Thursday, February 14, 2008

PlastiCrap Button Turns Off Your Computer For You

There's a searing review of the EcoButton, a USB-powered button that sends your computer into power-save mode, up on BoingBoing Gadgets. Guess what... that's all it does. Why go to all the trouble of clicking the mouse three times when you can just hit an oversized button?

Even better, the Eco Button is illuminated, the better to remind you that you're wasting more of the planet's resources unnecessarily just by keeping it plugged into your computer's USB port.

While it would make saving energy easier, I can't help but wonder how much energy it would take to manufacture, advertise, package, sell, ship, and (hopefully) recycle one of these... and how long it would take to recoup the "investment." The main advantage to having one of these around would be having a constant reminder to reduce energy use. The package includes software to track how much you're saving, so it's a great way to learn to feel good about reducing energy use (if not consumption).

This might be a good way for companies to encourage green thinking, and save some dough while they're at it. At my last job, they left the computers on 24/7 - as a policy - and it drove me crazy... they could be saving hundreds a year (and tons of CO2) with these in place. Going Green is as much about changing minds than saving energy, so perhaps there's a place for these. There won't be a place for these in twenty years, though... we'll either have figured out how to conserve energy without oversized plastic buttons by then, or be competing over the last few drops of oil in the Thunderdome.