Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category

I’ve gotten a number of emails, and people seem to be getting excited about a website named blackle.com. I finally decided to look into it, and what I find is a little disappointing.

Don’t get me wrong. Blackle is an ingenious idea… for the founders. It preys on the guilt we all feel as we use more energy and natural resources in order to do what we need to do from day to day. The premise is that by simply changing to a black background, we can each save a little bit of energy each time we use Google. Given how many people use Google everyday, the potentially energy savings are can appear to be high.

Blackle.com is simply a Google Custom Search placed on a black background. Anyone in the Adsense program can get a Google Custom Search bar, and get paid by Google everytime someone uses it. So Blackle is clearly a great way to make some quick cash with only a little effort, particularly if you can get people to use it regularly.

It also preys on our inherent laziness. It’s easy to change our homepage, and so with just a push of the button, we line the pockets of Blackle’s founders.

But is the claim even true? Like all things, not everything is so simple. You will save 5-20% if you are using a old-style CRT monitor,. According to recent data, less than 25% of the web use CRT monitors. If you are using an LCD screen, you might be actually using MORE energy. LCD monitors work by having a continuously on backlight, and energy used to block the light from coming through the LCD screen to our eyes. Some case reports of people testing their own monitors has shown that this energy increase may be measurable. By the way, if you are using a CRT monitor you are also using about 5 times more energy CONTINUOUSLY compared to an LCD monitor. If energy conservation is really your concern, it might be time to switch. LCD prices have come down a lot.

To make things more complicated, the monitor is only a small component of the total amount of energy used when you surf a website. Energy is used by every server, every router, every wire that the data traverses to get to service point and back. So, not only are you sending data packets to the Google search engine server, but also to the Blackle server as well. Google maintains a huge infrastructure of servers placed all over the world so that the closest server will serve up the page to optimize speed. Google also has made multiple efforts to be carbon neutral, and strategically builds server facilities near environmentally friendly energy sources such as hydroelectric power.

Overall, I would only consider using Blackle if you have a CRT screen, and even then I’m not sure it will make much of a difference. I’d suggest that if you feel guilty about the environmental impact you are making on this world (as you should), then I’d suggest getting involved more pro-actively.


Newspaper Articles:

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RSS Video Tutorial

Those who know me probably have heard me go on about how wonderful RSS feeds are.  Most of you respond with a confused look.  To be honest, they are a bit tough to explain in a one go, but this guy gave it a try with a video tutorial on RSS feeds.  Definitely go check it out.

For what it’s worth, my current RSS of choice is Google Reader.

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 For those of you who don’t like to pay attention to contract law, the Windows Vista EULA may prove to be an eye-opener.

A great summary here:


  The terms of the Vista EULA, like the current EULA related to the “Windows Genuine Advantage,” allows Microsoft to unilaterally decide that you have breached the terms of the agreement, and they can essentially disable the software, and possibly deny you access to critical files on your computer without benefit of proof, hearing, testimony or judicial intervention. In fact, if Microsoft is wrong, and your software is, in fact, properly licensed, you probably will be forced to buy a license to another copy of the operating system from Microsoft just to be able to get access to your files, and then you can sue Microsoft for the original license fee. Even then, you wont be able to get any damages from Microsoft, and may not even be able to get the cost of the first license back.

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