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Sour Apples



I’m surprised and disappointed that Apple, the emblem of hip, has trotted out this moldy hunk of marketing copy cheese.  And with the new generation of iMacs, the minimalist aesthetic seems to be treading into “cold and barren” territory. This looks like the machine Mussolini would use. Come to think of it, same goes for the tag line.


Power: Greater Effienciencies vs. Greater Demand

Speakers at yesterday’s CIRCA ’07 conference in Saratoga Springs talked about the power dynamic, specifically that each new generation of microprocessor consumes far less power, but that total demand will continue to increase as computing functionality extends into ever more areas of life.

This reminded me of the One Laptop per Child piece that aired Sunday on 60 Minutes. I’ve heard a lot about the program, but wrongly assumed that a $100 laptop (currently $150 w/ $100 the target unit price when they hit their desired scale) would be a pretty basic affair. Actually, to meet the demands of kids in developing country, it has to be a pretty sophisticated little machine. Among other things, its CPU uses about 1/10 the power of a typical laptop. That’s impressive. But that’s still a huge increase in absolute power usage, given that these are all new users. These kids aren’t swapping power-sucking Dell’s for the OLPC machine. But…the likelihood that they’ll be powered by the fossil-fuel-burning grid is pretty slim, since functioning outlets can be few and far between in the developing world. So it’s designed to be human-powered via crank or pulley.

And that put me in mind of a piece I read earlier that day in the Sunday Times Magazine’s green-design issue that looks at the eco-friendly lifestyle of Ed Begley Jr. The most interesting part:

Exercise routine: Every stationary bike in America is plugged into the wall the wrong way. They are using power! Mine does the reverse. I generate enough power from 15 minutes of biking to run my computer all day.

Imagine the reductions in both power consumption and ill-health if we all hooked our computers up to exercise bikes?

Up(s) and Downs for Valley Chip Making


By Slide on Flickr

UP: IBM will build the East Fishkill-manufactured Cell chip into its new “Gameframe” mainframes, allowing for hundreds of thousands of gamers to interact simultaneously in heavy-duty 3D universes without any hiccups.

DOWN: ‘AMDs financial woes and resultant cost-cutting raises questions about status of its plans to built a $3.2 billion chip plant in Saratoga County.

DOWN: Poughkeepsie-based Schott Lithotec will shut down production next month, laying off 74: “The nation’s only maker of a type of photoblanks used in making microchips, is facing intense pricing pressure…” (Poughkeepsie Journal).

Postiecon sets an example for…tech conferences?

The most interesting thing about the speaker list for Postiecon is not that Robert Scoble is the keynote.

For all the grief I and others have given PayPerPost, the service that pays people to blog about its advertisers, it seems that the company is in a position to turn the wagging finger back on its critics. Yes, many of the same people who say that PayPerPost runs counter to all that is good about blogging and degrades the blogosphere and its Posties in the process, are the ones who always lament the preponderance of white guy speakers at conferences. And yet Postiecon features a speaker list that has more women than men and more overall diversity than you’ll typically find at tech/social media conferences. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but good for PayPerPost.

TechValley Links

  • And then there were three. Finalists for next month’s $100K Tech Valley Summit B-plan competition announced.
  • Who knew? There’s a Poughkeepsie Road in San Jose, CA which brings you, not surprisingly, to a (former) IBM campus.
  • Speaking of IBM Poughkeepsie…buildings there, along with nuclear plants and the Vice President’s house, are among those in the U.S. at least partially obscured in Google Maps. (Wikipedia via Justinsomnia)

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