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What does thinking environmentally mean?

Posted by admin on Jul 4th, 2016
Jul 4

Normally I don’t walk around town much, but due to a change in life recently I’ve been doing a lot more walking over the past two weeks. The city where I live now is not where I’ve spent most of my life. I grew up in a big city where people still say “Thank-you” when you hold the door open for them, where others hold a door open for you, and you can say “Hello” to random strangers on the street and they will respond with similar greeting and a smile. What I’ve come to realize over these past two weeks is that I now live in an city where most people are seemingly threatened by a stranger who says hello to them – especially if there is eye contact (I test this theory on every person I come across on my walks), they will walk down the middle of the sidewalk and force others to move out of their way, they don’t give a second thought leaving their personal mark where ever they go (a mess for someone else to clean up), and that drivers usually feel that they always have the right-of-way. Not to disparage everyone here – I have come across some people that will say hi, motorists who will yield to pedestrians, and those who not only clean up after themselves – but will even make the effort to separate trash and recycling. From my experience though, those people are very much an anomaly here.

Why am I telling you this? It’s because I’ve been thinking about what causes people to think environmentally. The first reasons that may come to mind is to keep the planet healthy and to leave a future for our children. I believe it goes deeper than that – I believe it starts with caring about humanity. What does humanity mean to me? Consideration for those around you, feeling empathy, that the most important person is not oneself, and contributing to the community positively in whatever way we are best equipped to do so.

One point of self-reflection for me to mull over though, and somewhat of a disclaimer – I’ve come to realize that once an opinion is formed around a particular subject, sometimes we (I?) tend to discount and turn a blind eye to the positives around that subject and use the negatives to validate opinions. Taking that into consideration I feel compelled to state that the examples of my recent observations should be, mostly, taken with a grain of salt, and I in no way intended to offend anyone.

Motorcycle or public transportation

Posted by admin on Apr 16th, 2015
Apr 16

To get me back in the swing of updating my blog again, I thought I’d throw out a question for anyone who has an opinion about it – is it more eco to ride public transportation or a motorcycle?

I know that’s somewhat of a nebulous question since there are several types of motorcycles and several public transportation systems out there. Let me add a personal scenario to this to at least cover one aspect. I have a 2014 Harley Street Glide; it gets around 44 mpg and has a catalytic converter (typically unusual for a bike to have one normally). Seems efficient, at least in todays world. To take a bus for my 22 mile commute it would take about 90 minutes and I would have to transfer at least once, but i believe it’s twice iirc. Time aside, I’m curious if the energy consumption would be more efficient one way or the other.

Anyone have an objective viewpoint on this subject?

I’ll be back at my projects again soon

Posted by admin on Aug 14th, 2014
Aug 14

We’re moving from an apartment to a house next month, finally. The house will afford me the ability to start getting back into my eco-projects again, and I’ll be able to start posting updates and project details like I used to a few years ago. I’m really looking forward to it. I really want to focus on alternative energy, water conservation (serious drought here in Los Angeles!), and low power cooling techniques. Check back soon to see what’s new at!

Replace your computer with a Raspberry Pi – phase 2

Posted by admin on Dec 25th, 2013
Dec 25

As promised *here*, here is the comparison between running a desktop and a raspberry pi. My raspberry pi setup is as such:

  • 2x raspberry pi’s
  • 2x external usb hard drives – one ssd, one sata
  • 1x 8 port 3.0 usb hub

Network hub is not measured in this test… Here are the results for the pi’s:

  • Time measured: 236 hours
  • Total KWH consumed: 2.34
  • Amp draw (constant): 0.14
  • Volts (constant): 120.1
  • Watts (constant): 10

Compared to the desktop:

  • Time measured: 143 hours
  • Total KWH consumed: 12.34 KWH
  • Amp draw (constant): 0.78
  • Volts (constant): 118.5
  • Watts (constant): 88

If, and it’s a big if, if the raspberry pi had an ARM v7 processor instead of the v6 then it could truly replace a desktop since then it would be able to run flash (no flash available for the v6 ARM processor unfortunately). But, as we move more and more to HTML 5 then this dependency will be less and less. As you can see, it is far more economical to run a raspberry pi – at least for the non-gamer 😉

Replace your computer with a Raspberry Pi – Phase 1

Posted by admin on Nov 11th, 2013
Nov 11

Back in February (only a few short months ago….) I stated I wanted to find out if it was possible to Replace your computer with a Raspberry Pi. I’ve been using my two raspberry pi’s since last February and replaced my former desktop, but never set about to measure the difference in power consumption – until now. I hooked up a kill-a-watt to my desktop at work, relatively comparable to the system I was using at home, and here are some of the consumption stats:


  • Time measured: 143 hours
  • Total KWH consumed: 12.34 KWH
  • Amp draw (constant): 0.78
  • Volts (constant): 118.5
  • Watts (constant): 88


Next week I’ll measure the same data on the raspberry pi’s as a full unit (i.e. both RasPi’s, usb hub, and external hardware plugged in) and update.


Site moves

Posted by admin on Aug 30th, 2013
Aug 30

I’ve had to move my blog a few times recently for various reasons. The last location was an AWS micro instance that just couldn’t keep up with running several blogs and a mysql server (yeah, well duh….). It limped along as valiantly as it could but I’ve finally found a new home for my blogs that will hopefully remain home for the indefinite future. It should also be running a lot better, and I hope to start updating more frequently as well.

Replace your computer with a Raspberry Pi?

Posted by admin on Feb 25th, 2013
Feb 25

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be working on replacing my full sized desktop computer, that used a 500w power supply, with a couple of credit card sized full function computers called Raspberry Pi. This little guy won’t be able to fully replace my desktop or laptop, but only because flash for web browsers doesn’t work on it because it hasn’t been compiled (nor will it ever, apparently) for the ARM V6 processor that the Pi comes with. The up side, though, is that the Pi’s are rated for 5V and .5-.7 amps – which should be well below the power requirements for my desktop.

I’m going to post a full update on what I did with them and which accessories I used. I’ll also show what the power consumption savings is by doing this. To be fair, I’m not a normal computer user…I don’t play video games usually and I run linux everywhere I possibly can. I don’t need a fast CPU generally and I plan to use multiple Pi’s to accomplish what my desktop did. Updates forthcoming.

Why, and how, I shave in the shower

Posted by admin on Jun 6th, 2011
Jun 6

“What!?!”, you may say. That sounds pretty non-eco, right? Lots of water being wasted…just down the drain. I’ve heard over and over again that shaving in the shower is bad for the environment. Well I’m here to tell you that it’s much more eco than you may think, if it’s done the right way. I’m not saying I’m doing it the best way possible, just the best way possible with the knowledge I have so far.

Here’s the jist of the thought process, and the personal results, from this “project”. Whiskers can be, let’s say, stubborn. When we use hot water they get less stubborn. The ideal place to shave, then, would be in the shower – right? All the hot water, and steam, this all makes the whiskers much easier to shave. If we make the whiskers easier to shave then the razor won’t get dull so quickly. Hopefully we’re all on the same page so far.

I have been shaving in the shower for the past 16+ years, based off of a suggestion from a co-worker back in 1994. The thing that I’ve noticed since I’ve been doing that is that my disposable razors have been lasting 2-3 months. My wife bought me a pack of 50 disposable razors from Costco almost six years ago, and I just got rid of the last one. That averages to one razor every 6 weeks. Some my wife used and some I could only use once or twice for various reasons, so the numbers might seem off, but don’t freak out over the math ;). I’ve recently been privy to information from current co-workers that they can’t use disposable razors for more than 3-4 uses. Wow. Now to be fair, I only shave every other day, and have done so for the past 16+ years, because I never seem to get a job that requires I present myself in a clean-cut fashion on a daily basis. That’s an advantage to working in the tech industry.

When I started learning about how to reduce my environmental footprint, and then started using the 5 gallon bucket in the shower (the 5th paragraph down) it made me feel like I was making a difference, albeit in a small way. My shower water collection has progressed, changed, and matured in several ways (which I’ll discuss in a later post) and now I think it’s pretty close to being somewhat mature. I collect the shower water the same as I’ve always done, but now when I shave I use a cup or mug to collect a small portion of hot water, then turn off the shower, then I shave – rinsing the razor in the water in the cup, then turn back on the shower. Because of this, I save even more water, minimize the disposable razors I put in the landfill, and get a better shave than I would if I had used the sink. Oh, and when I do dispose of the razor I remove the head from the handle and recycle the handle. I actually don’t know if I can recycle the head of the razor or not – let me know if you know the answer to that.

So what are you doing to save water? I’d be curious to hear.

Workplace eco mentality

Posted by admin on Apr 20th, 2011
Apr 20

I’m sure I can’t be the only one that has a certain level of frustration with how the general mentality of the workforce is so lackadaisical toward environmentalism. Where I work, there are several recycle bins for cans and bins for paper – but what gets put in them? Trash. Grease stained boxes from lunch, the single use coffee packets, spent non-recyclable packaging, etc. The other thing that gets me is that people will turn on every available light whether or not they need it. I’m constantly turning off two of the three light switches in the break room, which reduces the available light only slightly.


So because of this, I’d like to pose a question. Is it possible to motivate people to think even a little more about the benefits and need for thinking more environmentally in the workplace without sounding preachy? There are plenty of things in place where I work to recycle, and using a light switch is pretty easy, so it must just be a matter of caring. I make light comments when I see the opportunity, but it really needs to be more of a thought/life process change, than the random jibing by a co-worker to encourage green thinking.


Post comments if you have suggestions on effective ways to “educate”.


Datacenter efficiency

Posted by admin on Apr 18th, 2011
Apr 18

I’m glad to see there are more and more trends toward making computing datacenters as power efficient as possible. There are options now for lower power consumption servers, more datacenters are using solar and alternate cooling methods to further reduce their carbon footprint, and then there is Facebooks datacenter – which is described as the most energy efficient in the world. Nice. Here’s a link to more information – Facebook Datacenter.

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