Insights

Designing waste out of networks

"Most people have a Wi-Fi router in their home," network expert Ben Schwarz explains to me. “The latest generation Wi-Fi router will typically consume about 15 watts per hour of use. The difference between when the Wi-Fi network is empty and when it is completely full is around 10%. If it requires 14 watts of power ticking along with not... Read More »

The magically efficient oven

A friend of mine bought a new oven that he says is the most efficient of all the ovens he’s ever tested. (He’s big into this sort of stuff.) He says that this oven is so special that it doesn’t matter how much you cook in it, it’s still the same basic cost. The more you cook, the better, basically. So I went around to have a look. The ... Read More »

Keeping information up to date

In November 2022, Soumya Swaminathan, the departing chief scientist for the WHO gave an interview to ScienceInsider. She was asked whether “your biggest mistake as chief scientist was not calling SARS-CoV-2 airborne?” She replied that, “We should have done it much earlier, based on the available evidence, and it is something that has cos... Read More »

When the tech bros come for me

First, the tech bros came for the warehouse workers, and I said nothing. Paying them terrible wages, working them to the bone, tracking their every second, injuring them at record levels, all in the pursuit of customer obsession and profit. Then, the tech bros came for the delivery drivers, and I said nothing. Calling them gig workers,... Read More »

Vitaly Friedman: Cleaner Web design for a better environment (part 3)

“Everyone is collecting so much data that frankly is rarely used, and if it is used, it’s not in a good way,” Vitaly Friedman tells me. “The real perspective, the real feeling of what it’s like with the actual users of our systems – there’s this disconnect has been growing significantly over the years. The experiences we are deploying to... Read More »

Vitaly Friedman: Cleaner Web design for a better environment (part 2)

So much of digital is about speed. To break things is an achievement once you are innovating, moving forward, producing, releasing, publishing. In Web design, it’s all about the “speed of delivery of the campaign, feature, website,” Vitaly Friedman says. “All the things that you mentioned—repair, reuse, archiving, deletion—to many compan... Read More »

Vitaly Friedman chat: Cleaner Web design for a better environment

Web design has rarely taken the environment into account. Over the last decade, webpages have become ten times bigger, and up to 80% of the weight of a particular webpage can be waste—content and code that is not required for the page to function. I asked Web design guru, co-founder of Smashing Magazine, and all-round nice person, Vitaly... Read More »

Fairness and kindness are not weaknesses

You are much closer to sleeping on the streets than sleeping in the mansion of a billionaire. And the envious desire to sleep in the mansion of the billionaire is what is destroying our environment. We have allowed the greedy and cruel to dominate and their insatiable greed and cruelty will inevitably lead to environmental destruction. ... Read More »

Big Tech drives overconsumption (Part 3)

Next issue: January 8, 2024 The meta-crisis we face is overconsumption and practically the entire infrastructure, strategies and tactics of the technology industry are about devouring overconsumption. Netflix, YouTube and TikTok want to turn you into binge addicts. Google, Facebook and Twitter are advertising companies focused on engag... Read More »

Big Tech drives overconsumption (Part 2)

As we fast approach 2030, it is clear we will not be even close to achieving the target reductions set out for CO2. And please remember, CO2 is just one of the multiple crises the environment faces. Tactics to reduce CO2 may in fact accelerate other crises, such as biodiversity, water, soil. This will particularly happen if they are base... Read More »