Region 1 Report
When to Turn Off Personal Computers
If you’re wondering when you should turn off your personal computer for energy
savings, here are some general guidelines to help you make that decision.
Though there is a small surge in energy when a computer starts up, this small
amount of energy is still less than the energy used when a computer is running
for long periods of time. For energy savings and convenience, consider turning
Danbury Area Computer Society
- the monitor if you aren’t going to use your PC for more than 20 minutes
- both the CPU and monitor if you’re not going to use your PC for more than 2
Make sure your monitors, printers, and other accessories are on a power
strip/surge protector. When this equipment is not in use for extended periods,
turn off the switch on the power strip to prevent them from drawing power even
when shut off. If you don’t use a power strip, unplug extra equipment when it’s
not in use.
Most PCs reach the end of their “useful” life due to advances in technology long
before the effects of being switched on and off multiple times have a negative
impact on their service life. The less time a PC is on, the longer it will
“last.” PCs also produce heat, so turning them off reduces building cooling
loads. For cost effectiveness, you also need to consider how much your time is
worth. If it takes a long time to shut down the computer and then restart it
later, the value of your time will probably be much greater than the value of
the amount of electricity you will save by turning off the computer.
Power-Down or Sleep Mode Features
Many PCs available today come with a power-down or sleep mode feature for the
CPU and monitor. ENERGY STAR® computers power down to a sleep mode that consume
15 Watts or less power, which is around 70% less electricity than a computer
without power management features. ENERGY STAR monitors have the capability to
power down into two successive “sleep” modes. In the first, the monitor energy
consumption is less than or equal to 15 Watts, and in the second, power
consumption reduces to 8 Watts, which is less than 10% of its operating power
Make sure you have the power-down feature set up on your PC through your
operating system software. This has to be done by you, otherwise the PC will not
power down. If your PC and monitor do not have power-down features, and even if
they do, follow the guidelines below about when to turn the CPU and monitor off.
Note: Screen savers are not energy savers. Using a screen saver may in fact use
more energy than not using one and the power down feature may not work if you
have a screen saver activated. In fact, modern LCD color monitors do not need
screen savers at all.
From U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Energy: A Consumer’s Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Better Web Searching Tips
With so much information out there on the Web, it’s often amazing to discover
just how hard it is to find something you are looking for, and how easy it is to
find things you have no interest in. I remember once when I was in school going
to the school librarian to ask for books on Zimbabwe for a report. She came back
to me and told me she did have some books on something called the Zamanian
cockroach. Apparently it was close enough in the alphabet that she thought it
was good enough but in fact it was way off. This same thing can happen on the
web if you don’t phrase your search in the most efficient manner. The following
tips work best with Google, which is my search engine of choice.
Laura Leita, Secretary
ICON PC User Group
Hauppauge, New York
There are many other techniques to learn as you go. The key is to search
efficiently and to save as much time as possible. Keep an eye out for more
- Commas – separate your search with commas. If you are trying to search for a
particular doctor for example, in a certain city, town or state, you would be
best to separate the name from the location with commas. For Example: Joe Smith
Dr, Stony Brook NY. Google actually has a directory service of sorts and if
there is a direct match with a business it will come up with a miniature map,
the business address, and phone number right at the top of your search findings.
This is very handy.
- Quotes - If you want to search for something exactly as written, put quotes
around it. For example, if you search for song lyrics, Love me tender without
quotes, you will see searches for Love, Love me, Love me tender, tender love and
many more variations on those three words. Now if you put it in quotes, “Love me
tender”, it will only return searches with exactly that match and I am willing
to bet you that Elvis Presley’s famous song will be right up there near the top
easy to find.
- Don’t spell everything out – Words like street, drive, doctor, avenue,
company etc… can often be shortened or left out of the search. Try leaving them
off or using the shortened abbreviation if you are not finding what you are
searching for. The reason is that you do not know how a person or thing will be
listed on the web. The American Oil Company is most likely listed as Amoco but
could also be listed as American Oil, without the company added at the end. Just
like an address could be listed as 123 Maple St. OR 123 Maple Street If you are
searching for “123 Maple Street” in quotes and the address is listed as just 123
Maple St., you might not find it because searches inside quotes are to be taken
EXACTLY as written. Also a name like Joseph could be Joe or just J.
- Hierarchy of search – Sometimes it is best to start with all the details you
know and then slowly start pulling details out of the search step by step until
you get a possible hit, getting vaguer and vaguer in your search criteria. Let’s
say you need to find the phone number for a Doctor Joseph Smith at 123 Maple
Street in Stony Brook, New York. Below is the order I would recommend searching
in until you end up with a positive match. Of course hopefully it will come up
right away but you never know.
- Joseph Smith MD, 123 Maple St, Stony Brook NY
- Joseph Smith, 123 Maple, Stony Brook, NY
- Dr Smith, Maple St, Stony Brook
- Dr Smith, Stony Brook, NY
- Dr J Smith, New York (Here you would get too many Doctor Smiths so I
recommend putting in at least part of the name.)
- Ask a question – Sometimes you might need to find a how to, or an
explanation. Don’t be afraid to pose a question: How do You Fly a Kite? What is
a White Hole? How do Clocks work? There are some great sites out there with
lessons on just about anything.
- Eliminate words – If you know there is a word you do NOT want to come up in
your search you can put a minus (-) sign before the word and it will not show
any results that match your search and contain that word. Some exercises you
can do: Try these searches both ways and see the difference. Through trial and
error you will soon be able to find anything that is out there.
- Compare these two:
- Dr Narula Stony Brook
- Dr Harmeet Narula, Stony Brook NY (notice the mini-map and directory listing
right on top!)
- How do you tie those darn things anyway?
- How do you tie a tie? (tutorial there for you right on top!)
- To use quotation marks or not?
- I will follow you
- “I will follow you”
Why did my hard drive shrink?
You buy a new computer and the box says it has a 500GB hard drive. You get the
machine home and find that the operating system says your drive has a capacity
of 465GB. What happened? How did you lose 35GB, 7% of the 500GB specified on the
box, between the store and your house? Humans are preprogrammed to count in
units of 5, 10 or 20. Most of us have five fingers or toes on each limb. We have
ten fingers and twenty digits including toes. Lincoln’s opening line to the
Gettysburg address “Four score and seven years ago” references counting by
Fairfield County Computer Users Group
Richard Frisch, President
Computers are binary inventions. They count in units of 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64... A
computer counting by base 2 or binary measures a gigabyte as 2^30 or 1,073,
741,824 bytes (in base 10 notation). Computer manufacturers and retailers
prefer to use base 10 type counting for two reasons. It makes the drives seem
bigger and because most people do not have a good understanding of base 10
mathematics, much less base 2. They measure a gigabyte as 10^9 or 1,000,000,000
bytes. So the 35GB were not lost. The “missing” space is a result of the who or
what is counting.
The International Electrotechnical Commission http://www.iec.ch/ suggests new
terminology. We should use “bi” to replace “ga” in the numerical prefix to
distinguish the counting system in use. The computer’s method of counting would
be labeled giBIbytes, while humans would count by giGAbytes.