My friend Amos recently built and flew a massive kite. In his words, “a huge kite inspired by Alexander Graham Bell’s historical models”. I know nothing about kites, except that they’re pretty and I wish I knew how to fly them. His design is beautiful and inspiring. Plus he’s a great writer. Check it out.
Monthly Archives: September 2007
Friends keep sending me email about Blackle.com. This web site is essentially a wrapper around Google search, with a black background instead of Google’s classic white. The site claims to help conserve power usage by reducing the amount of energy your monitor uses.
I recommend you steer clear. Why? Well, the site is run by a 3rd party company — Heap Media — which appears to be completely unaffiliated with Google. I would never trust an unknown 3rd party site to intercept my searches. In this case it doesn’t look like they’re doing anything nefarious, but it’s possible to construct a web site like Blackle that would squirrel away a record of everything you type in. That would be Bad.
Beyond that, I don’t think the site is really helping reduce energy usage. A number of people have blogged about this. Here is one blog post where they did actual testing on different monitors. They say, “…Blackle makes next to no difference, on average, with LCD [flat-screen] monitors.” There may be some savings for the < 25% of people who still use CRT monitors (the older, bigger ones). So… Blackle appears to be nothing more than a marketing gimmick.
That said, conserving your computer’s electricity usage is certainly a good idea. Depending on how hungry your computer and monitor are, they might consume up to 250 watts (a typical incandescent lightbulb runs at 60 watts). So, in that spirit, here is a link I found from that same blog to 5 good ideas for saving electricity with your computer.
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Windows Live Writer is a pretty slick piece of blog writing software. I helped Katrin configure it to use with her Mukodu blog, and now I’m using it to author blog posts on MyOwnPirateRadio. (Yes, I know that may be hard to believe if you judge by the rate at which I’m blogging these days, but trust me, it’s the truth.)
I ran into a bug: Live Writer sometimes gets “permission denied” (403) when trying to connect to a WordPress-powered blog. After some experimentation I discovered that the Bad Behavior plugin is the cause. The problem and the fix are described here. If you’re running WordPress with Bad Behavior, and you’d like to author posts with Live Writer, this fix will make you happy.
Update 2007-09-25: Joe Cheng from Microsoft commented that the fix should no longer be necessary with the latest version of WLW. Thanks Joe.