keene software

Random thoughts on software, guitar and lighting

October 25, 2008

All about Moonlighting

Moonlighting (also called tree lighting) is a technique where the light is placed near the top of the tree and shines down.  It’s great for getting some soft general area illumination without the glaring effect of flood lighting.  It is best done in trees that are at least 20 to 30 feet tall and in trees that keep their leaves year round.  Here in Dallas, the best type of tree to do this in is the Live Oak but it can also be done in any large tree, including Red Oaks, Burr Oaks and Pecans and Elms.

The picture below is of a Burr Oak in a back yard.  It’s common in the Dallas area to do this type of lighting using a type of bulb called mercury vapor.  It creates a blueish green type of light that is soft and creates similar patterns on the ground.  However, the Energy Act of 2005 stopped the manufacture and import of mercury vapor ballasts (electronics required to ignite the mercury vapor bulbs) starting in January of 2008.  There are alternatives but they all use a fair amount of electricity (typical mercury vapor bulbs are 100 watts).

This tree was lit using a ceramic metal halide bulb (CMH) from Outdoor Lighting Perspectives (www.outdoorlights.com).  It’s only 39 watts and puts out more lumens than a 100 watt mercury vapor bulb.  It also produces a soft white color light so the landscape elements are illuminated in their more natural color, rather than the blue/green tint from mercury vapor.  All in all, a pretty cool effect!

August 30, 2008

New version and new theme

I’ve been using the latest version of BlogEngine.Net and in the process of upgrading to Visual Studio 2008, I reorganized the solution for the whole site.  It’s now simpler to maintain and I’m now on a near-pristine copy of BlogEngine.Net which will make picking up future updates quite a bit easier.  As is usually the case with software, it’s much faster and simpler to implement something the second time around, especially when you don’t worry about maintaining any old data.  So, the old posts and comments are gone.

One interesting problem of note that I ran into while doing this was the blog main page would not load, complaining about not being able to find the Standard theme.  Everything worked fine on my development system but would not work when published out to GoDaddy.  Turns out that when it is running on IIS, the theme of the parent site (in this case,  www.keenesoftware.com) was defaulting onto the blog’s site (www.keenesoftware.com/blog).  The fix is to add a theme=”" attribute on the <pages> tag in the blog app’s web.config file.  Since BlogEngine.Net does it’s own theme handling, I would think this would be the default but it’s not. If you run into this issue while trying to add BlogEngine.Net to your own site as a virtual directory, this should fix it.

I’ll try to keep this blog a bit more persistent going forward so comment away.

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