Saturday, March 10, 2007

Green Computing

Green Computing is becoming a strong buzzword these days. I'm sure Dilbert and Wally would play buzzword bingo with it at a management meeting. In environmental circles, green computing has to do with the creation of less toxic computers. In the business world, green computing has to do with efficient computing - computers that will save electricity. In my world, green computing has to do with both, but also using what has already been created.

Thousands of computers are wasting away, unused but still usable. Thousands of monitors are bulking our warehouses and landfills, also still usable. The problem is that technology companies need to make a profit, and they do so by selling you new equipment. Constantly. Newer, faster, better. And with Apple, prettier.

I certainly don't want to argue against innovation. I encourage it. But I also encourage maker innovation - taking what already exists, and altering it, improving it, customizing it, and innovating something newer, more useful. This is my version of green computing. Unfortunately, companies like Sony, or the RIAA don't want you to do this.

By taking equipment that already exists, has been discarded but is still useful and putting it in the hands of someone who can and will use it, we all benefit. We keep toxic waste out of our landfills, even if only a short time longer. We give something useful more life, and more use for someone else.

Our consumer economy depends on overconsumption. But this over consumption will be the ruin of us individually, and as a society. But it's not inevitable. Organizations exists to help with that:
There are many more that I'm not aware of. Not yet. If you can do just one thing to prevent overconsumption, you'll not only help others, you'll help yourself.

In the meantime, let me refresh your memory of a few original 'free geeks'. A few people that did like the Maker people do; take what already exist (they now like to calling it stealing, even though that's how they acquired their own stuff), and make it their own. Enjoy:

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