Need to update the email address of a Facebook Friend? It’s easy.

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Hello Cyberwonks, wherever you are–

Portland has shut down as four inches of snow has arrived, making the place a snow holiday. Eat your heart out, Minneapolis. While I wait for the sun, what better time to update all  my email contacts –who are also Facebook friends? I don’t know if you have this problem, but my email server can’t handle this much intimacy. My Hotmail account won’t let me delete old email addresses that are connected to facebook accounts. It slams the old email address in the ‘send to’ box every time I email someone. even if I list the new email address in the address book. I’ve got to open ‘properties’ on the ‘send-to’ listing, remember what the old email addresses was and manually select the updated email address. The old email address just  won’t go away. Major hassle screw up, especially with email friends who change ISP’s or break out a new email address to stay one step ahead of Spam-Jam.

So…. today, I updated as many contacts as I could find that had this problem, as witnessed by this email I sent to Evans:

Email Evans,
OK, I think I solved the problem. Here’s what I did. Really nothing to it. Eight easy steps to fluid email communication. (1) First, I wrote down all of Rachel’s new contact info and (2) unfriended her on facebook, then I (3) deleted all her contact info from my email server, (4) signed out of my email server (5) after writing down my password, (6) restarted my computer, and then  (7) relisted all of Rachel’s contact info in my email address book –

Voila! Her old email address from five years ago when she used AOL has finally disappeared. Hurrah. If I knew it was this easy, I would have updated her info long ago.
It appears the problem is solved.

Oh, and then I (8) refriended her facebook. Here’s looking at you, girl!

Cheers,
Ted 

Alternative Energy? It’s not always rocket science.

Alternative sources of energy: is it too complex, too ‘out there’ to even contemplate? Worse, is pursuit of glamour and glitz getting the go-ahead while the practical gets pushed aside?

Sure, wind farms look good, so long as the wind blows steadily. Solar has promise, too. But. There could well be more practical alternatives right under our very feet. Two examples- one to do with life down on the farm, and then, let’s head up to the big city.

If you have ever had the pleasure of staying over in a bed and breakfast; next to a feedlot (or even driven by a feed lot at 80 miles an hour on the interstate), you know that the stench of manure is nothing to sniff at. Yet, this vapor, rich in methane gas, can, with the help of an anaerobic manure digester, be transformed into energy.

In addition to producing energy, an anaerobic manure digester improves hygiene of the farm, reducing odor, fly problems and the like. It provides animal bedding, and creates a fertilizer rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Incidentally, if you scoff at the existence of ‘odor free methane gas,’ methane is key ingredient in natural gas.  Thank you, Sierra Club for this tip. See: Sierra Club Magazine/March-April 2012.

Oh and hey kids, build your ‘AMD’ right here: USDA guidance Perhaps some kind of loan funding could help the farming community in this transition.

Now on to the city. Performance Contracting is where energy costs can be markedly reduced. We are all becoming familiar with this process. As old furnaces die, more efficient furnaces are going on line. Better insulation, lower-cost-to-operate lights, and more fuel efficient cars with a longer service life are also examples of this trend.

A little more complex, but with the implementation of smart electrical grids, rates for energy usage can be demand based. Power plants are currently being built to meet peak demand times- i.e. extreme weather, hot or cold. But if some activities can be time-shifted to lower demand times, it may become cost-effective for rate payers to shift their demand and the electric utility to offer a reduced rate to encourage users to do so, thus changing consumption patterns and leveling demand throughout the day.

On a larger scale, here are other examples of more energy-efficient practices: An office building in Okinawa freezes a water reservoir at night, to provide cool air-conditioning by day.  In Zimbabwe, the Eastgate Centre uses a design inspired by African termites to markedly reduce AC and heating costs.

We are definitely in for a very interesting next 10-20 years. Will algal oil ever become practical? Why pump primordial ooze out of the ground that began fermenting way back in the Paleozoic Era and it often only accessible in dangerous, difficult and inconvenient places. Instead, we we can brew our own…

What’s next, brave new worlders? Solar panels in space, with power microwaved to earth stations?  Gigawatt megapolis sized batteries…The only limit is in the imaginative genius of our scientists and engineers and the support of our citizenry.