Free Smartphone Applications Can Consume 75% More Energy

I think we can all agree that smartphones are incredibly useful, and their benefits are only compounded by the wide range of applications we can download. However, a study has revealed that free applications can consume a whopping 75% more energy than paid applications – mainly due to ads.

This revelation will come as a blow to readers who enjoy the benefits of free applications such as the IMDB app. Sure, there are tiny ads, but we dismiss them as an evil necessity especially as the app was free in the first place

However, a study entitled “Where is the energy spent inside my app?” by computer scientist Abhinav Pathak of Purdue University, Indiana, states that these free apps are draining our smartphone batteries, as ads are consuming up to 75% more energy by tracking user information and conducting other hidden tasks unrelated to the application’s core functions.

Pathak’s team made the discovery after creating Eprof, the first fine-grained energy profiler for smartphone apps. The program was then tested on an assortment of smartphones running Android and Windows Phone 7 (strangely though, the iPhone escaped judgement, perhaps because its battery life is already famously low).

Using a team of applications, from the popular but paid-for Angry Birds to the free Chess and Facebook apps, the team found that only 10 to 30 percent of the energy was spent powering the app’s core function.

According to the study, “In Angry Birds only 20 percent is used to display and run the game, while 45 per cent is spent finding and uploading the user’s location with GPS, then downloading location-appropriate ads over a 3G connection. The 3G connection stays open for around 10 seconds, even if data transmission is complete, and this ‘tail energy’ consumes another 28 per cent of the app’s energy.” Read more »

World’s Most Powerful Offshore Turbine Catches Wind Gusts Two Soccer Fields Wide

While it may not be the overall most-powerful wind turbine ever built, the multi-megawatt monstrosity that has just been installed off the coast of Belgium is certainly the most powerful to ever be caressed by a sea breeze.

The turbine, with a rated capacity of 6.15 megawatts, is part of a 48-turbine expansion at the $1.28 billion Thornton Bank wind farm about 30 kilometers off the coast of Belgium. In all, the park is expected to generate 325 MW a year once all turbines are operational.

Each turbine is over two stories tall with 63-meter-long blades and a sweep diameter of 126 meters—roughly the surface area of two MLS pitches. They are built by REpower Systems. “The installation of the first 6 MW turbine in a commercial offshore wind farm is an important milestone for the entire offshore wind industry. It marks another step along the road towards larger offshore wind power plants with ever more powerful machines,” Prof. Martin Skiba, Head of Offshore Wind Power at RWE Innogy, said in a statement.

RWE expects to have 30 turbines installed by September of this year with the remaining 18 put in by the end of next year. When operational, the Thornton Bank wind park will be the largest offshore wind farm in Europe. It can generate enough power to light 600,000 homes.

[RWE via Inhabitat]

Solar and Wind Energy on the Rise in China and India

Roof based solar panel system installed using ...

Roof based solar panel system installed using ballasted footing mounts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Little wind turbines (coupled with little sola...

Little wind turbines (coupled with little solar panel) in Chongming Island, Shanghai, China (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Solar and wind energy supporters and critics met at the Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics conference to discuss the future of this technologies after the bankruptcy of Solyndra, the government supported cylindrical panels manufacturer which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August of 2011.

The President and CEO of Canadian Solar Shawn Qu, and Tuisi Tanti, the chairman and managing director of Suzlon Group, a global wind power company based in India, offered their views on the future of renewable energy and the steps that should be taken to encourage its use. Following the trend of the conference, Qu and Tanti discussed the mixed involvement of economics, government support and public interest in regards to the global future of the technology.

“We can’t ignore the U.S.” said Tanti when asked about where solar and wind energy will exist and grow. “When we are looking on the global perspectives, we’re looking more where the need for energy is very high.”

Those countries tend to include China and India, where rapid industrialization and new economic growth have led to large levels of coal use and air pollution. Despite the health costs of coal burning, Tanti admits that the economic costs hold a large influence over the future of the environmental movement, claiming that the only way to ensure solar and wind power is “if we can bring the cost of renewable energy lower than coal.” Read more »

Green Guide to Making Your Clothing Last

Clothes rack

Clothes rack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With Earth Day around the corner coupled with a year-round desire to save money, you’re already taking eco-friendly steps in the kitchen and around the home. But did you know that you can be green and save green in your closet, too? The best money-saving move on attire is to stop buying it. Taking care of the clothing you have is also good for the environment because it means less clothing that goes into the dumpster, fewer miles and less gas spent on shopping sprees, and you simply being a good steward of the items you have. Andrea Woroch, nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli, Inc., shares eight ways to make your clothing last.

Take care of your clothing

“Everything is more expensive these days but some items experience higher price hikes than others,” says Woroch. “To the dismay of fashionistas everywhere, apparel is taking the hardest hit with a whopping 4.7-percent increase in January alone, according to ApparelStrategiest.com.” The finance expert offers these tips to promote wardrobe longevity.

1. Follow care instructions

When clothing says “hand-wash only”, it really does mean wash by hand. “I’ve ruined many a blouse due to laziness,” Woroch admits. “By following care instructions closely, clothes will last longer and you can enjoy them for years.” Another green tip: If you have dry-clean only items, avoid professional cleanings with at-home kits and use mesh bags for delicates to prevent damage from the washer drum or other garments.

2. Invest in classic pieces

View your clothing like you would a large appliance or vehicle — buy items that are built to last. “Avoid spending too much on trendy clothes and invest in classic pieces instead,” suggests Woroch. “After all, buying $100 worth of cheap, trendy items is no deal compared to a $100 blazer that lasts a lifetime.” The money-saving pro also recommends buying discount cards at sites like GiftCardGranny.com to higher-end clothing retailers. Read more »

Go Green and Save Our Planet with these 4 Windows Phone Apps

Of all the colours representing one social movement or the other, green is one of the most popular. Thinking green and living with an environmental consciousness is the “in” thing to do these days, and with Earth Day a month away, here are 4 apps to help your Windows Phone join the eco-movement.

Battery Saver

Maximizing your phone’s battery life means not having to charge it as often, which in turn saves electricity and benefits the environment.

Battery Saver does nothing new that Windows Phone can’t already do natively — a great battery saver function is already built in — but it does bring all the power management functions into one unified interface. It also lets you pin shortcuts to specific power-sapping features like Bluetooth or WiFi to the home screen so you can jump straight in and turn them off whenever necessary.

There’s also a handy reminder feature with fully customizable text up to 30 characters, so you can for example remind yourself to switch off the WiFi at a certain time.

Carbon Footprint Calculator

How much of an impact are you making on our planet? As we go about our daily lives, we’re usually too busy to keep thinking about our CO2 emissions.

The Carbon Footprint Calculator can help you with that. The app lets users input the amount of electricity, natural gas, heating oil, propane and transportation you consume annually, and roughly estimates your carbon footprint for you.

If the user cannot provide the exact figures – such as his/her household’s total kilowatt-hours of electricity use per year – the app can help generate an estimate based on you home size: single family, a town house, or an apartment.

And if you’re feeling bad about all those carbon you’re contributing to the atmosphere, the app will even tell you how many trees you need to plant to offset your emissions. Read more »