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Planning My Lamp Project, with Pictures

Have I gone on about my lighting plan? No?

It connects a few of my interests and plans.

  1. I'm starting to become a morning person, which gets a bit hard during the winter, when sunrise is several hours away when I get up. Darkness is important for serotonin is important for sleep, but lightness is important for waking up. But sunlight alarm clocks are both expensive and a single-tasker in my mind. Multitasking might be bad for people's heads, but to my mind (and Alton Brown's) our tools should be multitaskers. 
  2. The Android@Home talk at Google I/O 2011 really inspires me, too.
  3. The key to the sunlight lamp is the fade of it. It strikes me that jarring changes from dark to light would not be as good for waking up well as a gentle increase of light. Like sunrise. 
  4. I'm learning about the Arduino and electronics in general and want to develop those skills more. I'm also a programmer, so these things I build, I'd ultimately want to be able to control via web interface and/or crontab.
  5. I like torchiere lamps, the kind that bounce light off the ceiling, but the one I still have is a halogen lamp, and the problem with halogen lamps is that they get crazy crazy hot, and my current one is either broken or has a burned-out bulb. I'd rather replace it.
  6. The means I know so far to control the dimming of lights is phase width multiplexing, which means turning on the LED for a number of milliseconds and then turning it off for another number of milliseconds to make it seem like it's dim, but you know? There exists an entire industry which involves itself with creating of light from electricity, and I'd rather work with that and involve the greatest amount of industry standard and the smallest possible amount of individual invention.
So, I went searching in Menards on Sunday, and I found a few things. There's a torchiere lamp that's $21 and a wall switch that'll dim CF bulbs for $17. (I'm going to have to live with a lamp with a hacked wall switch on it. I'll live.) The CF is $7, but it'll pay for itself over time. The one-gang outlet box will be < $1. Somehow, I'll have to mount it, but I can dream about that later. I'll need to get two switches, I think. One to make work and one to tear down and connect the Arduino to. That makes it $21 + $17 + $17 + 7, which brings us to ~$60. Before the cost of an Arduino. And I'll have to get a shield

Thing is, I get something like this $7 switch and I won't get the graceful increase or the control, but I get something I know works. Maybe I should think this through some.