Monthly Archives: March 2012

Why Editors Have Job Security

I saw this on a broadcast TV commercial advertisement, a quick flash across the screen after live acting.   My first thought, “Has someone confused a hand-held mobile display with a TV screen?” My second thought, “Enough IS enough and I am mounting my editor’s high horse!”

A good editor would prevent this.  A good editor wants to make the reader’s (or viewer’s) task easier, not harder.  A good editor would consider whether the viewer has time to visually parse the typographical treatment in the medium used.  To improve comprehension of written text, avoid all-capitalized letters and separate the words.  Note how “Enough.  Is.  Enough.” conveys both the point and the exasperation.  Conventional punctuation with a capitalized “IS” for emphasis works equally well: “Enough IS enough!” Either treatment is far more effective than a dense BLOCKOFLETTERS, which can trick the eye and mangle the meaning.  (What’s a fletter, anyway?)

The next time I saw this TV ad, someone had at least had the sense to put the spaces in:

Next time: What does “woah” mean?

Not Your Father’s Lightbulb

How many times did a parent remind you to turn off the lights when leaving a room? A few years ago, when I started working with the DOE Solid-State Lighting (SSL) program, I began to appreciate the importance of energy conservation and energy efficiency.  I can still hear Dad asking, “Are you done in there? Then turn off the lights!”

Turns out Dad was right. I can’t think of another 100+ year old technology that is still as widely used as the good old fashioned light bulb. But that is about to change.  The 1912 Model T Ford is long gone, TV technology has drastically evolved, and smart phones were maybe a figment of someone’s imagination in 1912. How is it that this old, inefficient light bulb technology has stuck around for so long, when generations of other household items have come and gone so quickly? Seems it’s harder to change a light bulb when better options don’t come along.

The Akoya SSL team has had a hand in bringing a transformation in lighting to life. We have coordinated and promoted the lighting program’s training conferences for years, and in 2008, we began to support the L Prize®, the first technology lighting prize competition to be led by a government agency. The competition challenged the lighting industry to find a replacement of a beloved standby—the common 60 watt light bulb.  You know it well—it’s in table lamps, overhead lights, wall sconces, and offices everywhere.

With support from Akoya, the L Prize team of utility partners, government officials, and independent experts charted new waters with every aspect of the competition. When we sought examples to follow, we learned that they simply didn’t exist in the government world. The team plunged ahead, establishing a website, generating materials to explain rules and expectations, and launching the competition at a major trade show. The Akoya team served as glue to the planning teams and liaison to the industry through all phases of the competition.

In August 2011, a winner was announced, and soon that winning product will be landing on store shelves. It will face the ultimate reality check: will consumers really find it to be a good replacement? Will the price drop like it has for so many other household products? Time will tell the magnitude of the energy savings for Americans. Meanwhile, I can report back to Dad that working on the L Prize can only be described as the professional experience of a lifetime.