Bits: Others ask if daylight saving time saves electricity, removing old thermal compound, the NYT on Microsoft’s Google Envy and more

It’s been a busy few days, preparing for all sorts of stuff at the office… up too early and to bed too late.  But a quick post to share some of the items from my reading pile, in addition to cracking open again my copies of Eckhart Tolle’s "New Earth" and "Lincoln on Leadership" by Donald Phillips.

First, an article in Resource Investor, "Does Daylight Saving Time Save Electricity?" by Laura E. Grant and Matthew J. Kotchen (06 Dec 2008) is an interesting read. "Daylight saving time, designed for energy conservation purposes, is among the most widespread regulations on the planet. Surprisingly little evidence exists that it actually saves energy. This article, using a natural experiment, concludes that "saving" daylight has cost electricity." Interesting given the the recent findings from Swedish researchers that daylight saving time, erratic sleep schedules could affect your health.

For the young scientists who have everything, consider the Celestron Handheld Digital Microscope HDM 20x/400x, "a new state of the art technology in microscopes that combines a digital camera and microscope into one single unit. The Celestron Handheld Digital Microscope connects to a PC or laptop, and with just a click of a button the user can take an photo of whatever they see. Snapshots and even video can easily be taken with the microscope ‘s integrated 1.3 mp megapixel camera."

Arctic Silver’s instructions on removing old thermal compound: Removing old product and reseating can be tricky. To get it right, see the instructions on Arctic Silver’s site.

The new Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EACS 1TB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive: I’ve read good things about this new drive when used for content playback in HTPCs.  Quiet and energy efficient.

The Onkyo TX-SR606B 7.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver (via Live Search cashback)  Highly rated by Home Theater magazine, this AV receiver has plenty of HDMI connections.

Microsoft kicks off the year of the audit, from The Open Road on CNET News, December 5, 2008, posted by Matt Asay: " offers a sobering reminder as to one potential downside to proprietary licensing: when vendors get desperate for revenue, auditing for "piracy" can help them clean up. Piracy is illegal and wrong. But sometimes piracy is in the eye of the beholder, and it’s a safe bet that if the beholder is Microsoft or some other large enterprise software vendor, it’s going to win any dispute over illegitimate licenses. Just ask Ernie Ball, who had the unfortunate pleasure of greeting an unannounced, Business Software Alliance-sponsored raid by U.S. marshals on his office a few years back."

Track price drops with – CNET News — This free service sends you e-mail alerts when there’s a price reduction on a product you’re tracking. Posted by Rick Broida on December 5, 2008… "Want to know when there’s a price reduction on that PS3 you’ve been eyeballing? Or the Amazon Kindle? Or just about anything else sold online? " tracks individual products and sends you an e-mail alert whenever there’s a price drop. "There are two ways to use ShoppingNotes. First, you can copy and paste a product-page URL into the site’s Web form, then enter your e-mail address for receiving alerts. Alternately, you can install the ShoppingNotes bookmarklet, which greatly simplifies the price-watch process: when viewing a product page, just click the bookmark."

Microsoft’s Google Envy (Part 396) – Bits Blog – — December 4, 2008, 7:14 pm By Saul Hansell. "The choice of Qi Lu to run Microsoft’s online services division offers the clearest picture yet about Steve Ballmer’s vision for the company’s online effort. Its colors are blue, red, yellow and green and it is spelled G-O-O-G-L-E. "Mr. Lu is not the sort of executive I might have expected Microsoft to pick. When thinking about Jerry Yang’s decision to step down as Yahoo’s chief executive, I wrote last month that the company needed less a business executive than an editor in chief. My point was that Yahoo would benefit from someone who can make sense of its sprawling set of services and create a coherent experience and brand for users. "My instinct was that much the same skill set would be useful at Microsoft. Its offerings have been jumbled between established brands like MSN and Hotmail and the newer Windows Live."

Ning Blog » Our Most Popular Features — Posted by Gina Bianchini on December 2, 2008 – 2:11 pm "We just got done looking at a distribution of the features used across the social networks on Ning for the month of November by page views generated: "I think this reinforces a few of the key things you can do to create a great social network. At the very least, it’s interesting. "Update: Our blog feature is included in profile, given that every profile on Your Own Social Network for Anything includes a blog.

Ning Blog » Vote for the Flatclassroom Project! Posted by Gina Bianchini on December 3, 2008 – 2:22 pm: "I learned today from a broadcast message on their social network that the Flatclassroom Project has been nominated for an Edublog Award for best educational wiki 2008. Congratulations on the nomination! The Flatclassroom Project describes itself as, “a global, collaborative project using Web 2.0 tools to foster communication, collaboration and creation.” They are a great example of how all of the great, free wiki, social networking and other collaboration options out there can work together. We can, in fact, all get along.

Add Licensed Indie Music To Your YouTube Videos, Courtesy Of Rumblefish by Robin Wauters on December 5, 2008 "YouTube has partnered up with music licensing startup Rumblefish to enable users to add fully licensed songs from its 25,000 tracks strong catalog of independent artists to videos. Users can add the songs through the AudioSwap feature, giving them a much broader choice than was the case until now. "To use the feature, just pick any uploaded video and browse the provided audio library. You’ll get a preview, and with the click of a button YouTube will start processing the request. Note that adding a song will completely replace the current audio from the video."

After a layoff, a family learns to cope | Coop’s Corner – CNET News, posted by Charles Cooper, Dec 5, 2008 (This is part of a series of stories about the recession’s effect on the tech industry.) "With the calendar winding down, the hours get hardest when Andy Erickson and his wife, Andrea, are forced to take out their checkbook and do the math. "We see the finish line in December before we have to dive into personal savings," says the unemployed, 39-year-old father of three. "It can turn into a tense talk between us for a couple of hours." "For the last 15 years, Erickson had steady work as an IT consultant, most recently at Lucrum in Cincinnati, Ohio. But like a lot of people, he became yet another statistic when his company laid him off–on Halloween, no less–because of the slumping economy. "With belt-tightening now the order of the day, the IT industry so far has lost more than 140,000 jobs this year, according to Challenger Gray."

Tags: articles, what I read, Microsoft, blogs, Daylight Saving Time, Daylight Savings Time, DST, 15,500,000 (up from 4.88M a month ago); 15,300,000 (up from 900K a year ago)

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