My Personal Tech

October 20, 2009

When I started at Caster, I was not a techie.  I mean, I liked my gadgets (my iPod, my cell phone, my cute little 12″ Mac iBook, RIP) but I didn’t really have a vested interest in technology.  Once I started, I was sort of overwhelmed with the level of technical information thrown my way on a daily basis but I can say comfortably that I have evolved from just a general consumer with some interest in consumer electronics into someone who really loves the advancements technology has brought us.

Personally, my life isn’t as high tech as it could be.  My computer is a newer Sony Vaio and I will tell you that I’m not terribly impressed with it.  It is just ok and I’m sort of wishing I had taken my client’s advice and invested in a Dell XPS.  Add it to the Christmas list!  Speaking of Christmas, I upgraded to a new iPod Nano last season and so far it has been nothing but awesome.  The graphics are great, I can watch videos and play games and its motion sensor technology is very cool.  That said, I still drool over the iPod Touch.  Sigh.

My TV…well, my TV is still in box form.  I’m almost ashamed to admit I don’t have a flat panel as some of the first accounts I cut my teeth on were display manufacturers, but alas, I am still living with a Phillips 27″ box.  Sniffle.   I hope to change this soon as well – any ideas for a good 37″-42″ LCD, preferably ENERGY STAR rated with decent built in speakers?

Speakers are another story as I haven’t had a good system in….well, ever.  I’ve become more atuned over the past few years to just how incredible music can sound when played over the right speakers as opposed to my iPod or car stereo.  But I just haven’t upgraded yet.  I’m thinking my friends at Paradigm can help me with this eventually.  <winky face emoticon>

More recently, I’ve been more interested with how technology has become the conductor for really pushing the clean energy movement forward.  While the green movement isn’t a new phenomenon, I think the idea that we need to utilize our advancements to help us solve so many of the problems that they created for us in the first place is brilliant.  Sustainability can be an accomplishment if we embrace technology to take us there.  I am inspired on a daily basis by clean and renewable energy innovation and developments in moving towards a smarter grid.

I might not have been when I started, but today, I can proudly say it: I am a techie.

Posted by: Ashley / follow me on Twitter

Samsung, Sprint Announce Green Phone

August 10, 2009

Last week, Samsung and Sprint launched the Reclaim, a phone designed with sustainability and recyclability in mind. The Reclaim’s case is made of eco-friendly material: bioplastic derived from corn.

The minimalist packaging also helps this phone achieve the approval of “greenies” in that the slim box and phone tray the phone is sold in is made from recycled material, and a soy-based ink is used on all printed materials. The charger is ENERGY STAR approved and alerts you when the Reclaim is fully charged so you don’t overcharge it. There is also no printed manual – users must go online.

For all you techies out there, the Reclaim boasts some cool features like a built-in stereo Bluetooth, Sprint’s One Click feature for Web navigation (an instant connection to a number of green sites), a full QWERTY side-out keyboard, a 2-megapixel camera with a 3x zoom, and up to 6 hours of battery life.

Sprint has also announced a partnership with Nature Conservancy. For each Reclaim sold, the company will donate $2 to the organization’s Adopt an Acre program.

At the Reclaim Launch Event, the Sprint’s CEO Dan Hesse also announced the company’s ambitious environmental goals and policies: Sprint is committed to securing 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent, to reuse or recycle 95 percent of its network and IT e-waste and to achieve a 90 percent recycling collection rate, all by the year 2017.

Posted by: Lauren

Grading Green at CES

January 11, 2009

The 2009 Consumer Electronics Show is closing out today marking yet another one in the books. CES is THE place to see the latest and greatest technology there is out there. Whether it be incredibly thin flat panels or futuristic robots, the new announcements at CES rarely disappoint to get people talking.

As the general population continues to press for more green technology, CES is the ideal place to see some of the latest ideas. CNET covered the Greenpeace press event on Friday where the environmental powerhouse announced the results of their second annual “Green Electronics: The Search Continues” survey and the results are interesting. Below is the overview of the survey from CNET.

Consumers are increasingly demanding better environmental attributes in their digital gadgets, but the consumer electronics industry can go a lot further to make gadgets “green.”

Environmental watchdog Greenpeace held a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Friday to announce results of its second annual survey called “Green Electronics: the Search Continues.”

The good news is that manufacturers are using fewer hazardous chemicals, such as PVC plastic, and are running more electronic take-back programs. Another positive trend is the use of LED screens for notebooks, which are relatively energy efficient and use less mercury than other technologies.

But many manufacturers are slow in adopting EnergyStar energy-efficiency standards or using recycled materials. Consumer electronics companies should also take more responsibility for recycling, according to Greenpeace. (Click here for a PDF of the study.)

The assessment, which follows Greenpeace’s ratings of individual vendors issued in November, comes at perhaps the most environmentally themed CES so far.

The show organizer, the Consumer Electronics Association, earlier this week issued results of a survey that found that consumers are increasingly looking for green attributes, as are manufacturers looking to differentiate products.

“Green is becoming a purchasing factor,” Steve Koening, director of industry analysts at the CEA, told the BBC.

More than half of consumers are willing to pay a little more for products designed with the environment in mind, while 22 percent said that they are willing to pay 15 percent more.

Also telling were consumers’ responses to what is considered “green.” Over half of those surveyed said they didn’t know what the environmental attributes of high-tech products were and 38 percent said they were confused by the “green” label.

That’s not surprising given the explosion in green claims in the past few years. And when you consider the diversity of what’s considered green tech at CES alone–from power strips that eliminate vampire loads to cell phones made from recycled material–it hints at the many aspects of “going green.”

The CES show also hosted a Greener Gadgets Tech Zone and had a “Technology and Environment” session track with panels on electronics recycling and energy use.

Before the conference began, the organizers used a carbon emissions-management software application in an effort to lower the environmental impact of the event.

 After President-Elect Obama’s speech made on Thursday, it is nice to see that manufacturers are starting to take on more initiatives in pursuing greener technological advancements.

We’re interested to hear your feedback – did you see any great new green technologies at the show this year?

Posted by: Lauren