Climate change: Why it could be time to cut back on new gadgets and HD streams

We need to cut global emissions, and fast – and in doing so, tech businesses are both part of the the problem – and the solution. A new report from the UK’s Royal Society finds that as technologies keep growing at pace, the onus is on the digital sector not only to reduce its own carbon footprint, but also to come up with innovative ways to reverse climate change globally. 

While there is no exact figure that sums up the impact of digital technologies on the environment, the report estimates that the sector currently represents between 1.4% and 5.9% of global greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the industry is projected to make huge strides in the coming years: for example, the total number of internet users is expected to reach 5.3 billion by 2023, up from less than four billion in 2018. 

All this extra connectivity comes at

Read More

Avoid unnecessary HD streaming to cut carbon emissions, Royal Society says

The Royal Society is advising people to stream video in standard definition on their smartphone rather than 4K to help reduce carbon emissions.

In a new report, the Society estimates that streaming one hour on a smartphone generates roughly eight times more emissions in 4K or UHD (Ultra High Definition) compared with SD (Standard Definition). 

Content lovers are unlikely to notice the difference in definition on a screen as small as a smartphone, according to the report. 

Streaming services have a negative effect on the environment, due to the power required to transfer data, a large proportion of which is generated by non-renewable energy sources like gas and coal.  

The Royal Society also advises the public to keep using the same smartphone for four years and not get drawn into the tech industry’s furious annual release cycles.

Tech fans can also help cut carbon emissions by buying gadgets second-hand and

Read More

Daimler to cut out suppliers to fund software hiring spree

Daimler will cut out traditional parts makers in order to fund a software development push that will involve hiring thousands of coders to build an operating system that rivals Tesla’s.

The Mercedes-Benz owner would buy fewer electronic components and “replace supplier development costs with personnel, building and computing costs”, Ola Kallenius, the company’s chief executive, told the Financial Times.

“Down the road, once we have gotten farther in this endeavour, I believe we could actually operate at a lower fixed cost level,” the Swedish boss added.

We will pay less money to suppliers and then employ people in other places.

The German group, which is in the middle of a painful restructuring as it struggles to pay for a late foray into electric vehicles, wants to own more of the complex technology that powers modern cars.

“We want to have one comprehensive operating system that goes from our

Read More

American Alliance of Museums Says 67% of Museums Cut Education Funding

Masked employees at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on August 29, 2020 in New York City. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Despite the best efforts of certain institutions that have thrown resources into remote education, community stewardship and digital programming, American museums have been struggling hugely this year. In July, the American Alliance of Museums predicted that a third of all United States museums may close for good, leading to an additional loss of 242,000 jobs unless institutions get urgent federal support. This week, an updated report from the AAM revealed further disturbing statistics: according to its conducted survey, 67% of the museums that responded have had to cut back on education, programming, and other public services due to budget shortfalls associated with the pandemic.

At a time when museums are being called to provide those stuck at home with educational programming, they’re being forced to slash public services. This is a

Read More

No signal: Internet ‘dead zones’ cut rural students off from virtual classes.

Shekinah and Orlandria Lennon were sitting at their kitchen table this fall, taking online classes, when video of their teachers and fellow students suddenly froze on their laptop screens. The wireless antenna on the roof had stopped working, and it couldn’t be fixed.

Desperate for a solution, their mother called five broadband companies, trying to get connections for their home in Orrum, N.C., a rural community of fewer than 100 people with no grocery store or traffic lights.

All the companies gave the same answer: Service is not available in your area.

“It’s not fair,” said Shekinah, 17. “I don’t think just the people who live in the city should have internet. We need it in the country, too.”

Millions of American students are grappling with the same challenges, learning remotely without adequate home internet service. About 15 million K-12 students lived in households without adequate online connectivity or remote

Read More

Bootstrapped Clearfind wants to cut your software spend, for a small fee

Software is eating the world, and that grub can be costly. As the market for enterprise tools and software continues to balloon, organizations are spending more and more on that software across an increasingly complicated and rapidly evolving landscape.

That’s where Clearfind comes in.

Clearfind was founded (and bootstrapped) by James Layfield and Jocelyn Simons. The startup aims to provide clarity and transparency to organizations looking to buy enterprise software. Over the past two years, Clearfind has been building out its backend, which is a mix of machine learning and humans, to distill a software offering down to its features.

When clients join the Clearfind platform, they give the startup access to their backend through integrations with products like Sage, Quickbooks, SAP, etc. so that Clearfind can take a look at their overall software spend. CIOs or CTOs can then see if there are any redundancies in their current software

Read More

YouTube Cut Down Misinformation. Then It Boosted Fox News.

A Fox News spokesperson said the network had worked hard to elevate its presence on YouTube. Fox News created a team focused on the platform and has made a point of posting videos that perform well with YouTube’s search engine and with viewers, such as live broadcasts of breaking news.

On Facebook, Fox News’s page accounted for 10 percent of all interactions with posts about the election over the past week, according to CrowdTangle. That was second only to President Trump’s official page, at 18 percent, and above Breitbart’s at 6 percent.

The next major network was CNN at 2 percent, roughly on a par with the page of “Fox & Friends,” the Fox News morning show. Facebook declined to comment but noted that interactions do not entirely reflect a post’s reach, though they are the only measure of a post’s popularity that the company makes available.

In one analysis,

Read More

A cut above: the best hair-styling gadgets

Dyson Corrale hair straightener (Image: Dyson)

Quality kit to help you get that salon look at home

Popping to the hairdressers for a style and blow dry may be trickier during these Covid times but you can still get that salon look if you have the right gadgets.

Here we pick some on the best devices to help you dry, straighten or roll your hair like a pro.

Dyson Corrale hair straightener 

Dyson’s new hair straightener is cordless, for added ease of use. It heats up in about 30 seconds, stays warm for about 30 minutes on one charge and has flexible copper plates that shape around your hair. And intelligent heat control regulates the temperature of the plates 100 times a second, so that you never exceed your chosen temperature. Comes with a charging dock and also a magnetic cable in case you want to plug in between charges.  

£399; johnlewis.com

Cloud Nine: The O
Read More

Investors sharply cut value of holdings in quantum computer maker D-Wave

D-Wave has fallen short of financial targets and only had a handful of buyers for its expensive, shed-sized computers.

STEPHEN LAM/REUTERS

One of Canada’s most heavily funded early stage technology companies, quantum computer developer D-Wave Systems, undertook a costly refinancing this year that wiped out most of the value of some long-time investors, including the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s venture capital arm, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and fund giant Fidelity Investments, according to public filings and three sources.

The US$40-million financing, including US$10-million from new investor NEC Corp., came as part of a capital restructuring that cut D-Wave’s valuation to less than US$170-million before the receipt of funds, down from about US$450-million, the sources familiar with the company said. The Globe and Mail is not disclosing their identities as they are not authorized to speak on the matter.

Existing investors who participated – including Montreal-based Public Sector Pension Investment Board

Read More