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Sunday, December 3, 2006

Wretched Excess: Blue LED Christmas Tree

I'm on record as saying, several years ago, that the high intensity blue LED is the design cliché of the oughties. No matter where you look, there's one of these short-wavelength eyes glaring at you: from your Web server, firewall, television, or toaster; you may sleep—but these unblinking LEDs do not.

A couple of years ago I encouraged folks to migrate from irritating series-string incandescent Christmas lights to the coruscating, actinic, partially nuclear-powered lights which grace Fourmilab's windows from Advent through the New Year. But little did I imagine it would come to this….

This twelve metre Christmas tree outside a shopping centre down the hill from Fourmilab is decorated exclusively with high-intensity blue LEDs. Note how directional they are—the few which happen to be pointed directly at the camera appear much more intense than those just a few degrees off axis. This is apparent with my own LED strings, but I hope to mitigate the effect in this year's display by dipping the LEDs in beer and Epsom salt (really!).

And I will never, ever, use blue LEDs, although I reserve the right to deploy high intensity red and green emitters in creative ways along with the traditional white.

Posted at December 3, 2006 00:36