The CurrCon Java Applet displays prices on this
web page converted with today’s exchange rates into your local international currency,
e.g. Euros, US dollars, Canadian dollars, British Pounds, Indian Rupees…
CurrCon requires an up-to-date browser
and Java version 1.8, preferably 1.8.0_102.
If you can’t see the prices in your local currency,
Troubleshoot. Use Firefox for best results.
In creating a work environment, you want to arrange for good lighting. Factors to
You want to be able to position the light so that
you don’t get glare on your screen. Glare is mainly a problem with sunlight
coming in through a window. The main way to deal with that is how you place your
desk relative to any windows. A cheap gooseneck lamp that won’t stay firmly
in position will drive you nuts. You also want a way to illuminate the wires and
connectors if you need to service them, perhaps a second small lamp you can place
under the desk when needed. An example of a good design is the Verilux Heritage
desk lamp (pictured above) which has three screw clamps to give you fine firm
For most work you want lighting subdued, but when
you have to read fine print, you would like nice bright light. You need
sufficient light to run a solar calculator. Fluorescents require special
electronic dimming circuitry usually built into the lamp. Keep in mind that a 70
watt fluorescent is as bright as a 280 watt incandescent.
Fluorescent light uses about 1/4 as much energy as incandescent. Halogen uses
almost as much energy as incandescent. In Australia, incandescents are no longer
sold. They are too wasteful of energy. LED (Light-Emitting Diode)
lamps are not quite as efficient as fluorescents, but they are rugged and last
indefinitely. LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes) are now almost as
efficient as fluorescent. When you read about desk lamps you will come across the
term CFL (Compact Fluorencent). These
are fluorescent bulbs sized and with bases designed to fit in incandescent light
Full spectrum that mimics natural sunlight makes for easier
reading and better aesthetics.
Make sure the bulbs your lamp needs are available from
several sources at reasonable cost. Rona sells a lamp for which you cannot buy a
replacement bulb — a rather expensive disposable lamp.
You don’t want a spotlight that will cast harsh shadows.
You want as large a light-emitting surface as possible with frosted glass to
diffuse the light.
Can you adjust the shade so you get plenty of indirect light, but
not direct from the bulb?
For reasons I don’t fully understand, lamps near computer
desks tend to tip over more often than normal. It could be the tangle of cords,
or the swivel desk chairs, or simply the extreme concentration computer work
demands. You want a broad, heavy base. You can’t evaluate this just from
looking at a picture. You want to go to a show room to check the lamps out, even
if you search for a bargain source later. Consider
floor lamp on a pole. Make sure it is tall enough to be useful.
ceiling style lamp installed on a swag hook that plugs into the wall. You
can adjust the height. This saves cluttering your floor space and desk space
with a lamp stand.
Programmers tend to stay inside too much and hence don’t get enough
natural sunlight. Artificial means to compensate include taking vitamin D supplements
(in the form of fish oil capsules) and using a SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
I chose an Energy Star Torchiere fluorescent lamp, similar to the one depicted on
the right, from Canadian Tire for
It has in built-in electronic dimmer switch.
Look at the bulb. If it does not have a standard screw base, or a stand pair of
fluorescent prongs, you will probably have a very difficult time finding a
replacement bulb. Some Chinese manufacturers design a different geometry bulb with
every lamp. You have the throw away the entire lamp when the bulb burns out. Ott
uses a proprietary pair of prongs. It is almost impossible to remove the bulb from
the lamp without damaging them both. And, of course, you have to buy the replacement
only from Ott at inflated prices. All that is needed in a socket design is a pair
of contacts. The old-fashioned screw base is superior to any prong scheme since the
screw forces the contacts together in many places.
Sometimes bulbs and lamps come with plastic protectors on the contacts. Make
sure you remove these.
When a lamp does not work, it is not necessarily the bulb. Try plugging the
lamp in to a different wall socket that you know is active. Try testing for
AC (Alternating Current) power near the bulb (but
not at the high voltage fluorescent contacts!).
You can improve the conductivity contact and keep the contacts from corroding
by treating with DeoxIT Red.
When you buy a new lamp, buy a replacement bulb at the same time. If one is not
available, it will be even less available later.