January 2008


Filed under: General
Posted by: Shawna @ 3:24 pm

Okay, I admit it, I was once part of this cult of personality around Linus. After reading his biography though (I even bought it!), I was throughly annoyed, he just comes across as having all the bad sys. admin. characteristics and questionable leadership skills. Although I will have to re-read his bio. in light of my new textbooks discussion of “small l” leadership. Perhaps I was too biased in my reading. 

You know the “bad sys admin characteristics”, the things that group skateboarders and sys admins. in the same category of un-dateable male, (or ultra-dateable, depending on your POV). They involve a secular form of “academic boy disease”.  However this article is hleping me give up my tech. guy stereotypes.  It was nice to read that Linux developers are having real-world ends in mind i.e. saving power. What the article does not mention however is that Linux is designed to run with less “bloat” and therefore allows you to use older, less powerful, etc. hardware and prevents old computers from going to ”the dump”.  So they are moving the philosophical idea into real power management features infrastructure.

Here’s the article:

Torvalds: Linux ready to go green

By Munir Kotadia

Story last modified Thu Jan 31 07:01:39 PST 2008

The infrastructure and tools required to make Linux a green operating system are now in place, according to Linux leader Linus Torvalds, who was in Melbourne this week attending Australia’s largest Linux conference.

In an interview at the linux.conf.au conference, the developer of the Linux kernel admitted that the operating system was lagging behind on power-management and energy-diagnosis tools.

“It is an area we were pretty weak in a few years ago and just building up the infrastructure took a long time, but now we are at a point where we have most of it done,” Torvalds said.

“That doesn’t mean we are done. Now we have an infrastructure in place… we have the tools to measure power and notice when the power is higher and why that is, which is pretty important. Before, it used to be a black box,” he said.

Munir Kotadia of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.

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Salon article on reducing power consumption.

Filed under: General
Posted by: Shawna @ 4:41 pm



Put a stake in it

Cut up to 10 percent of your electric bill simply by turning off “vampire” appliances that run all night.

By Rebecca Clarren

Jan. 24, 2008 | There are insomniacs in our homes that work late at night and run up the electricity bill. They are not the classically overworked American who pops melatonin or Tylenol PM. They are microwave ovens, computers and TVs. They are half of our appliances, electronic equipment and associated chargers that suck down power even when they’re turned off, in sleep or standby mode. A typical house hosts around 50 such insomniacs, and though individual devices use minuscule amounts of electricity, in the aggregate they’re an astonishing and pricey burden.

This “vampire energy loss” represents between 5 and 8 percent of a single family home’s total electricity use per year, according to the Department of Energy. On average, that’s the equivalent of one month’s electricity bill. Taken across the United States, this adds up to at least 68 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually; that’s the equivalent output of 37 typical electricity-generating power plants, costing consumers more than $7 billion. This wasted energy sends more than 97 billion pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere; on a global scale, standby energy accounts for 1 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, according to Alan Meier of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, based in California.

“When a consumer thinks the device is off, it should be using as little power as possible,” says Meier. “But in their haste to get products onto the market, manufacturers don’t make those modest design improvements, and we, the consumers, pay the price in unnecessarily high standby power use.”

Luckily, there are a number of new gadgets that make it easy to thwart vampire energy loads. For places with clusters of cords like a home office or entertainment center, use a Smart Strip. By monitoring power consumption, the strip detects when computers or stereos are off and powers down, eliminating energy usage in all peripheral devices such as printers. Another option is the Isolé power strip, which uses a motion sensor to turn off six of its eight outlets if it hasn’t detected anyone in the room for up to 30 minutes.

To ascertain what appliances are sucking the most power, you can buy a Kill a Watt power meter, a nifty gadget with a wall outlet that measures the watts, volts, amps and kilowatt-hours of a given device when off or on. I bought one and spent a fun-filled few days discovering the power my appliances were wasting. While my electric toothbrush and cellphone charger suck less than a kWh per day (around $5 a year), my VCR, which I seldom use, takes three times that much. I don’t have a plasma TV, but if you do, it’s likely using over 1,400 kWh per year (the equivalent of about $160) if plugged in but not technically “on,” according to a 2005 Department of Energy report. A Federal Energy Management Program Web site supplies information about the standby power wattage of office equipment such as computers, fax machines and printers.

To measure whole-house electricity consumption, try a monitor called Energy Detective. It costs around $190 and provides cost estimates of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Like a scale, it doesn’t help you lose weight or cut back on power. But by providing immediate feedback of how much money you are spending each day on energy, and how much you are likely to spend next month, it’s a solid motivator to unplug appliances and turn off lights. Consumers who used such monitors cut back their energy use by around 5 percent, according to a July 2007 report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Currently, there are no simple devices to thwart the biggest users of phantom energy in our homes — the appliances that we unknowingly never turn off. The biggest such offenders are TV set-top boxes with a digital video recorder such as TiVo. Made without a standby mode, most models remain on even when you’re not watching or recording a show, consuming up to 400 kWh per year, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. That’s enough energy to emit 0.05 tons of carbon dioxide per year (roughly the total emissions of an average citizen of Burundi), reported the New Scientist in November. While energy-efficiency advocates have been trying to get cable and satellite companies to reduce the energy use of these boxes, they’ve had limited success so far.

“A family with several such cable boxes may use more energy per year than to power their new refrigerator,” says Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist with NRDC, based in San Francisco. “The cable or satellite company provides the box, but they don’t pay the electric bill, you do. People should be calling their service provider in anger, saying there’s no reason these things need to be at full power all the time.”

Computer-game consoles are also often left on. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3, for example, use only less than 1 watt of power when turned off, but when left on (in order to not quit an unfinished game before dinner or bedtime, for example), they use roughly 150 watts. Although the Xbox 360 does have an automatic power-down feature, it arrives disabled. Users need to dig into the menu to enable the “auto off” feature.

Finally, an easy fix for saving additional power from your TVs and computers is to reduce the brightness of your screen by half, and watch power consumption of the entire machine drop by about 30 percent. And by using computer screen savers, you’re wasting as much as $100 per year. These constant displays don’t save energy or prevent the display disfigurement for which they were created 15 years ago; new technology fixed that problem long ago.

A major solution to vampire energy, say experts like Meier, will arrive when manufacturers design more efficient appliances. Even so, by using power strips and maintaining vigilance about unplugging the TV and devices that get little use, we can help those insomniacs get some rest.

– By Rebecca Clarren

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Interesting Link

Filed under: General
Posted by: Shawna @ 12:57 pm

In my morning read of my RSS feeds (both work and fun all mixed together), Coilhouse posted this link to self-portraits.


I am shamelessly linking to it as I couldn’t have said it better myself:


Note: some portraits are NSFW.

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2007 recap

Filed under: General
Posted by: Shawna @ 7:35 pm

A couple of my friends did this little questionnaire and I enjoyed reading their takes on life and the year, so I think I could repay their stories with my own.

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
– got married.
– committed to a logo for my designs/sewing.
– travelled for work (not just grad school)

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
– Yes, I am now a trained, regular labyrinth volunteer
– I will only make good resolutions in 2008.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?  no

4. Did anyone close to you die?  no, but my older relatives are passing on. It’s odd to be loosing my history.

5. What countries did you visit?
– Republic of Ontario.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
– freedom. stability. organized.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
7/7/07 – got married.
28/7/07 – realized the implications of marriage fully.


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
– coped with a terrible work situation with grace and then rising to the occassion of a new job.

9. What was your biggest failure?
– Letting things get to me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? no.

11. What was the best thing someone bought you?
– I was rented table clothes and bought fancy paper.


12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
– My friends and all their support.
– My cat decided to get alone with her new roommate cats.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
-They know who they are. Generally I learned that everyone is about their own turf.

14. Where did most of your money go?
– wedding.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
– fabric shopping in LA and the Getty Museum.


16. What song will always remind you of 2007?

Rehab by Amy Whinehouse

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?

b) thinner or fatter?

c) richer or poorer?

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

swimming. walking on the beach.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

trying to make others happy.

20. How do you plan to spend Christmas?  at home.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?  no.


22. How many one night stands?

zero. except for that one night with a pot of Kraft Dinner & a pledge of undying love.


23. What was your favorite TV program?

Hell’s Kitchen.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? no.

25. What was the best book you read?

Best Fanfic was: Willow Immortal/Spike post-sunnydale destruction.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Ok Go.
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

27. What did you want and get?
– a stable loving awesome guy

28. What did you want and not get?
– career happiness

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 30. I had a birthday party at home filled with old and new friends.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If I would have lowered my expectations and done more yoga.

If I would have followed through more dilligently with consulting work.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?

lots more brown. Discovering crocs. less sparkles.

33. What kept you sane?

wine, yoga.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?


35. What political issue stirred you the most?

Loss of birth control funding for college students in the US.

Cambie St. debacle.


36. Who do you miss?

My grandpa.

The world is a sadder place with the loss of James Barber.


37. Who was the best new person you met?

Michele and Matt


38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007?

How to deal with narcissism.

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Subject: Can you answer all of these?

Filed under: General
Posted by: Shawna @ 7:11 pm

Four jobs I have had in my life:  
Research and Grants Facilitator
Research Associate
Client Services Coordinator
Naturalist Assistant
A/V Crew Chief

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:
Princess Bride
The Day the Earth Stood Still
La Femme Nikita

Four Places I have lived:  
 Waterloo, Ontario
outside Wellesley, Ontario
outside Thunder Bay, Ontario
Vancouver, BC

Four T.V. Shows that I (used to) watch:
Crossing Jordan
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Twin Peaks
In Living Colour 

Four places I have been:
Stralsund, Germany
Kutná Hora, Czech Republic
Los Angeles, USA
Kananaskis, Alberta

Four favorite foods:
fruit tarts (chinese style)
fruit triffle
spinach salad
Dill pickles

Four places I would like to visit:
– Ukraine (for family reasons)
– San francisco and LA again.
– Tahsis, BC

Four things I am looking forward to in the coming year:
– Birth of Nicola and Anna’s babies.  
– possibly finishing a management certification
– celebrating my 1 year wedding anniversary

Best book I’ve read this year:

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A Funny Thing at the Fabric Store

Filed under: General
Posted by: Shawna @ 6:31 pm

Yesterday I made a trip to a sewing store. Not my usual comfy haunt, but a chain store that sells more patterns and is located near knight and Marine Drive. I don’t think I should name it.

So going by bus from work, this took 1.5 hours. This is normal, as I didn’t take the #49, but the 99 to 22. The 99 was there and it was a 20 min. wait for the #49. Anyway, here’s what I wanted to buy:


  • 1 pattern (camisole with bust seam, made for stretch fabrics)
  • black stretch lace/mesh/whatever with 1 scalloped edge
  • thimble
  • a twin needle designed for stretch knits
  • black 100% poly thread
  • and open presser foot
  • lingerie elastic
  • strap findings
  • #10 ball point needle

I didn’t think that finding these things would be an issue, as this store is a chain found everywhere. Here are my results:

·  1 pattern (camisole with bust seam, made for stretch fabrics) (nope, nothing between 4 pattern companies – there are no stretch patterns for camisoles, its all formless rectangle patterns and narry a boxer pattern in sight!)

·  black stretch lace/mesh/whatever with 1 scalloped edge (nothing)

·  thimble (nothing metal, all plastic)

·  a twin needle designed for stretch knits (no)

·  black 100% poly thread (yes, but not gutterman brand)

·  curved needle (Yes, for $2.49)

·  open machine presser foot  (no)

·  lingerie elastic (no, all thick not for show elastic in white)

·  strap findings (no)

·  #10 ball point needle (yes!)

Frustering!! I’m trying the non-chain store tonight.

Perhaps sewing store customers are all quilter or home decor and not stretch black lace sewers?

But the nice part was that a very nice bus driver let us stay in his nice warm bus drivers room while waiting out the windstorm, as the bus was running 20 minutes late.

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Things of a sewing nature

Filed under: General
Posted by: Shawna @ 1:06 pm

Do not use my sewing scissors for paper. I mean it. I know my Mom is now saying “I told you so”, but geesh.


Here’s a cute video outlining why: http://finalembrace.com/2008/01/07/sewing-scissors-are-not-for-cutting-paper/


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This blog is the first I’ve posted in a while

Filed under: General
Posted by: Shawna @ 2:27 am

My last blog I hosted at home while learning to use apache and I was beginning my thesis.

It was also written under one of two alias’ developed back in 1995.

I wonder then how this blog will be different. i suspect that this blog will host more information or interesting tidbits, similar to the notes I post in Facebook.

Here are some articles:


When I was originally developing my first blog, all my friends were blogging and it was a way of discussing events and sharing them with people who weren’t there, but I think that Facebook takes the place of this, as you can organize events and share pictures, etc. after it.
Although I would argue that a “status line” and “twitter” can not take the place of blogging one’s life, as blogging is a way of archiving ideas and thoughts, rather than up-to-the-minute updating events. A blog can tell people the person you were, or at least your interests months or even years ago

And facebook and a blog won’t replace my RSS reader, although I do get the blogs I read regularly amassed into a listing of RSS feeds into my reader: www.bloglines.com,

anyway, enough meta and onto blogging



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