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Compute Green (or, Even Web Journalism Isn't Fast Enough)

In mid-April, PC World asked me to write an article on green computing for their online version; by late April, the article was done. By early May, the piece had been edited; and on May 22, the final version (which isn't identical to my final copy, but close enough to be familiar) appeared at the PC World website:

Green PC

It's a lightweight piece on using less power and avoiding toxic components, and while it's a bit more "here's what you can buy" than I would have otherwise wanted (and a pithy paragraph on what's coming down the road is nowhere to be found), it's not bad.

Problem is... it's obsolete.

EPEAT is the just-announced new standard for green computing and other electronic equipment. Joel Makower gave us the rundown last Sunday at WorldChanging:

IEEE 1680, as the standard is known, is the first U.S. standard to supply environmental guidelines for institutional purchasing decisions involving desktop and laptop computers and monitors. It offers criteria in eight categories -- materials selection, environmentally sensitive materials, design for end of life, end-of-life management, energy conservation, product longevity and life-cycle extension, packaging, and corporate performance. (Download the standard here in PDF.) The new standard will encourage manufacturers to design their products to be used longer, be more energy efficient, easier to upgrade and recycle, and contain fewer hazardous materials.

This is good news all around, even if it does make my just-published article look a bit slow. Of course, if the article had gone up when I was done writing it -- on a blog, say -- it would have been timely, and easily updated when the new standard was announced. Back in the print days, a less-than-a-month turn-around from author to reader would have been impressive for a tech monthly. Today, even the compressed publishing model of online magazines can be ponderously slow.


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