Monday, June 22, 2009

Global computer Makers Vying for "Green" Crown

Analysts say going green has become a business plan unto itself for the industry's heavyweights: a way to stand apart from rivals, win over a growing segment of environmentally conscious consumers, & shore up branding worldwide. The two major U.S. computer vendors - Hewlett-Packard Co, Dell Inc, & Apple Inc - argue that customers glean real benefits, for example lower power consumption in green-certified display screens. "It's a green arms race, in which they're trying to two up each other," said John Spooner, an analyst with Technology Business Research. "The good news is they're all working in this direction & that's going to benefit themselves, their customers & the environment."

Personal computer makers are increasingly prioritizing "green" strategies, generating a pivotal point of competition for customers that are becoming more attuned to their financial - & societal - benefits.

While there's differences between the two in areas such as materials, computer power usage & recycling & packaging, analysts & environmental groups say, the green agenda is profiting from the competition between them. Campaigns by interest groups like Greenpeace to praise or tweak computer makers have been effective. "Companies are realizing that consumers do use these environmental considerations as tiebreakers. It does help differentiate their products," Forrester's Sally Cohen said. Around 70 percent of companies surveyed in a recent report by Forrester Research cited product differentiation - the desire to stand out - as a business driver for their environmental strategies. "It has struck a chord with consumers, businesses, stakeholders & NGOs," said Eric Lowitt, a research fellow at Accenture.

Analysts point to certain efforts - such as Dell's recycling program, Apple's moves to remove toxic raw materials, & HP's actions around packaging - as areas of success. But the IT industry still accounts for an estimated 2 percent of global emissions of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Consumers might have trouble picking out who among the computer makers are making the right moves: Dell says it aims to become the "greenest technology company on Earth"; Apple lays claims to the "greenest relatives of notebooks"; & HP stresses it's a long tradition of environmentalism as well as the market size to effect adapt. TBR recently ranked Dell No. 1 out of 40 technology companies on corporate sustainability. But a recent Greenpeace report ranked Apple best among the major computer makers.

In interviews, Dell & HP - while each asserting leadership - downplayed talk of competition. they pointed out that any good sustainability strategy must be comprehensive, & span the company, right down to its supply chain. Some analysts say what may be more important than companies' actual green initiatives - often highly technical - is their ability to communicate them to the market. Tod Arbogast, Dell's director of sustainable business, said there is actually some collaboration around green initiatives. "I don't think we've reached the tipping point yet, I think we'll continue as an industry to innovate, challenge two another to go further. faster on these efforts," they said. Bonnie Nixon, HP's director of sustainability, said green practices should be integrated throughout the company. HP's "commitment has been there, certainly through the 90's & the fact that society is focusing on green right now is great. We're in an industry that can truly demonstrate" environmental leadership, they said.
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Is Your Computer Going Green?

"I have erased all my files, it's perfectly safe to donate it, " you say. But Consumer Reports says differently after conducting a study of used computers/hard drives purchased on E-bay. In this study, Consumer Reports ran simple & inexpensive application available to somebody to determine what information may still be stored on a computer's hard drive.

Changes in needs for our personal computer, as well as updates & new application occur quickly in our every growing world of technology. As this happens, consumers often decide to "get rid of" their "old computer" & based on their needs & budget purchase another five. Depending on the original cost & condition of the computers, some people offer a trade in to dealers that can be refurbished & sold, some give them away to friends & relatives & others donate them to a charity or school. With the "recycling" of your personal computer, you may feel you have done a lovely deed & helped someone out, as well as avoid waste, making a eco-friendly & socially positive decision of how to dispose of your elderly personal computer or PC recycle. However, no lovely deed goes unpunished, & the risk to your information on your elderly computer may at the least involve identity theft. Identity theft is now the fastest growing white-collar crime & where that information on your elderly computer lands may not be a safe place. You can be sure of one thing, if you left information on your computer, there is probably someone out there that can find it, & use it.

What Do You reckon Consumer Reports Found on Used Computers from E-Bay?

*A Microsoft Word tax document including salary information

* Quicken files with expense & finance data

* A MySpace account, complete with name & password

* Lists of favorite web sites

* Outlook express e-mails

* Love letters & photographs

These computers were all described by sellers as "reformatted" or "wiped cleaned."

In a larger study, a research fellow at Harvard University examined over 1,000 hard drives & found only one third of them were properly cleaned. Microsoft Windows doesn't claim to have an easy or secure way to erase your entire hard drive & recommends using third party program. Mac OS X has a feature to permanently erase Trash files but it's been reported to be slow & only 10.3 or later versions can permanently erase entire hard drives.

Inside Edition also checked out the possibilities & probabilities of identity theft for well meaning citizens who donated their computers to lovely Will. The 25 computers purchased in the east coast hubs for as little as $30.00, as well as one computers picked up from a dumpsite held not surprising but alarming information.

Computer expert Steve Elderkin who examined the hard drives shares that "Of all the hard drives, not one was cleaned of any of the information. Depending on the hard drive itself, you could have all the data in a matter of minutes with no work."

An Arlington, VA resident who believed they had erased all of the information on his hard drive was shocked to learn that within minutes, experts had found both his & his wife's social security numbers. Social security numbers are of work a jackpot for identity thieves who can easily use a social security numbers to connect the dots for identity theft with other easy to access information. A social security number is a winning lottery number to gain access to your financial or medical credit. In addition to social security numbers, the expert found information from previously filed tax returns & passwords.

Before you donate, give away, or recycle your elderly computer, consider options like WipeDrive from who've been providing security solutions since 1998 or Eraser, which is free at it is important to thoroughly tidy your hard drives before allowing them out of your hands, if you've used your computer to make purchases, do taxes or finances or monitor bank accounts; even photographs can be much information. Make sure to completely erase your identity before you take the chance of giving it away, along with your elderly computer.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Green Technology : Just Hype or Must-have?

There is a very crucial question for all we have that the "green" technology been over-hyped? Scientists throughout the world who study global warming have concluded that drastic changes in human energy-consumption are necessary to avert a crisis.

Energy use in IT, like all other technology-intensive industries, thus has been put under a microscope. Computer hardware and software vendors, sensing a financial bonanza and opportunity to appear virtuous, have flooded the market with so-called green products.

It's enough to make some IT managers dismiss green technology altogether, but even those who are concerned about the environment and their own energy costs have a tough time separating product hype from reality.

"There is a lot of hype, and it's hard to discern the difference between things that have been 'green-washed' and things that are really green IT,"
says Forrester analyst James Staten. Many vendors also like to "shine up" old products and sell them with a green tag, which makes it all the more deceiving.

IT vendors might be taking a cue from car companies that boast about selling one or two eco-friendly cars while selling millions of gas-guzzling SUVs. Dell, for example, has lots of ads talking about the greenness of their servers and PCs, Staten notes. While Dell's blade servers are very efficient, on the whole the company's "servers are not a whole lot different than other people's,"
he says.

It's not just Dell. Vendors, such as IBM and HP, are pushing green data-center service engagements that tend to push customers to standardising on either IBM or HP equipment, rather than picking the best from multiple vendors, Staten says. Vendors say, "if you want to go green, you have to go with all my products," he says. "I wouldn't point fingers at one. I think everybody's guilty of this."

Rather than looking to individual vendors, IT pros should turn to industry organizations like The Green Grid for less-biased information, he adds.

In the US for example, data centers consumed less than 1% of total US electricity use in 2000, but that number will rise to at least 2.3% of all electricity use nationwide by 2010, according to the Uptime Institute. Figures in other part of the world can be comparable.

IT departments therefore have a big responsibility," says Derek Kober, director of the BPM Forum. The organisation recently surveyed 150 IT pros and executives, and found that most IT pros are concerned about the IT department's impact on the environment -- or are at least interested in the economic benefits of being more energy-efficient.

In the survey, 86% said IT organisations have a "responsibility to substantially improve efficiency and green activities." Only 41% have any specific green plans in place, however, the survey also found. "The biggest overarching message was that despite concern and despite increasing priorities for improving the environment and greening the data center, IT departments in general are pretty far behind," Kober says.

Some IT shops view green technology as too expensive upfront, but Kober noted that many businesses save money over the long run by consolidating systems and replacing old processors with newer, more energy-efficient models. Because of these long-term savings, economic benefit rather than environmental concern is the initial driver that gets IT departments thinking about efficiency, Kober says.

Forrester's Staten shares this perception. "IT administrators define green as that rectangular dollar bill rather than something that is environmental," he says. "They don't really make a lot of decisions around what's environmentally responsible or not."
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Friday, June 5, 2009

The Greatest Green Event Ever

Today is World Environment Day. Today a movie being released worldwide by producers as "the greatest green event ever", a high-budget documentary to save the planet from Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

From New York's Central Park to the Champs de Mars by Paris Eiffel Tower, the French photographer known for the "Earth From The Air" books and "Seen From The Air" on TV, is releasing the green-awareness movie "Home" in over 100 countries simultaneously.

"More than a movie, Home will be a major event,"
the producers said.

Shot from the air in a chopper, the environmental documentary will be available across the globe June 5, mostly free of charge, in open-air spaces as well as theatres, TV, DVD, and the Internet.

"The idea is to explain what`s happening to the planet by beginning at the beginning, by the miracle of life on earth,"
the photographer-director told reporters.

Kicking off with stunning aerial views of the earth's natural wonders before focusing from the air on polluting factories, airfields and oil platforms, the message translated into more than a score of languages is: "It's too late to be a pessimist."

"Although there's a general trend towards an awareness of ecological issues, concrete action is still too little, too slow,"
he says.

"In 200,000 years on earth," adds the film, "humanity has upset the balance of the planet. Humanity has barely 10 years to reverse the trend."

The commentary, narrated by Glenn Close in English and Salma Hayek in Spanish, was submitted for editing to 2007 Nobel-prize winner Al Gore and Lester Brown, the US environmental guru.

It took almost three years to finalize the mega-movie, shot over 217 days in 54 countries, providing 488 hours of footage.

"We have the power to change so what are we waiting for?" it asks.

French movie mogul Luc Besson is distributing the 10-million-euro movie, a huge sum for a documentary put up by the luxury consortium PPR headed by Francois Henri Pinault.

"The massive and free distribution of the film will enable anyone, anywhere, to see it, whatever their income," Pinault said.

Speaking to reporters, Arthus-Bertrand said it was time to call a halt to a world where 20 percent of the population consumed 80 percent of the planet's riches.

"I explain what is happening, I don`t offer solutions," he said. "But we all have solutions within ourselves."

"We would live better by consuming less and sharing more, and we need more courageous policies".

"The idea is to convince people to push politicians to action."
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