Quantum Algorithms
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Saving the Planet, One Line of Code at a Time
Surely us lowly computer programmers can't do much about climate change, right? I mean, maybe we could drive a Prius to work, or work for Google, but short of that, code is code, isn't it? Well maybe not. Here are a few things programmers could do to fight global warming:

* Boycott Windows Vista. Windows Vista is an energy-wasting nightmare, requiring grunty graphics cards and cutting edge CPUs just to perform basic windowing operations. By writing PC and web applications that deliberately don't work with Vista, you can help cajole users into running a less resource intensive operating system.
* Don't ouput blank or nearly-blank pages to the printer. Have you ever printed a document from Word and got a completely blank page at the end (except for maybe a page number)? Or have you ever printed something from an email application or web site and gotten a final page containing almost nothing but a useless footer? This type of waste must add up. Sure you can recycle the paper, but recycling takes energy. Better to not print the page in the first place. If the user really needs that last bit of information printed out, they can opt-in and get it printed. But tree-saving mode should be enabled by default.
* Write more efficient code. A CPU running at 100% capacity is sure to draw more current than a CPU with less load. So code more efficiently and use less electricity. (Of course if hardly anyone uses your software, and reducing clock cycles requires you to drive to work more or keep the lights on later, this could be counter-productive)
* Support older computers. Older computers have cooler processors and less memory and therefore use less electricity than newer ones (especially if they're connected to an LCD monitor). By coding for them, you encourage their use. Recent versions of Linux should run happily on older computers that wouldn't support Windows 2000, let alone XP or Vista.

Got any more ideas?
One suggestion for saving the planet through coding is to use Gaia Ajax Widgets wich gives away their framework for free to environmental organizations :)
Gaia can be found at:
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These days web pages are so over the top with useless overdone content that even cable modem and DSL downloading uses too much of our precious time. Dial-up these days is nearly useless. Needed is a service provider that will strip away the overdone content for us, for example using this recent invention. 7,216,177 available at
I got Vista, but I use it to surf the web.
Black web page consumes less energy than white pixel based
Using pen and paper consumes less energy than old computers.

Destroy all the computers to save the planet!
Old computers also consume more energy than pen and paper.

We have to destroy all the computers to save the planet!
(Of course if hardly anyone uses your software, and reducing clock cycles requires you to drive to work more or keep the lights on later, this could be counter-productive)* Support older computers
So... we can help the planet by working for Google hey...

How prophetic :)
Ha, I forgot about that. Kissing up to my future employer 2.5 years ago -- gotta be genuine then, right?
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