Saturday, September 23, 2006

It's Always Better With Two

This article has a unique perspective on computer use in the office; for users that need a laptop, buy them two computers! Get a laptop for on the road use, and a desktop for working at the office. The really odd thing to me is that the company proposing this, Green Machine Shop, actually makes pretty green computers. Here's a quote:

"Notebooks are great for people who need mobile computing, but too many people use them all the time, even when sitting at their desks. The higher heat shortens the lifetime of electronics and battery," said Thomas Schramm, president of, of Ann Arbor, Mich. "The higher noise level and the unergonomic setup can reduce productivity and cause health issues. Using a desktop computer whenever possible and a laptop only when necessary is the best solution."

Ok, the electronics and battery life are shortened. Maybe, but most companies will get rid of these machines anyways on a two to four year cycle. Plus, since about 80 percent of the energy for any computer goes into its manufacture, I am having a hard time justifying two computers to save a little battery life. Maybe as a part of a comprehensive program... maybe. Unfortunately, this seems like a misguided attempt to sell more desktop computers.

What this really highlights is the fact that choosing the green alternative is complicated. I have been thinking for months now that we need a spreadsheet or some tools to help us make these decisions. I have to get on that.


Fat_Knowledge said...

I didn't read the article, but wouldn't it make more sense just to get a docking station and remove the battery when you are docked?

Mark Ontkush said...

thats seems like the logical idea. I think the issue is "appropriate technology" for the job at hand?

Mark Ontkush said...

Hi Thomas,

Thanks for the reply, I applaud your work. It fact, Im going to add you into a new category called 'Green Products' or something similar on my blog.

I would also like to see a study on exactly how much computing power people need. I've been in the business 12 years and there is just an abhorrent amount of waste. Eight years ago, yes, you had to upgrade your pcs every thrree years. Now, it seems like it departments are just upgrading to upgrade. Of course, I think there's a big political elements here, as about 80 percent of the typical it budget is for mainteance, so mid level managers concentrate on getting more maintenace dollars, not efficiency.

thanks mark