Archive for the 'Tree-Hugging Hippy Crap' Category

The Working Day (and place)

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

I touched on this some time ago, but it’s time for a revisit.

Why does so much of the world involve 9-5ish business hours, and going to an office to do so?

What first set me thinking on this was tonights commute home. 43 minutes end-to-end, steady speed (so less emmissions and more MPG), and less stress. This is (roughly) 75% of the average lately, and the difference was that I had to change a router after business hours (after a failed attempt a couple of weeks ago), so left work just after 6pm, rather than the 4:30/5:30 rush hour.

Sadly, I don’t have the opportunity to work (say) 7:30 or 8:00-18:00 every day, aviod the traffic, and take a day off a week. That would do good things for me and the environment, but my employer, like many, wants me at my desk during the day.

If we’re talking about being at your desk during working hours, why in fact be there at all? I’m a network monkey: I support networks, servers, telephony etc etc. I could do 80-90% of my work from where I’m sat now with an IP Softphone (or a mobile) and VPN. I could conceivably only go to the office 1-2 days a week.

Even for meetings there’s plenty of products that can reduce or eliminate the need for people to travel to meet: If you have a national coverage, that can save a wedge. The Webex product is robust enough to do product demos over, and as a support tool for us techies it’s incredible. For one supplier I use, the account manager works at home several days a week, and I cannot tell if she is there or in the office: the phone seamlesly re-routes. An educational establishment I know of in the Black Country uses mobiles with wi-fi connectivity and SIP together with Asterix and makes the user’s internal extension appear seamlessly on their phone if they are at work, home, or anywhere in between and saves a truckload of cash in the process. I’ve done system upgrades sat on my sofa with a beer; Lee H-W has done his (techie) job from a campsite during the Gloucestershire floods.

So then: in our connected world, with all the enabling tech we have, why does the rush hour persist, at least for those of us office-based?

Will rising traffic levels and environmental concerns see this pattern end?

Discuss.

Nationalise the lot?

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Well then, the private sector triumphs again eh?

National Express, the same people that have a near monopoly on buses in the West Midlands, have pulled out of running the East Coast Main Line, as they’re not prying enough money from passengers, and the passengers aren’t happy either. Ticket prices are high, the service is poor.

So then: a question. Do you favour privatisation? Does the private sector improve efficiency, or merely ensure someone gets very rich? Can the public sector manage things effectively? Should the following be publicly or privately owned?

* Healthcare

* Roads

* Public Transport

* Energy supply

* Anything else?

I’ll go on record: I think the private sector just creams off the profits and runs away when things get hard, and I think all of the above should be in public ownership with profits ploughed back in to keeping costs down and service good where the service has a potential to make profit. I think public transport should be run as an essential service, not as a way to make money. Maybe that’s a bit utopian.

Discuss.

New roads and the envvironment

Friday, April 17th, 2009

The journey to and from Bournemouth wasn’t bad: M6T/M42/M40/A34/M3/M27 for most of it. A striking change from the past: the Newbury Bypass makes the drive that way immeasurably better, and I’d imagine that living in Newbury is a whole lot more pleasant now that it’s not smack in the middle of the A34, choked by traffic. Of course, getting rid of the tedious middle-class waster tosspot Swampy will have helped too.

Starting Smoking

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

I recently read on a car forum that people with diesel cars have noticed a slight drop in fuel economy of late: So had I, and asking MarkyB (who drives quite a few miles a year), we both reckon we’ve noticed a drop very recently too. Added to this, the Fabia seems a little smokier (booting it away the other day produced a little visible smoke behind), and I’m wondering if this is due to the small percentage of biodiesel that’s allowed now? Normally the warmer weather and fuel without anti-waxing additive would give slightly lower consumption. Also, following a recent Focus TDCI tonight, it seemed a bit smoky, and the Ford TDCI is actually a worthwhile engine, unlike it’s older efforts.

Catching The Worm

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

My, that sounds like a euphemism for a unpleasant practice, doesn’t it?

However, I’m merely referring to the old proverb. Yesterday we went to work early: work by whatever MEB call themselves these days necessitated a bit of remote admin on Saturday to shut off some stuff (reducing the UPS load), and an early start to make sure all was well.

So, we left home at 6:20, took 30 min lunch, and left at 2:30. The net result? We saved about 20 minutes on the journey in, about 15 on the journey out, used less fuel, and had lots of time in the evening. All by going out 1 hour earlier and by taking a lunch break no longer than we needed.

My point? Dunno. But I do much prefer early start-early finish. I hate travelling in rush hour, and it seems so crazy that we all do it each day because that’s how it’s been done. I’m not the only one to think so. The technology is there to allow a lot of people to perform at least some of their job at home- so why damage the environment and frustrate ourselves travelling to sit in an office, especially all doing it at the same time?

Good sense at Last?

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

It’s some time since I ranted, and now there are calls to ban patio heaters, and remove standby from TVs. This makes good sense: while that standby mode of a good, modern TV doesn’t use a bit of power, fitting a proper, hard-wired off switch is a good idea that has little downside. As for the heaters? Calor (who just happen to make the gas that fuels them!) say the effect is minimal.

Right. Pumping several kW straight into the atmosphere for no purpose but to warm up people too lazy to wear a coat? At least the energy wastage from the TV is only a few watts. The patio heater hits things twice too: It heats the atmosphere directly, and produces unwanted emissions and wastes petroleum-based fuel doing so. If you must heat your garden, buy a Chimenea and burn some waste in it- still not good, but better.

The emissions (in carbon terms) from patio heaters probably isn’t that high, but what an utter waste. Like shops with the heating on and the doors wide open, or heated shops with open freezers. Bet that uses more than we’ll save with CFL lights…

Why Bother?

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

As any local residents will know, Walsall Council operate a kerbside recycling scheme. This means that they give you a green plastic box, and you put recycleables in it, and they collect and recycle them, saving on the amount of waste going in landfill and helping the council meet it’s targets.

Now without notifying anyone, the rules have changed: You could leave out additional containers, and you could recycle foil, for example. However, on the last few occasions, any foil we’ve left, and anything in additional bags has been left.

Needless to say, what got left went straight in the bin, with a loud ‘well bollocks to that then’.

Surely the idea is to maximise what is recycled? Hardly making it easy, is it?

It doesn’t help that the council’s own website contains conflicting advice. Here’s two pages retrieved tonight that show different lists of items that can be recycled.

Recycle1 (PDF)
Recycle2 (PDF)

Brilliant.


This blog is protected by Spam Karma 2: 38110 Spams eaten and counting...