pphaneuf: (Angry Tongue)
Two PhD students in economics at Berkeley are studying the effect of daylight savings observance in Australia (which had a partially extended DST during the Olympics of 2000, thus providing useful data on the subject) and are making such shocking discoveries such as "the extra hour of light in the evening is at the cost of an extra hour of darkness in the morning"! No, really? Wow!

More seriously, it would seem that instead of saving anything, it could actually even have had a slight increase in power use. There are also some reports of increased car usage, but I'm finding that a bit sketchy (are people really that crazy? maybe I'm just too much of an optimist).

In any case, at worst, it generated this hilarious comment on good old Slashdot. Heh.

Green CPU

Dec. 11th, 2006 10:03 am
pphaneuf: (Default)
Not so long ago, VIA release the C7-D, calling it the first "carbon free processor". What they actually do is that they estimated how much CO2 emissions a processor would be responsible for during its lifetime (they assume three years) through its consumption of electricity. Then, they work with some regional organizations to "offset" that amount of CO2 through various projects, such as reforestation, alternative energy and energy conservation.

They also have a TreeMark rating to compare that CO2 production with competing products, the C7-D being at 4 trees, while their competitors are at something between 18 and 28 trees.

While I find the TreeMark a bit odd (I'd prefer a more "serious looking" rating like those on large appliances), I find it interesting that a company like VIA seems to think there's a market for what's (most likely) otherwise the exact same processor, but more expensive.
pphaneuf: (Default)
Nicholas Carr wrote about how much electricity does a Second Life citizen use in a year, trying to estimate the electricity consumption per virtual citizen. It comes out close to the Brazilian average (note this is just electricity, not considering cars, heating oil, etc). Translated in terms of CO2 production, it comes to 1.17 tons of CO2 per virtual citizen (a total of 14,763 tons overall), equivalent to driving an SUV for 3,700 kilometres.

It has been pointed out that the consumption of the users' computers is not taken into account, and that the amount of power needed for cooling has been underestimated as well.

Someone commented that using rates commonly found in Texas, it would come out to about $1,500 per server annually, so it's not only environmental, this also comes down to real money. This, I find very encouraging, because it has the airs of a concrete implementation of true-cost economy. Even though it's really far from being true-cost, it gives a plain old capitalist incentive to go easy on the environment that's becoming harder and harder to brush aside.

When you buy appliances these days, you generally see a label rating their energy consumption relative to other devices in the same class, and I don't know about people in general, but I try to pick the A or A+ models, not only because it's the right thing to do, but for the rather self-centered reason that it'll be easier on my bank account.

I hope to see something similar for computers, and hopefully see people and businesses favour environmentally (and thus, financially) friendlier machines.

Epilogue: Think of the World of Warcraft servers now.
pphaneuf: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] caffeinemonkey said, a long time ago, a few things about Mac OS X...

I don't really have much preference between Xft and Mac OS X anti-aliasing, if only that the latter works right away (but this advantage is fading away very quickly).

His comments about playing video, I find a bit strange, because that's one of the first thing I was doing nicely with my Powerbook, playing DivX on the television while doing other stuff on the main screen. Of course, I didn't use Quicktime Player, which wouldn't even play fullscreen and I instantly recognized as useless payware, trying to get you to buy it every other click. I was told VLC was the "plays everything just fine" player for Mac OS X, put it on, and never looked back. And it lets you choose which screen you want it playing in fullscreen mode quite easily. Ok, so there's this funky FrontRow thing, but I'm not at that point just yet.

And like apenwarr, I listen to my music, rather than watch it. But unlike him, I actually uses my laptop to play video, because it's one of the only machine I ever had where it actually worked. I scoff at people wrangling with their Windows video configuration to try and get their TV-out working, where I simply plug it in and it works. Ha!

Also, while I'm a bit annoyed at the slightly out-dated shell environment (hey, at least they're using bash nowadays!), and I won't hang around in it too much, it's a reminder that the world isn't all Linux. Believe it or not, there are still some poor schmucks stuck with Solaris, HP-UX or some other even creepier things, like Windows! *shudder*

I don't use the mouse that much, being more keyboard oriented (I make a poor Mac zealot, at times). When browsing, I keep my left hand on the keyboard anyway, Quake-style, generally to close the current tab quickly, but as a side-effect, I have my thumb on the Command key, so opening in a new tab is quite easy. I actually suspend and resume a lot, as I often use my computer the whole day, a little at a time, when I'm away from power. I love that I can open it and that it comes up quickly enough not to lose my train of thought, so I can look up something, then close it right back.

I use Aquamacs, which can be quite questionable at times, but I manage to do a fair amount of damage with it. I've always tended to use few windows, so the two-layered window management isn't that bad (I actually like that the arrows work, once you go in "alt-tab mode", they don't in most X11 window managers, and I miss it).

Mind you, I have a number of gripes about this stuff, but you know me, I've got gripes about everything. But they're not killers, being minor annoyances at worst (compare this to [livejournal.com profile] azrhey's "Linux laptop", Ubuntu Edgy won't use its wireless card, despite it being supported?). It's not a fantastic development machine, I'd still go with a good Linux desktop workstation for that (the Xcode tools are very sweet, on one hand, but man, where's valgrind?), but it's a nice environment for day to day stuffing around. It works, well enough.

Let's say I generally agree with Tim Bray on that, feeling that Ubuntu and friends are breathing very close to the back of their neck!

Update: Of course, speaking evil about Ubuntu caused [livejournal.com profile] sfllaw to come out and point out that I'm actually a complete moron when it comes to computers. It's amazing that I'm able to figure out how my pants work. When I come to think of it...

EDF bites

Nov. 7th, 2006 10:39 pm
pphaneuf: (Default)
"With great power comes a great power bill." — apenwarr, paraphrasing Spiderman's Uncle Ben.

For those interested in power management, Eric Boyd recently posted some research he did on power consumption of various things in his house, along with cost calculations. Of interest, he looked at what a number of devices consume when in "standby mode" (such as a TV turned "off" or a sleeping laptop).

Google is also looking into reducing their power bill (note that this is for their offices).

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