Monthly Archives: January 2008

Responsible Online Shopping

Its often difficult to tell how environmentally or socially responsible a company is without doing some decent research first.   I’m a big fan of online shopping but I like to know that whomever I buy from is Earth friendly and respects their employees and expects the same out of their suppliers.

Scryve helps solve this dilemma.   You download a small add-on to your browser.  When you visit a website, a small icon in the top right corner of your browser displays a number (when available) that gives you an idea of the site’s responsibility.  For example, Staples scored a “7” as the company does push quite an array of green products but doesn’t follow through with their suppliers to check that their labor force is treated properly.  Other sites however, lacked results.  Newegg and Tigerdirect had no score yet.

Advertisements

Everex Cloudbook with gOS

The newcomer gOS is coming to an ultra portable notebook near you soon. Maybe. Someday. Everex, who started and sponsors gOS, did finally officially announce their gOS based notebook. Specs look decent with a Via 1.2 GHz low voltage processor, 512 MB RAM, 30 GB HDD, USB 2.0, and DVI output. What’s really cool is the developers’ version. That version gets a touch screen. Man, those developers get all the cool stuff.

Apparently, the Cloudbook version 2 which isn’t even announced yet will probably have touchscreen standard. Afterall, why mess with it on a developers’ version and not include it later?

Everex Cloudbook with gOS

Oh, did I mention the 7 inch screen? Talk about portable. Imagine the battery life! And to ice the cake, its touting a reported $400 price tag. Finally, ultra portable and ultra affordable. (I didn’t just say that, did I?)

Expect to see the Cloudbook at Consumer Electronic Show. In the meantime, Linux Devices has a little more information on it. Linux Devices was first with the story and supposedly they have an inside source who leaked the information. We’ll see how this goes.
UPDATE! January 3, 2008
Apparently this little notebook isn’t quite the innovation that Everex would have us all believe. UMPCPortal reviewed a Packard Bell Easynote XS in mid 2007. It certainly has a striking resemblance to the Everex Cloudbook, doesn’t it? The only difference that I can discern relates to the OS. Easynote runs Windows XP while Cloudbook while definitely ship with Linux. Definitely check out UMPCPortal though as they have a gallery of the notebook in action and a video demonstrating it.

PB Easynote XS

My one final thought on this whole ordeal for now… Why does this even matter so much to so many geeks out there? Yeah, Linux is good and I want to see it grow but what’s passed that? I have read numerous opinions that this will give the Asus Eee a run for its money. I’m not sure anyone really even cares. These are fringe notebooks. The typical buyer is after a 15″ or 17″ laptop (or desktop replacement). If Everex wants to make a huge splash, then they need to release a powerful, inexpensive Linux based 17″ laptop. After that, Wal-Mart may be fine but they have to get into Circuit City, Best Buy, Staples, and wherever else people shop for good computers.


Cooking: Now Extremely Efficient

Rene Nunez Suarez is responsible for what should help half the planet’s population.  He has invented and patented an extremely fuel efficient wood burning stove meant for cooking.  Reports state this stove uses 90% less fuel than a traditional stove.

 Suarez

Every site I have looked it has praised Suarez over and over again.  They place his stove on a pedestal.   Its amazing.  Now ask someone in a third world about it and see what the answer is.  Suarez who?  What stove?  Save wood?  I wish.

The interesting story is the background to Suarez.  This man hails from El Salvador, lives with his mother, and drives a ’90 Kia.  His wife left him and took the children.  He has spent his life savings on this stove (some reported US$2.5 million).  In turn, he’s won an award and received a patent.  Whoop dee doo.  Who really cares if no one uses the damn thing?

Suarez had a brilliant idea and has thus far lost out.  He wanted to develop a better way to cook and thus save fuel and time for many people, even those in his own country.  Instead, no one is buying the stove.  The poor folk in third world countries haven’t the money to purchase it and their governments are focused elsewhere.  Environmental groups are traditionally cash strapped or uninterested in actually investing in anything that would help the planet.

So I am imploring my readers, if someone out there is looking for a good thing to invest in, consider his stove.  Consider the vast implications before continuing:  If everyone who needed one had one, we could cut half the planet’s cooking related pollution down by around 90%.  In turn, 90% less fuel means 90% more trees spared.  We still need to revive our forests but sparing them is even better.  The environmental impact would be enormous.

According to Treehugger, this device sells for $325.  Perhaps ramped up production and economies of scale would drive the price down reasonably.   Hell, we can build laptops and sell them to the third world but close to $100 each, why not a stove?

If you’re interested, read more at the Seattle Times. If you’re more interested in energy efficient cooking, look at the Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group.