This Is Locomotion - Design, Code, and News

Archive for 2007


Reducing C02 and Saving Energy

Friday, June 15th, 2007

C02 Saver

Just finished reading a great article from the New York Times on putting energy hogs in the home on a strict low power diet!

Why should you care? Well for a start you’ll save money on your electricity bill, and secondly you will help reduce C02 emissions.

I used a Kill A Watt EZ energy meter (available online for about $25) and began measuring. My PC was continuously drawing 134 watts all night.

The more devices I checked, the worse it got. My TiVo digital video recorder was sucking down about 30 watts when it was not playing or recording a show. A Comcast digital cable set-top box made by Motorola that I tested was drawing about 40 watts. My DVD player was drawing 26 watts while idle, and my audio system — which I rarely turned off — was using 47 watts. This was in addition to the numerous power adapters and chargers, each drawing 1 or 2 watts, not to mention several other devices sipping energy to keep clocks running or to be ready to turn on at the push of a button.

… Tweaking can pay off. Annually, my desktop PC is now using 73 percent less energy — saving me $119 a year and depriving the earth of 1,405 more pounds of CO2.

Source: New York Times

The writer recommends downloading an awesome little tool called C02 Saver that is a lightweight program that manages your computer’s power usage when it’s idle, saving energy and decreasing the demand on your power utility.

We plan on using it on our PC’s within our office environment. What a great tool!

Review of Coda

Monday, June 11th, 2007

This week we’ve decided to review Coda, a fully furbished text editor built by Panic Software. Our office has recently started using Coda and since Panic offers a free trial we thought we’d download it and try it for 2 weeks. Having been long-time Transmit FTP owners we’ve really appreciated the quality of software that Panic has produced in the past we were certain that this would amount to a killer of a text editor.

Review of Coda, text editor

What caught our eye initially about Coda was it’s feature set. Here are just a few of the features that Coda boasts their product offers:

  • Advanced Site Management
  • Top-Notch Text Editing
  • Visual CSS Editor
  • Live Web Preview
  • Built-in SSH Terminal
  • Comprehensive Reference Material
  • Real-time Collaborative Editing

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Code Monkey

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Continuing the saga of interesting media I have found this week… I heard the song “Code Monkey Like Fritos” for the first time on TWIT.tv and just couldn’t help but track it down and add it to my blog. For all you programmer’s out there with day jobs you do not enjoy, this one is for you! It’s great to listen to even if only for a few laughs.

Microsoft: Bring Back the Love

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

There’s a hilarious video titled “The Breakup” available over at Dailymotion.com that poses the question:

Are you communicating with your customers, or merely advertising to them?

Bring back the love!

Challenging Mankind

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

I was on Saltspring Island last weekend for a little camping and stopped at a local organic coffee shop for a cup of tea. While enjoying the company of one of my good friends I spotted a great quote on one of the walls that really caught my attention. With some digital enhancement I’ve turned it into a desktop background.

Saltspring Art

The earthen walls of this coffee shop were so cool! This quote hit home with 2 points for me.

First, in business it often seems to me that more of us could be challenged or pushed to prove our maturity over our own egos or wrong perceptions of others. More good in the world could certainly be done if we all demonstrated a little more humility and maturity in our daily tasks.

Second, with the growing concern about global warming I think this quote from Rachel Carson bears significant importance. I recently watched Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” that addresses a number of emerging climate crises. Interestingly, Al Gore states that we have all the technology, all the brainpower, and all the resources that are necessary to reverse the effects of global warming, but what we need most is a change in public thought. Rather than constantly striving to demonstrate our mastery over nature, we really ought to be exercising greater self–discipline and really caring for our environment in whatever way we can. Make time to do your part.

With this in mind, I just received my MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-Op) spring catalog. I was excited to see that they have just joined 1% for the planet, which is an organization of businesses that have agreed to pay 1% of their profits to benefit environmental organizations. Along with compostable shopping bags and many other neat ways to improve the environment, they’re on the right track. Congratulations MEC!

Review: An Event Apart

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Having had a few weeks to digest An Event Apart I now have decided rather than detailing the entire event cover to cover, to just focus on the highlights.

An Event Apart

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Making Powerpoint Slides Less Boring

Monday, April 9th, 2007

powerpoint-stickies.jpg

Taking a browse through LifeHacker today I caught this post on making Powerpoint slides less boring through the use of photographing stickies. Just one more way you can bring a unique style to those important presentations. I thought the idea was great.

A Basic Website Using Household Appliances

Monday, April 9th, 2007

My good friend Brant Arthur sent me a link this morning to a site worthy of some acclaim. A totally original concept based around the use of household appliances, a digital camera, and a back/forwards button. It was created to guide you through promotional material for a book by Miranda July. Enjoy!

http://noonebelongsheremorethanyou.com/

The writeup on An Event Apart is still in the works.

Web Anonymity Can Sink Your Job Search

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

While I am writing up my review of what I found interesting at An Event Apart I thought I’d just touch briefly on an interesting tidbit I picked up today. According to Computer World Web anonymity can sink your job search.

In today’s job market, turning up missing on the Web may not be a fatal flaw, and it’s probably better than having a search result in a photo of you in a hula skirt. But over time, the lack of a Web presence — particularly for IT professionals — may well turn from a neutral to a negative, says Tim Bray, director of Web technologies at Sun Microsystems Inc.

So having your own site can in fact be some kind of employment bonus. Giving your employers a discreet peek at your personal life, what type of individual you are, and whether you seem like a reputable individual. According to Computer World 77 of 100 recruiters said they used search engines to check out job candidates. In a CareerBuilder.com survey of 1,150 hiring managers last year, one in four said they use Internet search engines to research potential employees.

There have of course been negative articles written about people who have overexposed their identity on the Internet. Discretion here I think is the key. If you are publishing something personal about yourself to a live site, don’t post things that employers may be able to either misinterpret or perceive as negative.

With all that being said, I think everyone should have an online portfolio of their work because you just don’t know when someone will find it interesting and offer you a job – and showing some degree of web savvy is always a step in the right direction. Additionally I think it’s always worthwhile getting your own domain name (ie. somename.com). This differentiates your email address from every other Hotmail or Gmail loving candidate out there, and with a catchy domain; it may be enough to help make you stand out from the crowd. To me it just looks more professional. When people hand me their personal business cards with an @gmail.com address on it, I just have to laugh quietly to myself. Obviously they don’t value themselves enough to spend $15 a year on a proper email address.

So to summarize:

  1. Get your own domain name
  2. Build your own site or get your own blog
  3. Only post things that will be an aide to your online identity

Off to ‘An Event Apart’

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

Well here I am sitting in Seattle airport just about to leave for Boston to attend An Event Apart 2007, which is an intensive 2–day web design and development conference. I’m awaiting the conference with some anticipation as I’ve been contemplating for weeks what the highlights of the conference might be. The opportunity to mix with some of the web’s greatest designers is reason enough to be excited. I’ve picked out Interface Design Juggling with Dan Cederholm and Good vs. Great Design with Cameron Moll to be my favorite picks thus far from the topics presented. I am prepared to be surprised though as many of the topics covered are going to be great additions to the knowledge arsenal here at Simple Station Inc.

I’m hoping to cover as much of the event as possible in the journal, though I’m not 100% sure how I’ll recharge my laptop during the conference. Worst come to worst there may be a few days of lag between the conference and the time when I publish my notes.

Boarding time! Boston and An Event Apart 2007 await me.