Everyone can use a reminder now and then, and developers have stepped up appointment and scheduling software at all prices. We like "free," as in EfficientSoftware's Efficient Reminder Free. It's a powerful, capable, and businesslike tool that will remind you when it's time for meetings, whether they're every Tuesday or once a year, or give you a timely heads-up for looming events such as birthdays, anniversaries, sporting events, concerts, or anything you might forget or need a nudge to get going on. You can configure various types of reminders, including pop-ups and sounds, and … Read more
E-mail is the business world's lifeblood. The downside of instantaneous, 24-7 contact is an impersonality and distance that doesn't foster relationships. EfficientSoftware's Address Book Free is a contact and customer information management utility that anyone can use to keep their address books and contact information up to date and in sync, but where it shines is in its business-oriented customer contact features. It will remind you when birthdays, anniversaries, and other important events approach so you're ready with the personal touch that can make all the difference in business and personal relationships. You can also prioritize … Read more
With Toyota's name all over TV and the news within the last couple of months, I figured it timely to show that not all things associated with Toyota are bad. In the specific case of the Toyota Prius, the Japanese manufacturer has honed and crafted a trendsetting, forward-thinking hybrid car that's gone from novelty to an almost universally accepted automobile. In yesterday's video we got a good sampling of the modern Prius' many notable features, but we didn't get a look at everything. And that's why I've got another clip on this very cool … Read more
The Transaction Processing Performance Council has released a new benchmark called TPC-Energy for measuring how much work computers get done for a given amount of energy.
The move reflects the growing concern with power efficiency given environmental issues such as carbon footprint and financial issues involving the cost of electricity for running computers and cooling data centers.
The group already has developed a variety of server benchmarks: TPC-C and the newer TPC-E for database performance and TPC-H for data warehouse performance. TPC-Energy in effect does a little extra math on those tests to yield a "watts per performance" … Read more
You heard of Cash for Clunkers. Get ready for Cash for Caulkers, a proposed multibillion program designed to create jobs and give homeowners lower energy bills.
Representatives from building efficiency advocacy groups on Friday held a "Webinar" to outline the Home Star program--nicknamed Cash for Caulkers--and said that its prospects for becoming a law should be known within several weeks. A Home Star Coalition has been formed, which includes large retailers Home Depot and Lowes, equipment suppliers such as Dow and GE appliances, along with energy-efficiency contractors, labor groups, and environmental advocacy groups.
For homeowners, the proposed … Read more
The Obama administration is announcing on Monday the selection of nine projects totaling $187 million aimed at improving the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks.
The funding includes more than $100 million from the $787 billion economic stimulus plan President Barack Obama pushed through Congress last February. An additional 50 percent will come from the private sector, according to the announcement to be made by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu in Columbus, Ind.
The Obama administration is under pressure to show it is working to create jobs with the U.S. unemployment rate stuck at 10 percent.
The administration … Read more
In a nod to efficiency, YouTube on Thursday began testing a more lightweight version of its video player pages called "feather."
Feather pages do a number of things to speed up the video-playing process, from defaulting to the standard quality version (instead of high quality or high definition), to removing various on-page features such as being able to control the size and coloring of an embed. The idea is to get the video playing as soon as possible with fewer on-page distractions.
Other efficiencies include limiting the number of loaded comments to just 10, which users are now … Read more
Efficient Calendar Free is an attractive scheduling application that lets users to keep track of events, appointments, holidays, and more. If you're looking for a stand-alone calendar that's not integrated with your e-mail or other online activities, Efficient Calendar Free is a great option.
The program's interface is sleek and highly reminiscent of more recent versions of Microsoft Outlook. In fact, we'd be hard pressed to identify any ways that Efficient Calendar Free differs significantly from the calendar functions of Outlook, aside from the fact that it doesn't appear that this program can be used … Read more
A while back, a Personal Information Manager, or "PIM," was a handheld gadget that did what cell phones and BlackBerrys now do better. PIMs live on in the form of their software, which refined and combined the daily diary, planner, Rolodex, address book, and other wads of paper that once shackled busy people to cluttered desks, thus helping spark the transformation of the workplace. For busy people, they are essential, period. EfficientPIM is simply one of the best we've seen.
It's organized around a familiar and attention-getting subject: today. Tabs manage your calendar, contacts, events, tasks, … Read more
SAN MATEO, Calif.--Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore hopes that America's next-generation power grid will be a lot like the Internet. Or at least that's the plan.
How close we get to that goal depends on what happens in the next five years, Gore said in a speech here on Thursday evening at blog VentureBeat's GreenBeat conference, where he outlined many of the challenges the United States faces in upgrading its power grid. Along the way, he made comparisons to how the advent of the so-called smart grid will enable the kind of solutions and business innovation that the Internet brought during the 1990s.
"The analogy to the Internet is quite an exact one. Not completely exact, but it's very relevant for lots of reasons. We are moving inexorably toward a widely distributed energy generation and storage model. We are still locked into the old centralized energy generation model," Gore said. "The rapid development of new generations of new smart storage systems are going to make a tremendous difference in connection with the smart grids." Those systems are designed to enable easier storage of unused electricity for peak times, when supplying it to large groups of customers can be difficult and more expensive.
Gore also foresees an entirely new set of devices and instruments to help utilities and consumers control and monitor usage--technology and business models that may not yet have been imagined. "(It's) much the same way the Internet made it possible to see this generation of Internet-ready devices that did not even exist before the Internet began to build out," Gore said.… Read more