Monthly Archives: December 2007

One Beautiful System

This person made a nice case for their um…computer? Hmm…its definitely a big sign of ultimate geekiness when one builds a computer case resembling a woman. But its still quiet well done and worth a big mention. See it all at Popuplace.

Case 1

Case 2

Case 3

Advertisements

Eco (and cheap) Cleaning

Our kitchen cleaning, germ fighting, air sanitizing chemicals may do wonderful things for the appearance of our bathrooms, kitchens, or even the air in our house. Or they are maybe coating our homes with crap we would never dream of drinking or breathing otherwise.

Plus, who wants to spend all kinds of money on cleaners? Poor people unite and get these basic ingredients: water, vinegar, baking soda, and any good strong citrus fruit. According to Mark’s Daily Apple, there’s little (or nothing) that can’t be cleaned in your home with these. Use water and vinegar to clean your counter tops. Rub some baking soda in as an abrasive to loosen dried on gunk. Rent a steam cleaner and use vinegar (or use white wine–oh what a waste!) to clean your carpets. A little bit of citrus (squeeze the lemon directly on) can remove nasty grease.

My advise, go with Mark’s ideas but skip the readers’ comments. The basic ingredients listed are all you really need to get your home quite clean. Plus, keeping these few things on hand is pretty cheap. Heck, I even bake a little with baking soda. And white wine sure is tasty.


Wishlist: Monitor Wall

While this is extremely un-green and probably uses as much electricity in a day as I do in an entire month, the geek in me still craves for this kind of crazy setup. Wow. Please, someone, help? Maybe just a couple of monitors? I don’t need all 24, maybe 4, 6, even 8?

Multi Display Setup


No More Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent and soaps are about as good for the environment as pouring bleach down the drain.  While they have improved drastically over the years, detergents are still mostly chemicals, unfamiliar to the natural world.  They are harmful to the environment but have been viewed by many as a necessary evil.  Afterall, even as Earth loving green conscious people, do we really need the smelly hippie image?  No.  I like to smell good, at least decent.

Soapnuts are a great alternative.  Eastern societies have used them for centuries to clean their clothes.  They actually produce a soapy froth due to the saponin found in them.

Soapnut Washing Machine

What’s makes this better?  Electrolux has picked up on it and it looks like its coming to market in a few years as nice washing machine.  The Daily Mail has the whole story.


More on gOS, the little OS that couldn’t

This derivative of Ubuntu, known as gOS, has been perhaps the most popular item on my site and for good reason.  Its new.  And from my own personal expression, its really quite sad.

There are plenty of reviews out there that really examine lots of technical crap with it.  I don’t care.  These are my thoughts having messed with it for as long as the typical user would.  I liked some aspects and I cursed others.

Complaints

  • Ubuntu Repositories turned off by default
    Now this wouldn’t have been a big deal if the gOS repo had something to actually offer.  Basically, if it wasn’t preinstalled, there wasn’t much to add.  I enabled the Ubuntu repos so that I could install something useful.
  • As LinuxPlanet so kindly points out, gOS comes without documentation.
    As I searched for ways to add the eye candy of gOS to my Ubuntu system, I found there really wasn’t anything to even read.  The company offers no real documentation or help.  When you hit their Support Link, you get directed to Faqly.  Everex is beefing up its tech support to deal with the customers of gPC but gOS still offers nothing for its users.
  • Bleeding Edge Hurts Consumers
    If this new kid had just appeared on DistroWatch and wasn’t being sold on a computer system, bleeding edge would be great.  Afterall, someone has to test that software.  But gOS uses Ubuntu which is solid but throws on E17 (Enlightenment Desktop) which is still beta.  If you’re out to get new users, give them something tested and stable.  It will help build confidence with those users.  And consider this market:  Its a $200 PC at Wal-Mart.  It will attract the poor folks who need a cheap simple computer.  GOS is not for them.  Try Linspire, Ubuntu, or Xandros with these folks.  Give them something easy and tested, not beta release eye candy.
  • Don’t use a random photo to say technology is sexy…
  • Don’t sell through Wal-Mart
    If you’re about being a “green” company, Wal-Mart is not the first place to go.  Consider marketing directly to green customers.  Consider Staples (as they have their huge Eco Easy push) or go direct online.
  • Web Apps aren’t ready
    Grouping the distro with Google Apps may seem like a good idea, its not so if there’s nothing offline to work with.  OpenOffice should be installed by default.  (I’m reading now that some people have OOo installed by default, anyone want to confirm?)
  • Poor Hardware Support
    I take full advantage of Ubuntu’s Restricted Driver Manager.  That’s how I make my laptop’s wireless work as well as install the proprietary video card drivers.  Its not there in gOS.  On my laptop, I could not never configure my wifi card correctly.
  • No Recycling Bin
    Enough said?

Compliments

  •  Huge Splash
    First off, this unknown distro has created so much talk its ridiculous.  It came out of nowhere and has been going like crazy.
  • Tight Integration with Google
    The g in gOS is for good or green (depending on what you read), not Google as many had hoped for.  However, gOS still offers all the Google apps as your fingertips.  You do get quick access to Google and other handy links.
  • Nice Eye Candy
    When I first saw this distro, I thought they were copying Mac OS X.  Perhaps they are.  The toolbar at the bottom is certainly reminiscent of OS X.

My suggestion?  Install Ubuntu (or better yet, Linux Mint) and add in Enlightenment.


NatureMill for Easy Indoor Composting

I usually don’t write much about the basics of being green, like composting. When I lived in a more rural area, composting was fantastic. I gardened and left a spot in the corner for yard waste and food scraps. I usually didn’t even mix it, I just let it sit and do its thing. Now I live in a small apartment in the middle of town. There’s a small yard shared with my neighbors. I’m not sure my landlord would be too keen on a compost bin next to the building either. So I need something else.

Vermi-composting, or worm composting, is quite the possibility if you don’t mind keeping worms in your home. Nothing against the squiggly little guys but I can live without that. There are definite benefits if you want to go that route though: the worms eat tons of scraps, produce little odor, and make fantastic compost. They’ve been doing it outside forever. However, I don’t want any loose as I have young kids in the family and they need not eat them. Plus the worms aren’t so swell with animal byproducts (meat, dairy, eggs, et cetera). So scratch that.

Now, if I had $300 lying around (oh, if only I did!) I would really be looking at the NatureMill. The device is really a simple concept. The folks at NatureMill basically took your standard outdoor garden compost pile/heap/bin, stuck it a box, added a little power to mix it up and keep it warm, and made it easy to pull out the finished product. I know, in theory it sounds easy. This composting bin sounds worth the money.

NatureMill Plus

The makers claim that the NatureMill Plus can handle up to 120 lbs of waste every month. And it only draws about fifty cents worth of electricity so its solar/wind friendly (although I imagine if you’re running off renewable energy, you’re probably composting outside). It can also be used outside, just keep the power supply dry.

NatureMill Pro

If you’re doing a lot more heavy use and you don’t think that 120 lbs a month will suit you, go for the Pro. This bad boy isn’t available yet but when it is, it comes standard with a 3 year warranty (the Plus only has 1 year) plus its built stronger for large family or even restaurant use. If you’re worried about somebody tossing it something they’re not supposed to, you can also toss a padlock on this one. The Pro will sell for $400.

 

Pet Friendly NatureMill

Finally for the pet lovers, get the Pet Friendly NatureMill. This version will still take your kitchen scraps but is recommended for your pet’s lovely waste.  Just be sure to use this $400 model outdoors.  Please don’t keep your pet waste inside.  Eck.


Greener Business

Another one from Fast Company, 50 Ways to Green Your Business lends examples of how the big guys did it.

From the article:

38 Paper or plastic? The unsatisfying answer is neither. Retailers including Ikea and Trader Joe’s sell heavy-duty polypropylene sacks designed to be reused. But how do you get convenience-obsessed American shoppers actually to use them again? Timberland‘s (NYSE:TBL) “Trash Is My Bag” totes (made from recycled plastic bottles) cost $5.50 each or come free with a $100 purchase; to encourage reuse–and more shopping at Timberland–each bag doubles as a 10%-off coupon through the end of 2008.

Definitely take tips for your own business, I’m sure you’ll get some lovely insight. I also learned a few things about companies that I never would have imagined. Plus don’t pass up #50 Hire This Guy. I think I want that job.

Update  Sorry about the coloring on the quote.  I hadn’t noticed that the blockquote was a different color.  CSS is great but not when you can’t change it (for a free anyway) and someone else wrote it.