Thoughts on Home Energy Conservation

Recently, a post was made on Slashdot advocating we conserve energy use in our homes. Neat idea, but sadly it was filled with nearly useless time-honored ideas. I’ll briefly go through some of them and suggest better alternatives, and point out some failed thinking in them. You can’t get there if you are heading the wrong direction, and you will take a lot longer if taking a longer route.

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Another Problem with “Global Warming”

In his recent article Seth makes the assertion that Global Warming suffers bad PR due to choices about it’s name as well as it’s lack of immediate impact. I suggest it has an even larger set of problems.

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Will a Mars Settlement be “pristine”?

Among academics, the first Mars settlement will be a pristine haven for the academic elite. In this vision, the settlers will all be graduates of high degree programs: Masters and Doctorates will be the price of entry. Is this a realistic view, or simply another form of utopiate abuse?

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Can Widespread Broadband Save Local Governments Money, and the Environment to Boot?

It is an interesting question. And many of you are wondering what pipe I’ve partaken of in asking it. How can broadband save the environment and money? I ran across an older Real Estate related article on the demand for broadband broken up by categories of use. And I mean an old one, 2002 I believe it was. In it there was an assertion that 17% of broadband demand was for telework – working from home. See, there are the light bulbs.

Let us just run a few quick, back of the envelope calculations. Assume that 15 of that 17% could/would work from home at least 75% of the time. That would mean that using March of 2005’s daily gasoline usage in the US (yes I know about Diesel, but they are fewer. Yes I also know about E85 – much more so than many reading this!) of about 320,500,000 gal/day we could use 24,037,500 less gallons, about 7.5% (assuming I did that right 😉 ). Figuring 20 gallons of oil is roughly a barrel (bbl) of oil, that would be a direct reduction of about 1.2 Million bbl/day (again all general BOTE). We import about 10Mbbl/day. Not too shabby.

To put that into perspective, that is roughly half of our Persian Gulf imports.[1]

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Search Engines vs. “Content producers”

So, a porn company called “Perfect 10” sued Google for including them in search results. Shocking, isn’t it. Detail are given by Marc Gunther at Fortune. In his musings, he seems to think this a good thing. For some reason, people seem to be upset at search engines (and Google being the 800 pound gorilla, it is the target of choice) for making money from “their” content.

To me the first question is “so what”? Why should I care that you make money from my work. It depends on how you do it. If you take my physical property and sell it, you’ve done me wrong. In this case you have stolen from me. But what about linking to my site, where I put “content”? Does that cause me harm? By itself, no it does not.

After all, Google is essentially advertising for us. Whether or not I even try to make money from my writings, software, etc. is irrelevant. They are not selling my work. I put my work on a publically available space and did so knowing this. consider an alternative: can I prevent you from showing the pictures you took of my car at the autoshow? No. Even if you profit from them? No. The history of automobile magazines will bear this one out.

Specifically, the said company had this problem:

Perfect 10’s lawyers argued that the thumbnails, which it notes are quite a bit larger than the average thumbnail, have value to the magazine because it sells small images to a British cell phone company.

Did they put the pictures on the Internet where anyone can see them? Given that Google does not search protected sites, I would say they had to have, unless Google indexed the content from some else who would have been the infringer. Putting content and pictures on the web w/o protection (such as a password) is very much like driving your car on the street versus driving your prototype on private property behind walls to prevent people from seeing it.

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Thoughts on MTA throughput Part 1

A short while ago I was on a conference call with a certain MTA vendor who shall remain nameless (yes that means I am not terribly impressed. Nor even slightly, if at all.). They claimed their server was “500 times faster than Postfix” in “relay only mode”. They also claimed to have a throughput of “two million messages per hour”. On the same OS/Hardware.

Needless to say, as a Postfix admin I was stunned. I was not stunned that anything could be faster. After all I could write a simple relay only MTA that outperforms Postfix. What stuns me is the simple math in the above statement. Combine the claim of “two million messages/hour” with “500 times faster than Postfix” and you can see the source of my astonishment. They have been making this claim for years.

For those who did not just whip out a calculator or do some simple mental math, that means they believe Postfix is only capable of about 4,000 messages per hour. *sniff-sniff*. Yeah, I smell it too.

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Minor Rant: Time Wasting Image Links

Most of us have encountered it on the web. You know it when it happens, and you dread it happening as your mouse hovers above the image to click upon. Some might call it a pet peeve. However, for me it isn’t to that level. It is certainly quite an irritant to say the least (the very least). What is it that clicking that link drives us to shout at the monitor?

It is the dreaded “(click for larger image)” link. It seems that many web publishers/authors have no idea that when they claim such a result from your precious click time we have an expectation of delivery. Namely, we want a larger image.

Not just a slightly larger image mind you (such as seen here: ). We expect an image that is large enough to provide a good view of whatever it is we are looking at. If it will not help me see the picture better do not put the link there!.

I would much rather be stuck with a small embedded image (thumbnail) than to click a link that opens a full new browser window (or tab, if that is your inclination) only to see the exact same image on it’s own, or worse yet … a smaller image.

It is that feeling of betrayed frustration, not to mention the time it takes to close the useless window my system took the time to render. Betrayal? Absolutely. When this happens my expectations were betrayed. And it makes me frustrated. At least once the anger dies down.

Honestly people, we are all better off w/o such less than useless links being there. Just say no to them.