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Color

Pantone Announces its Color of 2020

Each year, at this time, Pantone nominates a color — or colors, in the case of 2016 — to represent humanity’s hopes and aspirations for the coming year.

At least, that is what its PR department sends out. In reality, it’s a rather obvious — if highly effective — marketing gimmick to keep the print-design company relevant to design news year-on-year. It’s an arbitrary bit of self-promotion, that does an excellent job of reinforcing Pantone’s position as an authority on color.

This year, Pantone has selected Pantone 19-4052, or “Classic Blue” to give it its colloquial name. It’s described by Pantone as: “Instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.”

pantone_classic_blue

Critically speaking, it’s one of the most mis-judged decisions in the short history of this promotion, and significantly mis-reads the zeitgeist.

At a time when the climate is approaching — or may have passed — irreversible breakdown; when global political debate is moving out of our institutions and onto the streets; when the baby-boomer generation is slowly losing its grip on the reins, and millennials are realizing they’ve reached middle-age; Classic Blue is a color that harks back to a time when we hid our head in the sand and pretended everything was fine. It’s the color of the pre-2008 crash, the color of Facebook pre-privacy scandal, the brand color of your parents’ bank. Classic Blue is about as 2020 as Helvetica.

(There’s only one color that effectively represents 2020, and that’s Cyberpunk Pink, a neon hue that is both retro and forward-looking, cross-cultural, irreverent, and even better in dark mode.)



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What Color Were Early Automobile Tires?

Geek Trivia

What Color Were Early Automobile Tires?

Which Sci-Fi Actor Appeared In The Show That Inspired Him To Pursue Acting?


An early advertisement featuring the Michelin Man
Public Domain

Answer: White

Although it would be easy to assume that the deep black color of modern tires was simply the color that tires have always been, the earliest tires were completely opposite in color. Before the introduction of carbon black as a preservative and strengthener in the early 20th century, tire rubber was a semi-translucent white color that looked quite similar to a gum rubber eraser.

This is also why the Michelin Man, the iconic mascot of the Michelin tire company—seen here in one of his earliest iterations—was depicted in white, a color as far removed from the inky black of modern tires as you can get.





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Yeelight Smart LED Bulb (Color) Review & Rating

We’ve reviewed a lot of smart light bulbs here at PCMag, and while we’ve yet to find one that does it all, the Yeelight Smart LED Bulb comes pretty darn close. It’s dimmable, offers 16 million colors, and connects to your home network wirelessly, without the need for a hub or bridge. It supports Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, and Alexa, Google, and Siri voice commands, and it’s relatively affordable at $25.99. It also offers a user-friendly app that lets you configure lighting effects and create lighting schedules. All this earns it our Editors’ Choice for affordable smart bulbs.

Design and Features

The Yeelight bulb is a dimmable bulb with a 16-million color palette, a 1700K to 6500K white color temperature range, and an 800-lumen brightness rating equivalent to a 60-watt bulb. It has an E26 base and will fit any standard lamp socket. The bulb is 4.6 inches in length and 2.2 inches wide, and has an expected lifespan of 22 years (based on three hours of use per day). Inside is a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi radio that is used to connect the bulb to your home network and mobile app.

Yeelight Smart LED Bulb

The mobile app for Android and iOS is easy to use and offers some neat lighting effect features. It opens to a Device screen with tabs for all of your Yeelight bulbs that contain their name, status (online, offline), and an On/Off button. Tapping any tab takes you to a screen where you can customize the bulb by selecting a color from the color palette, choosing a white color temperature, setting the bulb’s brightness level, and selecting Flow Mode, which runs the color gamut between yellow and blue. Flow Mode settings let you control the flow speed for rapid or gradual shifts from color to color and adjust the brightness level while in this specific mode.

The app also offers preset color scenes such as Sunrise (reddish), Night Mode (dim and warm), Movie (blue), Romance (a gradual shift from dark blue to red), and Candle Flicker (mimics a candle), and there’s a Music Flow setting that changes colors based on music and other sounds using your phone’s microphone. Additional settings allow you to create lighting schedules and set timers to have the bulb automatically turn off after a set period of time.

Yeelight Smart LED Bulb (Color) light scenes

Back at the Device page, there are three buttons at the bottom of the screen. Tap the Scene button to create a one-touch icon to have the bulb turn on or off and change color states. Tapping the Room button lets you create rooms and control multiple bulbs in a group, and the Device button takes you back to the Device screen.

The Yeelight works with Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant voice commands, and you can make it part of your HomeKit home automation system and include it in HomeKit Scenes. It isn’t quite as versatile as Philips Hue bulbs, which work with a variety of smart home platforms including Logitech, SmartThings, Vivint, Wink, and Xfinity Home. That said, you can create IFTTT applets to have the Yeelight integrate with other IFTTT-enable smart home devices such as cameras, doorbells, and plugs.

Installation and Performance

Yeelight Smart LED Bulb (Color) flow mode

Setting up the Yeelight is easy. I downloaded the app, created an account, and verified it via email. I tapped the Device button at the bottom of the screen, tapped Add Device, and selected the LED Bulb (Color) from the list.

Following the app instructions, I screwed the bulb into a lamp socket, tapped Next Step, selected my Wi-Fi SSID, and entered my Wi-Fi password. I then went to my phone’s Wi-Fi settings, connected to the Yeelight SSID, waited around 12 seconds for the bulb to be added to the Device list, and the installation was complete.

The Yeelight delivered rich colors and a wide range of cool blue to warm yellow shades of white light in our tests. It responded quickly to app commands to turn on and off, change colors, and dim brightness levels, and the Flow Mode, Schedules, Timer, and Music Flow features worked perfectly.

The bulb had no trouble responding to Alexa and Siri commands to turn on and off or change colors, and HomeKit scenes worked without issue. I created an IFTTT applet to have the bulb turn red when an Arlo Pro 2 camera detected motion, and it worked every time.

Conclusions

If you’re looking to add colorful smart lighting to your home without having to connect a hub to your router, the Yeelight Smart LED Bulb is one of the smartest bulbs out there for the money. Granted, it doesn’t offer quite as much interoperability with other smart devices as Philip Hue bulbs do, but it’s more affordable and works with the three top voice control platforms and Apple’s HomeKit (unlike our previous Editors’ Choice, the Sengled Smart Wi-Fi LED), and you can make it interact with other connected devices using IFTTT applets. That makes it our new Editors’ Choice for affordable smart bulbs.



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Planning a Fall Color Tour? Time It Perfectly with This Interactive Map – LifeSavvy

The Fall Foliage Prediction Map for October 19, 2019, at SmokyMountains.com.

If you’re a huge fan of fall colors like we are, you definitely want to catch them at the right time. This interactive map ensures you’ll visit your favorite forest when its colors are at their most breathtaking.

The most glorious days of fall color—known as “peak color”—are when the highest number of trees are changing their foliage from shades of green to a rich autumnal palette. The timing of peak color shifts from year to year. One year, it might be the first week of October, but the next, peak color might not appear until the week of Halloween.

So, what can you do to make sure you don’t miss it? When you try to look up random color predictions online, you usually just find outdated information (the color prediction for Colorado in 2017 won’t be much help). Instead, use the Fall Foliage Prediction Map at SmokyMountains.com. Not only is it super easy to use (just move the slider under the map to the date you plan to travel), but it’s based on new data and prediction models that are updated every year. This maximizes your chance to catch and enjoy peak color wherever you happen to be.

For example, if you plan to hit up the M-22—the state highway in northern Michigan voted the most scenic fall route in the U.S.—the Fall Foliage Prediction Map says you should make your trip around October 12 this year.

If you’re interested in catching the show around Gatlinburg Tennessee, though, you’ll want to hold off until around November 9, after the cool winter weather has crept farther south.





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datacolor’s SpyderX Pro Helps You Get Perfect Display Color – Review Geek

Rating:
8.5/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $170

The datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration tool.
Ted Needleman

If the color on your display doesn’t look quite right, it might not be your eyes. Many displays need to be adjusted, which is a process called calibration. The SpyderX Pro from datacolor makes calibration easy!

Here’s What We Like

  • Easy to use
  • Gives the most accurate color the display is capable of
  • Works with multiple monitors and PCs
  • Provides before and after calibration comparisons

And What We Don’t

  • Operating system or graphics card calibration is usually enough for most displays

That’s Not the Right Color!

Most of us have looked at a photo on a monitor and thought, “There’s something a bit off with the color.” It’s especially frustrating when you’ve spent serious money on your monitor and expect near-perfect color reproduction.

While manufacturers have a general idea of the way its monitors display colors, your particular monitor might not conform exactly to the vendor’s profile. This can be because of manufacturing tolerances, or just because the monitor’s response changes as the display and its internal components age.

But how do you know if your monitor is displaying the colors in your file correctly? And if it isn’t, how do you fix it? I tested one solution—the SpyderX Pro calibration tool from datacolor.

Bridge the Gap

Without getting technical, there are times when the software expects the monitor to display a particular color, and the monitor misinterprets that color and displays something close to it. This makes the image appear a bit “off.” Or, the monitor might think it’s displaying the color, but because of the factors detailed above, it’s not. There’s a disconnect between the color values in the file you’re working on, and what you see on the display.

The industry became aware of this pretty early on and developed a method of tweaking the display file, so it aligned better with the actual image file. This was done under the auspices of the International Color Consortium (ICC), and the results are called ICC Profiles. An ICC Profile adjusts a graphic file to the known characteristics of a peripheral device, such as your monitor.

For most people, the ICC display profile supplied by the monitor vendor is sufficient to give you acceptable images. You might not need a more specialized device to get acceptable color.

But if you want the best color output possible from your display, you can create your own display profile. And one of the best (and easiest to use) tools for that is datacolor’s SpyderX Pro.

Another Piece of Hardware?

The SpyderX Calibration tool comes in two models—I tested the more reasonably priced Pro version. But if you really want to fine-tune your display to its absolute best, there’s a SpyderX Elite that’s about $100 more. The only difference between the two models is the software—the calibration tool is the same for both.

The Elite model is marketed toward photographers and other graphics professionals. The Pro model is more of a “prosumer” device, for the serious designer or photographer who doesn’t need all the advanced features of the Elite. It’s available for both Mac and Windows computers.

The calibrator hangs over your monitor, and the software displays test colors. The sensor in the calibrator interprets the test colors. The software then computes the difference between what the color frequency should be and what is displayed. An ICC Profile is created to make the conversion, so each of the basic primary colors (Red, Blue, Green) displays correctly. The custom profile then installs on your computer, and you’re good to go!

Perform a Calibration

The Spyder X sensor hanging in front of a monitor, between two arrows in the Spyder X Pro software.
Position the Spyder X sensor between the arrows the software displays on your screen.

After you install and launch the software, it’s time to position the calibration tool. The small, semi-triangular sensor hangs in front of the screen. It has a lens cover that—when removed—becomes a counterweight for the sensor, so it remains stationary on the screen throughout the calibration process.

The Spyder X sensor with the lens cover removed.
The Spyder X sensor has a removable lens cover that also serves as a counterweight.

The software shows you where to hang the sensor to begin the calibration process, which takes you through a series of operations.

Spyder X Pro software.
The flowchart on the left displays your progress.

As you get started, the software displays a flowchart on the left, which shows where you are in the process. The steps that perform the calibration are in the center, and interactive help is available on the right.

Spyder X Pro software calibration selection menu.
Select whether you want to run a full calibration, a recalibration, or a check to see if your display needs to be calibrated.

You can run a new calibration, a recalibration, or a check to see if you even need to calibrate. Once you’re familiar with it, the entire calibration process only takes about two minutes. So, you’ll probably recalibrate the monitor every time you use the SpyderX Pro.

The Spyder X Pro software "Room Light Analysis" menu.
The ambient room lighting is measured as part of the calibration process.

The sensor measures the light level of the room and walks you through how to use the monitor’s controls to set the brightness. The rest of the calibration consists of a series of screens that flash different levels of the three primary colors. This is the actual process of calibration. The software measures the difference between what your monitor displays and the actual color values.

Spyder X Pro software "Save Profile" menu.
After the calibration process, the software creates and installs a new profile for your display.

After the software flashes all its test screens, it computes and creates a new custom profile for your display in just a few seconds. The software notifies you after it completes the new profile and automatically installs it. Your display is now calibrated and produces much more accurate color.

The screenshots below show examples of colors before the calibration and after.

Two images of four colorful photos grouped together---the colors in the images on the right are noticeably brighter.
Before calibration (left) and after (right).

There’s a subtle, but noticeable, difference in the way some colors are displayed. In the uncalibrated display on the left, the reds and oranges appear muted; they’re noticeably brighter in the calibrated display.

It’s the same in the color panels in the four corners of the color matrix images. If you’ve gotten used to the slightly “off” colors, you might think the calibrated display looks oversaturated at first. It might take some time to get used to the new display response.

The Spyder X Pro software "Profile Overview" color gamut graph.
An optional screen shows you the current color gamut of your display.

Once the display is calibrated, you can see a graphic of the display’s color gamut. This graph shows which colors are in the color space, and which of these the monitor can display, both before and after the calibration. Note that a more expensive ($500-plus) IPS monitor performs much better and usually has a larger color space than a cheap one from a big box store.

You can select which color space you generally work in from the four choices on the right. Most likely, only professional photographers or graphic designers will have much use for this information.

Does Calibration Matter?

Not everyone needs to calibrate their display to the extent offered by the datacolor SpyderX Pro. If you have a cheaper monitor, and you rarely edit images or do any graphic design, this device is probably overkill. The built-in calibration capabilities of your operating system or graphics card will probably serve you well.

But if you’ve spent hundreds (or even $1,000) on a high-end display, you owe it to yourself to make sure it’s functioning as perfectly as possible. Even if you’re not a professional, and you just want the best, most accurate images on your display, the SpyderX Pro is an excellent way to do that.

Rating: 8.5/10

Price: $170

Here’s What We Like

  • Easy to use
  • Gives the most accurate color the display is capable of
  • Works with multiple monitors and PCs
  • Provides before and after calibration comparisons

And What We Don’t

  • Operating system or graphics card calibration is usually enough for most displays





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