Technical Lighting Help

Please Read the Instructions!

I learned something this week.

I’ve always thought it odd that instructions on whether or not to shake a product before use were buried in the fine print of a label on the back of a container. I thought it had reached the height of lunacy when I grabbed a can of cooking spray and “read” that I should aim the nozzle, THEN shake the can. It irritated me so, I sent a photo (below) to a friend. In the nicest way possible, he told me, I hadn’t read the instructions.

Did you notice, “…toward red mark on can?” I didn’t!

Instruction step #1 does in fact instruct the user to point the nozzle, but I apparently did not read the remainder of the sentence, “…toward the red mark on the can.” My friend helped me understand that inside the can, there is a hose that brings the cooking spray up into the nozzle and it has been intentionally engineered longer, to extract every last drop from the corner, when the can is tilted during use. By aiming the nozzle toward a red mark on the lip of the can (that I, for the first time found) the entire content of the can will be consumed.

Why didn’t I take as much care with the instructions as my buddy? I was in the middle of making dinner, quickly grabbed the can while the other hand was likely balancing some other part of the meal. A quick glance and bang. I’m done. He saw the second part of the sentence. He also went online and researched the exact reason why it was so important to align the nozzle and the now completely visible “red mark” on the can.

In the process of writing the many blog posts here, I’ve made a big deal out of the importance of doing things according to “best practices” and in accordance with what experts have found to be the most efficient. I have essentially asked each and every reader to “Read the Instructions!” but haven’t been following that same advice when I am dealing with a product that isn’t my core competence.

Likely, we all do this. The plumber probably rolls his eyes when he sees yet another clogged drain and the electrician shivers when he sees an extension cord plugged into another extension cord, under a rug with a splitter on the end. My friend spent a career that included among other things, technical writing and editing. He has been trained to actually read, and actually write (not glance!) at what the author intended. He quickly picked up on what I missed. The rest of us want everyone else to be as sensitive as we are when it regards our knowledge specialty. That typically doesn’t happen.

I was asked by an artists to visit her studio and provide comment on her lighting. She had a feeling something was “off.” As soon as I walked into the space, I cringed. She had replaced all of the lighting with “daylight” LED lighting bulbs. Daylight sounds great to everyone who is not a lighting person. Mother Nature has determined that daylight will be VERY blue, so her studio was extremely blue. All was still not lost. I asked if the bulk of her work was installed in exterior locations. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Most of her work was traditional in nature, warm in color and typically found itself in interior locations. I suggested better lamping options.

Before leaving, I asked how she came to buy these particular lamps. They were on sale. She has the room illuminated for long periods of time while she works. LED consumes less energy. She followed all the instructions, except for those dealing with the color of light. Like me and cooking spray, she knew what a light bulb did and she knew she was consuming more than the average amount of power. She also understood she should find a more efficient way. As I ignored or overlooked, “…toward the red mark on the can,” she glanced over the Color Temperature and Color Rendering Index on the light bulb carton.

Saying “read the instructions” sounds a bit pedantic, but it does make a difference. It’s the reason you are reading a blog post about lighting and probably a reason I have a job. From this point forward, I will try to be more understanding toward those who fail to aim the LED nozzle toward the red mark, as instructed.

Now I just need to get manufacturers to more prominently place “SHAKE” instructions on cans.

2 replies on “Please Read the Instructions!”

I always wondered why the daylight bulbs were so blue, even in the Kelvin unit of measurement, it never appeared blue to me, but I must admit, before I became a qualified interior designer, I thought that daylight was the bulb for me! No more!

Liked by 1 person

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