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Nest: Thermostat reinvented, the Apple way

Posted on Friday, October 28th, 2011 at 4:08 am

Nest Learning ThermostatLet's face it, thermostats suck, and the guys at Nest saw a brilliant opportunity to create the perfect solution. "The Learning Thermostat" is functional, useful, time saving, green, economical, super cool, and last but not least, beautiful! There isn't a single sane person who would refuse to install this in their home.

Nest is led by two former members of the iPod division at Apple; Tony Fadell, who served as SVP, and Matt Rogers who served as lead engineer . The influence of the rich "click wheel" history of the iPod is comfortably evident. The elegance and minimalism of both the hardware and the interface makes it desirable to use, while saving money!

Yes, it looks gorgeous and easy to use, but what makes Nest THAT much cooler? Read more after the jump...

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Posted In: Green & Environment, Technology

Huge energy saving potential for Subway systems

Posted on Monday, September 5th, 2011 at 10:44 am

NYC Subway - MTAOver 3 years ago, I blogged about the MTA going green, and ways they can improve the entire transportation system. The very last bullet-point of the latter blog post identified "Kinetic Energy Generators" as a way to capture the wasted energy through turnslides. published an article yesterday about Vycon, a company that plans to integrate a system to capture the kinetic energy of moving trains. The potential energy that can be captured and reused when a train is decelerating is about 4 megawatts, which is approximately the amount of energy required to get a train moving. New York City is one the largest consumers of energy in the world. Implementing these types of systems would drastically affect energy costs and energy waste.

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Posted In: Green & Environment, Transportation

Apple hits the green spot, again

Posted on Friday, June 12th, 2009 at 9:58 pm

MacBook ProI intended to write about Apple going green when they launched the new Macs earlier this year, but I felt the urge to wait, and so I did. Apple has truly done it this time with their entire line of MacBook Pros and the iPhone 3GS.

The MacBook Pros are the greenest Macs Apple has yet to deliver. All models of the machine (13, 15, and 17 inch) are EPEAT Gold rated and meet the Energy Star 5.0 requirements, which isn't even out yet. This makes the machines consume less electricity, and easier on the environment.

Speaking of the environment, both the MacBook Pros and the iPhone 3GS are made mostly out of earth-friendly materials, which are also easily recyclable.

  • Highly recyclable aluminum and glass enclosure
  • Mercury-free LED-backlit display
  • Arsenic-free display glass
  • BFR-free
  • PVC-free internal cables

The iPhone 3GS shares a lot of these features as well. All of Apple's products ship inside of much smaller packaging which is great for several reasons: Easier to ship more units per airplane, easier to carry, easier to store, less garbage in the dumps. Everyone wins.

It would be amazing to see companies utilize more environmentally friendly materials. This is a great start, and I am glad that Apple is trying to pioneer being fully green, or as green as they can be. Which other companies, other than the ones that specialize in green tech, actually manufacture products of similar nature? Post in comments below, please. 🙂

I predict that some day, we will have a way to teleport technology we buy straight to our homes. No jetplane delivery, no fumes, no packaging garbage.

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Posted In: Green & Environment, In the News, Technology

Friendly Reminder: Back up your data, NOW

Posted on Saturday, June 6th, 2009 at 12:21 am

Everyone knows how important it is to constantly back up your data. For whatever reasons, people still fail to do so, and when their computers start blowing smoke through their holes, it's already too late.

Working in the design world, file backup is probably the single most important maintenence rule. You ALWAYS want to keep backups of your files, documents, photos, videos, music, and so forth. If you're running a Windows machine, you should be taking note with extra care as Windows machines are more prone to viruses (and other infections).

External Hard Drive are extremely cheap these days! There's no reason why you shouldn't invest in something that can save you hundreds of hours, depression, and tears. Do the right thing and get into the habit of backing up often. There are tons of solutions available out there that will automate this process for you on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis - your choice.

Side note: If you're one of those people that has a million different files and folders scattered on your desktop and around the computer, you need to learn a big lesson. Organizing your files will not only make your backup-process much easier, but you will feel less cluttered when everything is easily accessible.

Windows Backup sofware, Click here!
Mac Backup software, Click here!

If these solutions are not suitable for you, a simple Google search (or a search) will help you out.

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Posted In: General Stuff, Green & Environment, Productivity

War on tough packaging has begun!

Posted on Sunday, November 16th, 2008 at 12:29 pm

Cardboard BoxMicrosoft, Sony, and Best Buy have joined the fight with Amazon against the terrible packaging! After all the struggling and the thousands of injuries reported by hospitals each year, major players in the technology retail world are joining the fight. Yes, we are all aware that it is because of the security reasons, but designers can invent clever ways of packaging products that won't hurt us, or the earth!

I might even start getting into eco-friendly packaging design semi-professionally, just to help this movement. Plus, I love coming up with new ways of doing things. Death to steel-like containers!

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Posted In: Green & Environment, In the News, Technology

Why do companies use inefficient shipping methods?

Posted on Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 at 3:35 am

A little under a week ago, I purchased two new sweaters and a pair of jeans on sale from Aeropostale. I walked into the door expecting to see a nice small package waiting to be opened. Instead, I saw a massive 14" square box lying there only to find roughly a quarter of the space being used. Utter disappointment spread throughout my body, albeit excited to try on my new clothes.

I am generally not that big on online shopping but when I do purchase something online, I expect it to be shipped efficiently. There's really no excuse, to be honest. Why would a company waste money on oversized shipping boxes when they can save on both equipment and shipping costs?

This is definitely not the first time something like this has happened, and I am not the first to complain. I gotta hand it to companies like Amazon, Apple, and Logitech for using efficient shipping methods (from my experiences) and for keeping their shipment carbon footprint low. Have you had any negative experiences like this? I'd like to know.

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Posted In: General Stuff, Green & Environment

Project 10 to the 100th is helping us change the world!

Posted on Friday, October 3rd, 2008 at 4:15 am

I came across this website a few hours ago and I immediately knew I had to tell the world! This is Google's latest endeavor and they're at it to help change the world, with 10 million dollars on the line. "Project 10100 is a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible." Google is asking us to submit ideas that can be funded to help the world in any way; energy, environment, health, education, and more!

Let's face it. There are millions of people out there who need our help, and it's not easy to do something about it alone. With the power of a giant company by our side, a world of opportunities are unravelled. I already started writing down my ideas down for submission by October 20th, and I hope you do the same. I have strong beliefs in education, protecting our environment, clean energy, and providing new opportunities for better lives.

Visit to find out how you can participate. I will be keeping close tabs on this project, hoping that more companies start taking similar steps towards a better world! To all my readers and Google, thank you!

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Posted In: Green & Environment, In the News, Productivity

The Economy is in Trouble, Now What?

Posted on Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Just a few days ago, the stock market took one of the biggest hits since the great depression. People cried, panicked, and were filled with worry. When one of the largest corporations in the world files for bankruptcy, everybody living in America and elsewhere are effected.

Thousands of jobs lost, lives ruined, billions of dollars gone to waste. What are we to do when we face such challenges? The hopeful thought would be for CEOs to get together, stop being greedy, and give back to the people that need it most. It's true, if companies cared more about being great at what they do, and profits were just an added bonus, we wouldn't have these kinds of situations occur as they do.

People say "tragedy is one of the only ways change is initiated." Is something like this enough to make a difference and serve as a wake up call to large corporations and people in general? I certainly hope so. I don't want to have to wait for a grander tragedy to destroy more lives and cause harm to the world, like the climate crisis. Continue to read the rest...

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Posted In: General Stuff, Green & Environment, In the News

5 Easy Steps to be Green at Home

Posted on Sunday, September 7th, 2008 at 12:33 am

If you're serious about going green, here are some easy steps you can take to make it happen. Yes, installing Fluorescent bulbs throughout the home and driving a hybrid can do a lot, but some of these you may not have thought of.

  1. Hitting the right water temperature: Things like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, washing dishes, and so forth require a lot of water. Of course, we all love the soothing hot water as we bathe, but a nice warm temperature does just fine. Avoiding hot temperatures takes it easy on the boiler, which results in a smaller oil bill. This may not be the case for apartment dwellers, but taking it easy on the building's boiler can help on overall energy consumption (tell the neighbors!).
    Sub-Tip: You jump in the shower and turn the hot and cold water knobs to steady flow. The temperature is too cold, so what do you do? Instead of ADDING more hot water, try lessening the amount of cool water flow. This will save water, and the amount of heat generated by the boiler.
  2. Shut off and unplug: Done charging something? Unplug it. Not using computer speakers? Shut them off. Putting the computer to sleep? Shut it down. Don't charge something unless it needs charging. On top of that, keep chargers unplugged since they use up energy even though nothing is charging. Easy solution to most problems: A power strip/surge protect, something you should already have. Sleep/Stand-by mode still wastes energy, don't do it!
  3. Saving those plastic bags! Whenever you get plastic bags, save them! You never know what you can use them for. Yes, they make great garbage bags but they're terrible for the environment. Instead, try BioBags! For things like groceries and general carry-around stuff, cloth bags work best. They can be found everywhere for cheap prices so don't go saying they're too much or they're hard to find.

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Posted In: Green & Environment, Tips & Tutorials

Dell Joins the Green Route with Studio Hybrid Series

Posted on Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 at 11:05 pm

Dell Studio Hybrid SeriesI must give props to Dell for taking a big step towards greener computing with their new Studio Hybrid lineup. In terms of design, I'm very picky about what I like and Dell has been producing some pretty good looking hardware (although I prefer Mac OS X over Windows for software). I applaud Dell for making a machine with a tiny form factor that consumes 70% less energy than standard computers and ships in 95% recyclable materials.

The reason why I am promoting this is simply because I believe it is a step in the right direction for a major market holder in the industry. Not to worry, the Hybrid line comes with a variety of options to customize it to your needs. You will not only save energy but you'll also have a smaller carbon footprint.

Apple has already begun its process of making their machines as green as possible by using highly recyclable materials (aluminum), smaller packaging, mercury-free LCD backlights, and more. It makes feel that much better about companies doing the right thing, and it should be the same with you.

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Posted In: Green & Environment, In the News, Technology