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Jun. 22nd, 2001 | 12:43 am

I recently caught myself reflecting on my desire for more bits of technology. And wondered if I was returning to the consumerist fold. The small single board computer that I bought recently was part of a recent spat of purchases. My justification was that since california has a power crisis investing in efficient equipment was a good thing..

The power generation for my previous computer would produce about 1700 pounds of CO2 for 24/7 service, the new computer about 260. (The previous system was using about 130 watts, the new about 30.)

On the other hand do I actually need to be hosting web sites and email off of my home computer? Using no computer would produce no CO2. But still I fork out quite a bit of money so I can keep my little toys running. I'm just trying to minimize my environmental impact, while enjoying my tech toys.

I currently have a temperature sensor plugged into my computer and, I want to pick up a few more temperature sensors and perhaps a humidity sensor or two. With that I can plot what the current environment is like inside and outside of my apartment is. Going even further I had an idea to put together a sensor that roughly determines how much power a device is using, with that and some software I could set up my website to give a rough estimate of my current power usage and from that my current CO2 emissions.

Though is there really a point to this? I think I may be doing it just because I can.

I suppose with a good data collection scheme I could evaluate how well various improvements to my weatherizing project are working. If I successfully documented what I was doing I would be providing a resource for the net.

On the other hand shouldn't I be working harder at getting myself out of debt? And although I've been collecting data I haven't updated my website to provide any way of displaying it.

The frustrating part is once you've started a project there's the temptation to keep going, even when you need to wait for your next round of funding. Right now I really want to switch my new computer to solar power, my best guess is that will cost around $1000 USD. Expensive, but manageable for me.

But is this really a good way to be spending money? Once debt free, assuming that I'm not buying large purchases (like solar panels), each month that I work produces enough money for two months of living expenses.


Sometimes I think I can just get caught up in worrying about something without there really ever being a possible conclusion.

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Comments {3}

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from: soulsong
date: Jun. 22nd, 2001 04:17 am (UTC)

I empathise completely.

Also, be aware that when you're debt free, none of these issues really go away. For example, it may be true that every month I work today will pay several months of living expenses from when I was in my early twenties (I earn five times as much as I did back then after all) but I still don't seem to be in any rush to give up my job and live on the savings I've built up - even though they're equivalent to 10 years of UK welfare payments. In the absence of anything 'amazing' to do, accumulating wealth seems to be the only game in town. No surprise that not spending money while earning a lot became my modus operandi. I guess I like (a) Not having to worry about money, and (b) having lots of options, better than (c) being job free.

They say you should make hay while the sun shines. What if the sun never stops shining?

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(no subject)

from: anonymous
date: Jun. 27th, 2001 11:09 am (UTC)

*giggle* I thought you would like this!
It's really cute!
Not very practical, but really cute!
I wonder if you could attach it to batteries and maybe a solar panel. Maybe one of those freeplay radios! ;)


I have a groovy little notepad computer, An old Amstrad NC100, it runs off 4AA batteries and apparently they last a long time, although I have never tried it yet. Terribly old technology, it's based on a z80 processor at 4mhz or something. It was £10. I always think that I probably wouldn't want to do much more than text editing anyway for a lot of things. Its probably less powerful than my little personal organiser but then it has a real keyboard so I can touch type. Yay! :)

I can sit and write my stories on it and not worry about electricity!

I'm going to get a solar battery charger for it too I think! :)



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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Jun. 27th, 2001 07:20 pm (UTC)

Okay that little computer is really cute, And I thought my laptop was small and efficient.

A laptop that runs off of 4AA batteries? Hard to believe.

Hmm... Now that I think of it, a modern digital camera probably has more circutry in it than a Z80. And they do run off of 4 AA's

I can understand the need to touch type, I've got a really small laptop and though I can use the keyboard for a day or two, the insides of my wrists start to hurt. So I attached a full sized ergonomic keyboard to it for at home and work.

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