arrived, and now over three months later the last dimmer switch is still pending. I wouldn’t have minded so much, but they did a terrible job of managing my expectations – constantly telling me it would be ‘just a few more days’ every time I called in for status updates.

Oh yeah – and the transformer they sold me was bad. Good for them that they replaced it quickly, and not really their fault; but with bad taste in my mouth from the weeks of getting jerked around by their customer service it was really the arsenic and ass icing on the cake.

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