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8 February, 2006
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MozillaQuest Magazine Technology

Solutions for the Energy Crises in this Union

Part 2: Computer and Internet Technology

If one's work is done on a computer, that person is a perfect candidate for working from home -- telecommuting . . . The technology for telecommuting is here now. And it is getting better all the time.

Mike Angelo and Aric Campling-- 8 February 2006 (C) -- Page 1

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Editor's Note: This article is entirely too long. So, we broke it down into a two-part series. Each part seems somewhat independent of the other part. However, you should read both parts in order to get the full flavor or our suggestions for solving America's energy crises.

Please check the Article Index below to see how the parts are laid out and what is covered in each part. Links will be activated as each part is published. Ed.

Article Index

[Part 1, Alternate Energy and Conservation]

[Part 2, Computer and Internet Technology]

To learn why Linux is so much a better choice than is Microsoft Windows, please see our article Gaël Duval Tells Why Mandrake Linux Is Better Than MS Windows

Office on the Linux Desktop

OpenOffice 1.1 -- A Complete Office/Productivity Software Suite for GNU-Linux, FreeBSD, MAC, MS-Windows, Unix, and more

Executive Summary

There are many solutions to America's assorted energy crises. Many are old technology or low technology solutions. There are plenty of energy crisis solutions that are available for implementation and use now.

Alternative energy sources such as solar, water, and wind power can be employed to eliminate the need for oil/petroleum to generate electricity. Moreover there is no need to build additional nuclear power plants.

Moving the railroads to all-electric power can save much oil/petroleum fuel. And moving as much air and road transportation to rail transportation as possible also will save lots of oil/petroleum fuel.

These projects can be done with existing technologies. And these projects should be completed within a year if given adequate impetus, priorities, and resources to do the job.

Telecommuting is a great way to conserve oil/petroleum fuel consumption. The technologies for telecommuting are here now. Two such excellent technologies are sneaker-netting and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Live CDs such as Knoppix can be used for telecommuting also.

Yet undeveloped, extravagant, esoteric, high-tech energy solutions might be enticing and sound great. But alluding to them is just a way of putting off getting down to the serious business of solving America's energy crises and relaxing our dependence on oil/petroleum.

KISS and use the solutions that are available now. Then look for better and perhaps more high-tech energy solutions for the future. But use the energy solutions available now to get the job done now!

The most immediately effective solutions are in the conservation arenas. Heating and air conditioning conservation is as easy, simple, and quick as adjusting thermostat settings.

Implementing and expanding flextime programs can help to spread highway traffic flows across the day to reduce the bottleneck and traffic jam peaks. Spreading work hours over different times also can help to level out the traffic peaks that lead to traffic jams and bottlenecks too.

Additional highway lanes must be built to improve traffic flow. Unfortunately road-building energy conservation solutions will take time. Nevertheless, road-building energy conservation solutions must be started now.

Conservation of oil/petroleum-based fuels is an important part of solving America's energy crises. Cutting down on the amount of time people spend running around in their automobiles can sharply reduce the demand for oil-based fuels such as gasoline and diesel oil. It also cuts down on the consumption of, oil-based fuels.

Computer and Internet technology can and should be employed as much as they can to reduce the amount of time people do run around in their automobiles. Doing so cuts down on the demand for oil-based fuels and on the consumption of oil-based fuels.

Today, in Part 2 of this Solutions for the Energy Crises in this Union article, we look at telecommuting as an alternative to burning gas and diesel fuel. We also look at some of the computer tools that help people to do these things.

Telecommuting offers at least two contributions to solving the energy crises. It keeps commuters off the road and thus directly reduces oil-based fuels consumption and demand. Additionally, telecommuting also takes traffic off the roadways during the rush hour traffic jams and bottlenecks, thus reducing the severity of the traffic jams. That reduces waste and therefore reduces consumption and demand of oil-based fuels wasted in slow moving and stalled traffic.

Previously, in Part 1: Alternate Energy and Conservation of this Solutions for the Energy Crises article we looked at alternative energy sources such as solar, water, and wind power, which can be and should be employed to eliminate the need for oil/petroleum to generate electricity. Moreover, we pointed out that there is no need to build additional nuclear power plants.

Also in Part 1, we discussed moving the railroads to all-electric power to save oil/petroleum fuel. We discussed moving as much air and road transportation to rail transportation as possible in order to conserve oil/petroleum fuel. And we discussed highway improvements in Part 1 also.

These projects can be done with existing technologies. Moreover other than the highway improvements, these projects should be completed within a year if given adequate impetus, priorities, and resources to do the job.

End Traffic Jams -- Telecommute

One high-tech solution to the energy crises facing Americans is telecommuting. Many of the people caught in those daily traffic jams could just as easily do their work from home or remote offices as they can from the downtown offices in the hubs of our nation's traffic jams.

There are several ways one can go about what amounts to working at home -- one such way is telecommuting, the ritzy label for doing your job on your home computer. If one's work is done on a computer, that person is a perfect candidate for working from home -- telecommuting.

The technology for telecommuting is here now. And it is getting better all the time. Businesses, industries, organizations, institutions, and government offices can and should start implementing telecommuting programs now. Many already are implementing telecommuting programs now. But there is much room to expand telecommuting programs.

USB-Key Sneaker-Net

Just how one goes about telecommuting depends on just what one does at the computer and how one does it. For example, if one only needs to have his or her files at home, that person simply can sneaker-net his or her files between home and the office.

Sneaker-net is a term from the days before computer networking was widespread. If you wanted to take files from one computer to another you had to copy the files to a 1.4-MB or smaller floppy disk. Then you had to walk (that's where the sneakers come in) the floppy disk from one computer to another in order to copy the files to the second computer.

Today's larger capacity removable USB flash drives (USB Keys) let you easily sneaker-net up to 4-GB of files on a single USB key. That makes it easy to keep all your data files on the USB key so that you have all your files with you wherever you go and wherever you are. Moreover, USB keys are small enough to fit in a shirt pocket or coin purse.

Thus when you are using computers at home, school, office, or wherever you are, simply plug your USB key into the computer where you are. And voila', all your files are right there with you.

When you are done, simply unplug your USB key and take your files with you. By the way, if you are concerned about computer security and privacy, no one can hack your files when they are in your shirt pocket, coin purse, or otherwise out of a computer. Moreover, you can encrypt the files on your USB key if you like for even greater file security.

We are not talking about merely data files (as in documents and boring stuff like that) on a USB key here. You can put your MP3s, video clips, game data, photos, and all sorts of neat stuff like that on your USB keys too. Thus the larger the capacity of the USB key, the better.

You can buy a good 256-MB USB key for as little $25 or less. So, if you do not need the larger capacity USB flash drive, you can get into sneaker-netting for only $25 or less. If you need or want a higher capacity USB flash drive (USB key) the 1-GB models cost in the neighborhood of $100 to $125 or less. The 4-GB USB flash drives run from about $300 to $400.

We have tested USB key sneaker-netting with a 64-MB Lexar JumpDrive, a 1-GB SanDisk Cruzer Micro USB key, and a 4-GB Kingston Data Traveler Elite USB flash drive. The results were very satisfactory with all of these. Of course, the larger the capacity, the better.

You also can use digital audio/music players for sneaker netting. We have tried this with a 256-MB Lexar LDP-200 Digital Music Player and with a 512-MB SanDisk Digital Audio Player.

It's a neat trick, by the way. When you are sneaker-netting with a digital audio/music player you can listen to your favorite music when traveling from one computer to another. And of course, you can listen to your music files over the PC sound system while your digital audio/music player loaded with data files and music files is plugged into the PC too.


  • See Computer in a Pocket -- a Portable Office on Page 2 ----->

  • See Internet Telecommuting on Page 2 ----->


  • Article Index

    [Part 1, Alternate Energy and Conservation]

    [Part 2, Computer and Internet Technology]

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