A note to web developers that want to get away with copying and pasting code from previous projects and charging your current client – make sure you find and replace all references to the old client.

I’m updating a form at the moment that has alert text in it that lists a previous client’s details. Pretty poor form really…

Update: Not just an alert, but a whole email template.

Come off it

EcoStreet mentions Come off it day.

The idea is that if every household saves just a few watts every day, that’s one less power station that needs to be built.

I’ve been doing a bit of research at work on energy and water saving around the home. I was a bit shocked to find out that, on average, 11.6% of a household electricity bill is used on devices in standby mode – that is TVs, microwaves, VCRs, unused (but plugged in) phone and laptop chargers.

The Australian Government is aiming to reduce standby power usage by encouraging more efficient devices, aiming for 1 watt power usage in standby mode. But in the meantime the best way to conserve energy is to unplug or turn off at the power point devices that you aren’t using.

We also worked out that changing just one 100 watt lightbulb in every house to a 15 watt compact fluro will save not only money, but would result in 1,000 tonnes less C02 emissions (CO2, or carbon dioxide, is a key driver of climate change).

Come off it day (which was two days ago, but could easily be done any day of the year) suggests two actions:

  • Replace every bulb in your house with an energy efficient one
  • Go around the house and switch off anything that you can easily do without, and try to avoid any unnecessary electricity use

Sounds good to me…

Choose – create or listen – how ’bout both?

Riffing on the participation media meme: I recently created a myspace profile (partly for work) to see how it all worked and to link up with some friends that were using the service. After about a week I thought it might be cool to post some demos of the tracks I’ve put together as we audition for folks to join my new band.

As far as I can tell, you can’t upload music to myspace unless you are registered as an “artist” but to do so you have to use a different email address. In other words, I had to create a whole new profile. So I did (luckily I have a plethora of email addresses to choose from).

Today I went to Purevolume to check out The Devoted Few’s new profile there. Barry suggested creating a listening profile too, so I went to the sign-up page. The first question they ask: are you an artist or a listener.

I’m both. And it annoys me that I have to choose between them. I’m not sure if I have to create a whole new profile for PV like I did in myspace, but I do find this an unnecessary distinction, and quite annoying ‘coz I then have to remember a whole new set of credentials, and maintain two separate spaces on these sites. It would be so easy to support multiple profiles per sign-in…

Anyway – enough of my griping – I’d recommend checking out Purevolume – there’s some cool music to be found. is another promising site that’s been around for a while, but seems to be gaining traction at the moment, as is Pandora (haven’t had a chance to check out either yet).

Update 07/03: Amy says it’s possible – I couldn’t find any options like this. Anyone know how to do it?

Update 08/03: So, in the comments Amy shows how easy it is to convert a myspace profile. Who woulda thought to use the “help” link. G’ah! Very much a case of RTFM – I should have dug a little deeper before posting…

Update 09/03: Actually, I was just thinking about it. What I am after is not what Amy’s pointer does. What I want is a single sign-in with multiple profiles, not the ability to change a profile to something else. At the moment I have to still remember two lots of sign-in details. This may not seem like much, but it gets incredibly annoying when you have to repeatedly sign-in and out of the system to make changes to each profile (incl. accepting friend requests). But anyways, I’ve said enough already. It’s a reasonably small issue in the grand scheme of shit, so not really worth harping on about…

Useless trivia

Via email today:

A bit of useless trivia.

At 3 seconds past 1.02am on the 4th of May this year (1 month from today) the time and date will read.

01.02.03 04/05/06

This will never happen again.

Well, that last statement isn’t technically true – same thing will happen in 3006. But, at the rate we’re going our species won’t be around to see it 😉

The Independent on climate change

Interesting article over at The Independent (UK) about what people want to be done about climate change. Lots of reader suggestions being passed on to a UK inquiry:

All the contributions from our readers are being forwarded to the All-Party Climate Change Group, led by the Labour MP Colin Challen, who has argued that radical initiatives, free of narrow party political concerns, may have to be taken.

It’s interesting that both a recent survey by Environmental Defense, and this article, highlight the perceived need for a combination of both personal action and government legislation. This, incidentally, is my view too, but there seems to be a growing awareness that government’s need to step up to the mark to keep business in check.

We’re about to update the Future is Man Made site to include some basic steps you can take, with surprisingly effective results. But that’s only half the battle. Writing to your local MP and expressing your concerns, as well as suggesting some of the obvious solutions is vital if government is to move.

Regardless, it’s good to see a newspaper make an effort at involving its readers and raising the profile of this important issue (even though The Independent is known for its left-leaning readership and editorial policy). I often wonder what would happen if the Daily Telegraph here in Sydney actually ran a well worded poll (which is unlikely in itself!) asking readers to send in their suggestions and thoughts. It would be a very interesting read methinks…

Species extinction

One of the key angles of WWF-Australia’s ‘The future is man made’ campaign is that species extinction is occurring at an alarming rate. One of the stats we use is that 8 species will become extinct every hour globally (which is pretty frightening imo).

The BBC is running a series on this wave of extinctions – the program is called “Planet under pressure“. Interesting reading if you’re looking for a bit of background on species extinction and what the current rate is. The intro to the piece:

All the creatures we share the Earth with are important in some way, however unprepossessing or insignificant they may appear. They and we are all part of the web of life.

From the dawn of time, extinction has usually progressed at what scientists call a natural or background rate. Today the tempo is far faster.

Many scientists believe this is the sixth great wave – the sixth mass extinction to affect life on Earth.

In other environment news, the Coolhunting points to Greenpeace’s ‘Danger Global Warming’ project. Check the Coolhunting article for details, and then check out the online gallery.

Consumer-generated content

I hate that term. Not quite sure what to call it yet (‘participant’ is a word that rings true for me). Any ways – it refers to when we, the ‘consumers’ make stuff either using an online product and then share it online, or submitting it to a site (be it commercial, beta, or just for fun). For example, when you update your myspace profile you are generating content for Fox (the company that owns myspace). Same when you upload a photo to flickr.

Anyways – I saw this today and had to laugh. [via Shotgun Marketing]. Basically, Chrysler asked folks to submit videos that featured one of the SUVs they produce (the Tahoe):

Users were given some audio and video collateral to work with and given the opportunity to piece them together as they saw fit. Well I don’t think they quite anticipated what might result from giving the kids the keys to the car, so to speak. At least three examples have been found of ads that use the Tahoe as background for rants against the war in Iraq, the dependence of the U.S. on foreign oil and more.

Serves ’em right I say. You let the’consumers’ talk, you have to hear things you may not want to hear…

Of course, as the online manager for the Australian outpost of a multi-national brand who is considering how to enable ‘participant media’, it’s also a good warning bell…

Update: shows the ‘offending’ ads. [via Doc Searls]

Update 06/03: Just had another good’n forwarded to me. Check it out.

Neon signs, made from LEDs

MAKE: Blog: Neon signs, made from LEDs.

Noice. As soon as you start looking into sustainability in urban and business settings, LED lighting comes up time and time again because they use a lot less energy and last much longer – a double bonus in sustainability terms. The issue with the technology to date has been brightness, but this is fast disappearing as an issue as the geeks work out ways around it. Using LED technology as a neon replacement would be wicked – especially given the energy savings possible (70% more efficient).