Eat that, Greenpeace

There’s another chapter in the long, long, battle between Greenpeace and everyone, including all electronic companies.

Recently, Apple fell on Greenpeace’s scale of electronic companies, despite the fact that Apple has eliminated lead, PVC, harmful fire retardants, and surplus packaging from all their products. <!– more –>
Now, Apple has partnered (again) with Paperform to make the new iPhone 3G packaging.  PaperFoam is a nearly carbon-neutral packaging that can be used for electronics and CDs/DVDs.  The packaging is also lighter, so it ships using less fuel.  It is also completely recyclable with normal paper curbside recycling.

Greenpeace may have it out for electronic companies, (and they may have a point, no matter how misguided), but I understand that technology is about neutral.  It does take more resources to make and run technology products, but those products also save as much, if not more, energy than they use.

Electric Cars May Not Be The Best

DYKElectric cars seem to be the next big thing in enviro-friendliness.  But consider this…  If you get your electricity from a coal burning power plant, a gasoline automobile that gets 40 MPG is comparable to an electric car as far as the environment is concerned.

<<<MATH ALERT>>> A normal electric car takes 2,800 BTUs of energy to go a mile.  A gallon of gas produces about 125,000 BTU’s.  Divide by 20, and a gasoline car that gets 20 MPG needs 6250 BTUs to go the same distance.  That’s two and a half times more pollution.  Drive a 15MPG SUV, we’re talking 8350BTUs!

Up that mileage to 44 MPG, and we’re talking the same amount of fossil fuel energy to run an electric car or an efficient gasoline automobile.

What do you take from this?  If your neighborhood gets it’s electricity from a clean plant, be it an updated coal plant, natural gas, hydro- or solar- power, you’re better off with an electric.  If you’re like 85% of the country and get your electricity from coal, stick with a gas-sipping hybrid or compact.

iPhone 3G is here

Sort of...

Being an out-of-the-loop basic cable carpenter with a penchant for expensive gadgets, I was not there. But, thanks to sites like Engadget , and twit.tv (thanks, Leo) and Geek Brief (thanks, Cali!)streaming on Ustream , I got a play by play of what went on.  It’s like being there, but I can’t see anything, and I don’t need to wear pants.

PS3 + XBox 360 = 9 Refrigerators

According to Intology, who is quoting an Australian company called Choice, Sony’s Playstation 3 console is an energy hog. Even if you aren’t playing it, when it’s on, it consumes the power of 5 refrigerators. Microsoft’s XBox 360 consumes almost as much power as the PS3.

Why is this important? Well, it’s always good to save energy. The Playstation 3 is currently the lowest cost, and most popular way people all over the country watch Blu-Ray movies. Some people even have PS3’s just to watch movies, and never even play Rock Band. (Don’t ask me why. Rock Band, well, rocks.)

There are hundreds of thousands of Playstation 3s sitting in the entertainment centers of hundreds of thousands of homes. Sitting there with the power switch on. Turn them off, people. I’m not talking about going into standby. I’m talking about reaching around to the back of the console, and flipping the actual power switch. Do it. Otherwise, it’s like adding <strong>MILLIONS</strong> of refrigerators to the energy stream.

I do it, now. I didn’t before, I’ll be honest. I like that the PS3 updates itself, and it’s always ready to play a game or watch a movie. Switching it off means I have to wait for it to boot up and update itself before I can watch or play. But this 2 minutes or so of my life every few days is worth it. A PS3 costs an average of $250 a year to operate if you leave it on all the time.

Turn it off, pocket the money, and after a year, buy a Wii!

Bamboo in a notebook

According to Electronista, Asus is rumored to start making laptop and computer cases out of bamboo. Makes sense, really. Bamboo is a durable, resiliant material. It dissipates heat and is easily formed with moisure, heat, and high pressure. It’s also biodegradeable and renewable. If this works, and Apple catches on, I’d absolutely buy a MacBook Bamboo.

Jimmy is now on twitter!  Join twitter at twitter.com and follow me at http://www.twitter.com/jimmylittle

What is twitter?  Twitter is a service for people to connect using short, 140 character messages.  Sending a twitter message (a “tweet”) can be done from the web, a twitter desktop application, or through a mobile phone.  I’m tweeting from my iPhone a couple times a day.  If you’re a trusted friend, you’ll get all my tweets.  Other people will get public messages, and notes about cool and interesting tools, gadgets, and products I see throughout the day.  Join twitter.  You follow me, I’ll follow you.  It’s like talking, without all the awkward silences.

A Power Strip Is More Powerful Than You Think

Did you know that putting electronic equipment like DVD players, VCR’s, game consoles, and even coffee makers and toasters on a separate power strip can save hundreds of dollars a year on your power bill?</p>

Most electronics suck power 24/7. They're called power vampires. If you add a "green switch" to your appliance garage or entertainment center to cut power to things your not using, you can save power. That saves the planet and your money. Be sure to leave your Tivo on, though. Don't want to miss the next episode of House or Don't Sweat It, right?

Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

It's All Too Much

by Peter Walsh

Some of the tips in this book are flat out ridiculous, but if you’re looking to declutter, it’s a good start.

Whether it’s tidying up or tiny-house living, the decluttering revolution is taking America by storm. In It’s All Too Much organizational expert Peter Walsh reveals the tools for taking control of your physical—and emotional—clutter in order to reclaim your life.

Water Bottles are Bad

Over 25 billion (with a B) plastic water bottles are tossed away each year?  It requires about 1.5 million barrells of oil to produce these bottles, and at todays prices, that’s over $1,665,000,000 in crude.  Ditch the single serve bottles and opt for a water cooler.  Its cheaper, and since those 5 gallon jugs get sanitized and reused, it’s greener.  Better yet, break out the Brita.  Filtering your own water saves even more green.  Just make sure to use a stainless steel or Nalgene water bottle for those refills; regular plastic bottles can harbor bacteria that could make you sick.

Hey Mr. Green

A compilation of Bob’s column. Basically a “Dear Abby” for environmentalism.

When is the right time to replace an old refrigerator? Is it okay to knit a sweater with acrylic yarn? Is it more environmentally correct to buy beer in bottles or cans? For the last several years, Bob Schildgen’s popular “Hey Mr. Green” column has tackled real-world questions from real people. Readers trust his answers, which are backed by Sierra Club’s research, but they also enjoy his realism and irreverent humor. This book distills the best of the column into one enormously useful and entertaining resource. It’s organized by subject — household issues, food and drink, transportation, reuse and recycling, and “big picture” environmental questions — making it easy to find answers to common questions. Whether puzzling over the intricacies of product life cycles or taking a reader to task for blasting his air conditioner, Hey Mr. Green is an indispensable, opinionated, and authoritative guide to minding one’s environmental footprint.

Analog is dead.

As of February, the FCC has killed analog cell phone service. The obvious question is, “Who cares?”

Plastic Lasts Forever

Every bit of plastic ever created, EVER, is still on the planet? That’s over 100 billion tons of it. About 15% is recycled, and the rest is in the landfills and oceans. Even biodegradable plastic takes years to dissolve, and that’s under ideal conditions. Under a landfill or under water, where there is no oxygen or sunlight, the plastic will take millions of years to break down. MILLIONS.

Happy Birthday iPhone - In June. Why the early celebration? On March 6th (a week late, I might add), Steve Jobs from Apple had another event. This time, he introduced a roadmap for the iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK). I’m a little disappointed, I must say. Last fall, he promised the SDK would be out in February, and now he comes out the 6th day of March and says the third party apps won’t be ready until June.