Monday, January 29, 2007

More Codswallop...

I don't mean to be a complete curmudgeon, but there's this meme going around on Digg these days that says that if Google would just switch to a black background, some huge amount of energy would be saved around the world.

In the case of CRT monitors, this is true, but with the prevalence of LCD displays these days, it's nonsense. LCD displays are backlit with a fluorescent tube which is on, at the same intensity, all the time. A black pixel on an LCD display completely obscures the light coming out of the tube.

Well, you hope it does - that's why LCD makers brag about how black their blacks are - a really good black mask is actually pretty difficult to attain, so most LCDs show black as a sort of vaguely glow-ey grey. Which is why you have to power your monitor off if it's in your bedroom - a completely black screen is still bright enough to keep you awake. And anyway, that actually does save power.

But the idea that all of the web designers in the world should drop all of their aesthetic efforts and switch to pure white-on-black or some other cockamamie idea is going to be a real bummer if it catches on. I've grown to appreciate visual design over the years. I hate to say it, but it's one of the reasons I can't stomach using a Linux box or a Windows box - the design is just too visually unpleasant now that I've been spoiled by Mac OS X. Thanks, Steve. :')


Anonymous Stephen Jacob said...

I couldn't agree more about the horrendous stupidity of the suggestion that people should subvert all aesthetics to save power. I am all in favour of saving power, but ... geez ... there's too little in the way of good aesthetics on the web, and we sure as heck don't need any less. Also, well, as you point out the imagined power savings are dwindling quickly as CRTs get replaced with flat panel displays.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 12:01:00 PM  

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