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Power IT

Five PC Power Myths Debunked 551

Posted by timothy
from the ones-much-easier-on-wires-than-zeros dept.
snydeq writes "Turning off PCs during periods of inactivity can save companies between $25 and $75 per PC per year, according to Energy Star, savings that can add up quickly for large organizations. Yet most organizations remain behind the times on PC power management, in large part due to common misperceptions about PC power, writes InfoWorld's Ted Samson, who outlines five PC power myths debunked in a recent report from Forrester, ranging from the energy savings of screen savers, to the energy draw of powering up, to the difficulties of issuing patches to systems in lower-power states."
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Five PC Power Myths Debunked

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  • The units! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Friday December 12, 2008 @09:40AM (#26089923) Journal
    They're all wrong! Ahh!!

    The average desktop draws 89 watts per hour. If it's left on overnight for 16 hours, it consumes 1.42kW. It's impossible for the power surge that occurs when powering on a PC to rival that figure: "You would be drawing energy at a rate of 17 kWh"

    Energy is kWh power is kW. "Energy at a rate" is power, and should be in kW not kWh.

  • by SolitaryMan (538416) on Friday December 12, 2008 @09:42AM (#26089965) Homepage Journal
    If you spend 10 mins per day turning you pc on and setting up your work environment, and 5 mins closing everything, the cost of your time spent on this task will negate $25 saved ten times.
  • Re:The units! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2008 @09:43AM (#26089997)

    Yup, I stopped reading there. No interest in reading a report from people who can't get their basic units right, they can't possibly get the rest of the maths right either.

  • by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Friday December 12, 2008 @09:44AM (#26089999) Journal

    this article was written by a self-aware PC who is tired of the human race's waste of time and energy.

    Turn off the PC, save the world. And some money on your electric bill.

  • Lets see (Score:4, Insightful)

    by petermgreen (876956) <plugwash@p10l i n k . n et> on Friday December 12, 2008 @09:44AM (#26090003) Homepage

    Turning off PCs during periods of inactivity can save companies a substantial sum. In fact, Energy Star estimates organizations can save from $25 to $75 per PC per year with PC power management
    Lets assume each PC has a user who is paid at least $25000 per year. We can clearly see the savings on the cost of that employee and thier PC setup caused by this are negligable.

    he Forrester report does acknowledge that end-users have very little patience for downtime. However, it suggests that "potential user complaints can be mitigated by communicating the positive financial and environmental benefits of PC power management."
    Complaints or not the company is paying for any user downtime.

  • by genner (694963) on Friday December 12, 2008 @09:46AM (#26090029)

    "potential user complaints can be mitigated by communicating the positive financial and environmental benefits of PC power management."

    Now that just plain hilarious.

  • by ChienAndalu (1293930) on Friday December 12, 2008 @09:46AM (#26090033)
    Sites like Blackle [blackle.com] suggest that a black screen saves energy. May have been true for CRT displays, but modern TFT Displays always have the backlight on, even on a black screen.
  • by Pharmboy (216950) on Friday December 12, 2008 @09:46AM (#26090041) Journal

    Learn how to save $25 to $75 by purchasing the $279 dollar report that the article is hawking. No thanks. This article has no business even being on Slashdot. It isn't news, it is an advert.

  • by FauxPasIII (75900) on Friday December 12, 2008 @09:54AM (#26090137)

    So suspend.

  • by Dibblah (645750) on Friday December 12, 2008 @09:59AM (#26090211)
    WTF is with this stupid meme?
  • by Spazztastic (814296) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [citsatzzaps]> on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:02AM (#26090237)

    My favorite line from TFA is the last one: "The Forrester report "How Much Monday are Your Idle PCs Wasting?" is available for $279." Please raise your hands if you know someone who would buy that!

    That $279 may be enough to show the committee for whatever corporation or organization you work for that it's beneficial to take these steps. $279 immediately, thousands saved in the long run.

  • by Daimanta (1140543) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:06AM (#26090313) Journal

    "Myth No. 5: My PC users will not tolerate any downtime for power management.

    The Forrester report does acknowledge that end-users have very little patience for downtime. However, it suggests that "potential user complaints can be mitigated by communicating the positive financial and environmental benefits of PC power management.""

    I love this kind of response. It's pretty much ignoring the problem. PC users will not tolerate any downtime for power management even if you "educate" them. This is trying to wave the problems away and it won't work.

  • Re:Bad economics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Timmmm (636430) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:06AM (#26090321)

    You're making the assumption that people work continuously whenever their computer is on, and do no work when it is off/starting up.

  • by theaveng (1243528) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:11AM (#26090415)

    Good insight. With my salary a 15 minute loss would be $3000 lost per year. However shutdown time is not something I have to sit and watch, and it doesn't really take 10 minutes to bootup (more like 5), so that reduces the loss to one-third my original calculation - just $1000.

    That does exceed the $25 in power savings.

    This is why so few people choose energy efficiency. The money saved does not compensate for time/wages lost. Perhaps when oil hits $1000 a barrel, then people will be more mindful, but for now energy is just too cheap.

  • Re:Bad economics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:11AM (#26090417) Homepage

    You're making the assumption that people work continuously whenever their computer is on

    I'm also assuming that you earn minimum wage. ;)

  • What Labour cost? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by camperdave (969942) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:12AM (#26090443) Journal
    Or you could use a cron job and wake on lan to shut them down at night and start them up in the morning without affecting the worker drones at all.
  • by Leebert (1694) * on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:15AM (#26090491)

    I don't use suspend usually. The main reason being that it kills stateful TCP connections.

    ssh is the big one here for me. Things are made a good bit easier by using GNU screen, but I still need to re-establish a bunch of ssh sessions, many of which are dual-factor authenticated.

    Another is the inability of people to send me IMs when the system is suspended.

    Etc.

  • Re:Bad economics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jafiwam (310805) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:21AM (#26090575) Homepage Journal

    Any big IT department is also pushing out patches at night when the computer is on.

    The cost of a year of leaving the computer on (to get those patches) overnight is $75.

    How much is an infected and screwed up computer costing the company (because it didn't get patched quick enough)? Maybe half a day of IT guy's time? Maybe more... depending.

    There's lots of places companies can save some money by being more efficient, I think I'll look elsewhere for bigger gains first before compromising the ability to push patches during hours the office is closed.

    Heck, a "quit smoking program" for the company will probably save a whole crapload more in sick time, "smoke break" time and health insurance costs than electricity used the PC ever will.

  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:23AM (#26090611)
    I would have liked to know how much more the computer uses when it is booting up (or closing down). I might turn the computer off when going for lunch, but with the data presented in the short article, I cannot determine how long you have to be away from the pc to make it worth to shut down the pc. It boots in under 1 minute, so the time I lose by booting is negligible (I have to boot my head as well after lunch, and focus on coffee - that takes at least a minute as well).
  • by netsavior (627338) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:29AM (#26090711)
    I have never had a PC or a Laptop which was able to reliably "Suspend" or "UnSuspend" Never in my life.

    Not with Windows or several Linux Distros. I would say at least 25% of the time the machine will not return and must be rebooted anyway.
  • by PinkyDead (862370) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:31AM (#26090735) Journal

    OCD much?

  • Do they care? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moraelin (679338) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:32AM (#26090761) Journal

    From my experience with some corporations, the way it works is more like:

    1. The left hand doesn't know, and doesn't want to know what the right is doing. If your department can save $10 bucks, but it costs everyone else 10 million in workarounds and lost productivity, who cares? You're the greatest anyway.

    2. Any attempts to rein in waste and such effects, just introduces one more layer who'll get their bonus for making you buy a tool that costs $10 less, but where you spend 100,000 more in salaries to do the same job. Occasionally it introduces a masked form of corruption too: they get more bonus for buying a $1000 pencil at 50% discount, than a normal one at 5% discount. In the former case they "saved" $500 per pencil. They're that great.

    3. Don't underestimate interdepartment power games. Making you curse and waste more effort for implementing my hare-brained cost-cutting schemes, is the gretest achievement some people can get. It's me having power over you. For some people it's a powerful drug.

    4. Theatre. Being seen as doing something beats doing the right thing. You can see that at all levels and in all domains: security theatre, cost-saving theatre, etc. Being seen as being teh great green saviour can beat actually saving money.

    5. In that vein, beware the new boss who just has to piss on everything to mark his new territory. The higher level, the more dangerous. These guys _have_ to show that they changed something. It shows vision, leadership, etc. So he'll cheerfully make an actual loss, just so he can put a good leadership and vision theatre.

    6. There's a whole caste of people across the pyramid whose goal in life is to not rock the boat and not be responsible for anything. It's better to comply with a dumb rule (even one that wasn't supposed to apply to your situation or domain) than to have anything be your personal decision, and responsibility if it fails. Applying someone else's rule is like having a papal indulgence: whatever goes wrong, you're not the one who'll be punished for it. These fine guys and gals would mindlessly enforce even turning off the computers _during_ work hours, if that's what the rules say.

    7. Don't underestimate the effect of rewarding failure. E.g., see the thing about "saving" money by buying a disproportionately _more_ expensive thing. E.g., in some places, keeping the people under you from doing their job can mean needing to hire more people, and if you get enough of them you get a promotion. E.g., being the guy who dumbly applies rules without thinking, cam actually get one a promotion or at the very least it's often enough to not get demoted or phased out.

    So, yes, I've seen places where they paid consultants in the range of thousands per hour, but would rather pay those to twiddle their thumbs for a quarter of an hour while a baroque configuration starts, than "waste" cents on leaving that computer idle over night.

  • Re:Typo? Pshaw! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tsalmark (1265778) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:33AM (#26090767) Homepage
    I keep wanting to just ignore such errors, calling the writer an idiot, but often the random units cause the science to be indecipherable. In this case you can figure out what they are getting at.
  • Re:The units! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume (22995) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:33AM (#26090769)

    The names are fine. Joules are inconveniently small for measuring energy at the scales used by computers. Watts and watt-hours make is simple to relate the power consumption of a device to the cost of running it over a period of time.

    I suppose you also have a problem with units like miles-per-gallon, which combines distance and volume into a figure that is convenient for estimating and comparing consumption?

  • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:33AM (#26090779)

    Any modern PC can S3 suspend.

    S3 suspend cuts power use by 95% and the PC resumes *INSTANTLY*.

    I can S3 suspend my laptop and have it run off the battery for over a week - open it up and I am back where I left off in about 2-3 seconds.

    There is no argument against having an IT policy MANDATING S3 suspend. Hell you can even automate it to do it by default every day at 6 PM unless the PC is in use (easily checked by screensaver APIs).

    I still have issues suspending/waking computers. Generally it works fine... But sometimes you run into odd issues.

    One client we support has a piece of software that hates waking from suspend. Pitches a huge fit. All sorts of errors.

    And I still have problems with some computers/OSes that really should handle S3 just fine simply choking on it. Won't resume reliably or whatever.

    The real problem I have with power saving options is rolling out the settings consistently across multiple computers. Last time I checked (and it has been a little while since I checked, so I could be wrong) there was no way to push out power settings with a GPO. Sure, you can set screensaver options... Turn off the monitor or something... But that doesn't get you a suspended computer. You can set options on the individual computer, in their motherboard settings... But that isn't easy to update/change across a network. You can throw together a pile of scripts to shut down machines...maybe try to use wake-on-LAN to power them back up in the morning...

    I'm not saying it can't be done. And I'm not going to say that you can't save any power by doing it. But there doesn't seem to be a simple way of managing these settings across a network yet. It still seems that power management is a hacked-together feature that was tacked on after the fact.

    I'd love to be able to push out a group policy that made all the computers on my network suspend after an hour idle.

  • by mikesd81 (518581) <mikesd1@veri z o n .net> on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:40AM (#26090917) Homepage
    No no. I think you took my comment in the wrong tone. I was not knocking the idea of shutting machines down to save money. I was referring to the $279 dollar report.
  • by sunking2 (521698) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:44AM (#26090999)
    Or you could make up the time lost by shaving 5 minutes a day off of the bullshit non work related stuff that you do every day. Like posting on slashdot, talking about last nights episode of Heros, or telling someone about your plans for the weekend. People don't choose to do it because they are lazy and possibly impatient. Not because they are trying to give the company the most for their time.
  • by plague3106 (71849) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:51AM (#26091109)

    See, your math is nonsense. Not that it's wrong, its just that you CAN'T combine all those minutes to get something productive. The minute I save each day isn't going to make a difference to the next day.

  • Re:Winter (Score:3, Insightful)

    by exploder (196936) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:52AM (#26091121) Homepage

    Is there some reason you don't just open the window and use a fan instead?

  • by Firethorn (177587) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:53AM (#26091143) Homepage Journal

    But suspending doesn't drop power demand as much as shutting down; indeed, it could cut your savings in more than half if you have a yum-cha power supply. We're already looking at 15 cents of electricity a night in my area, it's getting into 'stupid green' territory. Heck, up here in the frozen wastelands any waste heat we eliminate has to be replaced via the heating systems - while NG and geothermal heat pumps are cheaper, again, you're chopping your savings in half or so.

    I'd argue greater savings could be had by paying a bit of attention to your computer components - 80+ efficient power supplies, 35-65W CPUs rather than 95-150W. You can even get power efficient video chipsets(normally on the motherboard), etc...

    89 watts isn't much though. Figure a 90% efficient PS, that's 80 Watts left. 35W CPU*, That leaves 45 Watts for the memory, Motherboard, video, and any rotating fans. We'll figure that the drives are already in powersaving mode.

    Looking at it, I figure that a computer could easily use double to quadruple the power when being used - so reducing power there can save far more than shutting down computers.

    This might change a bit of Wake on Lan or some timer is used. Again, enabling such functionality costs power, though.

    *More likely a 65W CPU that's underclocking itself because it's not working hard

  • by owlnation (858981) on Friday December 12, 2008 @11:07AM (#26091355)
    It's valid, ironic criticism of Wikipedia. All too often people -- who should know better -- quote Wikipedia for some proof of something here on Slashdot. Of all people, slashdotters should know that wikipedia is often an unreliable source of information, and that the link they've quoted can be easily changed after it's posted.

    The "citation needed" is also an ironic criticism of the deletionist, book-burning nazi-pedants who appear to make up a significant core of the wikipedia admins. And yes, it IS possible to have it both ways -- a reliable source without the nazi-pedant zealotry. It just that this is not the direction wikipedia chooses to go in. Thus, it's the worst of both issues -- unreliable and exclusionist.

    Long may this meme continue, or at least until there are significant changes in the way Wikipedia is run.
  • by Clanked (1156473) on Friday December 12, 2008 @11:20AM (#26091567)

    That is under the assumption that workers use every single second on the job to be productive.
    You and I both know that isn't true.

    So a minute to boot up a computer, is not actually a minute lost. It can easily be made up later in the day if it is really that needed. (ex. Worker browses one less minute of /. in order to finish his job. THE HORROR!)

  • by online-shopper (159186) on Friday December 12, 2008 @11:27AM (#26091705)

    That's why you use WoL to boot the system one hour before employees arrive, do a virus scan, check for updates, or other maintenance tasks.
    1 hour is generally enough time for updates and virus scan. Employees come into a machine ready to go, you get regular maintenance and everybody's happy.

  • by greed (112493) on Friday December 12, 2008 @11:30AM (#26091751)

    One thing I never see in any of these power-saving articles, even a recent one on how to save energy cooking your Thanksgiving turkey, is how the waste heat ties in to your HVAC system.

    It makes a huge difference to your math depending on whether you need air conditioning, heating, or can passively cool with simple ventilation.

    So, let's assume you're in an environment like mine (Toronto, Canada); 6 to 8 months of the year you need at least some domestic heat. (The radiators are usually started in October and shut down in April at my office.)

    If you need to ADD HEAT to an office or house, then every Watt you save in electricity, you have to replace some other way. Now, given typical technologies, like an 80% AFUE furnace, it's about 30% cheaper to do that with the furnace, sure. But that means that $75/year savings is actually only 30% of that amount (because the furnace has to run more often). Or it's ZERO if you use resistive electric heat! (Currently oil heat is slightly more expensive to run than city gas here, but not as expensive as resistive electric.)

    You can't just shut everything down over night and let the building cool off completely. It must be at least... well, it's 68 degF for residential, so let's assume commercial office space has to be similar. You could have a set-back thermostat let the temperature drop a bit, and then boost it back to normal before the workers get in, sure. And maybe, in a very well-insulated building, it would still be worthwhile turning off some of the machines.

    If you need to COOL an office of house, it goes the other way. Using an EER 13 air conditioner as a reference, I worked out that 100 Watts of heat require an additional 42 Watts of cooling power to remove that heat from the air. So, in that case, your $75 GROWS by 42%. (And if you're in a warmer climate, it will grow by even more, as the same air conditioning plant will work less efficiently.)

    But it's not that simple, either. We're talking about PCs left on overnight, yes? Well, the cooler it is outside, the more efficient an air conditioner works. So, actually, it costs more to remove the heat generated by the PCs DURING THE DAY, and much less over night. Especially if your system can switch to pure ventilation when the outside temperature drops below the inside thermostat set-points. (Whether or not that can happen depends on locale; in Toronto, it's only a couple or three weeks of the year where it's warmer at night than you want inside.)

    About the only time these articles calculations make sense is, when you can just open the windows and have the interior space at the right temperature.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:14PM (#26092399) Homepage Journal

    That step is only applicable if you are super rich. These days only billionaires get welfare.

  • Re:The units! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DougWebb (178910) on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:15PM (#26092425) Homepage

    You might want to know how many gallons you'll use on a 200 mile trip, but it's unlikely you want to know how far a trip you can go on with the 8 gallons left in your tank.

    When you're low on gas, or planning a drive through an area where gas stations are very spread out, you absolutely want to know how far you can get using the gas in your tank. That's why any modern car with a decent onboard computer display will show you that figure. They usually don't show gallons/mile, because that's not the conventional way to compare consumption rates, even though it would make more sense. Checking your consumption rate is usually a less critical bit of information then checking whether you'll reach the next gas station or not, too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:24PM (#26092561)

    260 work days per year

    5 minutes of employee time wasted per day

    1300 minutes wasted per year, or 21.6 hours!

    Even if you take a minimum wage employee at $6.55 per hour, that's a cost of $141.92 (larger for higher paid employees) per employee for powering off the PC. Sure seems to me a smarter investment to leave it on!

  • by pizzach (1011925) <pizzachNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:36PM (#26092721) Homepage
    Obvious to a PC user. A lot of it comes from your background is, and that changes your expectations.
  • Re:Typo? Pshaw! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:37PM (#26092735)

    Yeah, you can figure out what they are getting at. But do you trust those figures to be correct when they clearly have no idea what watts and watt-hours actually are?

  • by NeoSkandranon (515696) on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:37PM (#26092737)

    If all the annoying time consuming things happen after the user logs in, then a WOL isn't going to help, is it?

  • Re:Winter (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ckaminski (82854) <(moc.xobop) (ta) (iksnimakc)> on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:48PM (#26092893) Homepage
    Or just watercool the damn thing, and in the winter stick the radiator out the window.
  • by Bengie (1121981) on Friday December 12, 2008 @01:07PM (#26093209)

    " "Modern computers are designed to handle 40,000 on/off cycles before failure, and you're not likely to approach that number during the average computer's five to seven year life span."

    Too bad all major HD manufactures claim 10,000 power cycles, and many power saving settings will turn off a HD w/o doing anything else. Which means you may have many more than 1 HD power cycle per computer power cycle.

    "some studies indicate it would require on/off cycling every five minutes to harm the hard drive."

    over how much time, because if you did this continuously, you would kill a harddrive in less than 35 days since you would have eat'n all 10,000 average power cycles.

  • Re:Lets see (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oasisbob (460665) on Friday December 12, 2008 @01:10PM (#26093253)

    Lets assume each PC has a user who is paid at least $25000 per year. We can clearly see the savings on the cost of that employee and thier PC setup caused by this are negligable.

    If you work for a company whose budget is a single line labeled "employees and stuff", you're probably right: nobody will notice

    However, for a small company with 100 workstations, implementing reasonable power savings can trim $7,500 a year off utility bills. That's nothing to sneeze at, especially if ThePowersWhoBe can be convinced to keep those funds in IT for other projects.

  • Re:So which is it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Slashdot Parent (995749) on Friday December 12, 2008 @01:20PM (#26093395)

    Server hardware and consumer PC hardware are different. Server hardware doesn't traditionally get powered down (hell, many servers have dual power supplies in case one fails), so the hardware manufacturers don't test this as much.

    But the bigger issue is software. If a desktop PC doesn't boot cleanly, it's a bummer, and one employee will lose some productivity, but ultimately it's not a big deal. If server processes don't come up, the stakes are a lot higher.

    When you press the power button on that server, are confident that everything will come up cleanly? How confidant are you? Would you bet your job on it? If you keep your payroll server down for the two weeks it is idle, try to bring it up to run payroll, discover that it won't come up, would you be comfortable with having your boss on line 1 asking where the fuck his paycheck is, your boss's boss on line 2 wondering the same thing, the Department of Labor on like 3 demanding to know why they just got 1000 complaints filed against you and how you are going to resolve them right fucking now?

    Sure, the server will probably boot cleanly and doom will probably not strike. But when it does, the cost is going to exceed, many times over, the savings you'll ever see on your electric bill by powering-down a few servers.

  • Re:Typo? Pshaw! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by amoeba1911 (978485) on Friday December 12, 2008 @01:52PM (#26093817) Homepage
    I'm glad I'm not the only who noticed this. Their blatant misuse of units is irritating and shows their lack of knowledge. But they are right in saying a computer booting up doesn't use 16 hours worth of power. I work in a cube farm and most people don't turn their computers off at night, some people even leave CPU intensive screen savers on without any monitor power down feature, so their CPU is thrashing all night long and their monitor is showing everything for nobody to see.
  • pfft (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2008 @02:48PM (#26094639)

    $75 dollars per year? that is pathetic.
    If it takes an employee 1 minute to power off (including properly shutting down all apps and saving shit), and 4 minutes to power up and launch all those apps again.
    That's at least 16 hours a year. Best case scenario that employee costs $20/hour so that's $320/year...
    Most of the time employees cost more like $40/hour all in.

    So the moral of the story is keep your PCs running all year to save lots of money.

    Wait, were they supposed to be debunking or spreading myths?

  • by ElleyKitten (715519) <.kittensunrise. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday December 12, 2008 @02:56PM (#26094791) Journal

    Well 15 minutes of power on and power off is a bit exaggerated (unless you really misconfigure linux). Normally for most business PC it takes about 1 minute to power on and power off doesn't need to be counted as you can perform this action without you actually there you hit shutdown and it does its thing.

    I work on the help desk of a company with over 30,000 employees. It takes at least 5 minutes for our computers to boot up, and >10 minutes is not uncommon.
     
     

    However the human factor is not factored in even for your 10 minute days of inactivity. At the beginning of the day most people are not at 100%. They will power on the computer, take off their jackets, get some coffee, put their lunches in the kitchen, greet some people, clean their desk up a bit. Also any loss productive during 10 minutes can usually be made up.

    At some jobs, you can do that. At others (like mine) you're expected to be ready and working at your start time (there's a small grace period but not 10 minutes) and you can't do that if you're waiting on your computer to boot up, so that 10 minutes would have to be on your own time, coming in 10 minutes before you clock in. That doesn't sound like fun to me.

  • Re:Winter (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mr_matticus (928346) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:13PM (#26095043)

    1. You mix using gas with whole-house heating.

    I'm not mixing them. I'm comparing the typical use of each. Natural gas in the overwhelming majority of cases is a central heating unit, and most non-central installations are gas fireplaces, again the overwhelming majority of which are installed in living rooms. Electric radiator units, on the other hand, are almost all distributed systems, though central electric furnaces also exist.

    In either case, this is why I said it depends.

    2. You are advocating resistive heating as efficient.

    No. I am simply presenting a contrary scenario to the suggestion that gas heating is uniformly cheaper.

    Electric heaters (the real kind, not the absurdly wasteful heating pads you're referring to) circulate a liquid and operate in a very similar fashion to a heat pump (which is not a gas heating system at any rate, so I'm not sure why you're bringing it up), and are rather efficient.

    Moreover, efficiency was never the stated criterion in the first place, so you are attempting to create an argument where none exists. Price was the criterion, and as I said, the use of installed floorboard electrical heaters may well be cheaper than the use of a natural gas heating system.

  • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Friday December 12, 2008 @04:08PM (#26095799)

    Just an opinion (based on experience as a user of PCs since before suspend-to-memory existed) - suspend-to-memory works, really well, except when it doesn't.

    With each new OS (Win95, 2K, XP, OS X, Vista), I have given suspend-to-memory a fair shot at working for me, I turn it on, I use it, it's usually less than a month before it screws up and causes me to have to hard-reset the machine to get back to a working state. This is on notebooks and desktops from all types of manufacturers, Dell to Apple to Gateway to Homebuilt, even a few "Corporate managed" fleet machines.

    I have no idea why they (OS and hardware vendors) can't make it work right, I just know as a user that I get more consistent and predictable performance from my PCs if I don't use it.

Sentient plasmoids are a gas.

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