Friday, June 26, 2009

Some Regional 'Green' Forces:
newspaper, nonprofit, and gov't

When I set myself the task of finding out what was happening with renewable energy and things Green in general in the Hudson Valley, I was frankly not prepared to find as much as I did. The Hudson Valley, from Overlook Mtn.- photo, Bill RossI'm going to be writing more about some of these efforts that are underway, but there's far more than I'll be able to find time to discuss in me own little blog.

So I thought I'd just start listing and linking to some of them, to share some of the relevant, mostly very hopeful stories found in only the last few months or ongoing. All deserve more in-depth treatment, since this is some exciting stuff when you care about the world being built with the long term in mind, but better to do a little now than wait for the big day.

To lend some sense of rhyme or reason to the selection, I decided to pick out entities from different fields and slants on the subject. So for now, here is a newspaper's coverage, a non-profit campaigner/facilitator, and a government program.

Green Living index, on

We'll start with the heroically embattled Fifth Estate, in the form of the Green Living index on That's the "Web press," we might say, of the Times Herald-Record, which seems shy to admit it's published in Middletown, where it traces its lineage of daily editions back to the middle of the 19th century.
By whichever nameplate, they do a good job of covering all the major green-tinged news in the Valley and State.

"Local coverage of the green revolution" - Times Herald-Record
Sustainable Hudson Valley
Next, a non-profit that's been promoting sustainability in this area since the mid-90's, Sustainable Hudson Valley is currently working with many partners in the region as "a resource broker, a consensus builder, and a source of both technical and moral support, assisting each community with achieving its unique goals" towards "an environmentally advanced and restorative 'green' economy".

This year, besides advising local governments on getting positioned for clean-energy stimulus funds — and managing to stir up a bit of a ruckus — Sustainable Hudson Valley is focused on the Kingston Green Trail. It's a partnership of agencies to try to stimulate interest in " a transformed urban environment, where people can move by cycle and on foot... gardens, parks and tree cover are abundant... renewable energy and recycled materials create economic advantage... and these activities form the base of a vibrant knowledge economy."

Plus, I liked this part: "Our work is to stimulate a home-grown green economy that gains security from a base of businesses with loyalty to this place."
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
New York State has been fairly progressive with forward-looking energy programs. NYSERDA supports "energy-efficiency programs, research and development initiatives, low-income energy programs, and environmental disclosure activities," such as their Residential Green Building Program (RGBP), currently in development, "to provide incentives to owners of new and substantially renovated residential buildings," and many more.
Related, here:
How Green Is The (Hudson) Valley
Photo from Flickr by Philip McCluskey
(that's from the old firetower on top of
Overlook Mountain, with the Hudson
River that slight band in the distance.)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Is Your Head (Lost) In The Cloud?

Google's recent unscheduled downtime came at a good point, perhaps, with so many technology promoters urging us all to hurry up into the Cloud for all our computing needs.

PC World reported that the May 14th outage "left 14 percent of its user base without Google's wide variety of online services for a few hours." PC World's story was accompanied by this graph of North American Web traffic that day, from an Internet security company, Arbor Networks, which tells the story in concise and dramatic fashion.
Google said, in one of their blogs, it was the result of a simple traffic jam at a data center. Oh, that's really reassuring. What if it had been the dirty work of some of those cyber-crooks, who decided to put their botnets to work on taking down or compromising the All-Seeing Eye? How long might it have taken them to get all their services back in operation then?

"Ultimately, the outage was a fixable error and the Internet didn't come crashing down because of it," PC World said, but asked, "Just how smart is it to depend on a company to store all your data online?"

Cloud computing is a natural development of the technological path we're on, and of course it has many benefits, like being able to get at your information from anywhere there's an Internet connection. My point is just this: don't over-depend on it.

Do not assume that what you upload to any brand of cloud formation will necessarily be there when you next look for it — like the young lady I knew whose emails, years' worth, disappeared one day from Hotmail, never to be seen again.

When it's crunch time, especially with free services, host companies have oft responded by saying, Gee, sorry, there's nothing we can do about that now — but you know, it is a free service. (Implying about their own no-cost, no-guarantee offerings that YGWYPF: You Get What You Pay For.)

So, okay, these services can be highly useful. Just don't forget, in a tenet from the earliest days of computing: Back It Up!

"Google Outage Lesson: Don't Get Stuck in a Cloud"
by Ian Paul, PC World
Related, here:
Crackberry Down!

"Baaack it up!" * (Before the Botnets get it)

Web-based apps vs. Verizon customer service

(P.S.: Appropriately, I got this message several times while trying to post this: "Could not contact Saving and publishing may fail. Retrying...")