The Anonymous Widower

The Fracking Story Is Now Dead

We won’t get much on fracking for a few days, weeks and even months, as the papers have decided to dig up that old chesnut of a story designed to sell newspapers; who actually killed princess Diana. Even that royalist rag, the Independent has the story.

Still as her death didn’t happen in Sussex, the police of that county must be very relieved.

August 17, 2013 Posted by | News, World | , , | 6 Comments

Cash-For Crash By The Busload

This story must be the ultimate cash-for-crash story. Here’s the intro.

A bogus bus crash was staged in Sheffield so 26 passengers could make fake whiplash claims – all set up by organised conmen trying to defraud insurance firms, a court heard.

As I don’t have a car or car insurance, I’m glad that I don’t have to pay for these crooked claims.

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Why You Should Have A Personal E-Mail Address

I use a personal .com e-mail address based on my name and have done for many years. I always recommend that people have an e-mail address based on something like a .com, or something related to where you live.

it was brought home to me this morning, about what a pain not doing this can be.

A friend has just changed their Internet supplier from BT to Sky.  They used to use a BT e-mail address and now they’ve had to change to a Sky one! Consequently all of their friends have had to be informed and will have to update the entries in their address books. I don’t use a smart phone for e-mails, so with me all I have to update is Microsoft Outlook.

Incidentally, I’ve just looked up my friend’s probably preferred e-mail address and it is available at six pounds for two years.

That sounds like a small price to pay for something that will last forever and won’t ask your friends to change again.

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Computing | , | 2 Comments

The Enormous Amount Of Energy Used By Computer Servers

In all the hot air talked about fracking, wind power and nuclear power, very rarely does the argument stray into energy usage. The only thing people seem to worry about is the cost of their household energy bills and filling up their car.

But accpording to this academic report from Stanford University in 2010, over ten percent of all US electricity was used to power computer and IT equipment. Here’s the relevant part.

In 2010, over 10% of electricity in the U.S. was due to computer and IT equipment usage. At the current rate we’re going, analysts and experts figure that 10% of the world’s power bill will be spent on running computers. To give a more concrete example of how much energy this is, Dixon shows that one 50,000 square feet data center uses about 5 megawatts, but continuously. This energy output would satisfy the needs of 5000 homes. In another staggering example, assorted US data centers use a collective 7000 megawatt data centers from seven different plants; this is more power than is used by the State of Mississippi. Even more surprising is that this astronomical power consumption is just by the plants themselves – cooling systems use as much energy as the plants.

Also in this article in the FT. it says that in 2010, Goggle used about 258 Megawatts continuously.

Since this refers to 2010, I wonder how much of the UK’s energy usage goes in that area now.

According to this article, in 2012 average demand for electricity was 35.8 Gigawatt.  Just imagine having to pay that bill!

So let’s assume that only five percent of that energy is used for computer servers, so that is 1790 megawatt. Bear in mind that the UK’s largest power station,  Drax,  has a capability of generating 3960 megawatts or seven percent of the UK’s electricity. So nearly half of its output and the enormous amount of CO2, Drax emits could be used to power computer equipment.

I need better figures here, but it would seem that a substantial part of UK electricity is used in computing.

But help is at hand in this area. To make computers use less power, you can do many things; like write better software and install more efficient cooling systems.

The biggest fight though is in the area of making chips that consume less electricity and there’s a war going on there, between the dominant Intel and the upstart from Cambridge called ARM. Whether Intel can hold off ARM is a subject for debate, but in a year or so, the average server will consume a lot less power than it does now. Unfortunately, the search, social networking, data storing and other IT companies will be a lot bigger, so all we will be doing with better technology is eating into the growth in energy usage.

I think though, this will mean that many large server farms will relocate to countries, where energy costs are lowest.


August 17, 2013 Posted by | Computing, News, World | , , , , | 1 Comment