Well, this is something I didn’t know.
I bought my LCD monitor thinking it would be better than my old CRT (cathode ray tube i.e. fancy television).
And being bright (just like my monitor) I positioned myself a good few feet from it, using two computer desks (one for the monitor, one for me) and a long lead for the keyboard. I can’t understand how people can work six-inches from their screen – and if you’re forced to do that at work you ought to be able to sue the buggers …
Turns out that I still get eye-strain, even though I use ‘Dimscreen‘ and set the background of Word documents to a pleasing green (the ‘green room’ in theatres is theoretically the place where act-ors rest their eyes after the bright lights of stage).
So now, researching this, I’ve come across an article that explains that I’m actually staring at a fluorescent light for many hours a day. Yep, the back lights of LCD monitors are CCRFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps, as described at Wakipedia).
Funny how no manufacturers ever mention this.
Funny how no reviewers ever mention this.
Warning: long digression.
I’ve spent ten years observing and studying the internet. I’ve watched companies grow and fall. I’ve watched ludicrous decisions being made, I’ve watched the old search engines in all their stupidity (pre-Google), I’ve watched the decay of Yahoo!, I’ve observed the shenanigans of Microsoft and the growing amorality of Google and the downright incompetence of E-bay (which only survives because there are no competitors).
And I’ve watched the hordes of venal fast-buck merchants throwing up blogs and selling their souls for a few bucks. I’ve read their fake reviews (at one time a search for Product + Review would throw up useful information, but not any more), I’ve observed the shoddy (no, that should be ‘shifty’) affiliates and all the tricks they get up to, I’ve watched the so-called ‘ethical’ affiliates deluding themselves that their polite con-tricks hurt no-one (e.g. suckering in niche authority figures to write articles for them, knowing that these experts will proudly tell everyone that they’re on a blog! On the internet! Link to it!)
I’ve watched the creeping and crawling and fake-sincere comments on blogs, I’ve watched the reputable authority sites – big brand names – filling their authority pages with junk adverts and meaningless SEO plays, I’ve observed ‘upright’ bloggers closing their eyes to the scammy products they link to. Everywhere I’ve looked there’s been deceit and decay.
And I’ve been on forums and I’ve observed forums, and I no longer go to forums because I can’t stand the noise and the authoritarian/always right/well-meaning-but-hopeless (delete as applicable) moderators and administrators, and the fast-buck/useless/social-butterfly/nasty (delete as appropriate, the list could go on) people who flock to them (or used to flock to them, FaceBook has a lot to answer for) and the meaningless relationships with people you’re never going to meet in real life and who pretend to like you but don’t.
In other words the internet is great for exploring all of human nature (avoid the darker places – there’s plenty to learn in the lighter places ).
You can learn as much in ten years of observation of the internet as you could in twenty or thirty years of working full-time in a business in the pre-internet days.
So this brings me back to LCD monitors.
Yes, it does.
Because I’ve become cynical, very cynical – and although there are good companies out there (even large good companies) I’ve learnt that our human nature is to tell lies or half-truths, or to omit truths, or to delude ourselves into believing that we’re not doing anything wrong, no, not really, not at all.
And I lie, and tell half-truths, and omit truths, otherwise I wouldn’t recognise it.
So when I find out that I’ve been staring at a fluorescent light for the past few years my anger soon enough slipped into a weary acceptance, a ‘here we go again’ resignation. The one thing I’ve learnt about marketing is that soon enough it descends into lies and selling our souls. Every mega-corporation in the world lies through its teeth. It omits to mention the slave labour in a far-off distant country, the resource exploitation, the political lobbying that subverts our democracies, the environmental destruction, the union-bashing - hey, the list is too long, and we all know how it works. And even small companies think it’s clever to act like weasels.
So LCD monitors aren’t good for us.
All right, maybe they’re good for you, but they’re not good for me. My local library has fluorescent lights (we’re meant to be able to read in a library, aren’t we?) and I have to sit by the window to read when I’m there.
You might find that staring at a fluorescent light leaves you feeling tired. You keep yawning. Your eyes hurt. Your concentration’s gone.
In short, your health has suffered.
My health has suffered.
Some people are so ‘allergic’ to fluorescent lights that they quickly get hyper-sensitive to them (read one of those links above, and look around a bit more on the internet).
And yet we’re stuck with numpty (that means foolish) manufacturers churning out their products, and endless numpty reviewers across the internet praising them!
That is all.