Monday, April 27, 2009

Saving energy, is it that hard?

This evening, I finally got the courage to rethink my electric installation. I don't have that much, but TV and computer are stuck in the electricity outlet all the time.
A while ago, a friend told me about these Watt-meter to measure one's electrical consumption. I bought one of these devices a few month after - that was around three years ago (sick). All the time I sort of knew that I could do better, but didn't knew that would be that much.

So how did I decide to do that? This week-end, I received a paper from the mayor telling about a green event in the city hall. Each visitor would get a free outlet with switch, allowing to "save 40$ a year". Well, I already had some switch outlets at home that were plugged but never switched off, maybe I could combine them better I thought & save a bit that way.
After having to unplug all the electronics in the living room, I tested each single device, and that was quite impressing: DSL modem: 18 watts. Wifi router: 23 watts. Computer off: 33 watts. TV in Standby: 14 watts. That makes 88 watts! All this energy was burned useless. If I'm using this electronics 4 hours a day, then it's 1.7 kWh / day that just gets lost for nothing. Reported to the year, that makes 640 kWh! I was really surprised by this number, because this is not a negligible part of my energy consumption.
At 20 Euro cents per kWh, that would make a saving of 130 Euro over the year (170 $ at the current change rate). Of course, I'm at home the week-ends, and I have holidays,... so I don't expect the full saving, but 100 Euro should be possible per year. Let's see in 12 months ;)

The good thing with this saving? Well, I'm still having the same contract with monthly payments. That means that in one year, I should get a beautiful back-payment with the savings I made that way. If that is no motivation :)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wolfram Alpha

Today I heard for the first time about Wolfram Alpha, a search machine based on Mathematica. It looks really promising - with many interesting datasets, like code or financial data. So I requested an early login, let's see if they'll give me one. If they do, I'll blog about my first impressions with this tool. Anyway it'll be out in May, so that's not such a long time to wait.

Monday, April 06, 2009

French are creative!

I just saw a very interesting TV report about companies that still do well in France despite the economic crisis. One good example: video games and 3D animation films.
The reason for that? France has a old tradition of top drawing schools, and the population is very creative and receptive to such media (arts like painting, but now comics & video games too). So France is a good place for creation because it has talent and a big market (or rather, fan base). I pretty agree with that - and 3D is surely not going to disappear soon, even though it will probably evolve a lot.