Trashware

  • The Conversation just published an article that tries to compare the environmental costs of eReaders and shelfs of books. While overall that is a good article, I see no mention in it, or in the comments, of three important facts about reading, readers and ICT. First, all kinds of information can be digitized, e.g. coded as bits, and all bits are equal. The same USB drive can store books, movies, music and so on, and the same electronic devices can play them all.
  • Shortly after its release, I explained why the .WWF file format isn’t a really green and smart idea. Here I answer, with an invite to all environmentalists and green activists, to a critique from Marghe, a reader who got upset because (synthesizing): the message that WWF wants to send is just "don't print without a real reason!" The format is just an excuse, it's the message that counts. However, I find your critique isn't constructive, it seems you're just advertising free (as in freedom) software, but while WWF created a file format to try to do something, you wrote an article that is just useless (and it's bad that it appears as one of the first hits in Italian Google searches).
  • (funny update on Jan 14th, 2011, see bottom of page) On November 30, 2010, the German section of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) launched Save As WWF, Save a Tree, a “green” (because not printable) file format. A few days later, I explained why that WWF format is dumb, anti-environment and generally useless, the format was cracked and Hans Bezemer released a .WWF toolkit to generate, convert or print WWF files on Linux.
  • Todd Woody has written an interesting piece for the Grist magazine about the “iPad’s potential as a green machine”. In “iPadding into the future” Todd explains why and how, besides being very good for the environment, reading newspapers and magazines on an iPad also is a much more pleasurable experience than reading their paper versions. Todd then concludes that this isn’t going to happen until a digital (i.e. “/immaterial”) subscription costs five times more than the print subscription.
  • A reader of this website recently asked me what the word Trashware exactly means. Here is a short explanation and a few pointers to more informations. You’re encouraged to add more in the comments. Many computers are dumped or given away when they are still in perfect conditions, only because somebody or something forced their owners, without a real need, to use some new software program which is (often without real reason!
  • During the fOSSa 2010 conference in Grenoble, several speakers talked about how much Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) is important in two fields that are strictly related for the future of our society: education and environmental sustainability. This is a synthesis of the most important points that emerged in those talks (My full fOSSa report is in a separate page). Education? It needs FOSS, but it also needs to change Marc Humbert and Jean-Philippe Rennard explained how the Grenoble School of Management is using the Moodle Learning Management System to offer frontal and remote teaching and to produce Open Courseware.
  • Linux and Free Software are cheaper and robust alternatives to the software you normally find on school or office computers. If you don’t believe it, just have a look at these screenshots of Ubuntu, a version of Linux designed for unexperienced users or let a mom tell you why every family should attend a Linux Day at least once!.
  • (historical note: this is the second part (the first is here) of an article I wrote for IT Manager’s Journal, which published it at the URL http://management.itmanagersjournal.com/management/04/12/07/2312226.shtml?tid=84 on December 14, 2004. When I rediscovered the original text on my hard drive, on December 29, 2013, I put it back here with the original date as reference, since that whole website was closed years ago)Possible obstacles and dangers First of all, many EU Member States haven’t started yet to port RoHS and WEEE into local legislation.