I've just read Greenpeace's report on the energy sources for serverfarms.
There's some interesting takeaways. Looks even more vital now to promote alternative entertainment outside of the "streaming services"!
Streaming is not green. Downloading it won't be much better, but will once you've rewatched it instead of something else!
@alcinnz I am recently pretty torn about that. From one perspective, I applaud the idea to download instead of streaming whole-heartedly. Then again, in example looking at friends running Synology boxes, QNAPs or large Linux servers at home, 24x7 with large disks to store all the stuff they downloaded even by now, I wonder whether we do have a "total" energy-wise look at this issue. 😐
(Plus I run mine entirely on electricity from renewables.)
I think the bigger problem is people reusing old hardware or standard desktop or gaming PCs as servers, as they generally aren't designed for low power consumption.
@mathew @alcinnz @z428 I remember reading a study about this wrt. laptops; it takes about seven years for a new, more energy efficient laptop to break even with the energy needed to produce it. Of course those numbers will be drastically different with different degrees of utilisation and power efficiency, but I think the energy efficiency effect is typically overestimated.
@michiel Yes.... that's an aspect I didn't even have in mind at the moment. But as always... things get more difficult, the closer you look. No real idea how to ever come to a meaningful conclusion here. Every "solution" seems to have pretty "interesting" drawbacks in other dimensions. 😐
@z428 @mathew @alcinnz Agreed. It's frustrating; I'd like to contribute something tangible to the reduction of fossil fuel use, and this *is* a field I'm at least familiar with, but it's clear that there are too many trade-offs to easily find big wins. Which doesn't mean that these big wins don't exist ...
Second best is to be vegan or vegetarian.
Reducing electricity consumption is pretty far down the list.
I'm a software engineer; my entire supposed value in the labor market comes from my ability to solve problems *once* and reuse the solution infinitely many times over.
If we investigate and educate each other about good choices in this problem space, we *can* have a significant impact as a profession.
How was this problem solved eventually? Because TV manufacturers added a few cents worth of components to reduce energy usage on standby. Why did they do it? Because EU lawmakers forced them to. Why did EU lawmakers force them to? Because engineers told them it was easy and possible.
@michiel Yes, but that's very much my experience as well. When I was a kid, there used to be two devices in the house allowed to consume energy all day: The fridge and the water pump in the fish tank. Everything else *of course* was supposed to be switched off. This experience still in some way is here and still makes me power down most devices at night or when unused (except the fridge, apparently, and the Wi-Fi / DSL router because it takes ages to start...). That's the ...
@michiel ...same with lightbulbs by the way: We had these old-fashioned ones, wasting quite some energy but being *cheap* and efficient to use. Now there are "energy-saving" bulbs which are complex, expensive to make, contain a load of "difficult" resources and need expensive recycling once they broke - plus they're still tailored for being left on, not for switching them on/off if needed.
@z428 @michiel @alcinnz
There's a case to be made for moving most of the house over to low voltage DC at this point, rather than having almost every electrical device have its own AC to DC converter; but the entrenched infrastructure means it'll probably never happen. I have a dream, though, USB-C on every socket...
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