A little power saving project.

This project began with a little device named a “kill a watt“. I bought it a few years ago and have used it to test the power consumption of different devices in my home. Most of the time it sits in a drawer unused, but today …. I used it to save some money.

There was another piece of tech hardware sitting in my desk drawer a little Asus EEE PC. This device was purchased with the hope of turning it into a “hack-n-tosh”. The little machine got a hard drive upgrade from 4 gigs to 16 gigs of space and a memory upgrade to 1 Gig of RAM. I was able to get OSX running on the machine, but the constant cat and mouse game with updates coming from Apple made the project difficult and I put Windows XP on it instead. With the “hack-n-tosh” project behind me I stopped using the EEE PC.

Out of the blue an idea came to me …. what if I could use the EEE PC to replace the older Pentium 4 Ubuntu Linux box under my desk?

The older Pentium 4 has done a great job of handling DHCP and DNS chores for my home, but it must be using a good bit of electricity.

So a plan was hatched, to build out the EEE PC with Ubuntu Linux 10.4 LTS and migrate all my settings over from the Pentium 4.

It took me a few days to build out the EEE PC, migrate the settings and test my configuration. There were a few items that had to be adjusted to make a netbook work like a server. Adjustments like making sure that the netbook didn’t turn off or hibernate when the lid was closed.

With the adjustments behind me I was able to finally test out the new system.

Here are the results:

The older full size PC was consuming 112 watts of power while at idle.
The EEE PC only consumes 12 watts of power while at idle!

For a total savings of 100 watts or about $85 per year.

It was a fun project to do and I encourage anyone to take a look at how much their computers are costing them to run.

My first impressions of the Microsoft Mix10 Conference

A lot of talk about Silverlight 4.0 and Windows Phone 7 Series.


Silverlight is really maturing into a rich development and design tool. With version 4 you can now develop not only for the web but the new Window’s based phone due out later this year. This was the best move Microsoft could have made to try and catch Apple. Silverlight is becoming a mature development / design environment and the natural choice for interactive app development.

Windows Phone 7 Series

I think Windows Phone 7 Series is the absolute worst name for a phone …. when you compare it with simple easy phone names like iPhone and Droid. While Microsoft is making great strides with the developer tools , it feels like they are say “yeah we can do that too!” instead of taking the phone experience to the next level. Microsoft’s position in the market is really sad due to the fact that they have been in this game for years. They used to compete with Palm and BlackBerry and now they have to more players to compete with Apple and Google. The buzz in the crowd was noticeable … but is that going to translate into sales? Will this become the Zune all over again …. a nice product that arrived a little too late to the party.