Posted by Brian @ 6:10 pm on February 19th 2008

Inbox zero

Woot!

Posted by Brian @ 6:31 pm on February 12th 2008

Brilliant idea: eNutrition facts

I was just browsing the results of the greener gadgets competition and Charles Brill has in my opinion the best idea of the lot, an eNutrition fact sheet that would accompany every gadget sold. I love it!

eNutrution facts

This should be required on all devices sold. I’d most like to know the expected lifetime for a product.

Posted by Brian @ 9:52 am on February 10th 2008

Ignite Portland

I gave a five minute presentation on biodiesel for Ignite Portland last Tuesday. Preparing was quite a challenge. I’ve given maybe 50 presentations on biodiesel which usually run between 1-4 hours. I knew that it was basically impossible to present the information I usually do, so I gave up on that and decided to present a mix of the things I thought were the most important, most entertaining and/or most misunderstood.

I left out things that seemed obvious – that it is better to bike, walk, use mass transit or just stay home. That there are a bunch of other things we need to do in addition to moving to entirely renewable sources of energy – combine trips, massively increase efficiency of our vehicles, buy locally, use flex cars, work from home, carpool… I figured these things were safe to leave out, given the audience would be smart, educated people with open minds.

I wish I could have covered algae in greater depth. I don’t think it is possible for us to get out of this mess without it (where ‘this mess’ equals peak oil + climate change). And there is no way our need for liquid fuel is going to go away, unless we go back to living in the trees. Liquid fuel is fundamentally a part of everything we do, and biodiesel has the least impact of any of our choices. Any of them. I did another ten hours of research on other renewables and caught up on the latest biodiesel research to make sure everything was up to date. I uncovered some new research that bears some further following up – it might be the case that some farming methods may have negative impacts. That’s why it is all the more important to focus on algae, which alleviates those concerns entirely. The best I could do on that was get the message out about not buying Palm oil biodiesel.

Anyway, I received overwhelmingly good responses both at the show and afterwards, and had a great time. I can’t wait to see the next round of Ignite presentations!

Posted by Brian @ 4:01 pm on February 3rd 2008

How to make a USB thumb drive Linux bootable

I’m in the process of putting Debian on a decTOP, and the first step is putting a bootable USB thumb drive together. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, so the decTOP gives me a good excuse.

  • 1. Grab a USB drive. I used a 1gb drive I had sitting around.
  • 2. Format the drive:
    mkfs -t vfat /dev/sdc1
    Your drive will probably have a different letter, maybe sda or sdb. MAKE SURE YOU ARE FORMATTING THE RIGHT DRIVE.
  • 3. Get a copy of Damn Small Linux – I used this version.
  • 4. Extract the zip file containing Damn Small Linux to the USB drive.
  • 5. Make the USB bootable:
    syslinux -f /dev/sdc1
  • You’re done.

    I’ll test mine at a few public access terminals. I’m curious how easy it would be to boot from the USB drive instead of being forced to use the inevitably crippled and/or virus/spyware/malware-ridden boxes one usually finds.

    Posted by Brian @ 7:15 pm on February 1st 2008

    Focus the Nation 2008 Teach-in Day

    I had the honor to speak about biodiesel on a panel at LEP High for the Focus the Nation Teach-in Day. The students had excellent questions, and I was really impressed by the experts on the panel from diverse backgrounds in sustainability, carbon offsets, environmental justice, wind power, salmon protection, forest preservation. I was able to duck into a classroom before my panel and hear a spirited discussion going on about global warming and greenhouse gases.

    I also got a taste of what’s in store for my presentation for Tuesday’s Ignite Portland, in which I have a whopping 25% more time than I did on the Teach-in panel… 5 minutes compared to 4! It was a real challenge to compress what is normally a 45 minute talk down to 5 minutes. I love the format for the show, and I can hardly wait for the event.