Green Backups

If, say, your entire office burns down due to an electrical fire from a photocopier next door, off-site backups are worth their weight in platinum.  If you don’t believe me, just look up how much professional data recovery services cost and compare that to the weight of a hard drive or fifty.  Some people use e-mail as a back-up system, but it isn’t really appealing as a long-term, scalable solution.  Amazon’s S3 provides variable pricing and is scalable, but may be overly complicated for backing up small amounts of data.  Some off-site back-up services such as Backblaze are great deals for people with large storage needs1.

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  1. I am not affiliated with or endorsing Backblaze. I just find their blog posts interesting. []

At the Sustainability Unconference

On Thursday, I attended the Environmental Justice and Sustainability Unconference put on by the Office of Student Life at the University of Toronto. At this “unconference”, individuals could set up shop in various parts of the venue and lead a conversation about different topics. I participated in two discussions: Which are the most energy intensive buildings on campus and why? and on Conservation and consumerism.  I thought I would share some highlights from these conversations.
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Towards better energy-efficiency labels

The following post is a collection of excerpts from a draft of my Ph.D. depth paper, less citations, which exist in the original document.

Few computer systems spend all of their time at full utilization; even in always-on situations such as servers, a properly provisioned system will be spend almost all of its time at less than 50% utilization. Since most personal computers remain idle for extended periods of time1, consumers should be considering a computer’s idle power draw when purchasing a computer. However, performance per watt is often the number that is compared.

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  1. In the context of this document, idle systems are ones that are on but performing no useful work. []